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Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

May 9, 2020

Author:

Jena Apgar

Your kid is finishing up preschool and you are wondering “Is he really ready for Kindergarten in the big school all alone?” Back in the day, Kindergarten used to be the entry level into the school system where students learned how to color and their alphabet. Now, Kindergarten is the new first grade where students jump right into reading, math and critical thinking.

And there is nothing wrong with that!

But many parents are choosing to “redshirt” their children, where they hold their children back to give them a leg up in highly competitive school districts, like Frisco, where the older they get, the competition is fierce. The increased academic requirements, standardized testing pressures and the age of their peers in classrooms packed with high ratios of students to teachers have caused many parents to wonder if their kids are really ready to start Kindergarten in the traditional public education system.

Jena Apgar’s daughter, Bella, turns five in July, but Apgar’s not so sure she’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall. “IT is a huge decision that my husband and I have stressed over. Both our other two started no issue, but Bella tends to be more clingy and loves the arts program she is currently in at the Musical Arts Schoolhouse,” says Apgar, who lives in East Frisco, Texas.

Parent concern turns to peer pressure as they decide what to do with that ‘missed’ year. Many of the other kids in Bella’s class won’t be going onto kindergarten in the public schools, even though they’ll turn five this summer. What they are doing is opting to select to attend Private Kindergarten at the Preschool they are already attending.

Preschool programs are now picking up on the need and adding a year of Kindergarten to their programs where students can still get the education, still receive the socialization, but in an environment that is smaller, more protected and where the parents can still walk their kids directly into the classroom. This is in contrast to the public schools where drop off is at the curb and students must navigate their way into the building and find their own classroom, alone.

So, how do you know if your child is ready for Kindergarten in the large public school? Honestly, you are going to know your child best as the parent, but your child’s pre-K teach is a great second voice of reason. The teacher knows your child and will have a good idea on how your child performs day to day in social and academic experiences.

But as the parent, you know your child best. Are they ready for a big classroom or do they prefer the small class sizes of their preschool programs? Do you just want to give your child the best possible start to school by learning and maturing more in a small school environment?

For higher level curriculum schools like the Musical Arts Schoolhouse, that means receiving additional extracurriculars like art, dance, music, and Spanish as part of the normal school day which means no additional cost or time on the parent’s part. Plus saving money on not having to pay for after-school care which can be as much as $300-500 a month for working parents.

You have to consider what will help your child feel the most successful while working with what your family can provide.

Some children are just shy or late-bloomers while others need small class sizes and more personal attention so that they can better focus.

The requirements and laws about starting kindergarten vary across the country, but in Texas and at the Musical Arts Schoolhouse, our program meets all the legal regulations. There are no hard and fast rules about when a child is ready for kindergarten, but there are some common expectations for the large, public Kindergarten classrooms:

  1. Easy Morning Drop Off. Your child will be expected to be dropped off at the curb, walk into school alone and find their own classroom after the first day in Frisco ISD for Kindergarten. Not every child, or parent, is ready for this. If you and your child need to walk in together directly to the classroom, public Kindergarten programs are not going to work outdoor you.
  2. Follow Directions. Children in Frisco ISD Kindergarten are required to follow specific directions the first time. If you find that your child needs more prompting or still insist on doing things her way, a Private Kindergarten will be a better option.
  3. Uses Restroom Alone. Your child will have to be completely potty trained and know when they need to go with no prompting. They will also need to be able wait till designated bathroom times with the exception of a few times. If they insist on help still, boys refuse to use the public urinals or they are still having the occasional accident, public Kindergarten is going to be a challenge.
  4. Recognizes Letters. Frisco ISD jumps right into reading first thing in the first semester of Kindergarten. Your child will need to know their letters to keep up with the majority of students.
  5. Knows Numbers. Again Frisco ISD jumps right into math and higher level counting. Your child will need to know their numbers up to 20 and be ready to learn the basic math concepts.
  6. Sits still. No, the school isn’t going to require Little Jonny sit in a single chair all day, I mean, he’s five. However, it is required that the child can sit through activities and story time without becoming a distraction to other students. Children who are more active and curious, or this is their first time away from mom, may have a difficult time adjusting.
  7. Motor skills. Being a Kindergartener is no longer just ensuring your child should know how to jump, run, throw a ball, and practice a letter each week. It now includes holding a pencil to write entire sentences.
  8. Socially Mature. With 26 kids to a classroom (sometimes more), your child will need to be able to make friends, coexist and play together in the same space with other children. While some kids may thrive and have a blast in this environment, other children prefer smaller, more cozy settings.
  9. Emotionally Mature. Every small child cries occasionally. But, there is no coddling in Kindergarten in public schools. Children will be expected to have their own coping strategies.
  10. Wants to Learn. He doesn’t have to be a little Einstein, but it helps if your child listening to stories, music, and books and seems stimulated by the information.

The more excited a child is about school, the easier the transition will be.

If you decide your child is not yet ready for kindergarten, it’s important to come up with a game-plan for the year. Children who are behind socially or academically should get plenty of exposure to a classroom environment at a preschool, pre-k program or private Kindergarten program. It’s not much help to keep them at home, away from other kids and the chance to learn.

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