Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On finding the right classroom for my child

Today Z is in kindergarten. She didn't luck into a spot in the Spanish immersion classroom, so she's in a regular class of 18 with a wonderful, experienced teacher. They line up for lunch, recess and their extra-curricular classes and they work on their letters. The goal, by the end of the year, is for each kindergartener to tie their shoes, recognize 20 sight words and write 2 simple sentences about a picture.

If you know my daughter, you know she's already reading chapter books.

I'm fortunate that her school has recognized her gifts early in the year and they're having her assessed by the gifted and talented teacher this week. We have a meeting scheduled with her teacher for Friday where they'll tell us our options, but it looks like they're going to recommend skipping her ahead to 1st grade.

After much soul-searching, I think moving her ahead a year is the right thing to do. Z conquered the kindergarten curriculum (and more) in her third year at Montessori preschool and she's the kind of kid who craves new challenges. She's already complained about being bored by "sitting and coloring" -- she'd rather read or just play with the great toys in the classroom. She knows a handful of 1st graders and her teachers agree she's ready socially.

The only drawback is her size. In the 10th percentile for her age, she'll look positively puny next to 6 and 7 year old 1st graders. Once again, she'll complain about "always being in the front row for the class picture." Yes, I'll be swimming against the cultural currents, which seem to favor "redshirting" children so that they'll be the biggest/strongest/smartest.

It's been interesting going through this process while reading Monica Holloway's parenting memoir Cowboy & Wills: A Love Story. Although on the face of it the challenges Monica Holloway deals with raising a son with high-functioning autism are quite different from mine, we both see the incredibly important role school (as well as the companionship of a wonderful dog) plays in a child's success.

In the meantime, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I received my copy of Cowboy & Wills for free as a part of the From Left to Write online book club. The link to the book is an affiliate link.