Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Hammer to the Head Might Have Been Kinder

On her next birthday, Bird will be five. If you ask her about it, she will either mention:

a) the fact that she wants a tea party for her birthday with a castle cake, or

b) the fact that she'll be five and old enough to go to kindergarten at "Mommy's school".

This is a child who LOOOOOOVES school. She is in preschool for the first time this year, and it's been amazing to watch her blossom & flourish. She comes home excited to tell us all about what she did, or how the wonderful Miss A or Miss M did whatever it is they do with a room full of 4-year-olds.

So when our required meeting with the elementary principal rolled around, I wasn't worried. These meetings are required for all parents of incoming kindergartners, and I really had no idea what to expect. I know who this person is, and have only heard amazing things through the grapevine.

Therefore, imagine the shock we had when Husband & I met with this person, only to be told Bird may not start school after all.

I was left a bit lacking when the meeting started with a question: When is Bird's birthday?, and upon hearing it was in May, we were treated to the "Kids born in May/June/July/August aren't always ready for school, and most times its better for everyone involved if they just wait another year" speech. Only, instead of treating it as a possibility, it was definitely implied that this was more a 90/10 proposition of her staying home another year.

Reasons this royally angers me:

1. She really wants to be at Mommy's school, and she will be hugely disappointed if she has to wait another year. (Although, to be fair, this has nothing to do with whether or not she is ready for school.)

2. Nobody of any authority at the school has ever met Bird in person.

3. She has not been tested yet.

4. She may have a late birthday, but she is a very typical firstborn child - extraordinarily driven.
5. She is a sponge, and happily soaks up all the information the world has to offer. It would be better for all parties involved that she be taught a good way to use her powers!

Furthermore, it seemed like no matter what question I was asked, I gave the wrong answer.

"Does she know her numbers?" well, she can count...
"Many children can count, but if you show them a number out of context, they have no idea what it is or what it represents." (True, but isn't that partly why they go to kindergarten??)

"Does she know her letters?" why, yes she does.
"Well, most kids can sing the alphabet song, but again, they may not know a random letter written in front of her." (Actually, she probably would. She really likes letters.)

"Does she attend preschool now?" Yes, for the first time this year. It's a 3-day program.
"Many students are in a 5-day program now.... blah blah blah" (I quit paying attention)

"Do you read to her before bed?" Yes we do. "Does she pick the same story every night?" Not really - she has a large bookshelf and it depends on her mood that night. "Many parents believe their children are capable of reading when in fact they have just memorized the story from hearing it so many times." (Were you even listening to that last answer??)

It will be at least another month before Bird tests. I continually alternate between wanting to fill her with as much useless info as possible and just simply living life as we know it. Quite frankly, I'm leaning towards the latter. We both do much better without pressure.
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