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  1. #1

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    Repeating Kindergarten

    Has anyone had one of their kids repeat kindergarten? My son is a January baby, so he is one of the oldest in his class. He has severe motor and speech apraxia. His receptive language is off the charts and he master most of the kindergarten academics a couple of years ago. His difficulties lie with his motor and social skills. He needs help with dressing, etc and has a full-time education assistant at school. He was a very social baby and toddler until speech became an issue. Now, he is social with adults, but not so much with his peers. I wonder if that reason alone might be good enough to keep him behind. I am curious to read other's experiences.

    ETA - I have a meeting on Friday with his classroom teacher and the resource teacher about grade one transition. I want to get my head around all options before going.
    Last edited by algonquin; 01-22-2013 at 05:30 PM.

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    my friend's oldest has severe apraxia and is a very gifted child. She has been in therapy since she was 3 so over 7 years now. She has learned that this is probably going to be as good as it gets. Anyway, if your son is getting the therapy he needs, holding him back isn't the answer - esp since he is already the oldest. Some things that have helped her daughter have been tumbling in gymnastics and swimming. Not in any team sort of program, just recreational. Things like swimming were VERY difficult. The motor delays kept her from figuring out both arms go clockwise - she did one arm clockwise and one counter clockwise for a long time. She had private lessons for swim. I think for her daughter swim was the most helpful since her whole body is feeling the water pressure it helps her know where her body is at all times.

    It would be very hard for him to sit through k again, learning the same things, hearing the same stories. He sounds very bright, a repeat might be tortuous.
    Last edited by TheGirlCanSkate; 01-22-2013 at 06:42 PM.

  3. #3
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    My son went twice, he was an August baby so he would have been really young for his class and with his speech problems that turned out to be allergy and ear related we decided to have him go again. So now he is the oldest in his class but that doesn't really seem to be an issue with kids anyway.

  4. #4

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    Repeating Kindergarten

    I wouldn't want to hold him back if he was doing well academically. Let him go forward and make sure he gets the extra support he needs in the areas he is behind. Find a social group for him to join, for example.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  5. #5

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    I was someone who repeated kindergarten many years ago, my problem though was that i have Asperger's Syndrome and I was in a very small school (250 kids K-9) and had a lot of trouble sitting still, I'd be down the hallways sitting in on the grade 7 classes and such, so they made me repeat (my mom didn't have a choice), being the oldest was never an issue for me, but social skills were something that I did have trouble with at that time. I would say get professional advice, sometimes it's an okay thing to do, others not, it really depends on the individual needs of the child. I wish you the best!
    Kyle

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    Part of that isn't a long term solution though.

    My bf's daughter with autism - it wasn't noticeable - she was socially immature but at 5 most 5 year olds are socially immature so she was in the neural typical range. In 1st she started to stand out a little more. By 8 there was enough of a gap to have her see professionals. Now at 10, there is a very large gap between the girls. If she had been held back, the gap would still have happened - maybe the second year of k would have been easier, but the changes don't happen as quickly.

    Autism can present differently in girls though - esp bright verbal girls.

    kylet3 has great advice, consult with professionals - make sure some not in the school system - every situation is different.

  7. #7
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    I don't think there is one size fits all answer. Go with what feels right for him and listen to his teachers. What are their recommendations? What does a developmental specialist recommend?
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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    In my elementary school, we had something called Transitional First Grade with the small group of kids who, for one reason or another, had issues in kindergarten - social issues, emotional issues, academic issues - so that they had a place to continue to develop that didn't just repeat everything they learned in kindergarten but had another year before they started 1st grade. Some of the brightest kids in my grade went through TFG, including my high school best friend who just got her MA. I don't know if my school still has this class, but I always thought it was a good idea to have one.

    I do think it sounds like your child is very bright, and repeating all the same material might be just awful for him.

  9. #9
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    As a teacher, a learning assistance aka resource I have no problem with children redoing kindergarten. I fact it is the only grade that I recommend if it is determined the child needs more time. I just had a boy who was born on dec 31 at 10pm. He was so not ready for k. He is redoing it this year with far greater success

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    Has anyone had one of their kids repeat kindergarten? My son is a January baby, so he is one of the oldest in his class. He has severe motor and speech apraxia. His receptive language is off the charts and he master most of the kindergarten academics a couple of years ago. His difficulties lie with his motor and social skills. He needs help with dressing, etc and has a full-time education assistant at school. He was a very social baby and toddler until speech became an issue. Now, he is social with adults, but not so much with his peers. I wonder if that reason alone might be good enough to keep him behind. I am curious to read other's experiences.

    ETA - I have a meeting on Friday with his classroom teacher and the resource teacher about grade one transition. I want to get my head around all options before going.
    I would listen to his teachers, assistant and therapist/s before making a decision. If he mastered all of the academics a couple of years ago, it doesn't sound like the best option to repeat, but I haven't met your son to know how far behind he socially or with motor skills, nor do I know his speech difficulties. I have no problem recommending children repeat reception up to grade three. I suggest looking at what skills he has and hasn't mastered and then see which ones may hamper him in grade one. Kindergarten skills that don't seem academic (throwing/catching, cutting, colouring etc.) lead to more academic skills in grade one and onwards. Ask if there are mixed options - some classes like PE in the kindergarten class for example, as well as what support and/or differentiation happens in grade one (this may already be in the goals of an IEP). Also consider if you need to reduce the assistant, especially if your son is more social with adults. IME, this may actually hamper progress, as the child often becomes reliant on the assistant.

  11. #11
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    It's common for kids with apraxia to have social issues because they cannot communicate adequately with their peers. Children in general don't spend the time/have the expertise to communicate with another who isn't very verbal. Staying in kindergarten another year won't change this. Generally I would say keep your child in the academic grade that matches his cognitive abilities, and then supplement that with supportive services (as extensive as necessary) to help him maximize his abilities in other areas.

    The issue of being bored is significant because that can lead to behavioral issues and ostracization in the classroom. The other concern is over time, he'll be classed with children two years younger than him. When he gets older, he'll be physically/emotionally going through things the other children may not, and this can create a whole other set of issues.

    Children with apraxia are always going to have to play catch-up with social development and speech (along with motor development). But you don't want to lose sight of the child's strengths in all that--his academic achievements. If he is very advanced academically, perhaps he needs to be put into an accelerated program rather than held back. Has this been mentioned at all by his teachers?

    Best of luck with everything.

  12. #12
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    I have observed that whether or not keeping your kid back or pushing them forward is a good idea often comes down to their size. Having your kid be the biggest in the class and maybe even going through puberty before any of his leads to trouble. (That's actually been documented in studies.) But, if your kid is smaller than average and/or physically immature, they will fit right in visually with the younger kids and then keeping them back often works better.

    That's just a generality though. It's always going to come down to the individual kid and how they feel about it and what the circumstances are

    It also matters what's normal for your geographical area. Where I live, parents rarely hold their kids back -- doing things early is seen as some sign of genius or something -- so my two Fall babies were never the oldest in their class as the deadline used to be Dec 2nd. But across the Bay parents hold their kids back for just about anything because they think it gives them an advantage over the other kids. If you have one on the border, knowing what's normal for your school district can tip the scales one way or the other.

  13. #13

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    We kept our youngest back in kindergarten. It may depend on the issue as to what is best - we were fortunate to have great input from both her teacher and the administration and they strongly advised us to hold her back. She had significant developmental delays - although she was socially very outgoing and had many friends so she was sad not to be continuing with them. It probably did help her adjustment that she is small for her age and looked younger then even the kids a year younger. She did really improve in the second year of kindergarten - she had the same teacher who knew her well enough to draw up a really great individual education plan and she was much more prepared for grade one. She is an adult now and I don't think she even remembers she redid kindergarten. I do have some reservations about teacher's aids though and wish I had been more involved in who worked with her and what was going on in the classroom. She had a few great ones but a few that really damaged her self esteem. She still talks about one in particular who made her feel terrible about herself and was more hurtful then the other kids in her comments and put downs.
    pug lover

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    We were just discussing today at work (I'm a primary teacher) about deferring children's entry to Primary 1 from nursery school. Here in Scotland, Primary 1 children can be as young as 4 and a half and we were talking about how many of my colleagues had purposely delayed their children's entry from nursery to Primary 1 because they felt leaving it as late as possible was advantageous. Our starting school age is being 5 by the end of the February of their first year at school, but if children are not yet 5 when school starts in August they can be deferred. We were all complaining about the fact that we feel 4 or 5 is too young for formal learning for the vast majority of the children we teach (in particular boys) and a colleague who had worked in Finland was talking about how she felt their system of children starting school later was far better. I don't have children of my own but I do think I'd probably try to send them to school as late as I could and give them more time at nursery school.

    I hope everything goes well for you and your son, it's a difficult decision to make but at the end of the day, once you have the information from the school you'll probably have a gut feeling about what's best for him.

  15. #15

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    Good luck. This is, I am sure, a very difficult situation, and an almost impossible decision........seeing as you can't see the future.

    I agree with whomever said to follow the advice of the teachers and staff (especially if you intend for you child to stay in that school). Going against their recommendations could lead to a world of difficulty on an entirely different level.

    I wish I had kept my daughter back..........she was slow socially, but wicked smart. It didn't even occur to me to keep her back until 2nd grade, and then they wouldn't. For her, it would have solved some issues.....but hers are very different from yours.

    All you can do is listen and decide. There most likely is no "right" answer. Each has pluses and minuses, and may come down to choosing what set of problems will be easiest to remedy or support. What does his education assistant suggest?

    And, best luck.
    DH - and that's just my opinion

  16. #16
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    Adding - when faced with a difficult schooling situation, I found the mantra of "think only about the next year" to be calming. Don't think about when he can drive or grow a beard. You never know how your local school will change by that time. There may be a great charter, the boundaries might change, you could switch schools down the road due to a job change, there might be a private school option or home school, interdistrict transfers, open enrollment, etc.

    So when making your decision, just work with the next year in your mind. There are just too many options to look beyond the next year of schooling. Find the best fit.

  17. #17

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    Thank you so much to everyone that has taken the time to post your thoughts. I re-read everything before I left for the meeting this afternoon. The meeting went very well. In a nutshell, they feel that my son still needs the social aspect of kindergarten and I don't disagree. So, they gave me three options,

    1. Have him repeat kindergarten.
    2. Get special permission for him to attend kindergarten all day every day next year. (Right now, he goes all day Monday, Wednesdays and indicated Fridays.)
    3. Half days in grade one and half days in kindergarten.

    The resource teacher strongly recommended number 3, so that my son would get core academics and learn desk skills. The class teacher recommended putting him with a Monday, Wednesday kindergarten class, so that he is with the same kids and teacher. She also said that that would leave Tuesday and Thursday for my son to leave school a bit early for his speech therapy appointments.

    I didn't commit to anything yet, but half day grade one and half day kindergarten feels right.

  18. #18

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    I like the 3rd option as well. He will benefit from the academic challenge of grade 1, but still have the opportunity to develop his social skills in a less difficult (critiquing, threatening, intimidating -- I'm struggling for the right word) environment.
    Haunting the Princess of Pink since 20/07/11...

  19. #19
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    We have a k/1 at our school and I had a child that I recommended be held back put into this classroom for this exact reason....

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