Hudson Valley Parent

November 2013

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KINDERGARTEN (Continued from Page 19) the child. This is a more important consideration for parents than it was a decade or two ago as standards for kindergarten continue to rise. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 resulted in increased standardization and expectations in kindergarten, and now the newly-implemented Common Core Standards Initiative is raising the bar once again. "In the 'new kindergarten,' academics have replaced dramatic play, socialization and outdoor curricula," explains Dr. Russo. "This lack of attention to the fostering of social skills and the increased focus on the development of academic skills represents an enormous paradigm shift in the traditional purpose of the kindergarten year." Daw agrees. "Young kindergarten kids do not have all the different skills they need to be successful in today's kindergarten. I am not sure they did even in the more developmentally-appropriate kindergarten of Lauren Dean of Poughkeepsie had never considered waiting to send her son Noah to kindergarten until his preschool teachers suggested it. After much reflection, she decided to wait the extra year to brush up on his fundamentals. 10 to 15 years ago." Preschool can help Whether or not the child has attended preschool can have a significant impact in this area. "Children who start out in Early Intervention, or go to preschool prior to kindergarten, are much more ready to meet the academic and social or emotional demands of kindergarten than those who do not," says Shamien Jansen, a 7th grade educator from Port Ewen. Jessica Jackson of Ulster Park sent her daughter Abagael to kindergarten Colleen Mulready of Esopus made the decision to send her 4-year-old son Desmond to kindergarten last year after considering the results of his kindergarten screening. By October, he was flourishing in the classroom. Our readers "My son had a number of developmental delays, including speech and fine motor, and with his late-September birthday, my husband and I made the decision to not start him in kindergarten and instead sent him to a bridge program. He is now in fourth grade and it was the best decision we ever made. Almost every year there has been another boy in the same position in his class (or who repeated an early grade). With all of the high expectations put on these children, especially with the adoption of the Common Core, he still struggles in math, even though he is the oldest in his class. I can't imagine what his struggles would be like if we had started him a year sooner. I don't know a single parent who made this decision and regretted it. We are thankful every day that we made it." — Jill McMahon, Poughkeepsie "My son's birthday is in late November. I did not hold him back, and so far, it's been fine. Often he's not the only young student in his class, as other peers went on to kindergarten at 4 years old. Like everything else, there are pros and cons. Some think if they wind up struggling in 3rd grade, then that's why. But you never know! They might have struggled regardless. I'm not a teacher, so I took his teachers' advice and sent him on. My concern was boredom, too. If he understood the curriculum, why make him do it again instead of moving forward and risk losing his interest and attention span? On the other hand, with today's high standards, maybe it can't hurt?" — Leigh Hunziker, Washingtonville "My son is an early-November baby. I held him back. Now that he is in 3rd grade, I can say that it was one of the best decisions I have made as a mama." 20 Hudson Valley Parent — Wendy Williams, Hopewell n November 2013

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