Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shows You What I Know!


Remember how I said that I was sure that Paprika would get recommended for Kindergarten and not Developmental Kindergarten (DK) for next year?

Well, I was wrong! We got the letter from the school district yesterday, and out of the two hundred kids tested across the entire district, they chose 38 kids for the Developmental Kindergarten program. Paprika was one of them.

We said we would listen to the evaluation of the elementary school. Yesterday, I had a long phone conversation with the teacher who evaluated her and who is in charge of the committee that makes the decision process. I just wanted to hear what she had to say, and see if it meshed with what I know as a parent.

The child she described really did sound like Paprika. There was nothing in her report that sounded "off" to me or raised a red flag.

So, now we have two opinions- the school district's and Paprika's preschool teachers, who all say that she needs an extra year before Kindergarten.

We are still weighing what we will do, but we are definitely leaning towards taking that Developmental Kindergarten spot. The only downside is that the DK classes have mostly boys...this year's class has 18 boys and 2 girls (because generally boys need the extra year more than girls). So, that is factoring into our decision, since Paprika gravitates towards girls as friends and it is hard for me to think of her being in a class with all boys.

Oh, such a hard decision! I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions since yesterday. First I was in shock (surely there had been a mistake?!). Then I was was sad. Then I felt like a terrible parent- if only I had done this or that, she would be ready. Now I'm creeping toward acceptance.

I realize it's not my fault, or anyone's fault...she's just not ready. She has a Fall birthday, so in most states, she wouldn't be eligible for Kindergarten this year anyway! California has a December 1st cut-off for kindergarten, unlike many states which are July 1st or August 1st.


It was kind of funny because when I dropped Paprika off at preschool yesterday, all the parents were chatting like they always do. The other parents had their kids evaluated, and none of their kids got into the DK program.

One of the little girls in Paprika's class is deaf and visually impaired, and she did not get into the DK program. So, those parents who still want to give their child an extra year before Kindergarten are all paying to send their kids to private Pre-K classes next year...and are paying $700/month to do so, and fretting over waitlists and whether or not they will even get in!

When they heard Paprika got accepted to the elementary school's DK, they were as shocked as I was! Here, a little girl who is deaf and can't see very well did not get in, but Paprika did?! What?!!!

After talking to the DK teacher on the phone, I found out that many parents want to put their kids in DK, but don't get the spot. These parents re-petition for more testing, and ask to be reconsidered, but it doesn't change the committee's decision.

So, for us to have that DK spot that everyone wants, we are really in the catbird seat. The best thing for us to do is keep it, enroll her, and if she doesn't need DK or if it's not a good fit, then we can move her into regular Kindergarten...and someone in the regular Kindergarten will switch with us because the DK spots are coveted.

All I have to say, how things have changed from 25 years ago! When I started first grade, at age five, no one batted an eyelash about any of this stuff. But, I guess now Kindergarten is the new first grade- and the expectations are so much higher academically, it's just a different world.

So, basically, Paprika will do Developmental Kindergarten next year. It's half day (just like the regular kindergarten) and covers the same material...just at a slower pace. Then the following year, she will do regular Kindergarten (also half-day), or she can also get bumped up to First Grade if they think she's ready.

The teacher said that the academics are not the issue with Paprika, it is really the emotional/social stuff. So, having this extra time will allow her to develop more emotionally/socially, gain more confidence in group settings, and catch up to her peers in that way.

One mom said to me..."You have a choice. She can either be a caboose or she can be an engine. If you push her when she's not ready, she will be a caboose. Wait a year? Engine."

So, gosh, it has just been hard. I would definitely be putting her in Kindergarten if it weren't for the evaluations telling me she is not ready. I asked the teacher/evaluator how often she had been wrong in her assessmet. She said that in the 20 years she's been doing this, she was wrong once...and they moved the kid to Kindergarten.

So, I am not going to let my emotions cloud what is best for Paprika. I was so excited for her to go to Kindergarten in the Fall. I know she'll still get to go...she's just lucky and gets an extra year to enjoy her life before "big school" starts. :-)


In other news, my morning sickness is back with a vengeance. I thought I was through the worst, but no...not even close. Last night I threw up so hard that I thought my internal organs came out. (How is that for a visual?!) Mr. Mustard has been working a lot, and I am just trying so hard to be functional.

The only thing that I have been able to keep down is McDonald's (#10 value meal!) - which prior to pregancy would have horrified me (I was basically eating vegan). But now...seriously...I think about McD's from the time I wake up in the morning. Whatever works, right?! ;-)

My next ultrasound is a week from today- I am looking forward to seeing Pavenzia (Paprika's name for the baby) - and am praying that the Subchorionic Hemmorage is no longer an issue! Praying for a healthy, strong baby!


ahisma said...

Goodness, I'm knee deep in exam prep and clearly missed some big news - Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!

On the school thing - I sent Paige (fall birthday) to Kindergarten and have totally regretted it ever since. The caboose / engine analogy is right on. She does okay, but I think that she really would have excelled if I had held her back a year. Total mom guilt here.

mum2abby said...

Praying for that little baby of yours!!

And, DK won't be all that bad, it'll be great for her. Now they'll be closer grade wise...and she'll get some extra time with you :)

becca said...

Praying for a great visit for you tomorrow! I'll be pestering Devon for an update, I'm sure!

Sandra said...

Wow, I missed the announcement too! Congrats on your pregnancy! How fun for me to find out today, when my other friend Erika just had her baby boy this morning.

On the DK thing... we aren't there yet so I am completely knowledgeable about the issue. It sounds to me like you are doing the best you can for Paprika though by going the DK route. I'm sure that if it turns out she is actually ready for regular kinder, she will demonstrate that pretty quickly once DK begins.

Elizabeth said...

Praying for good news!!!!!

I think she will be amazing in DK. I'm also shocked like you that they suggested it for her, but I know she'll do so great! The cut-off here is Sept 1, and Aidan's bday is the 29th... he's doing an extra year before starting, too. <3

Tina said...

First of all, congratulations on the new pregnancy! Very exciting news!!

I'm an elementary school teacher and taught k for a few years. I have seen many students who have fall bdays and although they do fine, another year to mature would have made a huge difference for them. On the other hand I have also had many students who have waited to start k and they are much more confident children and their parents have never regretted it. Also, think about 10 years from now when she is in high school. If you wait, it could make a huge difference in her decision making at that point in her

Just some things to think about. I hope you start feeling better soon!! xx

Jus said...

We have decided that all of our summer birthdays officially start older. The decision was first based on our experience with private schools before deciding to home school. Most private schools have older classes so while "school shopping" we were advised that all spring and summer birthdays wait as it is easier to be one of the older students then the absolute youngest. We implemented this with home school as well. It means nothing for level of work as we have children who are several years above grade level in one subject or another and right at or even one below in another but it DOES effect when hey go away to college. I figure they can do work at whatever level they are academically but I would prefer they have that extra 8-10 months (depending on child) before leaving home and being on their own in order to prepare for life.
We have never regretted the decision.

waikikimum said...

Allowing Paprika to have another year will be the best thing you ever did. My daughter repeated year one due to ill health and social issues. She is 1o now and no different from the next kid. No-one even knows she repeated. She was the youngest in the class and just not ready!!! Rest assured you really are doing the right thing- let her enjoy being a little girl for a while longer they grow up way too quick. Home all goes well with your new precious gift.

Jerilyn said...

24 yrs ago my oldest was recommended to redo 1st grade, it hurt me, i was sad, why was my child not what the others were, i believed i knew best, i was the mom, i knew my child & refused to have him redo 1st what a bad choice on my behalf..he did redo 5th grade..struggled & struggled most of his school years till he finally gave up & dropped put at 16. It is hard for us as parents to hear our child is not where we see them..thought we knew best...but the teachers see it & know youngest started school 5 yrs ago, I had told myself, whatever is said, I will follow no matter what. Ur a great mom..this will be great for her, it will all be greatly successful & in a couple years you'll look back & know the best decision for ur child was made.

Sheila said...

Go with the DK 1/2 day program. I also think it is a great way to introduce little boys into her play circle. Boys are hardwired differently than girls... they are direct and usually kinder. She's going to need to know how to play with children who communicate and think differently than she does.
I also have an inkling that "Baby Dear" may be wearing blue jeans.
If I'm correct she'll be more familiar with what they are all about when "Baby Dear" arrives.

My life said...

My daughter is very smart and bright but also has a fall birthday. We decided to hold her back for DK when she was 5 and sent her to Kindergarten this year as a 6 year old. She has thrived so well and we really felt that we had made the best decision for her. Still praying for the SCH and hopefully the morning sickness will subside quickly :)

Stephanie said...

Erika, josie's birthday is aug 24th and the cut off is sept 1st so technically she qualifies for kindergarten next year but we have decided to do pre-k next year. I went back and forth and back and forth! I talked to her preschool teachers and my friends who are K teachers etc and we decided that no one regrets giving their kids another year of prep for school. I know girls mature faster but paprika seems like josie in that she will help other students if she is done with her work quickly. Another thing to think about was college! We would have been putting our 17 year old in college!! Scary! She will do great either way!!!

just us said...

My son was in the same situation, he didn't fit socially. Really he still doesn't but he is very bright and hopefully in college he will find a way to fit in. The problem with my son is he talks down to his classmates, he is really bright but can make people around him feel stupid. I don't regreat waiting the year. He actually tested ahead of schedule but I knew that socially it would be a disaster. Paprika will do fine in DK or if you decide K. I also have a August birthday and I wish I would have started a year later. I have struggled with school my entire life. Since I was the youngest in class I would hang out with older students which led to many poor choices on my part. I wasn't ready. Good Luck. My sis also had the same problem with her pregnancy and she delivered a 9 lb 9 oz full term baby. Thinking of your family.

Erin said...

Oh Erika! That is such a tough decision! But I have to say that EVERYONE here who has a Fall birthday waits a year for Kindergarten. It's crazy. It's like the thing to do now because like you said, Kindergarten is now like First grade. So much is expected of them. I would totally wait a year to send her. She will be so much better off in the long run. I can understand though why that would be such a hard decision. Nice that you don't have to pay for pre K stuff though! My girls' pre school is $800 a month! We live in a crazy state, don't we!?

Oh and I was going to tell you -- Barbie and the Diamond Castle! One of my all time favorite (right up there with Princess and the Pauper). Great music, fun little story. A favorite of ours for sure. :)

Saving Cents Mommy said...

Wow, it sounds like her getting that spot is pretty special! We are in Texas and if you are not poor and speak spanish as your first language, you DO NOT get into pre k through the school district. We had to pay for it but it is most definitely cheaper than there. Also, you have to be 5 by sept 1 for kinder here. Good Luck, I am sure she will do great. She is so smart!

Saving Cents Mommy said...

Wow, it sounds like her getting that spot is pretty special! We are in Texas and if you are not poor and speak spanish as your first language, you DO NOT get into pre k through the school district. We had to pay for it but it is most definitely cheaper than there. Also, you have to be 5 by sept 1 for kinder here. Good Luck, I am sure she will do great. She is so smart!

Jo...x said...

i have awarded you with the sytlish blobber award. Please come over to my blog and read the rules for this award... its a pleasure to read your blog.

siri said...

We're "giving the gift" of another year to Cade. He's 2 weeks ahead of the cut off but I just didn't feel comfortable sending him, being so young. He'll attend a private Pre-K and then start at the public school at 6. I think that you've made a very wise decision keeping P back.
As for MS, well...hopefully that will subside soon!!!