Sandra - posted on 08/30/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )
We were moving to a new town, so I had the luxury of choosing a school for my 5-year-old, who is reading at approx 2.5 and doing basic math.
After a preschool which did not stress academics, we were dreading a Kindergarten that would be more of the same- so I talked to the Gifted and Talented Coordinator in both neighboring school districts to see how they worked with GT kids in Kinder.
We went with the district that seemed to cater to kids on the high and low ends of the spectrum a bit more, even though it had no formal pullout program, The one with the pullout program believed that the pullout kinda took care of the need for enrichment. Really. One hour a week takes care of it? They gave me more of an "all parents think their kids are smart" attitude.
The District Coordinator steered us to certain schools with helpful principals. She said they don't normally test kids until 1st, but agreed to test mine before school started. Sure enough, he tested at the 99th% percentile for verbal skills and 90th% for non verbal and was indeed reading well above first grade (she only gave him the first grade level reading test). She recommended a skip over Kinder. I was a bit worried, but she talked with the principal of the school, who chose a teacher that would be a good fit and we will do an instructional plan once she gets to know him well.
We are a week into first grade and it isdefinately the correct level for him. Being a very outgoing child, he seems to fit right in with his intellectual peers, and I think they get him more than Kinder kids do. He loves riddles and wordplay, and a year of coloring and basic letter sounds would pretty much teach him that school is not meant to be challenging, or isolate him while the other kids worked on concepts he already knew. I am hoping this skip will work well- but I am still nervous about it.
For those debating a skip- I think emotional maturity is key. We noticed that he would act younger when with younger kids and older with older kids. I think having someone high up in the school district on our side made a huge difference. I don't know if an obviously younger-seeming kid would have as easy a time. We also decided that if we were ever going to do a skip- now would be the time. No losing friends as it was his first year of school anyway, and still many kids who are new to the classroom that are coming from private kinderarten/preschool combos.