* Let me preface this by stating this does not apply to ALL summer birthday children, but I have seen too many situations where it does to know that it is a problem, in my opinion.*
I started elementary school in 1982. The birthday cut off date was Sept. 1. We started school the first week of September (after Labor Day). That birthday cut off date is logical. Fast Forward almost 30 years later (29 to be exact)....... The year is 2011. Many Georgia schools start the first week of August. Others maybe the second week. Yet the cut off birth date remains Sept.1. WHY??? WHY??? WHY???
As a mom of a child whose birthday falls in mid-July, I am faced with the decision to send him on to school or wait a year. If I were not a teacher, I would send him on to school because he is "old enough". I wouldn't think about the developmental aspect of it all. But, because I am a teacher mom, I have chosen to wait a year. (Actually, I chose to wait a year last year. I will send him to school this year to begin Public Georgia Prek. He will enter as a 5 year old, but could have entered as a 4 year old last year. )
I find summer birthdays very frustrating as a teacher as well. I have come across many students who could excel so much more if they had waited a year before starting school, either because they needed another year to mature or because the needed an extra year of development. If it is ever mentioned to the parent that the student repeat a grade, it is naturally met with resistance from the parents. Society views repeating a grade as "failing". However, this is far from the truth. A child has not failed, he is just not developmentally ready. That in NO WAY is to suggest a child is developmentally "slow" or less smart than his peers.
Think about it like this, do all children begin walking at the same age? NO. Are all children potty trained at the same age? NO. But eventually, do all children (assuming there are no disabilities) learn to walk and use the potty? YES. So why is it that we can not understand this is how it works in education also? Not everyone will learn to read that the same time, but eventually (as long as there are no road blocks) every student will learn to read, tell time, count money, etc.
Now, consider that (at least in Ga.), many standards expected to be taught and learned in a grade level was a standard for one or two grades above that a few years ago, and very much so when I was in elementary school. For example, some of the math that I teach 2nd graders are skills that I learned as a 4th grader.
My point is this, standards and expectations in schools are becoming more challenging, but children are starting to school younger. Why do we not lower the birth date deadline to August 1 just as we have moved the start of school to August? This prevents children who may need a few more months of development to have a better chance at success.
That's my spill as I begin preparing my 5 year old for PreK next week and answer questions such as "Why isn't he going to kindergarten?"
"Teachers make great thieves"...ever heard that quote? It is a very true! Most of our great ideas are "stolen" from someone else. Not all ideas on this blog are mine. I try to give credit where credit is due. However, if you find that an idea should have been given credit but wasn't, please let me know.
Powered by Blogger.