This time last year, I was contemplating the decision whether or not to send Christopher and Jack to Transitional Kindergarten (TK) or full day Kindergarten. I had all the forms ready to go. I kept asking myself: Are they too young (summer birthday)? Because of their minor milestone delays, are they going to struggle? Are they socially/emotionally ready?
In my head, I would tell myself:
“My husband and I both have late birthdays.”
“We were the youngest in our class.”
“We turned out fine.”
But as a former educator, I was aware of the differences in the school system today vs. my elementary days. Would my kids be able to survive the rigorous demands of today’s curriculum?
Internally, something was telling me to hold off. For more insight, I decided to reach out to family and friends. I received an overwhelming response to the benefits of giving my children the “gift of one more year of preschool.” 80% of the people I asked were in favor of sending the twins to TK. Surprisingly, more Dads joined the conversation and voiced the benefits. One dad, Christopher and Jack’s Pediatrician said, “No one ever regrets holding them back.”
Weighing the pros and cons, I kept coming back to the phrase, “the gift of one more year of preschool.” Why not give this gift to my children? I decided to tour a new preschool, interview the director and learn about their TK program. It was in that moment, I knew my husband and I were going to give Christopher and Jack the “gift of one more year of preschool.” I loved everything Stacey Rommich (Preschool Director) was telling me about their school. For the next year, Providence Presbyterian Preschool became our new home.
I am happy to report, the twins have grown leaps and bounds. TK was the perfect choice for us. KINDERGARTEN he we come! #NoRegrets
Smarties, if you are in the same position. I have recruited Providence Presbyterian Preschool Director, Stacey Rommich to share her expert advice with you. This is what she had to say:
“Is my Preschooler Ready for Kindergarten?”
by Stacey Rommich
The start of each new year is filled with resolutions and future goals. We look ahead not only for ourselves but also for our children. In the Charlotte area, January also means “preschool registration time” and many begin to contemplate, “Is my preschooler ready for kindergarten?” It is a thought not just of four and five-year-old parents but of many preschool parents. When the time comes, will my child be ready?
The answers might differ from your initial thoughts. While facts and concepts might be your guess, the skills needed for success in kindergarten (and life) are much more abstract.
Social & Communication Skills:
The ability to work and communicate with others is vital to success in all areas of life. When we feel annoyed or frustrated, how do we react? Children need to feel confident to express their wants and needs to peers and adults in a positive manner. For example, will your child be able to speak up to let the teacher know when he/she is feeling sick? Will your child be able to ask a friend to share a toy? Better communication leads to less conflict all around, and with less conflict, the kindergarten classroom can be a much more productive and positive environment.
Independence & Problem-Solving Skills:
Confidence builds when we all achieve or complete a task. In children, this can be as simple as washing their own hands, completing a puzzle, or helping their friends clean up the classroom. When children learn to help themselves, they become a more proactive, confident person. These self-help skills foster future success not only in kindergarten, but in all areas.
Exposure to Books:
Early academic skills develop naturally through exposure to a variety of subjects as well as a variety of different experiences. Kindergarten teachers appreciate basic letter and number recognition, particularly the letters in their own name, plus basic counting. Kindergarten teachers do not, however, expect the children to enter their classrooms as fluent readers. Reading to your child is one of the best things that you can do to encourage their literacy and to promote a love of reading.
So to answer the question of whether or not your child is ready for kindergarten…it is really a personal choice. Try not to focus on their birth date, but rather look at your child as a whole. How does he/she embrace new experiences? How does he/she respond to directions? How does he/she communicate with peers and adults?
You will know when your child is ready…just be patient with your child as well as yourself!
Stacey Rommich, Director
10140 Providence Church Lane
Charlotte, NC 28277