Turning Five in Summer: Should You Wait Another Year for Kindergarten?
Your child turns five this May-September and that exciting life-transition is reached: becoming a kindergartener! But as one of the younger five-year-olds entering kindergarten, would your son or daughter benefit from another year in Pre-K? Much of the answer to this decision depends less upon academic achievement and more upon your child’s own ability to stay on task, follow verbal directions, sit quietly for longer stretches, and exercise essential self-help skills.
“A little over half of our St. Pius X Children’s Center (SPXCC) students with May-September birthdays wait a growing year and re-enroll in Pre-K, beginning kindergarten as brand-new six-year-olds,” says SPXCC Co-Director Mary Benedict. “A year of development at this age is huge. Today’s kindergarten class is not like that of the past. It involves a great deal of sitting, taking timed tests, and completing worksheets. In general, it has much higher and more rigorous academic demands. Is your child ready for this as a young five-year-old? Your child’s Pre-K teacher can and should be able to provide you with this professional counsel if you face this decision.”
While kindergarten-readiness can certainly include the knowledge of letters and numbers, other signs are less tangible but just as important. These signs of kindergarten-readiness include the ability to sit very still and listen to a story or a lesson for up to 30 minutes; to separate well from parents with little to no crying; to self-adjust quickly after a disappointment or a sharing issue; to cooperate with trusted adults and peers; and to follow a two- or three-part verbal direction. Self-help skills are also essential to success.
What are self-help skills? They are the skills necessary to take care of one’s own needs without another’s significant help. “One of the essential self-help skills in kindergarten is having the ability to use the restroom without assistance,” added SPXCC Co-Director Sharon Miller. “Beyond the obvious challenge of trying to assist many students in the bathroom and still stay on task with lesson plans, Ohio law mandates that elementary school teachers are not permitted in student restrooms. A kindergarten teacher is not legally permitted to help, so your child must be able to do this on his or her own.” Basic skills like dressing oneself for outdoor play – including the ability to manage zippers and buttons when putting on a coat, hat, and mittens – and following simple protocols for cleanliness in the classroom – hanging up coats, throwing away trash, and pushing in chairs – is important, too.
If you would like more information about the St. Pius X Children’s Center and its preschool/Pre-K classes, would like to read more about this or other helpful topics, or would like to contact its Co-Directors Mary Benedict and Sharon Miller, please visit: