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Kindergarten Readiness

by Ronald A. Rowe | April 13th, 2011 | Elementary

Things sure have changed when it comes to the expectations on incoming kindergartners. And I don’t mean from the time I was in kindergarten back in the Pre-Cambrian Era. I mean since my first son hit the elementary age five years ago. Even as recently as that, kindergartners came in as a blank slate, able to walk and talk and sit quietly for short stretches.

Now, four months before my younger son even starts kindergarten, we’re being hit with requirements, directives, and even homework of a sort. He’s supposed to know how to write his first and last name (which he can), tie his shoes (which he can’t), and perform a whole host of other feats (a mixed bag) before he even walks through the doors to the hallowed halls of his kindergarten.

In an age when more and more parents are trying to shift the whole of the burden of educating their children to the schools, one school at least is pushing back. In response to the inevitable “what if they don’t?” question, parents were informed that they risk their child falling behind the other students. Is it really possible to fall behind in kindergarten? I mean, yeah, there was that one kid who was always eating the paste, but other than that I think we were pretty much all on equal footing back then.

I’m torn on this issue, I really am. I’m all for parent getting involved and taking responsibility. I love the higher educational standard my son’s charter school is setting. I agree that a proper high school education is paramount in getting a good college education which is a requirement for getting a good career and so on. But PRE-kindergarten competitive preparation? Has the pendulum swung too far the other way?

I don’t know the answer now. I probably won’t know for another, oh say, seventeen years. When he’s up at the podium getting his Bachelor’s Degree with honors, then we’ll look back and decide how this whole kindergarten readiness regimen worked out.

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