I don't know about you, but when I went to kindergarten it was for half the day. I vaguely remember recess, music in the classroom, centers, and circle time. It's been three decades, so I don't remember every detail. I know that the bus ride was somewhat boring. I remember that the rule of thumb my grandparents grew up with was that you don't talk on the bus, but I am pretty sure that I sang Wheels on the Bus to myself. I remember it was fun and although there probably were some academics it wasn't the focus of kindergarten.
We had my son's conference tonight. (My daughter's teacher is out on maternity leave). My son is doing very well in kindergarten. He can count to 100. He knows the numbers 1-50 in random order (you should have seen my husband's face trying to figure out the pattern), he knows all 26 letters, both upper case and lower case, and if you ask him a more than or less than question for math, he knows the answer. He's smart. He's also one of the oldest students in the class, because we did a year of alternative kindergarten (AK) with him.
I know it was the right decision. I know that he needed a year to mature and learn how a classroom operates. I knew the academics would come easy for him. I knew that his little brain processes things quickly. I almost thought about not doing the year of AK, but he needed another year. He needed to learn how to sit on the carpet without touching everyone. He needed to have a year to grow out of rest time. He needed a year to be independent, at a completely different school than his sister.
But now they're at the same school. Now he's "officially" a kindergartner. And those things I did when I was in kindergarten? They do all those, plus a lot, lot more. The teachers work tirelessly to make sure that the kids that have never been read to know the letter sounds. They guide the kids that don't know their numbers through counting. They help students learn appropriate behaviors for school and with all the required testing, they still find time to teach the ABCs and 123s to our children.
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