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Should Our Son Skip Kindergarten?

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: Our son is five years old and will be entering K-5 this year. He has been in preschool since he was three years old. He currently reads at about first to second grade level. Last year his teacher recommended he be tested in order to be moved to the first grade. What's your opinion?

A: You know best what your son is ready for--cognitively, emotionally, physically, and socially. There is no reason to feel that one teacher's recommendation or a test should determine the appropriateness of either kindergarten or first grade for your boy. There certainly is no need to rush his childhood simply because he might be able to handle the academics of first grade. As you know, all areas of a child's development must be considered when making these decisions. I am a big believer in a child having a nurturing kindergarten experience. Not as a preparation for first grade, but as a stimulating experience unto itself.

You can always supplement his kindergarten experience by offering him enriching reading and enjoyable academic experiences. If he is bored and/or unhappy with kindergarten, then you can reevaluate your decision. I'm not saying that first grade would be absolutely inappropriate. I'm asking what is to be gained by it. Trust your knowledge of your child to guide your decision.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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