Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Advanced

Every once in a while, I come across a question that I don't have an immediate answer to. So, edubloggers, parents, and others, here's the scenario:
A young student is 4 1/2 years old and will turn 5 this summer. She is already reading Junie B. Jones and other chapter books geared towards the 6-9 year old. Her brother, also an early reader is well ahead of his kindergartener peers.

The Question: Should the soon to be five year old skip kindergarten and begin school in the first grade--the same grade as her brother?


At 6:00 PM , Anonymous Wendy said...

My first choice would be to have the school and classroom teacher differentiate instruction in Language Arts to meet her needs rather than advance a year. Ask what reading/writing assessments are given in 1st grade and administer those in the fall for a baseline to identify strengths/weaknesses and to plan her instructional program. Continue to administer formative assessments to gauge progress and monitor and adjust instruction throughout the year. Parents should also be prepared to support her accelerated reading/writing program from home as well.

Kindergarten is an amazing year for kids (and parents too)and I wouldn't want any child to miss that experience. Enrich, don't skip.

At 12:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My suggestion is:
1. Test the brother to see if HE needs to be grade skipped. If they are biologically related, it is more likely than not that he is gifted as well.
2. Second much academic content is in the kindergarten? If there isn't very much academics, then let her dance, play dress up, color and skip later. If she is going to spend the day learning her abc's, kindergarten is likely to be a miserable experience. It might be eaiser for her to skip a grade now
3. It has been my experience that differentiation either doesn't happen or doesn't work. I never have gotten a good on answer on exactly how a teacher is supposed to deal with more than 4 grade levels in one class. I suspect that differentiation is an education code word for "we are going to ignore the bright kids"
4. Plan the skip for the year that your school uses as a "consolidation" year. In our district it is second grade. I wish my daughter had skipped it. She learned nothing new and was utterly miserable.


mom to 9 year old who read the Harry Potter books at 6 and a 6 year old who at 4 said "hey mom, did you know that 4 fives make twenty"

At 12:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, suggest that the parents check out

Having a gifted child is fun, but the path is often unmarked.

At 5:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kindergarten is about social interaction and development far more than it is about academics. It is about being a "kinder" and learning to share, and make friends, and create a space for yourself and become attuned to adults who are not family, Of all the grades, kindergarten is not the one you want to skip. Let her read because she loves to read, not because she has to. Let her learn through interaction and parental encouragement. At this point in life age does matter and its important that she be allowed to be her age. Why put her on the bottom as far as age and experience when she can enjoy age appropriate interactions while being academically ahead?

At 7:45 AM , Blogger Polski3 said...

From my experience with my sons, most teachers cannot provide what the high end children need. Not the teachers fault, just too many, too low, too needy other children in their classrooms.

My wife and her brother were born less than a year apart. They both attended the same grade, same school. It worked out fine for them.

One issue we find with our high reading ability sons, is the age-appropriateness of the available literature. Some of the stuff for high school level is NOT appropriate for younger children, and some of it requires a certain amount of "life experiences" to be able to really comprehend it.

Isn't it grand to have such problems with ones children ?
My youngest just recd. a "Student of the Month" award. I'm sure you will also run out of bumper space to display the stickers !

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