How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready for Kindergarten? (page 2)
We are often asked this question at Gesell Institute, and although we have been answering it for decades and have been criticized in the past for advocating “the gift of time” and simply delaying Kindergarten entry as a solution for young children, it is clear that today’s answer to this question is more complex than ever. As more and more educational research findings have been released, we strive for our work at the Institute to reflect current research and best practices. While many of the issues surrounding school readiness are not as black and white as research briefs or news sound bites may make it seem, it is important to respect and understand what research tells us, all the while remembering that there are individual differences from child to child.
Regardless, turning five by the cut-off date designated by your state or school district is not necessarily the best answer when determining whether or not your child should start school. The average Kindergarten environment in today’s schools is quite different from that of years past. Many schools have extremely high expectations for Kindergarten children and are actually delivering a curriculum that is more suitable for a first grade child. Therefore, asking – and answering – the question, “Is my child ready?” is both more complicated and more relevant than ever.
We believe that schools should not treat all children as ready for the same thing at the same time. Differences in children’s rates of growth should help to plan and guide school structure and curriculum. Schools should be made to fit children as they are, and not the other way around. We urge schools and programs to be flexible in order to meet the needs of all children as they grow and develop through the stages of childhood. We also recognize that this is not always feasible, especially with today’s demands for accountability and increased test scores, and we aim to provide parents and teachers with the most helpful information to inform their decisions about individual children.
We srtive to help parents understand their preschooler’s development, as well as to view him or her as a whole child—socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, especially in consideration of his or her overall “readiness” for formal academic work. We often find ourselves searching for another word for readiness – what our work is actually about is helping to match a child’s level of development with the most appropriate school experience.
How do I know if my child is ready for kindergarten? You Are Here
Reprinted with permission of the Gesell Institute. Copyright © 2010, Gesell Institute of Human Development. All Rights Reserved.
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