The idea of taking your kid out of preschool and moving him/her to kindergarten may seem like a piece of cake, but it’s not so simple all the time. The last thing you want is for your kid to make such a big step unprepared.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I were in the classic push-or-hold kindergarten dilemma about our elder son, who wouldn’t be five till November. First, we were going to hold him back because he started preschool late.
By midsummer, we’d decided to send him after all. He was socializing well with kids his age in day camp, and the elementary school’s principal was encouraging after she met him. But one week into the school year, we were back to square one as it turned out he wasn’t ready after all.
At first, it looked like the saddest thing to do to him, but after seeing him get used to preschool again plus the sight of him getting along with his friends, we realized we had made the right choice of taking him out of kindergarten. The one week he spent in kindergarten was enough for us to see that he needed more time.
And for several months, everything was smooth. Until early January, that is, when our son told us casually that he didn’t want to go back to preschool after the holiday break. He was bored, he said. After a moment of mutual internal screams, we called up Dash’s preschool teacher. She was receptive, and we spoke with her about focusing on some of the things he wasn’t so proficient at yet.
We also signed him up for some kiddie martial-arts classes on the weekends, theoretically to give his brain something new and different to focus on.
Now, I try to accept this fact about parenting: It’s not ever going to be a realm of certitude. I’ll never know for sure if we did the right thing moving our family from Brooklyn to the suburbs a few years ago, letting our kids watch Monsters vs. Aliens, or pulling Dash from kindergarten; although he’s presently thriving in his real tour through that grade level.
It’s impossible to imagine—especially knowing us—that we won’t find reasons to doubt this decision multiple times over the remainder of his school years. We’ll always be second-guessing. Even when he and his younger brother are all grown.
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