I miss you all day

Every day when Eddie and Cort come home, Eddie calls up the stairs, “Hi Mommy!”

Eddie takes his hat and coat off, stuffing the hat in the sleeve of the coat.

He sits on the step while Daddy pulls off his boots.

Then he hurries up the stairs to tell me the highlight of his day or to show me the craft he made or to hand me the mail.

I busy myself by getting him a snack and some milk and I ask him what he did at Renae’s house that day.

Usually he starts by telling me he played cars, but eventually he tells me about “circle time” and the songs they sang and the shape and color of the month, the letter of the week, and any other things they are learning.  Lately, for instance, he has been a wealth of knowledge on the subject of bears and caves.

He tells me that bears’ eyes go like this O_O

And last night he told me that his milky cup has the numbers 1, 3 and 10 on it.  He was right.

He is two years old.

He gets up by 7am every weekday and is at daycare until almost 5pm.

He has one more year and then we will be sending him to preschool.  To say he is excited to go to school is an understatement.

He enjoys learning.

He loves asking “why”.

He is like a little sponge…he absorbs every piece of information around him–memorizing songs and books and sayings, roll-playing doctors and mommies and chefs and puppies.

And as a teacher, my heart leaps to see my boy fall in love with learning.

To him, learning is just a part of being a kid….and he can’t wait to keep learning.

Every day I see kids who are not interested in learning at all.  I wonder when that happens?

At what age does learning become more of a chore than part of the excitement of just being?

Recently it has become federally mandated that all schools offer Kindergarten all day every day.  When I heard this, the only frustration I had was that they will not give more money to schools to staff and operate this, but they will take money away if districts don’t comply.

So either way, districts are losing money.

But this past week I have seen other concerns that never even crossed my mind:  parents worried that their five year old is not ready to be in school all day, every day.

I honestly think this didn’t worry me because I know Eddie already handles being away from me all day, every day.  He already handles learning and routine and getting up early.  He already thrives on being with other kids and taking directions from a “teacher”.

I know in a couple years he will do half day preschool, half day Day Care.  So all day Kindergarten the year after that seems natural.

I know this isn’t true for every child though.  And I know that most of the concern (at least from those on my facebook timeline and in my twitter stream) is mostly from moms and dads who stay at home with their children.  Those who will go to having their kids home to not having them at all.

And I can empathize with the anxiety these parents have because at one point, I had to go from being home every day with Eddie to not being home with him at all.

Aside from being a mother, though, I also know why schools need to go to all day, every day Kindergarten.

Currently, our country is in the process of changing from State Standards and benchmarks to Federal ones.  I think this is a good idea for many reasons (mostly due to consistency of test scores and knowing that a freshman in Iowa is hitting the same standards as a freshman in Maine), but that is not what I am going to spend time on here.

The “Common Core”, as they are called, are more stringent than what a lot of states are currently using. (Michigan is already pretty close on our standards matching, so we don’t have as much work to do to realign to the new federal requirements. at least at the high school level.  woot to that.)

However, in order for American students to reach these new standards, all day Kindergarten is necessary.

The public complains all the time that American students are behind the rest of the world (I could do a WHOLE other post on this subject); these new standards, in theory, will help ensure that ALL American students will be learning the same things.  That instead of state-chosen testing, there will be an identical test given to all students–from those in New Orleans to New York City to Los Angeles to Appalachia to wee little West Michigan.  No more 2+2 being a standard for high school algebra in some states, but higher level-almost-calculus being a standard in others.

Scores from all 50 states will be equitable.

Or at least that is the plan. (I have opinions on this too…and how funding is needed…but that is another tangent for another day).

To meet these common standards–to stay at the “correct” level–kids need to go to school all day, every day starting in Kindergarten.

I believe this is doable.

Not just as a mother, but as an educator.

Of course, this re-emphasizes my belief that ALL kids should be mandated to go to preschool and that it should be government funded…but maybe that is another post too?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that to me, school is not the “end” of being a kid.  It’s a continuation.

I’ve heard the argument that “kids should be allowed to be kids,” but I don’t know what this means.  Being curious and learning about the world is part of being a kid.

Learning to read and do math and understand history is a great part of being a kid.

Their brains are ripe for this knowledge to be introduced.  They are prime for instilling a lifetime of curiosity and questioning…and learning.

Are all kids ready?  No.

But they will be.

And as a parent you know your child.  If they need an extra year of pre-school or need to do Young 5’s to ease in, do it.

Both of my brothers did preschool twice.  It was what my mom and dad felt was right for them.

You know what is right for your child.

But make sure when you make the decision, it’s about your child and not about you.

While you might want to keep your child home forever, unless you plan to home school, you can’t.

So do what is right…for your child.

****UPDATE****

Since posting this I have had the opportunity to chat with my superintendent.  Kindergarten is NOT necessarily compulsory and their rules/regulations are still set by the state.  That being said, the state of Michigan (and many other states) are mandating that Kindergarten be full day in order for students to be prepared enough to enter first grade and tackle the rigors of the new standards.

That being said, parents do not HAVE to send their kids to preschool or Kindergarten, but it is my opinion that unless you are homeschooling your child with a curriculum that is based on the standards of public schools, your child will most definitely not be ready to transition from no school to first grade…neither academically or socially.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. When I was little we did full day Kindergarten. I mean, it was still basically Pre-K back in those days, and we had naptime, but we were still away all day. When we moved to NJ (who only had half day at the time) I thought it was odd. Now we have all day K, at least in this district. Some Pre-K programs are full day as well.

    My only concern is that kids need some rest time in the middle of the day. Even if your child is no longer napping, they need some quiet time to recharge. I know my district has nothing like that for K. The standards are higher, and course load is closer to 1st grade than what K used to be, and they don’t let them take an hour break midday to refocus.

  2. Agreed! They’ve had all- day at some schools in my area and the kids were doing fine! And with first grade next a big step needs to be made.
    I also believe in working up to it in preschool, and the biggest challenge would be the parents that don’t send their child at all and don’t prepare them for kindergarten. It takes them months to work at the same level as their prechooled classmates, if they get there at all in kindergarten.
    Hopefully a decision like this might make parents want to prepare kids better.

  3. Great post, Katie. I recently heard some moms talking about this. I’m not sure how I feel about it. As a working mom I know my children will have to go somewhere all day, ya know? I loved my kindergarten experience. It was half-day and then I went home to my mother who stayed home. Landon goes to all day pre-school and because of his birthday will do 2 years preschool and 1 year of pre-kindergarten. I don’t think it’s too much because they only go two days a week.

    I guess I’m just trying to put those conversations out of my head right now. It’s so difficult to think about real school for my kids. Although I know it’s only 2.5 years away for Landon (gasp!)

  4. At 18 months, my daughter started a 1 day Mom’s Morning Out program and this year is in a 2 morning 2 year old class (even tho she just turned 3, it’ll be the same when she starts “real” school). They have a letter, number and color of the week, are learning their names and how to use scissors. She will continue with this half day through Pre-K and then start “real” all day K with the big kids. This was necessary for both of us, and has proven to be very beneficial. Despite my best attempts, I could not appropriately have taught her everything they have, and this seems a great beginning to her education. The only downside? I pay for it. As much as I would pay for a whole week of all day daycare, and that seems ridiculous. I’m fortunate we can afford it, and know many people can’t, but something so beneficial really should be federally funded or subsidized.

  5. Katie, I have lots to say and I’m going to try to do it quickly and coherantly.
    On Sunday we toured our Catholic School (the school associated with the parish we are members of) and we loved it. Now our sons are dropped off at daycare/preschool (they are learning Hibernation this week too..last week was MUSIC and muscians with a daycare wide contest against the rooms) at 6:30 am and we pick them up between 5 and 6pm everyday. They nap in the afternoon but other than that, they are “in preschool” they are learning, circle time, tracing letters and yesterday they pointed to the calendar and said..”It’s a new month mommy!” I LOVE THAT stuff!!!!

    I am so happy that our kindergartens are going to full day for a lot of reasons. First, I think that it allows parents like me to keep working and providing for my family, secondly in our case, our kids are already going to “SCHOOL ALL DAY” there is nothing different about Kindergarten for them. The room was very similar to their own at daycare and the teacher talked to us about easing them into a routine. About how at the beginning of the year she does a NAP hour for the children, because many of hem are used to it, she even said that if children were still konked out after the hour she let them sleep knowing that they probably needed it…little by little since Sept that has come down for the whole class to about a 30 minute “BRAIN BREAK” where they can sleep or just sit quietly to get ready for the afternoon.

    This particular school has a buddy system with the 8th graders where each Kindergarten student gets an 8th grade buddy for the year, they have lunch with them, go on certain field trips with them and are like “BIG BROTHER/SISTER” to them. All good things in my opinion to ease them into the rhythm of school.

    now, i know that my situation is not like parents how have stayed home with their kiddos, but I also think that if we want our children to measure up in education to the rest of the world we need to start them at this age. I don’t mean overwork them with homework etc, but I do think that introducing them to the same kind of learning that they were accumstomed to in Pre-K is a good place to start.

    I loved this and agree. Sorry this was so long….xoxo

  6. Totally with you 100% on this post!! Kindergarten was awesome for my son and he learned so much more than just how to read. One of the most important things–we started learning that he had behavioral and learning issues that because the school was on top of it–we learned by the time he was in 3rd grade that he had ADHD…and now we have recently learned he has borderline Aspergers. And he is now in 7th grade and an “A” student. And it started in Kindergarten. 🙂

  7. When I was a kid, not only was Kindergarten only half days, but it wasn’t even everyday! How weird is that? In Colorado, Kindergarten is offered half days for free, but you have to pay extra for a full day. Kindergarten is also not required here. I wonder if it will change as it’s aligned with the new standards.

    The question of being ready for kindergarten is one that tears me up. Darling Girl is a very end of August birthday. The start date for our district for 2012-13 is the same day as her birthday. My aunt who doesn’t know DG very well at all, but is a school teacher has DEMANDED (yes, seriously) that we hold DG back a year.

    I am a late July birthday. I wasn’t held back. My mom tells me that they regret this. From an academic standpoint, I was fabulous, but from a social standpoint, I always did better with the class a year behind me.

    This is a decision that is FAST approaching for us as DG will be four this year. And I just don’t know what to do.

    I love your post and your insight in this! And sorry I wrote a book about what we’re trying to decide on! 🙂

  8. Katie, what is the Young 5’s? I’m clueless, as Jackson’s my only child and he’s still 2+ years away from going to school.

    I appreciate this post. It gave me a lot to consider over the next year or two, and I liked reading the perspective of a teacher.

    • I am not sure if all states/districts offer Young Fives…it’s sort of a step between pre-school and K for those kids who have late birthdays and would be “young for their age”.

      • Our district eliminated Young-K, which is really unfortunate. It was a budget item. It is not currently mandated by state.

        At this point, even kindergarten is not even mandated by State.

        But it will be.

        • oh yeah…and our district? Is going to HURT financially next year when we have to do full time K. We can’t afford not to do it, but it will mean restructuring and closing more buildings to afford it.

  9. The school that Brayden will go to has full day kindergarten and he will probably do preschool only once- but I’m confused. Are you implying that because I stay home with him he won’t know shapes, colors, days of the week? Or do art projects? Because its almost as if you are implying that if kids aren’t in full day “school” or “day care” then they won’t be up on the curve with their peers that are. I disagree. I spend a lot of time fostering Brayden’s curiosity and learning. With his speech delay it’s even more so, because I have to be more intentional in setting aside specific time with activities for him. It takes diligence, patience, and most importantly time. I know he’s not going to just pick that up on his own but I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a parent if I didn’t foster that early curiosity now.

    • of course I am not implying that! Many stay at home parents (whether they home school or not) do great jobs of teaching their children in order to get them ready for school! However, I did have a conversation with my daycare provider about how important preschool is. It’s amazing what they teach them now as far as knowing what they will need to be prepared for K (sight words, etc) that neither of us could do a good job of…and I have a degree in teaching and she is certified for what she does as well.

      I am saying–in THIS post–that I support full day Kindergarten as far as being able to accomplish the rigorous standards and benchmarks that students will be expected to be at when they get to first grade.

      I do not think any parent (unless they are homeschooling to a curriculum that aligns with these benchmarks) can accomplish readying their child at home only to prepare them to enter school at first grade level.

  10. I think it’s interesting to have some insight from an educator. I also think families might need to do what works for them and that the traditional model of education may not be right for everyone. My daughter is two, she knows her ABC’s and can count to 15 and knows colors and shapes. She has never been in any sort of formal learning situation, we learn this stuff together. I know other families, for a myriad of reasons, can’t/don’t/won’t dedicate time to those sorts of endeavors.
    I think your final statement couldn’t be more true: whatever our choices, we all need to focus on the child they impact!

  11. Amanda Venema says:

    Hey Katie,
    I have to say that I complete disagree with your comment to Julie S. We homeschool–our Annie is 5 1/2, and thus technically in Kindergarten. She is reading at a third grade reading level, is working her way through first grade math and spelling, among many other accomplishments. We toured countless schools, both private and public, and did not feel that she would get the challenge that she needed because of how much we have already done at home and how quickly she has been able to pick up the material. Not all of my curriculum has the benchmarks that you say are necessary to prepare children. We have hand selected, through extremely careful consideration and hours of research, which programs we use for which subjects. THAT is one of the beauties of homeschooling, I might add–we can tailor make a curriculum for each of our children. Prior to homeschooling, I taught elementary and middle school, and I can say with complete certainty that the curriculum that my children are receiving blows any of those that are being used in any of the schools around here (the Lansing area). If we put her in first grade in a traditional school, she would be bored out of her mind. I don’t say this to brag about how awesome my child is or how great of a homeschooling mom I am, but to make the point that many parents are completely capable of educating their children.

    • Amanda, I completely agree with you. I know some AMAZINGLY capable parents who do the most AWESOME homeschooling of their children. And I guess by standards and benchmarks, I was implying reading levels and critical thinking skills. I tend to teach to Blooms Taxonomy and focus on literacy instead of pouring over state mandated standards myself and low and behold my students do better on our standardized tests than other teachers who fret over them.

      I think good teaching is good teaching.

      That said, I don’t know a ton about the school districts around you, but I am guessing you have MANY high risk students in the area if you are in the Lansing CITY school district. That is similar to where I teach. Most of my students did not have a good foundation at home to prepare them for school…in fact each year when I poll my classes, I get only about 2 kids who can remember being read to outside of school. That is tragic to me.

      Unfortunately, the majority of our children in the USA are NOT getting the foundation they need at home before entering school. This is why I think, if parents are going to go with public school, their children need to be IN SCHOOL earlier.

      Will that be the answer for every child? Of course not. But there are other options than public school…which you have chosen because you KNOW what your children need.

      Does that make sense?

      • Amanda Venema says:

        No, I hear you. That makes sense. I was always so saddened that my second graders had never heard classic nursery rhymes and fairy tales, etc. We live in a society where education is very undervalued. As a former teacher, you have my unending praise for the hours and hours your devout to your students. 🙂

        • I think I feel so strongly about the Kindergarten thing in terms of traditional public school because I see the end result of not preparing the kids. I get them in high school when you CAN’T build that foundation…you have to know there isn’t one, and try to shimmy supports in where you can.

          It’s so difficult, not just for me, but for those poor students.

          And thank you. I think it’s amazing what you do as a homeschooling mom! Anyone who values their child’s education that much to commit that much of themselves to it is amazing!

  12. Lindsay@Lilloveandluck says:

    Great job, Kate. I’ll share this with my teacher husband.

  13. I would just like to add in that I would love it if my state would allow 4-year-olds who are close to the cut off could test into Kindergarten. My brilliant child had to wait until this fall to start, all because of those 10 days. And I know several teachers who said, hands down, that he was totally ready last year.

    But that’s just me whining. Even if they changed it, it wouldn’t effect us anymore.

    I love the idea of full day Kindergarten. And going to school doesn’t take anything away from “kids being kids”. Learning and exploring our world IS part of being a kid. School doesn’t have to be (and usually isn’t) some boring experience of just sitting behind a desk – especially at the younger ages! School can be (and sometimes is) fun. Learning about the world we live in is fun. I hope my son holds onto his fascination with learning for the rest of his life.

  14. I agree with you. In theory. I am currently having a hard time wrapping my head around it, in practice, because it’s not what I “planned” for them. I had a little timeline of their schooling (2 days a week at 3, 3 days at 4, then 5 half days for kindergarten.) Now I am trying to decide if I should send A for 5 half days next year to help prepare her for 5 full days, plus the added amount of kids in a classroom. Her private preschool has 11 kids, a teacher & an aide. Our public kindergarten is averaging 27 kids in our district, one teacher, no aide. I think that’s too much for her, with her quiet personality and tendancy to shrink back. And now I have word vomited my concerns all over your post, and I didn’t mean to do that.

    Because I do think it’s a good idea.

    In theory 🙁

    Gah.

    • I know what you mean about agreeing “in theory”. Right now it’s easy for me to say this will work for Eddie because, well, I am positive it will. But I don’t know what Charlie will be like. Maybe we will have to do something different for him.

      That is why above all, I think parents need to do what is right for the individual child. And I can only imagine the decisions are that much more difficult when you stay at home with your child and have to consider the socialization factor.

      Eddie has been in daycare since he was 2 months old. He THRIVES on the other kids.

      But Charlie could be different. Who knows! We have to take it one kid at a time and choose the best educational avenue best for that child.

      And I am a firm believer in asking the child what they think too. 🙂

      • Abbey wants to ride a bus to school. That’s her greatest desire. Of course, she thinks Dylan will drive it. So sigh. I can’t get a good answer out of her about it 🙂

        • I know what you mean. Right now Eddie thinks riding a bus and having a “pack back” would be the neatest thing EVER.

  15. I really, REALLY like this post, especially as an aspiring teacher! When I was a kid I didn’t attend preschool because they thought I was too smart (I was reading at a 1st grade level by that point). I then attended half day kindergarten and by first grade, other than the reading, I was no further ahead or behind the other children. Tim, on the other hand, did two years of preschool. He was held back from kindergarten (he would have been a young 5 with a late July birthday) due to poor social skills and hyperactivity. Never mind that he was ALSO reading at a high level at the time. This resulted in him being VERY bored in school but was well adjusted socially.

    THAT SAID – I know our stories are not typical. I also don’t know what the difference looks like between children that have had preschool vs. children that have not. I know that Aric is learning A LOT at his current daycare (she only takes kids up to kindergarten age, no older) and I know that he’s very well socialized. But I also know that I want him to attend preschool and I’m interested in learning about the pros and cons of half day vs all day kindergarten.

    I love this post and your educator standpoint. This is super valuable info for me both as a mom with a kid who is going to be one of the oldest in his class (Nov birthday) and as a future SPED teacher 🙂

  16. Kindergarten was all day when I was child, as far I remember anyway. It was 5 days a week and we got out at the same time as everyone else.

    That aside, I plan to home school our girls, because we feel the standards of public schools in our area are so low, the student to teacher ratio so high, and entirely focused on hitting arbitrary testing standards. I think a parent should the child’s first and best teacher, and there is no reason a parent cannot teach something like sight words for example.

    If the parent works full time, well, there isn’t a ton of choice there. I’m not saying one is better than the other in all cases, but there is no reason to say a parent cannot do something as simple as prepping a child for kindergarten. No reason for elective preschool beyond simple choice (for a stay at home parent that is).

    However, after reading your replies to comments, I understand where you are coming from. So many parents are not interested in teaching their kids or prepping them for public school. In that regard, you are absolutely right, they need to be in school earlier.

  17. As an elementary teacher mom I have a really hard time with the all day Kindergarten mandate. I disagree {respectfully!} that it is necessary for them to be in school all day in order for them to be ready for 1st grade. In fact, upon meeting with one superintendent I was told that although they are adding time to the day they are not forcing additional curriculum. So, basically we are allowing for less efficient teaching? more crafts, rest, and read alouds?… all fun but I do not think that makes it necessary to prepare for 1st. Also, with the changed cut off ages/dates for Kinder it will no longer be an option to keep kids home until 1st grade age like it still is this year. Young 5s is also likely to disappear with the new cut off age making that less of an option for parents who are not ready to send their kids to all day school.

    You also mentioned that you teach kids who don’t want to learn. I get it. So did I. Where in their schooling do they lose that love for education and get crabby about being there every day? I think it is likely as soon as the standards and curriculum become stifling to any type of personal expression and exploration. You know, like when you take a child away from the sandbox and the sprinkler for the afternoon to have their quiet time and play stations at school instead.

    Okay, then don’t even get me started on how the research on all day kinder to this point does not suggest any difference for kids after 3rd grade and that in fact math and science scores tend to be somewhat lower by 3rd for some who were in all day programs in Kinder instead of free playing, pretending, and exploring.

    I really do appreciate your opinions and love reading what other educators have to say on the topic. I also completely understand that is is necessary to accommodate federal standards and to keep up with the 60some % of states that have already made the transition. I just wish we would quit pretending/justifying that it is best for kids and own up to the truth that all day Kinder is really only best for parents and school budgets.

    Hey, can we still be friends Katie?;)

    • of COURSE we can still be friends! I love to read differing opinions!

      I also think it depends on the teachers. I am guessing that you are like me and instead of filling up extra time with things that were just “busy”, we would try to use that time to play and socialize or do things that would spark curiosity.

      More experiments, more questioning, more…everything.

      My elementary teacher friends (which I have an abnormal amount of considering I am high school…in fact my SIL is a first grade teacher) complain that they don’t have time right now for the “fun” of learning. I would think with MORE time in the Kinder day, that FUN could be added in.

      That is just my opinion from sitting over here in the high school. 🙂

      • I hesitate to admit that you BIL is the poor principal who has patiently listened to my griping about all day Kinder;) You are right that good teachers will step up and be good teachers, there will be plenty of time for quality extensions and explorations. That WILL be fabulous for many students who do need the time to digest and practice with new learning. It is frustrating for students who enter Kinder ready to read and appreciate the quick pace. Anyway, enough on my soap box!

        I also have to say that I usually don’t come out and comment but I love reading your blog and I can’t wait to “meet” your sweet baby boy in a few weeks. Wishing you an evening with your feet up mama!

        • really?? you work at GL? If we do schools of choice, my boys might end up there!!!

          I am so glad you like the blog and even more excited that you came out to comment! Especially since you are local to me! Love that!

          I am excited to introduce my new buddy to you soon! 🙂

  18. Hi Katie. I am a long time reader from Canada where it sounds like our school system is a little different.

    Out of curiosity, at what age do children go to Kindergarten? Our schools are changing to full-time Kindergarten here next year where we have a Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten program. My oldest son is now in Senior Kindergarten and is turning 6 in May. He had part-time Kindergarten for two years. My younger son will be in full-time Junior Kindergarten this September and doesn’t not turn 4 until the end of December. Which means he will be in full-time school at the age of 3 years and 9 months.

    Now, I do have options since Kindergarten is not mandatory here. I can continue to send him to preschool next year and enroll him in full-time Senior Kindergarten in September 2013. I can also enroll him in Junior Kindergarten and only send him part-time. I will probably just send him to school and see how he does with it for the first little while. I don’t want him to miss out of the opportunity to bond with his future classmates or be the “weird” kid who only goes half of the days that everyone else does. However, I will be keeping a close eye on him and if I feel it is too much at his young age I will be changing the situation.

    The ideal solution here in Canada (in my humble opinion) is that Junior Kindergarten should be kept part-time and Senior Kindergarten should be full-time. That would allow the younger 3-4 year olds to get used to a school situation and then transition to full-time before they hit Grade 1. However, any comments I have ventured to make to friends and acquaintances is that this gets too complicated with daycare requirements and work schedules. A lot of people I know cheered and jumped for joy when it was announced that Kindergarten would become full-time because it eliminated the cost of daycare for a year or two. To me, this is not keeping the best interests of the children in mind.

    Anyway, back to my original question. At what age do kids start Kindergarten where you are?

    • Hi Jessica!
      Kindergarten is not mandatory here either, but kids are enrolled around 5 years of age. Ideally the child is 5 going into Kindergarten and 6 coming out. Preschool is typically for 3-4 year olds and is also not mandatory.

      I BELIEVE the age that children HAVE to be enrolled varies from state to state as of now. And I also BELIEVE that it used to be 6-7, but will now have a cut off of 6. I THINK. To be honest, I am not as up-to-date with these rules as an elementary teacher would be.

      That being said, Eddie’s birthday is in June. So we will probably wait until he turns 5 in June and send him to Kindergarten in that fall (2014). He will be 3 this June, so not this fall, but next fall (2013) we will probably send him to preschool.

    • oh and typically the options around where I live for preschool are half days for 3 or 5 days a week OR full days for 2 or 3 days a week. Parents get choice when it comes to that.

      We will probably send Eddie to whichever his daycare provider is sending hers to (since they are the same age) to make it easy on transportation for her. 🙂

      • That’s what I thought it might be. Our enrolment system here in Ontario is based on the calendar year not the school year. So since my little guy turns 4 in 2012 (even though it is December 19) he is eligible for Junior Kindergarten.

        Thank goodness he has an older brother that he has learned from and he is our much more outgoing child so right now we think that he probably won’t have a problem. It’s hard letting my baby go to full-time school at just past 3 1/2 though! He will also be bussed but we are the last stop and the bus ride is probably a maximum of 1 minute. He has already told me that he won’t cry on the bus his first day. I had to tell him that I probably will!

  19. I can’t tell you how excited I am for the common core. CA has 98 English standards. INSANITY. We never cover them all!

  20. Love this post and I agree 100%. I was worried about my 5 year old starting all day this year. I did 1/2 day every day preschool last year to at least get her used to going daily, but I was worried she’d be wiped at the end of the day. No need to worry, she doesn’t nap, she doesn’t fall asleep in the car on the way home, she sleeps well at night, and she LOVES kindergarten. She’s thriving academically and socially and has plenty of time to “be a kid”. I really think the added structure is what she needed to continue to grow.

  21. I am a firm supporter of all day Kindergarten. I got nothing smart to say about it this morning, but that is all. 😉

  22. Omigosh! I could go on and on about this. We will have to agree to disagree about the Common Core. Mark my words: The new “Core Four” is going to be a disaster because it teaches to the lowest common denominator and it will make people THINK that they have achieved something when, in fact, they are just passing the basic minimum requirements. Teachers will also spend hours teaching student to take this and many other very basic tests. I don’t believe that every student should go to college, but that is what the Common Core’s mission statement is all about. I think we need to be realistic that some kids do not thrive academically and would do a lot better in a trade school or the military or in a basic laborers’ job. But, of course, we have sent all of those positions overseas. *snark*

    I have taught at private schools where teachers had total autonomy over their classroom curriculum, and I can say — in no uncertain terms — that the teaching in those schools was far superior than what happens in my own home district which is ranked #1 in my state.

    As far as full-day kindergarten goes, I agree with you whole-heartedly.

    But.

    Structurally, not all schools are designed to bear the burden.

    In my district, the elementary schools were not built to handle incoming kindergarteners all day. It would require millions of dollars in renovations to “fix” the infrastructure to make this a reality. And, of course, you know the economy isn’t at its best right now. Millions of dollars are hard to find. People will not pass a budget asking them to raise their taxes to make these necessary changes.

    And I also agree that American parents fret about leaving their children waaaay more than any other parents in the world. People are so helicopterishy, and — believe me — speaking as an educator who gets them at the college level, it isn’t doing them any favors.

    Great post. Nice and juicy and controversial. 😉

    • I do disagree with you about common core…but I have been to a buttload of training and such on it. And I think it’s only fair to teach kids to prep for college. That is NOT the lowest common denominator, and I know for a fact in my state with the AP offerings and “middle college” that could be in my district’s future, we are definitely aiming high for our students.

      I have a feeling the perception of the common core depends on the district/area/state that you are in and the way things are currently. For us, the common core is what we are teaching already. We have to do almost nothing differently. Does that mean we are going to do less? Heck no! We will push harder.

      And like I tell my students, just because you’re not going to college doesn’t mean you don’t need these skills! Reading levels required for “non-college” jobs is HIGHER than what most English classes teach too and what most kids get in a typical four-year college plan because it is so much more technical. We are attempting to change our literacy to match THAT level.

      Also, we don’t want dummies in the military. And many branches won’t even accept a GED anymore. It HAS to be a high school diploma. And if our standards are higher, the diploma will mean more.

      ::steps off soapbox::

      🙂

      • *borrowing your soapbox, if you don’t have mind*

        No Child Left Behind was designed to make sure every child is prepared for college. And guess what? Students are less prepared than ever. You know I teach at the college level; we all lament how students cannot read lengthy pieces or write coherently or synthesize independent thesis statements, and our worry is that all those tests are about TELLING kids what to write.

        I think standardized testing is miserable. It just reinforces what teachers already know. Smart students will do well on those tests. And your weak students will test poorly. Wealthy districts test better than poor districts. These are not surprises.

        I want kids to earn high school diplomas and go to college and succeed. But these days, college is NOT a panacea. Students are not guaranteed high paying jobs. Or any jobs at all. They are guaranteed debt. So I say they’d better be mindful about what they want to do before they “just go” to college.

        I don’t think everyone is cut out for college, and they shouldn’t be made to feel like crap about it. People can earn a decent living doing lots of things that SHOULD NOT require advanced degrees. Some people are more hands-on: we have to make trade schools less stigmatized. I’m telling you, the dude who does my hair is doing great and owns his own salon.

        Our education system is not going to improve as long as we keep trying to educate all kids in the same way. College is a lovely ideal, and everyone deserves an equal shot. Personally, I’d like to see some radical changes. I’d like to see students do two years of civil service after high school. You know, give something back to our country. In general, American kids have been indulged and coddled. They are lazy and immature and ungrateful. Put an American 19-year old next to an Israeli 19-year old; you’ll see what I mean.

        But you are right: currently, 75% of graduating seniors require some kind of remediation after high school. We have to do better than that.

        *Look! You got me all fired up! You can have your soapbox back.* 😉

  23. I’m a big fan that, if there is a question about whether a child is ready for all-day kingergarten, to hold the kid back a year (even if only part-day kingergarten is offered in the area). There is the educational and the social aspect, and little bad can come of waiting.

    Heck, it’s usually fathers, with sons, who really push to have kids start kindergarten before they’re actually ready . . . telling them that their boy, when he’s in high school, will have a significantly greater chance of being the star football player usually changes their mind.

    And whenever I hear US public education being bashed, especially when compared to India, I actually laugh. If you’re poor, in India, you’re not going to school, period. The US has a damn good system of making sure that every child receives a what is necessary for them (though, I do wonder if “No Child Left Behind” is actually setting the bar too high for some, though you always question whether that that’s actually a bad thing, and I also feel for the high-achieving yet fiscally unfortunate in the inner cities, but talking to teachers who work the inner cities, any kid who shows a desire to learn is always taken care of)

    • Dude, I could write a whole POST on how unfair it is to compare US scores to almost ANY in the world. NO ONE ELSE educates ALL. Sigh…I am sure I will write that post eventually.

      And yes, part of the reason my parents held my brothers back was because they had Sept birthdays and they didn’t want them to the smallest kids in their grade level sports/gym. But couple that with the FACT that boys tend to learn slower…especially when it comes to social skills and reading…it was a no brainer for them.