So, this morning, from out of no where, the lead teacher in my daughter's summer childcare program, who was also her kindergarten teacher told me "I'm just not sure that K is ready for first grade." Now this comes a week before K starts school in a 1st grade class at a local magnet school. So, WTF, Teacher? Really? You tell me now? Why not back in May? I knew Teacher had some concerns about K back in January. But K worked really hard and made a lot of progress. And the end of year progress report said "K will need some extra help, but she is ready for 1st grade." So what happened to change Teacher's mind? Was she lying to us back in May? Just telling us what we wanted to hear? And, now, exactly what am I supposed to do with this information?
What we are going to do with this information is to take it with a grain of salt and proceed as planned, albeit, with more trepidation than we had a few days ago. We selected the magnet program because is it smaller than our "home" school. The curriculum is the standard 1st grade curriculum, but the whole school is "arts" based which means creativity is valued. Creativity is something that K has more than enough of. Plus she is smart, has an excellent memory and a huge vocabulary. She is smart and she works hard when she wants too. And we are in an excellent school district. I know they have a "reading help" program in place for kids who struggle in that area (for some reason K is a reluctant reader). And, frankly, I suspect that K will do better in a more structured setting than the one provided by her current program. I know their current teachers let them get away with some types of behavior that we would never let them get away with at home. A responds to disappointments with way more emotion than is appropriate and throws a temper tantrum whenever she is unhappy. She had to learn that was an ok way to deal with disappointment somewhere. K often she decides she is “too tired” when she is asked to do something she doesn’t want to do (e.g. clean up her toys). Where did that coping mechanism come from? Some kids do well in a more relaxed "child-led" environment, but I think my girls need a teacher who is more on the strict side. Someone who will not let them get away with things. Someone who won’t allow them to move away from the group because they don’t want to do something. I was that way, so I wouldn't be surprised if my girls are too.
So anyway. With some reservation, we will jump into the volcano and hope that it spits us back out. If it doesn't, I guess we can have her repeat 1st grade next year, right?