Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pre-K or K...?

So Lilly is a summer baby, birthday June 20, 2006. She'll turn 5 this summer (right before I turn 30 and Jon turns 35!) and so we're getting ready for Kindergarten.

Or are we?

We found our great Catholic school in Maryland that she'll start at in August, and in theory she can go into Kindergarten or we can hold her back and do pre-K.

We had to meet the other day with a NY psychologist at a local school to do her IEP for next year, even though we're moving. And I mentioned that we were leaning towards doing another year of pre-K before Kindergarten.

And the psychologist was saying how in her opinion, since so many kids aren't even coming from being in school, and Lilly's doing so well in so many areas, why would we hold her back? Even though Lilly has delays in some areas, in her words Lilly will "catch up" when she starts kindergarten.

I understand what she's saying, but I know Lilly. Trust me, Lilly is brilliant. But it's unfair to Lilly to say that she'll just catch up in certain areas. The beauty of raising her is to let her guide us on what she can do and what she needs help with (or what we need patience with). In so many things, she will catch on just a few months later, she'll take her time, and she'll do it perfectly.

This is not to say that we don't work with Lilly. Oh my goodness. Since she was 2 weeks old she was in therapy. She's had speech, OT and PT since she was born. She did music therapy and music classes. She's done ballet and hip-hop, swimming and gymnastics. She's even done hippotherapy (horse back riding). She's been in day care and preschool since she was 6 months old. She's had tons of play dates and friends, and her parents work with her nonstop on educational activities.

In some ways, we have total faith that Lilly will be the best Lilly she can be. And in some ways, we give her every opportunity to strengthen her skills, encourage her growth in every area.

I do think that Lilly might be perfectly fine in Kindergarten. But no, I don't think she's a kid that will just "catch up" with the entire kindergarten curriculum with no issues. We've worked with her nonstop and she is where she is - bright, fun, smart - but with delays in some areas. Sometimes a person just needs to learn and develop at their own pace, and no amount of intervention can circumvent that.

So we're going to do Pre-K next year, and give Lilly an extra year to fine-tune her skills. She knows her alphabet perfectly, and her shapes pretty well, but she needs more time to work out her colors and her numbers. She's social and is a great classroom kid (she knows and follows the rules, anticipates what's coming next in the schedule) but she can use an extra year to work on her speech and communication.

I'm happy with where she is - and trust me, she's a joy - but there's no reason to rush her. She'll start kindergarten being the oldest instead of the youngest, but she'll have confidence and be off to a great start next year.

1 comment:

Becca said...

Steve and I were having a similar conversation today - Samantha is only 20 days older than Lilly, but we're putting her in Kindy in the fall. Do we expect her to be able to keep up with the other kids? No, not at all. But we figure we're going to push for an aide, and if she does great, we can phase the aide out. And if she just can't keep up, we can have her repeat Kindy. She's doing Jr. Kindy already at her private school, and doing well. Seriously, though, were these girls twins in another life???

(sorry, using the open id option to sign in, since I'm at work logged into my Google work account and don't feel like having to switch back and forth)