My son's pre-k teacher's recommendation

LaToya - posted on 02/02/2011 ( 48 moms have responded )

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My husband and I had our first parent/teacher conference yesterday. Our son excelled in math and vocabulary. He was average in other areas and other areas we were told he could use some work. Overall, he's doing great academically and socially. Although his teacher said nothing but good things about our son and even told us "...he's very smart" she recommends that he repeats pre-k. When I told my sister this she became angry. "Why hold him back if he's doing so well academically?" Well, my son's teacher says he has trouble with paying attention for a long period of time. He's not disrupting the class or anything like that. My son tells us he's ready to go to kindergarten though. He's excited about going. If he's held back, he'll be learning the same things from last year. The teacher said she'll give him harder puzzles and problems, but my sister said he might as well go to the next grade. It's up to my husband and I in the end. Has anyone here experienced this themselves? Was your child doing fine academically, but was recommended that they should repeat another year of pre-k?

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Christiana - posted on 02/06/2011

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At his age no one can expect him to have great attention. If she thinks his attention is a problem now, making him repeat another year with the same stuff he will probably be disturbing the class then. When I started my boys a lot of people told me that one wasn't ready, but I did it anyway and he did great. No one can tell you what to do, when it comes down to it you and your husband knows your son and what you think is best for him.

Mel - posted on 02/07/2011

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Send him to kindergarten. NEVER believe that a teacher knows your child better than you. That is BS. You know your child better than anyone, and some teachers are great, some not. Many preschool teachers are not even certified and are clueless about child development. I had one express concern that my just turned 3 year old was not writing her name yet!! I spoke to two educational psychologists and two occupational therapists, and they all nearly laughed me under the table as they said it was ridiculous to be concerned about this at 3 (and now she is in kindergarten and doing great.)

Four year old boys frequently have difficulty with attention, so do many girls. It's developmentally normal. I would be concerned that the teacher did not know that, and wonder how great she could be. Send him to kindergarten and then make a decision after seeing his progress and talking to his teacher (who at least will be certified, and not have an ulterior motive {tuition fees} to hold him back. Good luck! Question, question every teacher - it's your job as a parent. The good ones will relish your concern, the crappy ones will feel threatened.

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2011

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My son had to repeat pre k because he missed the cutoff to start Kindergarten, I truly regret not forcing the issue as his birthday was only a few days past the cutoff. At four he excelled academically to the point where they had him in a modified kindergarten program his second year of Pre k so that he went to pre k twice a week and K twice a week at the end of the school year he had officially passed K but again because of his birthday they would not allow him to go to gr.1 so he instead had repeat K. This was the worst thing for him he totally regressed stopped trying because in his mind why bother there is no prize for doing your best he was very upset about not moving on with his friends. Eventually the school modified his program again so that he could do gr. 1 and K at the same time but by then it was too late he had lost interest in learning. I would send him to K as it has taken us 4 years to get our son to enjoy learning and put his best efforts into his work. Just my two cents.

K. - posted on 02/04/2011

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I can honestly say my kids preschool teacher does not know her best. Nor what's best for her. That's my job.

Megan - posted on 02/02/2011

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Is he going to a state sponsored pre-k? if so, doesn't he still have half the year to go? If this is his first school experience and he's still got a few months left in the school year, there's certainly no harm in waiting it out and see if his attention spam improves by the end of the year. It's not realistic to expect to keep a 4-5 year old's attention for any real length of time and, frankly if he's doing that well academically, it could be a slight case of boredom :-)

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Donatella - posted on 02/08/2014

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Agree! I believe your child's birthday date plays a huge role in deciding wether it's wise to hold your child back one year! I wouldn't stress over it, after all we are not talking about.college!

Valerie - posted on 03/07/2011

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That's great that he is doing great academically and his lack of attention doesn't disrupt the class. Most of the responses here seem to assume that your son isn't being challenged enough so move him up. This could very well be the case. I love the home-schooler post (sorry I can't remember your name!) There are so many options out there. I have one perspective that I didn't see mentioned here though. Everyone is correct in one main point. Kids under age 7 and sometimes longer don't have long attention spans. Maybe he is bored, but maybe he just isn't interested in sitting and doing structured acitvities for long periods of time yet. It is easier to put preschoolers on an individual, more challenging learning plan than a kindergartener because of the less structured day. Is his current PreK program in the same district or does it work with the school where he will be attending Kindergarten? It might be that the teacher know something you don't about the next school's kindergarten program. If she thinks they have a very structured curriculum as some schools are doing now, she might think that he isn't ready for that. I have 3 kids and my middle child is an 8 y-old boy who switched schools in the middle of the year because of my husband's job relocation. I homeschooled him for a month after seeing how much more structured, and less free-play time, the new school offered. They had a different teaching style that didn't include as much music and art. I worked with him at home with their workbooks in a less stressful environment and he joined in with the class a month later. He is now in 2nd grade and doing very well. He was academically ready to do the same work as those kids already in the class but wasn't prepared for the daily structure. It's just something you might want to ask his current teacher if you haven't already.

My other point comes from my sisters and my oldest daughter. My 2 sisters have June and July birthdays. They are now 21 and 25 and are both doing great in their lives, the 21 year old still in college and the 25 year old has a very good job. The 25 y-o started K when she was 5, did just fine academically and athletically but was always just a little less mature than the others in her class. By the time high school came around, she hated being the youngest in her class. The 21 y-o started K when she was 6 and again excelled academically but was also a standout athlete (NCAA Div. II basketball player) and much more confident socially. She loved being older than most of her classmates. That was one of the main factors in starting my oldest daughter when she was 6. She is 12 now but she never went to pre-k and the year I was going to start her (at 5) the school stopped offering half-day kindergarten. That would have been mean of me to expect her to do 8 hours a day, 5 days a week when she had never been in a school setting so I put her in a pre-k program even though she was already writing her name and knew by sight all letters of the alphabet, could read and sound out 3-4 letter words and could do simple addition. Your son's teachers (hopefully) will do their best to challenge you son no matter what you decide, but as a previous poster said, classmates can be unforgiving sometimes. It isn't a cut and dry your teacher knows best or you know best. You will always do what is best for you child and probably know what his academic strengths are, but unless you volunteer in the class for an entire class day, not just an hour or two a day, his teacher may have a better idea of how he will do in a tougher daily routine next year.

Sorry this was so long and there are no easy answers because what is right for one family might not be right for you. Just do your research about the prospective kindergarten as well as the current pre-k. Good luck!

Klara - posted on 02/19/2011

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Is your child ready socially and emotionally? Its not all academic in school! I've sen both done, but no one will really notice now, but they will if it has to happen later i your child's life. I'm sure this is not something a teacher says if they don't feel it is necessary. My daughter struggles to pay attention in Kindergarten, but is very smart. I sometimes wonder about her, but she meet all her milestones, so they advanced her. Its your call, but do you think there is a reason your child has a hard time paying attention? Our daughter is so easily distracted both at home and school. Is your son able to pay attention if its something he really enjoys? If he is, maybe it is just a matter of letting him know he needs to pay attention in school. Maybe let your son know that the teacher is concerned he's not paying attention and you want him to try his hardest to pay attention, and see what happens? Might be a good test to see if he can do it when you tell him to or not. Wish you the best!

Sara - posted on 02/18/2011

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Most teachers these days seem to want to hold the younger kids back for some reason. I found the same to be true with my lil girl who turned 3 in november. I sent her to the only preschool that would take kids as long as they turned 3 by the end of the yr. She knows all letters and the sounds they make, writes her name, recognizes numbers 1-10, and when I asked the teacher about placement for next yr she suggested I put her with the older 3 yr old group next yr since she is smaller than other kids in her class. Umm no thanks, why would I want her to regress? I was always the smallest and never had a problem. And my oldest daughters 1st grade teacher told me that my 3 yr old writes her name better than most 1st graders! Lol move the boy forward

Joyce - posted on 02/18/2011

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A Friend went in for Kindergarten with her child, who is bi-lingual. She speaks English at home and in Pre-K but Chinese when she is with her grandparents after school. the evaluator strongly suggested she get ESL enrichment . my point is that the teacher with an overabundance of caution was trying to put the child in a totally unnecessary program. fortunately her parents respectfully declined and she is now a perfectly well adjusted 1st grader.
Acedemics, check- Social, check -disruptive, no.. unless you can think of a valid reason to keep him back let him go forward

Julie - posted on 02/16/2011

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It looks like my reply from yesterday got bumped. I would go talk to the kindergarten teacher at your son's next school. Observe the class if you can, and find out what the expectations are. That way you'll be able to make an informed decision.

Richelle - posted on 02/15/2011

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He needs to move on with the other kids his age, especially if he is academically ready. Many kids are still learning skills such as paying attention into first grade. Unfortunately many schools don't know how to deal with kids who are ahead. I've dealt with my kids who are ahead of the others in the class academically. It can be hard because if they aren't challenged enough they get bored and that can lead to bad study habits and other problems. No offense to anyone who is a teacher or advocates for teachers, but public schools don't always know what's best for each individual child. I've found that out the hard way.

Jill - posted on 02/15/2011

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Sounds like a new teacher ?? I think kids r not usually held back unless there r glaring deficits. Definitely challenge it- it sounds wrong . Follow your gut - it's probably right.

Christine - posted on 02/15/2011

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I would send him onto kindergarden...it sounds like he is bored and needs to be challenged more...if it comes up next year this time in kindergarden then maybe hold him back then or look into seeing if the school system has TK-1...it is a class for kids not quite ready for 1st grade.

Rica - posted on 02/15/2011

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It sounds like you child is not really being challenged enough by the teacher. See if she notices anytime that he is not paying attention. If it during a certain subject ask her to give him work from a higher grade level. That's what I had to do with my son and he was able to maintain his attention on the harder work.

Lori - posted on 02/15/2011

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My son has a November birthday. Because of the cut off, we chose to keep him back a year and not do PRE-K one year. We are thrilled with this decision. He is one of the oldest in his class. He is confident and very sure of himself and he too is very smart. Three friends had Thanksgiving babies and put their boys in school early. All very smart, but they had socialization issues. They are sorry they put them in early. Get a second opinion like a different Pre-school or the kindergarten program at your elementary school. They are signing up for kindergarten classes now or soon. They can evaluate him. He is either bored or not mature enough.

Charity - posted on 02/13/2011

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It is unfortunate, but a lot is expected out of children now in school. My daughter is in 1st grade now & children this age do not have a long attention span, but with everything they are taught each year they really need a long attention span (which isn't going to happen). Do what you feel is right for your child. My daughter doesn't have a long attention span, and does get in trouble for talking in class sometimes but has excelled academically.

Suzanne - posted on 02/13/2011

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if he is doing well with the academics and is not disruping the class i see no reason to hold him back as long as the teacher and family can work together to breack it up so when he losses focus on one thing he can go on to something else and go back to the first thing for a bit it would work and it could do more damage than its worth for his social skills

Krissy - posted on 02/12/2011

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oh, one more comment,... while socialization is important... when did it become more important in school than academics??? don't tell me it's not... because as a HSer, I get berated for socialization issues all the time by other people regardless of the fact that my 9 year old does sixth grade math, and my 6 year old does second and third grade work.... and the whole "no child left behind thing" is ridiculous. I honestly think that's part of what motivates the preschools to insist on another year... because kids that are a year older are going to give them better statistics in school...

Krissy - posted on 02/12/2011

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the lack of paying attention could mean he's bored by the curriculum. Holding him back won't solve that.. it will only make it worse.

We were told to hold our son back... because his birthday was june... which would make him really young...

But, his academics were up there.. he was reading 1st level books already, he knew his numbers... etc..

Really, we only had him in the preschool because around here it was free, and we put him in there for fun... not for learning...also, he doesn't like to obey others, so we wanted him to spend a year learning to obey the preschool teachers before sending him to KG.

He went to KG, and had probs there, too... so we gave up and pulled him and decided to HS. He should be a 1st grader, and has just started 3rd grade language arts and has about sixteen of his 2nd grade math lessons left. He does great at home!

Priscilla - posted on 02/11/2011

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If he can identify shapes, colors, and his name, and write his name, then he's ready for kindergarten. There's no real curriculum for pre-k students, so unless a child has social issues I dont see the problem. It is still early in the year and his attention span can increase. I would just try and help him at home so that way the teacher will see tht he is improving. All children dont go at the same pace so I would always keep that in mind.

Michelle - posted on 02/11/2011

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If he is excelled academically, then chances are he has a hard time paying attention because he is bored! That is very common with bright children. Have you noticed if he pays attention to conversations? Or what is going on around him? Even when it doesn't involve him? His mind is constantly going, and I am wondering if he understands what is being taught long before the other children do. That is when they get bored.

Kelly - posted on 02/10/2011

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I am going through a similar situation right now. My soon to be 5 year old son is going to 4k next year (I gave him an extra year in regular preschool b/c he wasn't excited about school or meeting new friends). Anyways, he's very academically bright and gifted, but isn't quite on par emotionally/socially. I am choosing to give him another year. I used to be an elementary school teacher and boys do mature at slower speeds. Good teachers WILL find ways to challenge your child, but classmates are rather unforgiving. In my opinion, if your son needs a little more time to get the hang of things socially, for example, sitting still for longer periods of time, give him the time. You don't want him to always play catch up. Plus, you can always move him ahead in the future, but unless he is seriously having problems, he will most likely never be held back. If I were you, I'd have no problems giving him another year to get ready for 7 hour days, 5 days a week. Good luck to you! I know it's hard when they are academically smart--being able to socialize well, pay attention, and follow directions in class are major parts of success in school.

K. - posted on 02/10/2011

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No, Sherri. They don't. Any parent who sits down with their child and teaches them as well as the preschool teachers would know just as much as they do. Preschool is to get kids ready for full day kindergarten. It's supplemental to MY teachings. As a parent you should know if you're child needs help academically in certain areas. Her education is essentially MY responsibility. Teachers have upwards of 15-20 kids per class. I have two. If you feel like you're son or daughter's teacher knows what they're capable of better that you do I suggest you spend more time at the kitchen table with your child and a stack of flash cards.

Vashti - posted on 02/10/2011

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If you know to yourself that your child is well adjusted academically and socially, no reason in holding him back. My son Kishan attends Montessori, and to me what it comes down to is, its a money making affair for these pre-schools. I was approached by my son's school to discuss staying on for Kindergarten at Montessori, and I simply had to tell them that I am paying taxes and I want to enjoy the benefits of that, not to mention get my son adjusted to the public school environment. I also wanted longer days for him. Then they threw at me, well he is on the younger side, he does have problems staying focused etc.etc. I know what my child's capabilities are, because I work with him every day for 2 hours and see his output, so I am confident in him being ready for kindergarten. If you feel your son is ready, then send him on to Kindergarten, if at that time you are told the same thing, then just have him repeat Kindergarten( which i believe won't be the case). Good luck.

Ilene - posted on 02/10/2011

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Megan, I agree to a point, a large point. My kids teachers mostly are pretty cool. However, they are starting to do just what the police started, go too far and think they are boss. I could go on for days about this. lol

Ilene - posted on 02/10/2011

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I haven't been in your situation, although my son did flunk a grade. You could look at this more than one way. At least she doesn't want him to be a zombie on meds. That's cool. He will learn and adapt to what he needs to do. Is he hyper at home? The thing about hyper kids and the meds they use, Both my neice and nephew were emotionless a good bit of the time, never wanted to do anything. If someone was talking to them, both of them would look right through that person. They're are remedies or at least aids you can make at home to help with hyperactivity and attention span. If this was my kids I'm afraid I would have to tell that teacher that she needs held back a year. lol You do what you feel, you're the momma.

DAWN - posted on 02/10/2011

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Lu, I think you made some great points. I used to say that I would hate having a kid with a September birthday. Once I had one, I considered it a blessing. Then held back my 2nd child who had an August birthday. I think the most important point you made is (no offense to your parents) Don't let a child decide if he/she needs to be held back. :-)

Lu - posted on 02/10/2011

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my parents were in the same situation with me. I did really well in pre-K but I was way too young. The teacher recommended that I repeat pre-K, so my parents asked me and I said I wanted to go to Kindergarten. I was the youngest through all the grades and graduated before I was 17. I loved being the youngest, but school was pretty hard, specially around 6th and 7th grade and I think the fact that I could barely keep up was a huge hit on my self- esteem. My s-i-l kept her kids back a year because they have July birthdays, but I chose to send my daughter with a May birthday to Pre-K on time. I noticed that my second daughter (who has a September birthday) is doing really good at school (because she is on of the oldest in the class), while my older daughter with a May birthday is struggling a little. I can't help but wonder if my oldest could have benefited from being held back but now it's too late. Just thought I would share my experience. Good luck in your decision!

Sarah - posted on 02/09/2011

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I'm in Canada & I know things are a little different up here....but really??? My son is 4 1/2 & in "JK"- Juniour K. The thought of holding a 5 1/2 yr. old child 'back' prior to grade 1 or 2 is rediculous! Call me old school, but shouldn't they still be fingerpainting???

Terry - posted on 02/09/2011

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Send him on. What child that age doesn't have a long attention span? I believe it is 5 - 10 minutes at a time. So send him on. No problems with social interacting or academic issues. Hallelujah! Send him on....

Julie - posted on 02/08/2011

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He's what? 5 years old?!? I teach 5th and 6th graders, even high schoolers who can't pay attention for more than 5 minutes!! I think this teacher needs to reevaluate her evaluations!Any child will have trouble staying on task for long periods of time until they are trained to do so...if you believe your son is ready for Kindergarten, then PLEASE don't hold him back!! Best of luck in whatever you decide!

Susan - posted on 02/08/2011

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I'm curious, if you're not comfortable with your child's teacher's abilities or trust or respect them enough to at least consider their opinions, shouldn't you look for other options? We don't always see eye-to-eye, but I certainly respect the teachers and principal at my daughter's school, which is why I chose to send her there.

Sherri - posted on 02/08/2011

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Kristen as far as academically her teachers do know her best especially if she is spending extended periods of time with those teachers.

Idella - posted on 02/08/2011

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I had the same problem with my son in kindergarden. He did ok but couldn't read on a second grade level like the other kids who also went to the same private school for pre-k . I let them hold him back and when I changed private schools, because I moved found out my son has ADD , a reading comprehension problem. along with a growth problem and Muscular Dystrophy. Why the other school never picked it up on the ADD or the reading comprehension problem made me wonder if leaving him back was money motivated. I paid more because I didn't get the discount that came with being a graduate of their pre-k. But when I asked about him having a learning disability I was snubbed and told parents are always looking for some excuse. WELL NOW IN 8TH GRADE HE IS ON THE HONORS LIST. With a little help my son has exceeded even the expectations of his IEP. On nationwide testing he scored higher than kids with no problems in his school. So no I dont take teachers word for what any of my children academic needs may be. They dont know everything about my child...

Susan - posted on 02/07/2011

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I think you need to balance what the teacher says with your feelings. The teachers have gone through the education to know what is expected of your child the following year and is trained to see things that you as a parent may not. Of course, you are the parents and you need to make the decision because you know your child the best. If you're not understanding why the teacher recommended this, ask for clarification so you can make the best decision in your son's interests. It's true that pretty much all kids have trouble paying attention and this is something schools and teachers take into consideration. There are more than just academic reasons for holding a child back. I've been told if there's reason to hold a child back, it's better to do it early. First and foremost, I would definitely sit down with the teacher and get more information. It's an important decision, you need to make an informed decision.

Bonnie - posted on 02/07/2011

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If he is doing well overall, I don't see why he should have to repeat Pre-K. Many children at the age of 4 and 5 still have a low attention span. He should improve with that naturally over the next couple of years.

DAWN - posted on 02/07/2011

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Just wondering, how old is your son? Will he be an older or a younger "5" when he starts Kindergarten? My experience is that schools are just not geared towards helping small boys (4-7) succeed. Most very bright boys have difficulty sitting still. You have to be concerned about him "getting bored" but also about him becoming a "non-leaner" because the act of sitting still and learning things that come easy to him makes "learning" seem like a chore. I homeschool and have a very intellegent boy and a girl of average intellegence (of course I don't tell them this). My girl would be fine in whatever grade, whenever. My boy would have floundered in school, especially if he was the youngest. I would not hold your child back unless he is very young (birthday within a couple months of the cut off) but I would possibly explore other options. Are there any Montessori programs in your area? (of course cost might be a factor). Is it possible for him to go to a 1/2 day Kindergarten at a church? These are usually more affordable. He could learn what he needed to for 1st grade without the long, tedious day that would stifle his natural ability to learn. Just a thought. You can always hold him back in Kindergarten if necessary. That being said, I know several moms who had these conversations with their teachers. Most who followed the teacher's advise were glad that they did. Good luck!

Lynn - posted on 02/07/2011

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This is such an individual situation. The teacher may have a valid point and keeping him back may be to his benefit, or it may not help him at all. If it were me, and I felt he was ready, I would go ahead and send him to kindergarten with the understanding that if he is not adjusting well early on, he can go back to pre-k in Oct or Nov.

[deleted account]

I'd seriously consider the advice from the teacher, but in the end... if YOU think your child is ready then I would send him on to K and realize that he may end up needing to repeat there.

I didn't have this precise issue as the preschool teachers weren't reccommending we hold our girls back, but since they are December born it WAS on our minds. We ended up sending them on to K at 4.5 and they're currently 4th graders who haven't had any academic or social/behavior problems so far. I will also add that MOST of the kids that are near their age that went on to K.... repeated K.

LaToya - posted on 02/04/2011

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Thank you everyone. Your replies are helpful. We do challenge our son more at home, but I think I will ask his teacher to challenge him more as well. He loves learning as much as playing, I just hope he always feels that way!

Brandi - posted on 02/04/2011

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I think your child is bored, and needs to go to kindergarten because he is not being challenged enough. My child was the same way, and he is off the charts with intelligence. Send him to kindergarten, if it turns out he has to repeat kindergarten, so what.

Megan - posted on 02/04/2011

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Sherri, I certainly didn't mean to imply she should go against the teacher's recommendations...I have the utmost respect and trust in my children's teachers. They are with my children 30+ hours a week, so their view carries a lot of weight. But it if there's a semester left to go, that's a long time in a four year old's life and plenty of time to grow. That's my two cents, at least ;-)

Sonia - posted on 02/03/2011

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Repeat pre-k, what kind of school system do you have in the States? Let the kid go to real school before you start flunking him. Not a good way for a kid to start enjoying school. If he's going well academically, the behaviour will follow because he is challenge. The attention time for a 4 years old is 4 minutes, they should be playing at that age not paying attention in class. If he's going to repeat pre-k, keep him at home and let him be a boy and play

Sherri - posted on 02/03/2011

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Parents are strongly recommended to follow their teachers recommendations. They know your child best and know what will be expected of them next year. They know if your child will struggle or excel. They are not recommending anything to hurt you or your child. They are seriously trying to do what will benefit your child best. You can do what you choose but I strongly strongly advocate listen to his teacher.

K. - posted on 02/03/2011

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I totally agree with Megan. If he's doing as well as his teacher says he is then he's probably bored. Ask her to start challenging him a little more and see if his attention gets more focused. I wouldn't have him repeat pre-K though. My 5 year old is in pre-K and she still walks around with her head in the clouds and I wouldn't have it any other way. She's a kid and she seems to enjoy it up there. I'm sure you're son will be fine moving on to kindergarten in the fall. =)

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