Monday, December 14, 2009

Question #1

We have two questions that we are pondering and need to resolve shortly. They both concern Paul our gorgeous almost five year old. I have decided to deal with them one at a time because that is all my very full brain can handle

Question #1 is should he go to kindergarten in the fall or remain in preschool another year? There are goods and bads to both answers here. I see this as one of those things where you are darned if you do and darned if you don`t

He will be five the end of this month therefore age wise he falls pretty much in the middle of the kids who will be in kindergarten. Physically he is rather small and given the size of his birth parents and the fact that he has FAS he may always be small so he will have to learn to live with that.

Academically he is no where kindergarten ready. In this area another year of preschool may do him some good. On the other hand it is not likely that he will ever catch up with his peers in this area and so why worry about this in the first place?

Preschool is only half day, four days a week. I think he is ready for and needs more structure to his day so an all day program that kindergarten offers would provide that. If they could make his preschool program all day (we were able to do this for one of our other kids) but with budgets and staffing cuts this may not be possible. Although he will pretty much need the same services either way.

I really like the preschool teacher he has and has had for the past two and a half years. However if he remains in preschool there is not guarantee that he would be able to stay where he is even though they have his needs figured out and he is doing well there.

Socially he could really grow spending another year in preschool. They are moving at a pace that he is pretty comfortable with and he is finally learning how to play st least some of the time.

I am certainly ready to have him in school all day so I could spend some time doing some other things. I have had at least one infant, toddler, or preschooler at home for the past twenty-four years and I think that it is about time I retire from that phase in life.

With all of these things to ponder I think my brain will get a pretty good workout before this one is settled.


  1. Just my opinion here, but we had the same situation 10 years ago. My very small, FASD son turned 5 in April of '99. He wasn't really potty-trained completely (still way too many accidents) so for us it was a no-brainer - give him another year to mature. So we did. He still ended up repeating kindergarten because he was so immature by the end of the year. So, now he's two years behind his peers in class. He's still the smallest kid in 8th grade by ALOT. At 15, he looks about 10 so the size thing is never going to go away, no matter how many times he's held back (2 is the max, the state will push him through at this point). Unfortunately, because he had so many educational deficits and yet hadn't been exposed to age-appropriate material, he still didn't qualify for many services. If we had to do it over again, we would have started him at 5 and the services would definitely have been available and offered to us much sooner. He's currently in an EI classroom and several teachers/counselors/school social workers have commented in front of him that he can quit school at the end of 8th grade since he'll be 16 this April. How dumb of them, my son would never have known that, but now he does. You have to do what's right for your little guy - good luck!

  2. personally I would give him another year in preschool. I wish we would have put the girls in kindergarten rather than 1st grade when they came home, by age they should have started in 2nd grade - that was not going to work in our case. Emotionally and developmentally they are at least 3-4 years younger than their peers, right know they are a year older than their classmates and it isn't an issue. Size doesn't seem to matter and I don't feel their ages would have been an obstacle, we didn't really think it through at the time. I know the girls would have done better with the younger kids and perhaps would have fit in better academically as well. Now they really stand out with their classmates because they lack the social as well as academic skills.

  3. I think you have to take a good look at the school before you make a decision. Is kindergarten boot camp or do they still remember that young kids need plenty of time to learn and explore through play? Is there a lot of time spent doing paper and pencil work or in large group activities? Are there blocks and a play kitchen? What about an easel and plenty of manipulatives? Do kids have opportunities to learn to work with others in small groups? Do they have choices about where to work and play? Ask for a tour and try and get a feeling for their attitude about having Paul in a mainstream class. Are they eager to try or do they look on it as an inconvenience? What's their track record on following IEPs? As a practical matter,some states will not provide services under CPSE for kids who should be in kindergarten. You may not have a choice. If you do, in most cases the gift of time to be a kid is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child.