As a parent, you have many things to worry about. One of the top concerns is making sure your child has a proper education, but what happens if the education is denied because your child missed the cut off date?
FIND OUT IF THEY ARE READY FOR KINDERGARTEN
These are some common check points for a child who is ready for kindergarten. Also, check out our Math Genie Guide to Kindergarten.
- Do they have a desire for learning? Is your child ready to discover and explore? Does he or she want to learn something new? Are the comfortable asking questions? Do they want to keep trying even if it is hard?
- Are they independent? Can your child be separated from mom and dad for a whole school day? Does your child have separation anxiety? Can your child identify and take responsibility for their actions and belongings? Can they use the bathroom on their own?
- How developed are their fine-motor skills? Can they hold and use a pencil? Write their name? Use scissors?
- Can they recognize their numbers and letters? Can they recite the alphabet and recognize some letters? Can your child count to 10? Can your child identify numbers 1 to 5?
- How well can they communicate? Can your child express their wants and needs to you and to others? Can they communicate feelings appropriately?
- How are their listening skills? Can your child sit and listen to an entire story? Can they follow simple instructions?
- How are their social abilities? Can your child interest with other children and adults? Are they able to compromise, take turns, and share? How are their problem-solving skills?
WHO TO TALK TO
- Pres-School Teacher: Talking to your child’s current teacher is a great way to know where they are at. The teacher is one of the best sources for understanding the development of your child, especially if he or she is on the right track for kindergarten. Parents often check in with their child’s pre-school teacher for confirmation or a second opinion on starting kindergarten if the child has missed the cut-off date.
- Pediatrician: Your child’s doctor also will know if your child is developmentally ready. They measure the fine motor skills of your son or daughter as part of the regular check-up. They are also able to catch things that might affect your child’s development that a teacher who is watching many kids might miss.
- Kindergarten Teacher: A kindergarten teacher will be up-to-date on everything the school board requires of a student entering kindergarten. The guidelines listed above are not set in stone. There are a few things on that list that your child can learn in kindergarten so that halfway through the year or by the end of the year they will be at the same level as their classmates. A kindergarten teacher will know, from experience, what things the child needs to know before starting kindergarten and what the child can learn as the year goes on.
WHAT TO DO IF THE SCHOOL SAYS NO
There are a couple of options if the school is firm in their decision to not let your child start kindergarten. One option is private school. Some schools will take a child if they are mentally and physically ready for kindergarten even if they are after the cut-off date. Because they are privately funded, they can be a little more flexible with their admissions age. However, they can be pricier than public schools. If you are able to enroll your child in a private school for kindergarten, then they can transfer to a public school for the first grade since most public schools only require that the child receive a credited kindergarten education by the time they start first grade. Here is a list of private schools in New Jersey that offer Pre-K and Kindergarten education: Best Private k12 Schools in New Jersey.
If the private school option is truly not an option, then homeschooling is another way. In this way, parents are able to tailor a curriculum to their child’s interest and help them learn as any other kindergarten student. However, there is a huge gap in the child’s development when they are homeschooled. Most children who are home schooled have not learned proper social behaviors. These children lack the ability to learn in a classroom setting which of course is crucial in public (or private) education. The longer a child is home schooled the harder it is for this child to learn these social behaviors. It is for that reason that parents should not stop at homeschooling, but should enroll their child in after school enrichment programs where they will continue to learn in a small classroom setting.
Math Genie allows the child to continue to grow and learn but also to understand what it means to learn in a classroom. Because these are smaller sized classroom, Math Genie allows for individual attention with group learning. The child learns from both the teacher and their classmates. The child can grow in the same way that they would have in a kindergarten setting, however, they will grow faster and stronger in their academics because it is built for their skill and not dictated by their age. If a four year old can do multiplication, then this child will be pushed in the same way that any other child who can do multiplication will be pushed. If the child needs extra help with numbers or letters, then they will receive the attention and education they need at Math Genie.
SUPPORT FORUMS AND GROUPS
This is a common issue among parents. Deciding whether to hold your child back or push them forward can be very hard to do. There are many only support groups and forums. Here are a few.
Many parents worry about the kindergarten cut-off date and how it can negatively affect their child. They have a right to worry because of the many negative effects of holding back or “red shirting” their child. Yet, as a parent, you know your child best. You will know how your child will act in a kindergarten setting, no matter what the cut-off date is. If you believe that your child should be in kindergarten, then you will do everything you can do get your child to kindergarten.