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Elementary School Kids Elementary School Kids

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! 


***update****

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 (31-40):
goldilocksbecky
by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:38 AM
1 mom liked this

I also don't agree with "everyone evens out by third grade".  We have kids who struggle from the day they walk thought the door of kindergarten until the day they either graduate or quit. And like you said, it's often those kids who are the youngest of he bunch.  What I do think is that some kids even out.  Some kids aren't destined to always be behind.  They are just on the late end on those early skills and with a little time it will click for them. . . So in the primary years its often worth it to just hold off on retention until first or possibly second grade to see if the child is one of those that's going to even out.  Deciding to wait a year doesn't mean you're ruling out the idea altogether.  It just means  you're holding off for a year, and ideally spending that year providing the child with extra interventions and support.  The nature of first, and even second grade still allows for differentiation and meeting students' individual needs.  There is a wide range of reading levels and ability levels in a primary grades classroom and a good teacher should be able to meet all of their needs. So her son's needs can be met in a first grade classroom while they give him some time and interventions and reassess the situation at the end of the year.  At that point, best case scenario is that they've closed the gap.  Worse case scenario is that he still needs retention. Which is exactly where she is now.  So there's nothing lost by holding off for one year and at least taking a chance that they can get him where he needs to be.  And at that point a retention in first grade will give him a full year of repeating actual skills, without the wasted weeks you get with a kindergarten retention.


Quoting mjande4:

Your follow up makes a lot more sense.  I will say that I disagree wholeheartedly with "everyone evens out in 3rd grade".  The majority of our strugglers in high school and the ones behind on credits are young for their age and I can't tell you how many mothers over the years have said to me "I wish that I would have held him/her back in elementary."  The rest of the students keep moving forward and obtaining more information.  No one waits for those behind to catch up.


Quoting goldilocksbecky:

Yes, they are doing those things . . . By the end of the year!  That's my point.  

Common core standards (and common sense) tell you that the first few months of kindergarten are spent on learning routines and on foundation skills.  Her son does not need to repeat the first couple of months of kindergarten. (If he genuinely needs to repeat those things then there are bigger problems going on and she needs to looking at a complete evaluation.) If he's behind having him spend a couple of months basically idle isn't going to close that gap.  If he does end up needing a retention the better option is to do that during the year where the entire year is spent on the skills that he is missing.

Quoting mjande4:


I don't know where you teach, but I can tell you that this is NOT the norm in most kindergartens that I am familiar with.  What you described is preschool, NOT kindergarten.  I would agree if those were the expectations that holding back in kindergarten would not be necessary, BUT considering the expectations for most kindergartens in the United States are fully reading, writing complete sentences, and addition and subtraction, then I think that your incorrect.

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

First grade teacher here.  A couple of quick thoughts.  Regarding your friends comment that she can't believe that conversation is coming up now, general best practice is that it should be talked about now, when there is still time to do something about it and so that its not a shock/surprise to the parents at the end of the year.  It's actually law in my state that if there is any chance that I child will be retained we must have an extra conference with them in January and hav them sign a notice of possible retention.  At that point we usually have strategies in place and use that meeting to discuss additional interventions and things that we can work on or put into place (both parents and teacher/ school).  The focus of the meeting (actually any good parent teacher meeting when the child is struggling) shouldn't just be "these are the problems, this is what he's struggling with".  It should include a whole lot of "this is what we're going to do about it, this is what we're going to try next".

As for the retention itself, my personal opinion (and research based best practice) . . . Is that it should be avoided if at all possible.  Focus on interventions and extra support.  Do everything you can to get him up to speed.  There is a tremendous amount of research on the negative impact of retention over the child's school career and overall lifetime.  

If retention does become necessary, kindergarten generally  isn't the year to do it. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as developmental delays or significant language issues, behavioral/emotional issues, etc . . Then you will have a higher payoff by doing the retention in first grade instead (or possibly second).  When you retain in kindergarten you spend a year of the child's life to get less than a years growth in return.  Retention costs a child a year of their life (and has tremendous costs emotionally and socially as well).  In general, you don't want to look at retention in the early years unless the child is almost a full year behind.  It's difficult to imagine a kindergartener being "almost a full year behind".  The first month or so of school is spent learning the routines and learning how to "do school".  They have to learn where places are in the school, learn the routines for circle time, bathroom trips and lunchtime, etc.  He knows all that and doesn't need to spend a month rehashing it.  The next few months are spent on basic alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.  He probably knows most of that as well.  For most kids, the breakdown occurs as the move from basic letter identification and sounds into the "put it together to make words".  But that happens several months into the year.  If you child is behind, he doesn't need to spend several months rehashing the things he already knows.  That's a total waste of his time.  He's burning a whole year to gain a repeat of the last few months of the year.  That's not a good investment.  You better option would be to send him on to first grade. Yes, he may be below level.  Yes, they may have to modify his instruction a bit.  But that's their job.  You may discover that some combination of a little age, a different teacher and some good interventions has him where he needs to be by he end of first grade. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it happen.  And if he's not where he needs to be and you do decide to retain him, then he will spend that entire year actually working to fill in the gaps in his reading and math skills (not weeks and months rehashing the basic routines and foundation skills like he would with a kindergarten retention).  

Also, keep in mind that he is still young enough that many of the school expectations fall under the "all kids are different and will get it in their own time" category.  Many early cognitive skills are just like walking ,talking and teeth in that respect.  And just like walking, talking and teeth it drives parents crazy if their child is a late-bloomer and is behind all the other kids.  And, just like walking, talking and teeth, once that late-bloomer finally reaches that milestone, you can't tell any difference between them and the early-bloomers.  By 3 or 4 they all walk, they all talk and they all have teeth . . . And you can't tell who was early and who was late.  Sometimes kids who appear to be behind in kindergarten are just late bloomers and with a little time it just clicks and they do just fine.

***** Please excuse the typos.  I'm on mobile and I finally just gave up trying to fight the autocorrect.









maxswolfsuit
by Max on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Research on retentions indicates it's usually a short term gain. If he stays back he will do great next year and probably for first grade. But there's a good chance he will start to slide again after that. 

What more important is figuring out why he's struggling and address that. 

I also support the teacher's timing wholeheartedly. The sooner she lets the parents know retention is a possibility, the sooner they can work with him to avoid it. 

KLove_Mom
by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:44 AM

I have a friend who "caught her son up" after 1st grade in reading especially. She bought some 1st grade homeschool curriculum and made him work through it during the summer. 

If you're willing to do some work yourself, you could see 1st hand the areas he's lacking and better decide by the end of the summer which grade he should go to next year.

maxswolfsuit
by Max on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I totally agree. 

Another factor is that if he continues to struggle and needs another year in a higher grade that would be a second retention. Waiting until he's older allows for a retention when the material gets harder he will need the extra time even more. 

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

I also don't agree with "everyone evens out by third grade".  We have kids who struggle from the day they walk thought the door of kindergarten until the day they either graduate or quit. And like you said, it's often those kids who are the youngest of he bunch.  What I do think is that some kids even out.  Some kids aren't destined to always be behind.  They are just on the late end on those early skills and with a little time it will click for them. . . So in the primary years its often worth it to just hold off on retention until first or possibly second grade to see if the child is one of those that's going to even out.  Deciding to wait a year doesn't mean you're ruling out the idea altogether.  It just means  you're holding off for a year, and ideally spending that year providing the child with extra interventions and support.  The nature of first, and even second grade still allows for differentiation and meeting students' individual needs.  There is a wide range of reading levels and ability levels in a primary grades classroom and a good teacher should be able to meet all of their needs. So her son's needs can be met in a first grade classroom while they give him some time and interventions and reassess the situation at the end of the year.  At that point, best case scenario is that they've closed the gap.  Worse case scenario is that he still needs retention. Which is exactly where she is now.  So there's nothing lost by holding off for one year and at least taking a chance that they can get him where he needs to be.  And at that point a retention in first grade will give him a full year of repeating actual skills, without the wasted weeks you get with a kindergarten retention.


Quoting mjande4:

Your follow up makes a lot more sense.  I will say that I disagree wholeheartedly with "everyone evens out in 3rd grade".  The majority of our strugglers in high school and the ones behind on credits are young for their age and I can't tell you how many mothers over the years have said to me "I wish that I would have held him/her back in elementary."  The rest of the students keep moving forward and obtaining more information.  No one waits for those behind to catch up.


Quoting goldilocksbecky:

Yes, they are doing those things . . . By the end of the year!  That's my point.  

Common core standards (and common sense) tell you that the first few months of kindergarten are spent on learning routines and on foundation skills.  Her son does not need to repeat the first couple of months of kindergarten. (If he genuinely needs to repeat those things then there are bigger problems going on and she needs to looking at a complete evaluation.) If he's behind having him spend a couple of months basically idle isn't going to close that gap.  If he does end up needing a retention the better option is to do that during the year where the entire year is spent on the skills that he is missing.

Quoting mjande4:


I don't know where you teach, but I can tell you that this is NOT the norm in most kindergartens that I am familiar with.  What you described is preschool, NOT kindergarten.  I would agree if those were the expectations that holding back in kindergarten would not be necessary, BUT considering the expectations for most kindergartens in the United States are fully reading, writing complete sentences, and addition and subtraction, then I think that your incorrect.

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

First grade teacher here.  A couple of quick thoughts.  Regarding your friends comment that she can't believe that conversation is coming up now, general best practice is that it should be talked about now, when there is still time to do something about it and so that its not a shock/surprise to the parents at the end of the year.  It's actually law in my state that if there is any chance that I child will be retained we must have an extra conference with them in January and hav them sign a notice of possible retention.  At that point we usually have strategies in place and use that meeting to discuss additional interventions and things that we can work on or put into place (both parents and teacher/ school).  The focus of the meeting (actually any good parent teacher meeting when the child is struggling) shouldn't just be "these are the problems, this is what he's struggling with".  It should include a whole lot of "this is what we're going to do about it, this is what we're going to try next".

As for the retention itself, my personal opinion (and research based best practice) . . . Is that it should be avoided if at all possible.  Focus on interventions and extra support.  Do everything you can to get him up to speed.  There is a tremendous amount of research on the negative impact of retention over the child's school career and overall lifetime.  

If retention does become necessary, kindergarten generally  isn't the year to do it. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as developmental delays or significant language issues, behavioral/emotional issues, etc . . Then you will have a higher payoff by doing the retention in first grade instead (or possibly second).  When you retain in kindergarten you spend a year of the child's life to get less than a years growth in return.  Retention costs a child a year of their life (and has tremendous costs emotionally and socially as well).  In general, you don't want to look at retention in the early years unless the child is almost a full year behind.  It's difficult to imagine a kindergartener being "almost a full year behind".  The first month or so of school is spent learning the routines and learning how to "do school".  They have to learn where places are in the school, learn the routines for circle time, bathroom trips and lunchtime, etc.  He knows all that and doesn't need to spend a month rehashing it.  The next few months are spent on basic alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.  He probably knows most of that as well.  For most kids, the breakdown occurs as the move from basic letter identification and sounds into the "put it together to make words".  But that happens several months into the year.  If you child is behind, he doesn't need to spend several months rehashing the things he already knows.  That's a total waste of his time.  He's burning a whole year to gain a repeat of the last few months of the year.  That's not a good investment.  You better option would be to send him on to first grade. Yes, he may be below level.  Yes, they may have to modify his instruction a bit.  But that's their job.  You may discover that some combination of a little age, a different teacher and some good interventions has him where he needs to be by he end of first grade. I can't tell you how many times I've seen it happen.  And if he's not where he needs to be and you do decide to retain him, then he will spend that entire year actually working to fill in the gaps in his reading and math skills (not weeks and months rehashing the basic routines and foundation skills like he would with a kindergarten retention).  

Also, keep in mind that he is still young enough that many of the school expectations fall under the "all kids are different and will get it in their own time" category.  Many early cognitive skills are just like walking ,talking and teeth in that respect.  And just like walking, talking and teeth it drives parents crazy if their child is a late-bloomer and is behind all the other kids.  And, just like walking, talking and teeth, once that late-bloomer finally reaches that milestone, you can't tell any difference between them and the early-bloomers.  By 3 or 4 they all walk, they all talk and they all have teeth . . . And you can't tell who was early and who was late.  Sometimes kids who appear to be behind in kindergarten are just late bloomers and with a little time it just clicks and they do just fine.

***** Please excuse the typos.  I'm on mobile and I finally just gave up trying to fight the autocorrect.










dommad2
by Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:47 AM
Do you work with him at home? Does the school offer summer school?
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
dommad2
by Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:56 AM
1 mom liked this
It's not nearly as destructive in K as it is in 5th when all of the other kids understand it to.

Quoting amazzonia:

Omg, how destructive for a kids self esteem!! I didn't know they could do that! In Europe they never flunk a kid before middle school! And even that it's very very rare

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Moms_Angels1960
by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 8:56 AM

I think if he is struggling now he will continue to struggle there is no harm in keeping him back for another year. It would be best to hold him back in Kindergarten then have to do that down the road in another grade.

Now, my son is grown but I really wished someone would of said that to me. They said it to my dd and she kept her son back he still struggles and he is 14. I think give him the best opportunity you can give him to start his life out well.

Beth3721
by New Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I haven't had experience with this, but I know other people that have.  Don't feel bad about it in anyway.  There are a lot of children that need to repeat kindergarten.  It's best for them in the long run.  Getting a tutor is a great idea.  They will also be able to tell you where they think his skill levels are.  That way you can have the peace of mind of having a second opinion.

aj23
by Silver Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:13 AM

I agree. There has been talk of my son repeating kindergarten and one of the main reasons is that they have been working on addition and subtraction since before Christmas break and he's still not getting the basics of it and they've moved on to double digit addition.
They are expected to know basic colors, shapes, alphabet, etc. when they come into kindergarten and that stuff if reviewed for maybe a month if that long.

My son is way ahead in some areas and behind in others and as of now the plan is to hold him back. It'll be a lot better for the kindergarten teacher to give him harder work as he's able to do it and letting him catch up that way vs him being behind from the start and him struggling to keep up.

OP - even if you agree to have him repeat he could still catch up over the summer and move on to first when school starts.
Also, something I didn't know until it was brought up, a May birthday (for boys esp) is considered as having a late birthday just like having one in July and August. Him being 'young' may be a factor in it all too.




Quote:

Quoting mjande4:I don't know where you teach, but I can tell you that this is NOT the norm in most kindergartens that I am familiar with.  What you described is preschool, NOT kindergarten.  I would agree if those were the expectations that holding back in kindergarten would not be necessary, BUT considering the expectations for most kindergartens in the United States are fully reading, writing complete sentences, and addition and subtraction, then I think that your incorrect.

Quote:

Quoting goldilocksbecky:


 

mjande4
by Platinum Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I actually, even though I didn't touch on it, thought this too. 


Quoting aj23:

I agree. There has been talk of my son repeating kindergarten and one of the main reasons is that they have been working on addition and subtraction since before Christmas break and he's still not getting the basics of it and they've moved on to double digit addition.
They are expected to know basic colors, shapes, alphabet, etc. when they come into kindergarten and that stuff if reviewed for maybe a month if that long.

My son is way ahead in some areas and behind in others and as of now the plan is to hold him back. It'll be a lot better for the kindergarten teacher to give him harder work as he's able to do it and letting him catch up that way vs him being behind from the start and him struggling to keep up.

OP - even if you agree to have him repeat he could still catch up over the summer and move on to first when school starts.
Also, something I didn't know until it was brought up, a May birthday (for boys esp) is considered as having a late birthday just like having one in July and August. Him being 'young' may be a factor in it all too.



Quoting mjande4:I don't know where you teach, but I can tell you that this is NOT the norm in most kindergartens that I am familiar with.  What you described is preschool, NOT kindergarten.  I would agree if those were the expectations that holding back in kindergarten would not be necessary, BUT considering the expectations for most kindergartens in the United States are fully reading, writing complete sentences, and addition and subtraction, then I think that your incorrect.
Quoting goldilocksbecky:



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