Kindergarten or Not???

Updated on January 07, 2009
A.H. asks from Bothell, WA
9 answers

Hi there...

I am looking for an enriching program for my son who may not be ready for Kindergarten next year. We live in the Mill Creek area but would be willing to drive for the right program. He is in a great pre k program here but may need a bit more before Kindergarten. He was born at 28 weeks and is doing amazingly well but we are having problems w/ recognition of numbers/letters...writing as well.

Sooo...if you have any suggestions for a great school or program please pass it on!

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answers from Seattle on

This may sound a bit odd, but I know a lot of people who swear by monistaries because the way they teach not "traditional" for most educational programs. Most say their kids pick up the stuff a lot faster there.

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answers from Portland on

I just wanted to comment on the number/ letter recognition and writing- if that is your main concern, I really wouldn't worry too much about that. I am a former early childhood teacher, and for a four year old (I was assuming 4 since you said kindergarten next year) to not be interested in those things is perfectly fine. Also, being able to recognize letters is not as important as most people think as a precursor to reading. Much more important skills are: is he interested in and enjoy books? Does he like to sing songs and listen to stories told aloud? Does he like to rhyme? Does he do any pretend writing? Does he like to retell favorite stories or make up his own stories? Does he have a rich imagination?

And same with recognizing written numbers for numeracy skills. More important is learning to count objects correctly (only counting each object once), being exposed to shapes, patterns, and concepts such as more/less, a lot/a few, etc.

The more important skills for "kindergarten readiness" are being able to function in a group situation: i.e, does he play cooperatively with other children? Is he beginning to be able to negotiate for toys, turn-taking, etc.? Can he perform self-help skills independently such as taking on and off shoes, coat, going to the bathroom, etc? Can he follow 2 step directions? Can he pay attention during a group activity?

These kinds of things tell you much more about how he will do in kindergarten rather than whether or not he knows letters and numbers and can write. (although being able to write his name would be helpful) i would think more about where he is socially/ emotionally than academically. Like I said, it's totally fine for a 4 year old not to know the things you mentioned. Some kids aren't really ready for reading and writing until age 6 or so.

I know I didn't answer your question directly, but I hope this helps you a little bit in your decision making. Good luck!!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We had a similar situation with my oldest child when he was kindergarten age. (He's 21 now, so it was quite a while ago.)We kept him at his private preschool, and paid for their kindergarten program. When it grew close to the end of the kindergarten year, his teachers reevaluated his readiness for either another year of (public) kindergarten or the public first grade. He ended up doing 2 years of kindergarten, one private and one public, and was well prepared for first grade. I don't know if paying for private kindergarten is an option for you, but it worked out very well for us. good luck. M.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Hi - I am not in your direct area but have you looked into Head Start programs? They are usually income based but are wonderful programs. If they are full or you don't fit the qualifying criteria ask them about other programs in your area, I would trust their judgment. For the program he is in right now will they exit him due to his age? If not keep him in that program for another year. My youngest is 5 and we are doing a home school kindergarten program. I know that we will have to repeat/continue some of this next year due to his developmental rate. He has tremors so we work with an OT to help with his handwriting. Home school programs might an option but if you are working, a program would fit the bill. You can always try the local school for kindergarten and know that repeating next year is a possibility. The more they get in their foundation years the easier it is later in life. One thing to remember also is kindergarten is the "new first grade". I don't agree with it but that is what schools everywhere are doing. Don't be afraid to repeat classes early in life. Just take it slow and let him help you guide his way through his education and the rate he learns the best. Due to him being born so early there may be other issues with education to deal with later. Just take those one at a time. Never be afraid to ask for help, you are your child's best advocate!! Hope it works out well for you.

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answers from Portland on

As a former kindergarten teacher I can tell you that if you think your son is not ready for kindergarten DON"T PUT HIM IN. It does him a grave diservice. Every once in a while I will get a really young boy in my classroom who just isn't ready and it seems to plague their school careers and behavior throughout elementary school. The few children I have had that I knew were going to struggle ended up struggling academically and they keep getting farther behind. It's called the Matthew effect, it's where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The kids that are reading read more and more and become better readers while the kids that aren't good readers don't read much and fall behind and can't keep up. As well as socially because the maturity level is not there. Of course this isn't true of every young entrant into Kinder but as a teacher I can usually spot them pretty quick. I am sure if you have a frank discussion with his pre k teacher that she will be able to tell you if you are just being overprotective or worrying too much or if you have a good point and she can see that it will be difficult for him as well. (I wouldn't worry about his numbers letters and writing yet...some kids just aren't there developmentally yet but really blossom in Kindergarten)



answers from Bellingham on

Hi A.,
I live in Bellingham so I can't recommend a school down there, but you might want to take a look at a Waldorf school. I have my two children in Waldorf and they don't teach academics this early because of how the child's brain develops. Just a thought...



answers from Seattle on

Montessori, Montessori, Montessori! And I think that's what Lisa L. is talking about. Young children are so capable of learning so many things if they're presented the right way and at the time that's right for them. You should check into it. If you can't find info you're happy with please respond to me and I'll fill you in and help you out. Believe me, you'll be amazed and you'll probably say "That's exactly what my child needs!"



answers from Portland on

Have you talked to your child's preschool teacher. He/She should have a good idea of what your child needs to know heading into next year. Also, you've still got many months left before kindergarten begins. Every public school should have kindergarten screening in the spring. You can take your little one and then ask the teachers what they think.



answers from Medford on

All I can say A., is been there done that! Peg parago I believe was the brand, and it was spendy. I don't know if I'd go that way again, it was not ideal, they were front and back and I wish we would have had side by side. When they didn't need them anymore, we sold our expensive double stoller to get a side by side one...if you can find the infant car seats and side by side, I would highly recommend that.
Good Luck! I'm a happy mother of five and a half year old fraternal twins.

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