Kindergarten continues to be such a challenge. When we left St. Somewhere's back at the end of October, we didn't know exactly what we were going to do, moving forward. We knew that we needed to get him out of a bad situation but could not work on a trial-and-error method when it came to our son's education.
Our wonderful preschool was piloting a Kindergarten transition program, primarily for kids whose birthdays fall in the later half of the year. Some of these kids would graduate to first grade but many of them would move on to traditional kindergarten.
The pros were many. The head teacher is his pre-k teacher from last year, whom he loved and who loves him. It was in the school where he (and we) felt eminently comfortable. It was a small class - an 11:1 ration plus a full time aid. His teacher felt comfortable that she had the bandwidth to teach HRH at his level while still spending enough time with the majority of the class.
The cons, we considered to be primarily social. He wasn't going to be with a true peer group. But we figured we could overcome that through play dates and other activities with kids his own age.
We knew it wasn't optimal but we couldn't make a rushed, uninformed decision, move him to another unknown, and risk failing him again. So we did it. In the meantime, we had the luxury of making an informed decision and ultimately opting to give our public school a try in first grade. Insert irony here.
Overall, HRH has been very happy to be back there, as have we. Two of the kids were in his class last year, everyone welcomed him with open arms. HRH was already reading. He is a leader among the group. This could only help his self-esteem, right?
What we didn't fully take into account was the necessity of being challenged, not just by the work but by his peers. HRH is the oldest by quite a few months, much of the work he is doing now, he did on a slightly lesser basis last year. In short, HRH knows all the answers.
Like many a six-year-old boy, he's long on impulsivity and short on patience. When there's something to be read, an answer to be given, HRH can't help but yell it out. And while he is given special attention and consideration, he of course spends a good deal of his day functioning within the group. He's bored. How much more bored must he be when he's being asked to hold his answers, take his turn, let others take a try?
We're trying different solutions; a sticker chart, a journal, daily pep-talks by mom and dad, frequent meetings with the teacher. It's gotten to the point where I call for HRH and he says, "it's not about school again, is it?" My poor boy isn't doing anything out of the ordinary or "wrong." He does need to learn focus and patience and self-restraint.
So we talk about it. Constantly. It's affecting his self-esteem and certainly his enthusiasm for school. Andy and I have independently reached the conclusion that we need to let go of some of this stuff. The teacher has told us there's nothing more she can teach him academically to prepare him for first grade. It's disheartening and it's frustrating. For all of us. It's not going to break him, it's not permanent.
But my child isn't entirely happy, so neither am I.