Millar missed the first six months of kindergarten in Australia because of our stay in India. He did go to school for a few months in Chennai though and he is pretty clever with his reading and writing, so I wasn’t concerned that we were depriving him of academic advancement by delaying his kindergarten start date by half a year.
I knew he might need some time to catch up socially though, and kindergarten or preschool is the perfect place for that right?
Two weeks into the term and I was doing my parent help duty thingo and the teacher approached me and suggested that Millar should repeat the year of kindergarten instead of going on to school next year. The reasons she gave were that when he laughs at something, he laughs for ages and can’t seem to control it and also he holds scissors funny when cutting.
I didn’t say that to her, of course and not just because speaking in three letter acronyms is douchey. What I did say is that by all means, put his name down to repeat next year and we will also enrol him in primary school and see where he is at come December.
What I was actually thinking was: “piss off lady, my son is going to school next year because that is what is happening and I’m not letting the fact that he laughs too long for your liking hold him back from school.”
My husband and I are from New Zealand and it is in our DNA that you start school on your fifth birthday whether you are “ready” or not. So maybe that had something to do with my knee-jerk reaction… There was also the fact that I was already looking forward to having Millar out of the house for six hours a day.
Then over the next week I started to wonder if maybe she was right – ya know, because she IS qualified to make that recommendation and has seen a LOT of kids etc etc…
I also have friends with kids born around the same time of year, March/April, that have decided to hold their kids back until the following year and they all have their own very well thought out and researched reasons which are unique to each child so it wasn’t as if I was against the idea completely.
Millar is on the small side for his age and I started to wonder if he would be better off starting school a year later simply for that reason. But now the teacher had me worried about his emotional regulation and his social skills. Millar is a bit of a loner sometimes… but maybe that is just who he is. An extra year of kindergarten will not change that and the emotional stuff will sort itself out wont it?
Then I talked to some trusted friends with school age kids and they helped me see that my initial reaction was correct. The kindergarten teacher had only known my son for two weeks at the time of her recommendation. She hasn’t had time to see fully how awesome he is (yes I am THAT parent).
My friends also assured me that scissor skills are not in the HSC exam and that some adults can’t even cut a straight line without sticking their tongue out yet they manage to contribute to society just fine. Which was my light-bulb moment. How did I miss this? Millar does not do anything weird with his mouth while using scissors! No wonder he can’t use them correctly.
With a little practice in how to hold his tongue, his scissor skills have improved immensely, thus securing his future as a tailor, hairdresser or Play School presenter (although I think you have to be on Home and Away before you get that gig.)
Now the issue with laughing too much? Yes, lets sort that out immediately. I’m going to teach my son to stifle his emotions and second guess his feelings… Oh wait! That’s a stupid idea!! I think I will just keep enjoying his laughter and marvel that he has an awesome sense of humour and has the freedom at this age to crack up completely.
Have you decided to keep your child back from starting school? Have you gone against a teacher’s recommendations and decided that you are the expert when it comes to your child? Do you think I’m one of those annoying parents that should listen to the teacher? Do you think I ask too many questions at the end of a blog post?