The assvice, it never ends. This morning I called a preschool to request a tour. The following is based on a true story. (Perhaps loosely, but still, based non-the-less)
“What age is your child?” the lady on the phone asks.
Uh, well, that’s a tricky question.
“It is? What’s her birthday.”
Well, see, it’s not until October but she’s really very smart and she’s already in a threes class right now and I’d really like her to continue on to preschool next year because she’s freakin’ brilliant and can not only spell her name and the name of all the presidential candidates but can also create hydrocarbons from fluoride.
“We don’t believe in allowing children to go in to the level above. It’s per WA state guidelines. Think of High School!”
(Here’s where I scratch my ass a bit and look around at my daughter running circles in a cinderella outfit. High School? Seriously?)
Yes, well, I’m sure she’ll be launching rockets to mars by High School but this fall I’d like her in a preschool class.
“We can’t do that. Socially she won’t be ready. She’ll be the youngest in her class! You need to reconsider what you’re planning for the sake of your daughter. Think of the peer pressure she won’t be mature enough to handle!”
Right, so about that tour….
“These days kids face so much more than they used to. .... Bladybladyblahhhablahbalablahlabhlabh ParentingPhilosophiesOfTheSeventiesVersusNow The HORROR.”
Um. So. I don’t think we’ll need a tour…
“Well, that’s too bad. I really think you should think these things over.”
And the thing is, my daughter really IS brilliant. I mean that not just in a “OMG! She’s so smarttttt because she’s MIINNEEEE” I mean that in a “holy crap my three year old is starting to read and can count to ten in Spanish and knows more than I do” kind of a way. Socially? Yea, she probably is a little on the immature side but I’m not really pushing her over the top.
Or Am I?
I think I found a solution to this whole preschool-causing-me-heart-palpitations issue. But still, can you please give me our assvice? Because if there’s one place better than preschool teachers who’ve never even met me but who have strong opinions about how I should raise my child, it’s Teh Internets.
So.. what would you do?
(Obviously destined for greatness by the company she keeps)
OK, this is the first time I’ve left assvice on your site. Frankly your name is all over the blogs I read. I finally gave in and stuck you in my reader. (and I’m glad I did)
As a second/third grade teacher, my assvice is as follows. Leave her in threes. Then let her advance to fours. And then kinder, etc. If she is super far ahead of her classmates, then it will be very very obvious to the school system and, at that point, you could jump her to the next grade level.
Truth be told, social development is equally as important as intellect. If you stand in my class for 10 minutes you can point out the five students whom are just as smart as everyone else but a year younger. School is just harder for them.
Now that’s just one mom’s/teacher’s assvice for the day. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone else’s.
By Smiling Mom on 2008 02 11
Haa….that’s funny. Because it’s happening to you, not me.
I have no assvice. On this topic, that is. I have plenty of other things to say about other topics, so just let me know when you’d like my two cents again, k?
By AMomTwoBoys on 2008 02 11
Uh… we’re kind of radical homeschoolers here, so I have no idea. But I am righteously indignant about the assvice.
By Annika on 2008 02 11
We have early intervention which helps children with special needs etc. THey come to your home and evaluate your child. I believe they do this for gifted children as well. If you truly think she is gifted I would see if you have some service like that.
sorry, that might sound like assvice, but just trying to be helpful. good luck
By feener on 2008 02 11
Um, okay, so as the mom of a 16-year-old Junior in high school (because he was in preschool at 2 and has an October birthday, so started Kindergarten at 4), I say “Find someone who will listen and take you seriously.”
Now, though, you may need to get her some goop for her hair to get it to stick up more.
By Ree on 2008 02 11
Leslie, I think you should listen to Smiling Mom. Our oldest? He’s friggin smart. But he was the youngest in his class. His 3 year old class requested he repeat—not because of smarts but because of his maturity. It was clear he was younger than the others even though he could do everything they were doing and more.
We didn’t listen.
Then the Pre-K teacher recommended he repeat Pre-K—for the exact same reason
We didn’t listen.
So then the Kindergarten teacher recommended the same thing. And you know what? We finally listened. It was harder for him to cope with frustration than other kids in his class. Now? He’s doing so well. He reads to his classmates and is right where he needs to be socially and yeah he’s ahead academically but now he’s not coming home crying.
Give it some time. Keep her in the age range they recommend for the next few years and then see where she’s at.
By Sleeping Mommy on 2008 02 11
I started college at 17 and didn’t seem to fractured by being younger than the vast majority of my classmates.
My brother, on the other hand, was also younger than most of his classmates and was totally socially inept.
In short, depends on the kid.
Helpful, aren’t I?
By wannabe hippie on 2008 02 11
You asked for it…but in my “Middle school teacher” opinion, I almost ALWAYS lean toward the “don’t start ‘em early” camp. Of course I did say almost. There are exceptions, and you know your child better than anyone else on this planet, including Mrs. Snooty-tooty-know-it-all you talked this morning. In the end, it’s what your gut tells you.
By Southern Mom on 2008 02 11
This is tricky.
One thing that is sad about our school system is that they seem geared towards average kids. With a smart child you will struggle with that.
However, there IS something to be said for socialization.
My son was 4 days from the deadline and I have regretted not holding him back ever since. Socially, he could have used the time.
I was reading by three and very, very smart (In SOME areas). My mother and the school administration decided to have me skip the 3rd grade and it was TERRIBLE for lots of reasons.
If you decide in the future to skip your kid,it’s easier if they skip Kindergarten rather than further down the road.
By Loralee on 2008 02 11
What does her current teacher say? I’m in the hold-them-back camp with fall birthdays, for the most part. It’s interesting to watch the younger kids in my son’s class (6 months can make such a difference at that age!). One little boy who’s a younger 3—total book worm. But I think I’ve heard him say 3 words ever. SO shy.
By Marie on 2008 02 11
well, it’s probably not what you want to hear, but i’d leave her with her current class.
i was just having this discussion with my m-i-l, an early childhood educator. she pointed out that while it’s not such a big deal now, it will be a big deal later in life. in high school, her peers will be more physically developed, more mature than her. it’s totally bananas to even think about such a thing, but it makes a lot of sense.
if you feel like she’s not being challenged or educated in her current class, well…she’s only 3. and she’s smart and beautiful and loved very much by her family and friends. and sometimes that’s all they need, right?
By houseofh on 2008 02 11
I would say it depends on the kid.
Our frustrations are different: our oldest was accepted for a private school here…until they found out he wasn’t fully potty trained) I shouldn’t have said anything) and they didn’t want to (in other words) “mess him up” if he didn’t get trained by the end of the probationary period. Ok. So he was put on the “waiting list” with a (verbal) guarantee he was next in line if an opening came up later in the school year. Around christmas an opening came up… so much for the guarantee! They didn’t want him in the class because there were already “too many boys” to girls in the class and they didn’t want to change the dynamics of the classroom by bringing him in mid-year.
I won’t publish what I was thinking here, but why didn’t they just say that at the beginning, that they don’t accept kids in the middle of the year?
I am nervous about next fall because he will be “older” (he just turned four) and much BIGGER than the other kids. He is tall for being Caucasian (sp)...so put him with younger locals and well, he is huge. How is that gonna affect how people respond to him? He already gets LOOKS from people NOW who think he just turned FIVE (until they learn he is only FOUR).
I should just homeschool him, but we don’t make a good teacher-student team! anyway. Sorry to go off on your site, my friend!
My sister started college at 16 and she was FINE with it. So it depends on the kid. I would take Smiling Mom’s advice, I think…and suppliment at home! Good luck to you!
By hilary on 2008 02 11
I may not be one to talk, but I was moved ahead in school… I skipped first grade, and I have been glad EVERY DAY since then. I no longer got bored. I no longer got in trouble for talking all the time because I was so bored. I have continued to go on and excel greatly in school, and I never had a social issue… Every child has social and/or adjustment issues to some degree. You know your daughter, and if you think she is ready then she probably is.
By Heather on 2008 02 11
I felt the same way as you because the V-meister’s birthday is in the end of October and she is also a genius At first the idea that she wouldn’t be able to start Kindergarten at age five really bugged me, but I’m over it now. I tend to think she’ll have the upper hand by being the oldest in her class, anyway.
However, we ended up enrolling her in Montessori pre-school for ages 3-6 and she will be doing her Kindergarten year there (They group children according to age brackets and not individual “classes.”) So even though, at age four, she is considered a “first year student,” she is doing a lot of work at the age five level and can continue to do so at her own pace. She loves this school and we do too, so depending on how things go, we might enroll her in Montessori grade school after she’s done here.
By Rima on 2008 02 11
Thank you, y’all. Smiling Mommy, hi! :: waves :: nice to meet you!
I was also the youngest in my class and I spoke with my Mom (early childhood specialist) who said a lot of the same things y’all did. “Depends”... “personality versus maturity” ... “what do you think?”
So, uh, thank you. I’m still torn but at least I have more to think about.
Go Youngest Nerds! WOOOP!
By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 02 11
Yeah. I relate to this. My daughter’s b-day is August 4th. The cut-off date to start Kindergarten? August 1st. NO EXCEPTIONS. And I was also assured, despite my insistence on my daughter genious, that the district would not even CONSIDER moving her up a grade until the 4th grade. And even then (it was gravely stressed to me)...the woman says, “But I’ve never seen it done.”
I decided to homeschool long ago anyway. I was just checking my options. My daughter began Kindergarten work at 3 1/2 years of age. I never pushed her. She just loves to learn. I should have caught on when she could recite the entire alphabet and count to 10 by 20 months. She potty trained herself by 22 months. I didn’t really know all this wasn’t totally “normal.” She was my first child.
Anyway, I will be enrolling her in a homeschool co-op one day per week. We will try Kindergarten there. And I will continue to homeschool her as long as works for us. She asks to “do school” every day.
So all that to say…I’m surprised no one mentioned homeschooling yet. That’s my assvice.
By MGM on 2008 02 11
Keep looking and find the most advanced three’s class you can.
D-boy is in a public Montessori program that is 3-4-5k all in one room and the students all learn at their own pace—fast or slow. Perhaps a program like that?
By DBN on 2008 02 11
Dude I love these “professionals” sometimes. I had a teacher at GYMBOREE question my belief that Liam was ready for the next level class. GYM-BOR-FRIGGIN-REE!
Liam turns 3 Sept 1 and has been in preschool 2 days this year. He rose to the occaision. Call another school MAMA!
By Susie on 2008 02 12
Oh and for what it’s worth…the cut off for Kindergarten in my town is October.
By Susie on 2008 02 12
I think it really depends on personality. If she’s the kind of kid who shrugs stuff off and doesn’t get too upset about things, she may do well as a young kid in an advanced grade. If she is more easily frustrated or sensitive, however, I’d consider letting her stay with her chronological peers, because maturity definitely comes into play along with academic smarts.
(My daughter falls into the “highly gifted over-sensitive drama queen” category, so I know of what I speak!)
By Velma on 2008 02 12