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Kindergarten to repeat next year or not.... ****update***2

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Hi I'm new to the group.

My son is turning six next month and is currently in kindergarten. The last conference they were suggesting that he just was not where some of the other class is with reading and writing. And that repeating next year would probably be best. He is a very easy, good mannered kid. Never in trouble, plays and listens well. But I think some things just are not clicking with him, we are looking at getting him a tutor for the remainder of the school year as well as the summer if it will help him catch up. I'm just not sure if the teacher is giving up, I asked a friend that is a Kindergarten teacher in a different district and she couldn't believe the conversation came up at this time of year. 

I think it would be upsetting for him to repeat kindergarten, he is excited to be a first grader next year. But I don't want him to not be ready either. Anyone have experience with this? I need some help! 


Can't believe all of your replies still working through reading them, truly appreciate all of your advice what a great group! 

Side note, he is very good at math and unbelievable at problem solving, he also had two previous years of preschool. We thought we were doing everything we could to get him ready for this year. I think that is part of why this is so hard to grasp. Coming into school he was ahead of most kids as far as what they would like them to know. 

***update 2***

My son is currently in full day kindergarten. I will be setting him up with a tutor for the remainder of the year and over the summer. We still work with him at home but I think professional help is the best for him. He does get assistance at school during the day to work on the reading etc. and we are going to look into the possibility of dyslexia or other possible learning difficulties. This is my little man and I'm going to do everything I can for him and try to make the best decision for his next year of school. 

by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 9:47 PM
Replies (11-20):
by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 12:52 AM

Honestly I dont think holding back in the lower grades is a good thing, or productive. If at 2nd grade he is still having a very hard time, it may be wise. But at this point, see if there is a way you can get him on a 504 plan and get him into some tutoring, and help him as much as possible to help. 

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 12:56 AM

From what you are saying you should definitely get him a tutor for the remaining of the year and for the summer.  Also ask about getting a IEP for him.  That will open up many tools with in the school (also free) for him.  I would not hold him back yet, he can still catch up.  Work with him at home.  Review what he learned in school that day and past material too.  You can find a number of free tools for all that on line.  Worksheets and educational games.  

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:03 AM
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We are actually required to tell our parents this time of year if their child is being considered for retention.  That way the parents are aware of it and can help give extra push and support at home.  Typically, I can tell by this time of year if a child will simply not be ready for first grade just a little after half of the school year.  (our middle of the year testing)  I do let the parents know that there is always a possiblitiy that they can get to that point before the end of the year but it would take alot of hard extra work at home.  Also, those students who I consider to be struggling get one/one or small groups throughout the whole day with my assistant... and they usually don't make it to the point of passing.  Reading is a developmental thing... just like walking... you cant make a baby walk until they are ready to walk.  You cant make a kid read until they are developmentally ready... it has to click.  Teachers and parents can "teach" that skill of reading and writing but at the same time it has to developmentally click.  Children pass developmental milestones at different ages and times.  

I had a kid who was failing this time last year... but something clicked and her scores shot up and she performed above grade level by the end of the year (just 2 months later).  I've had kids who no matter how much one/one time they got with my aid, extra help at home and so on... still didn't make the requirements to pass.... they repeated a year of kindergarten and ended up doing extremely well that year and continuing to do well in first grade.

Better to retain them now if they are not ready... think of it this way... if he's struggling now in kindergarten ... first grade will be even harder... how will he feel about himself if he is always "struggling".  If he does another year of kindergarten he will feel good about knowing material right away next year... he will have time to develop those skills he's lacking so when he gets to first grade after the second year of kindergarten he will feel good about his learning ability.  Moving on to first grade while struggling can be hard on a kids' self esteem... bc unlike kindergarten (usually) first grade is based on grades (A, B, C, D or F)... in kindergarten they usually just get a star for effort.   and usually no grades associated for each grading period.  What will your son feel like when he gets to first grade and has a hard time and gets D's or F's which are associated to being "bad".  

Just a thought.  

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:33 AM
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I understand your concern.  I was a teacher for years and encountered this problem a few times on the side of the teacher.  I think that if your child is struggling in kindergarten and they are not prepared for first grade then this is the best time to hold them back if you are going to do it.  The reason is because when they reach second or third then it is much more difficult and usually they have fallen so far behind that they can't catch up.  The best time is in kindergarten and preschool.  I still urge you to continue with a private tutor whatever choice you make. 

Tonya Simmons

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:43 AM

My ds is in kinder as well and although he is on the other spectrum of things, I think it would be a horrible mistake to hold him back.  My ds is currently way advanced for his age.  I don't tell you this to make you feel bad, but to make you understand that all children develop differently.  While my son was talking and reading at a very early age, my ds wasn't developing physically like others and much slower.  I believe that children either develop intellectually or physically (either one) quicker than the other and catch up.  Even though my ds reads on a 2nd grade level, he is in NO WAY emotionally ready to be skipped as they are suggesting to us.  I'm guessing though that your ds is emotionally ready to start 1st.  I've read that kids are like I said, more advanced and slower in different areas until 3rd grade where they even out and eventually all are on the same plane.  Don't hold him back (I won't be skipping my ds either!) or make any decisions until 3rd grade about it.  Good luck!

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:46 AM
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Most teachers have stuff that can be sent home for extra practice, including weekends. I would ask for that, and do that. Tutoring may help, as well as online programs such as starfall (which is what is reccommended at DS's school) and and many others. 

However, don't force your child to move forward if he is still struggling. Kindergarten today isn't what it was when we were kids. I was in complete shock at what my DS was doing in Kindergarten. Stuff I wasn't doing until first grade etc. Good luck!

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:57 AM
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I teach reading intervention and it typically takes at least one year to to reach the next grade level in reading. Students who are struggling and falling behind spend the whole year trying to reach the next level. At the end of the year they have advanced to the next grade level but if they were already a year behind they have reached the level their peers were on at the beginning of the year while their peers have advanced on to the next year. The student that fell behind is constantly playing catch up. This typically occurs with students that fell through the cracks in the beginning and were moved on without being ready to. Some students can go from one grade level to the next quickly once reading clicks. You can have a struggling reader one day to a very proficient reader the next. Kindergarten teaches the fundamentals of reading which are very important. Early intervention is the key to help students. I would check into tutoring, reading intervention services, and work with your child at home. I would also listen to the teachers recommendations a follow her suggestions. She is the one teaching your child and assessing their progress. If she recommends him repeating kindergarten then she only has his best interest at heart. We have already started having the conferences to let parents know that it may be in their child's best interest to repeat their current grade but we also inform them that we will monitor their progress for the rest of the year and see how much they progress before we make a final recommendation.
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by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 6:23 AM
Do you know if the school offers a K/1 class? At my DS school they have those for kids who are ready for 1st grade in some subjects and still need K in others.
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by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 7:11 AM
I work for dd school and I know they have started having conversations with some parents about this as a heads up but final decisions will not be made until end of April or start of May.

Our principal is against it in general based on research showing it does more harm than good. She said if they are only academically behind by a few months they should move on and eventually they will catch up. However if they're missing key concepts and are really behind six months or more (which is unusual) then they should be held back.
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by Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 7:26 AM
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That is a very hard decision. But I work in education.  It would be a lot better on him, long term wise, to repeat Kindergarten now and try to avoid repeating an upper grade. It is always harder on them to catch up when they have to repeat a higher grade.

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