junior kindergarten

tegwynAugust 19, 2007

My four year old daughter is not enrolled in the junior kindergarten class at the public school. My husband and I thoroughly discussed the pros and cons of the program and came to a mutual decision. School starts in 2 weeks and the reaction we are getting from members of the community is starting to annoy us. (small town, only one school) I am starting to become quite short with the inquiries. She is my child and I feel that kingergarten is adequate in preparing her for grade school. I don't believe she needs to go to JK to get ready for kindergarten to get ready for grade 1. (Junior Kindergarten is still a new concept here and this year will be its third year) We have our daughter involved in several activities and socialization with other children is not a concern. Has anyone else experienced the JK/Kindergarten decision?

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never heard of junior kindergarten.
Is that just another name for pre-school?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 1:33PM
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Junior K is a great program, in my opinion, for kids who are beyond preschool intellectually but not yet mature enough for regular kindergarten. My son did a year or Jr.K. Preschool is great for preparing kids for the added structure and expectations they will encounter in kindergarten. I think it is useful for kids who are very shy or don't have much contact with other kids. This sounds a lot like public preschool. If your child is enrolled in some fairly structured activities where she learns to share, take turns, form a line, eat in a group setting, put her play things away, etc., I wouldn't worry about it.

K teachers can tell which kids have some preschool time behind them for the above reasons.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 1:38PM
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By me we call it pre-k. My son has an Oct. b-day so he could not start kindergarten till he was almost 6. He went to pre-school when he was 3 & 4, because I worked at the pre-school/daycare so it was cheap.

I did enroll him in a seperate pre-k program when he was almost 5 till he started kindergarten the following year. I wanted him to be in a program that was more structured-the one I worked at allowed kids to skip group time if they would rather play blocks or something and I wanted him to be prepared for when he did not have choice. Plus out here many kids know all their letters and numbers before even starting k, so I wanted him to be ready.

I think that it prepared him well for the structure of kindergarten, plus he did really well in school after that. He was reading at the beginning of kindergarten. And now he is starting 3rd grade and school has always come easy to him. He often asks me to do math stuff with him that he hears kids in older grades are starting.

But it is your choice, not the choice of others in your community. Can I ask what cons you saw in enrolling your daughter in jr.K?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 3:56PM
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My DD is now 20 and Junior Kindergarten was around then. My story is a bit different in that we decided to hold her back instead of sending her to kindergarten so she went to PreK for two years. She did not graduate from HS until she was 19. At the time, everyone told us that we were making a BIG mistake but I knew my kid and she was NOT ready for school. My point is that we did what we believed was best and so should you. My daughter is in her second year of college and when she graduated from HS she thanked us. She said she did not feel ready to start college so she was glad that she had another year to make her plans. Trust your instincts and your daughter will be fine. As for what to say, I just told people that it was our decision and they were not a part of this discussion. Usually shut them up.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 8:57PM
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I put my first two kids in preK. Different schools. One I loved (but we moved away), one I thought was a waste of time. After than I decided that if I didn't find a program that I really felt was better than what I could teach them, it wasn't worth it. I woudln't send them to preK just b/c other parents did or out of fear that they would be behind. I decided to trust myself.

So I didn't put my youngest two kids in preK. Most of the questions I would get would be from other parents who were thinking of not sending their children and wanted to know what I was doing to prepare my kids for school. So we just discussed it.

But once in a while someone would cross the line into being nosey and accuse me of not providing my children with proper education. Whatever. I would tell those people I am rather competent in my alphabet and numbers and capable of teaching them to my children. And I would tell them that at the age of 4 I think it's best if my children are socialized by me, not their peers.

All four of them have started kindergarten in pretty much the same place, allowing for age differences. I mean, because of when their b-days are, two of them were almost 6 when they started. They were more eager. The other two have summer b-days and only just turned 5 weeks before school started. Those months make a big difference in independence. So the youngest started K two weeks ago, he only just turned 5. Even so, he knows what his classmates know, had no separation issues, and behaves. He also knew his way around the school, despite how large it is, b/c he spent so much time there w/me for his siblings classes. I really didn't think preK was what he needed. I think with our hectic, full house, he needed the quiet time one-on-one with me during the day.

My long winded point is be confident in your knowledge of your child and make the best choice for her/him, regardless of what other parents are doing or saying.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 8:59AM
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You should still inquire as to the skills the K will expect of your child. My DDs prek used the Dinalean model of writing, because they knew it was expected in K, and also did computer, phonics, and math exercises that prepared them for K.

You still want to make sure the child is prepared, as K is definitely not what it was when I was that age.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:38AM
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Pre-K is the new kindergarten, where once kindergarten was the new 1st grade.

Personally, I am very disappointed that my son and his wife have chosen not to send my GS to pre-k. I believe he will be missing out on the structure and academics of school that the majority of his kindergarten peers will not.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 12:07AM
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I think preschool is a great thing, so I think this would be also. In my family I have seen a huge change in a child's behavior when they are placed in day care and REMOVED from the mother's domain. My nephew was a brat at home, yelling and screaming, etc, etc, etc. I saw him after a few weeks in day and he was a totally different child, quiet and obedient.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 1:39PM
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My DS, I believe, was/is autistic. That diagnosis wasn't available 18 years ago. He had two years of excellent pre-school special ed much to the horror of my ex and the in-laws. One of those years he had head start AND special ed. In my opinion he still was not ready for K so I had him take Transition K. It's made so much of a difference, I think, on how he's turned out.

Today he is in his third year toward his mechanical engineering degree, paid for by himself. He is a brilliant genius who can fix anything. Just the other day, he replaced the steering column on his/DH's truck. He's never done anything like that before. Everything electrical works perfectly! And saved us hundreds of dollars. He fixes our plumbing, electrical, everything.

The summer of ninth grade, he rewired a lot of the outlets in our house and did other electrical work around the house after just one semester of an electronics class. Then he was hired by his friend's church to re-wire the church. I was apprehensive because of his lack of experience, but he did an excellent job (and the place hasn't burned down yet! LOL)

Before pre-school, I could tell he would have been angry, unreachable, unteachable, unsociable, a dropout and a hoodlum. Pre-school saved him. And he's still close friends with about a dozen of his school friends (who ironically are going into different engineering programs across the country). Only one friend stayed local and he and DS carpool to classes and work.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 3:25PM
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Our town started Pre-K in 1985. Coincidentally, the year my dd was 4. It was a big decision to make. Previous to that, our town offered a free, co-op preschool--2 half days a week, with parents helping out in the classroom. But between age 3 and 4, I had a big decision to make. Did I want her going to school every day? at age 4?

I'm SO glad I decided to send her to PreK. The town prek is free, and coordianted academically with the town kindergarten. Since now reading and basic addition is taught in K, it's assumed that students entering have met certain academic requirements. The preK and K in our town are a seamless whole--one leads right into the other.

With it being new at that time, there were a lot of parents who opted to send their children to private preschool programs, thinking they would be a better choice than the town program. Unfortunately, their children were way behind in kindergarten--and the kids who didn't go to any preschool at all were really lost. There were a lot of discussions kindergarten year, about how much the prek had done for those who went to it. The families who used the pay preschools that year sent their younger kids to the town preK, I should add.

I'm sure the results depend upon the program, the town, the teachers--but these days, when kids are expected to be ready to learn to read, to learn addition and subtraction in kindergarten, it's pretty vital, IMO, that they have a really good foundation before they get there. PreK, at least in our town, isn't just for socialization, it's a serious step on the academic ladder. And in all honesty, many of those who didn't go to the town prek struggled, many had go to transitional 1st grade before going to 'real' 1st grade because they simply weren't ready.

Now, if you feel your child isn't ready for that kind of intense learning just yet, perhaps the best solution would be to keep her out of school this year, and send her to pre-K next year, but I'd be really hesitant to keep her out of preK, and then send her to kindergarten without the necessary foundation.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 8:46PM
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I taught pre-K for 20 years, so, of course I think it's the way to go. There are things the children learn in pre-K to give them a head start on K. K is now what 1st grade used to be. Pre-K is what K used to be. A year is a long time to socialize and simply learn the routines involved in school and some self discipline. I'd hate to have to cram all that into K w/o the benefits of learning it in pre-K. If you get a really good teacher, your childs' self esteem will be boosted!!!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 6:36PM
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you should find out what is expected of your child in preparation for kindergarten. where we are, all are reading midway through k. there is a very strong emphasis on site words (a very long list) at the preK level. most schools i've had experience with have very lofty standards. it's not at all like when i was in school. be aware that there is the also the possibility of placing more pressure on your dd later if her peers skills are further along. many schools of thought on this obviously but you should feel comfortable in your decision ...not "short" with others in defense of your choice. my four and five year old both started a "beginners" program at age 3. it was the best choice for us. i'm sure many would think we were pushing them out the door too soon. we don't really care what others might think. we do what we feel is best... i place no judgements on others in the hopes they respect us. GL, your dd will do well as long as her parents love her.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 1:39AM
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I know a few parents who, like you, made the decision not to enroll their children in "any" school until they went to actual kindergarten. I wondered how they would do when compared to other children who had been in preschool at ages 3 and 4. I thought perhaps they would be missing out on important early learning that is done in pre-K, along with all of the socialization, etc. All of them have done very well and have been well adjusted, and top learners in their age group. all are in honors courses and are now in middle school and high school.

So my thoughts were wrong. I thought they would be behind all of the other children. I thought they would have trouble socializing. I thought they missed out on all of the things the other children were doing in pre-school. But instead, all of these kids are honor students. They have never had trouble socializing. They are well liked, and great kids!

So do what you believe is right for your child. If you spend time with her, and go over the basics, she will be just fine. I will mention that several kindergarten children (it seems mostly girls for some reason) will start school reading, so if you can get her started with the simple "BOB" book series, or whatever ones you both like, she will be off to a good start, and feel good about herself!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:18PM
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