I just read yet another article on holding kids back a year in school. While this is not an option for us in New York City, where the cut-off date for public schools is a strict December 31st, reading pieces like this still leaves me wondering if we are doing the right thing by sending our just-turned-six-year-old to first grade this fall.
Our son is bright, but on the younger side of the classroom. Many of his classmates will be turning seven mid-year, and already have stronger reading and writing skills. Jasper has struggled a bit with fine-motor skills, like holding his pen correctly for writing. He has trouble sitting still, and this year, in first grade, there will be even less time for boisterous activity like the playground or gym class to help work the energy out. Will he be able to keep up, and flourish? Or will he be frustrated by the pace of the classroom and left behind?
We’ve discussed all these issues with his teachers and our school administrators; they feel our son is ready for first grade. And yet still, the doubt. It’s not just academics. As Pamela Paul, the author of The New York Times piece, writes, “A 6-year-old wielding a light saber can be awfully intimidating to a boy who still sleeps with his teddy.”
One mother quoted echoed our concerns: ““There will be boys in his class who are a year or more older than him. They’ll be bored in class and then the bar will be set higher, and the kids who are the right age will find that they can’t keep up.”
Are we good parents working within the system to make sure he is taken care of? Or do we find a way to pay for private school and try to hold him back?
Where is your guardian angel when you need her?