Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On to 1st Grade

If you remember, last year we were debating if Hannah should start Kindergarten or not and decided to challenge her and go ahead and move onto Kindergarten.
She has done well socially and with most subjects however, reading basics have come hard for her.  When meeting with her teacher mid way through the year, she recommended that we consider Hannah repeating Kindergarten as she was behind the other kids in reading basics.
So began the conflict in my mind--send her to 1st grade or repeat Kindergarten.  Of course I wanted to do what would be the best for Hannah but what would that be? On the one hand, it is better to hold a child back at a younger age because self esteem issues come later in years.  I have also heard people say that no one regrets holding thier child back.  But..on the other hand, I want her to move ahead with her friends, and I believe that she is still catching up and will get there eventually so is it better to challenge her?
I started working a little more with her at home and developed our own "homework" based on what they were learning at school and I could see first hand where her difficulties were.  I will admit that sometimes I was frustrated because I did not know how to teach her.  However we plugged away and I started to see some improvment but always wondered if it was enough.
Standardized testing at Hannah's current school showed that she was improving throughout the year but still lagged behind in some areas.
Her current school is a private kindergarten and does not have any higher grades so I planned on switching schools either way--that way, even if she repeated it would be new to her.
Again I researched schools and wanted to find the one that was the best fit for her and for our life.  I found a great school and am excited to be sending her there.  I started working with the principal there and we did the standard testing that they do for their own students at the end of kindergarten.  Again Hannah tested in the average range but had some areas that were lower.  The principal felt that all the deficits showing up on the testing could be handled in first grade.  I also met with her current teacher who felt that Hannah had made great strides during the second half of the year and she was confident with her going to first grade also soo.........I have a first grader.
Her new school worked with me already and I am hapy with our plan.  Hannah will receive tutoring in reading this summer from her new 1st grade teacher.  I think this is great for many reasons--it will help her reading skills, she will get to know her new teacher before the first day of school, and the sessions are conducted in her new school so the environment will be familiar to her before the first day of school.  She will then have this teacher next year and this teacher is the special reading teacher for the school so she will know Hannah's abilities and be able to help her right at her level.
Everyone at her current school and her new school have been so wonderful to work with.  I am very happy and confident with our plan for her education.
Still..there is a part of me that wonders if we will face this discussion every year and as she gets older it will be more difficult to hold her back for other reasons but I guess we will cross that bridge if we have to.
For now, we are getting ready to celebrate Kindergarten graduation.


Pamela said...

I love how the new school has embraced your sweet little one and are seemingly eager to work with her so that she can reach her full potential. Great advocacy, momma!

Kimberly said...

Such a hard decision...go mama for doing all the investigating and advocating for your little one!

Kelly and Sne said...

Yes, it is a hard decision - you are essentially trying to predict the future. But with such a dedicated and involved parent as you, I'm sure that she will succeed. p.s., Given that Irina is still on the backside of the learning curve and has some pretty severe language delays, we are already planning on holding her back a year so hope to make the adjustments socially in pre-school.

Irishdrums said...

Sounds like you've really thought about this and you're getting the school, teachers and administrators involved in helping you make the right decision. You're such a good and thoughtful mom Mary. I wish all children had such good mommies to not only guide them through life but through an age and developmentally appropriate education as well, watching over her so carefully as she grows and blossoms!

Margaret and Tom said...

Yeah! You are doing all you can...and it is just such an individual decision...but I think you are making a good one for her!