Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gracie -- First Grade?

Gracie's Kindergarten teacher just called to say she really thinks our girl needs to skip Kindergarten and move into the First Grade. Gracie is the most advanced student in every area of Kindergarten learning. I'm sure that's just in her class, but as the mommy, I like to think that's of all Kindergarteners everywhere. In fact, Mrs. J said she was so advanced that last week she had Gracie read a chart to the class while she (the teacher) stepped out of the room. I think it's kind of funny to think of Gracie as the Kindergarten teacher, but at the same time, it's a little concerning. I want her to be a student, I want her to be challenged, I want her to be learning. If she's away from home all these hours of the day, I want it to be fruitful. Not just her sitting around somewhere away from me being bored.

When I called James with the news, he was clearly excited. But we need to think. We need to pray. We wonder if there will be emotional reprocussions for Bub to have his sister as his educational equal. But on the other hand, we don't want to deny her an opportunity just so her brother won't feel sad. We would have advanced him last year had we realized that was an opportunity. He was as advanced as she in Kindergarten, and spent the year getting in trouble because he was so bored. He is finally being challenged and loves the First Grade, and his love of school is reflected in his behavior. We don't want Gracie to get bored and hate school because of it or start getting in trouble.

She overheard my conversation to James, and when I discussed it with her a little further, her immediate reaction was tears and not wanting to leave Kindergarten. When I asked her why, she obviously doesn't want to leave Mrs. J, and she wants to learn the rest of the song she was learning today. I explained she can see Mrs. J anytime, and we can still learn the song. I explained all the benefits to moving on to First Grade and now she's at least open to the idea. Occasionally.

The difficulty in this situation is is this a situation where we allow her the freedom of choice for her immediate comfort, or do we, as her parents, jump on this great opportunity for her longterm well being? It won't necessarily harm her to remain in Kindergarten, but it would benefit her in so many ways to move on. Other than the minor discomfort of moving to a new classroom and getting a new teacher, there's is nothing negative about this move.

Educationally she will be benefitted, but one other thing Mrs. J pointed out is the fact that Gracie is taller than all the other children in her class. She is already the height of a first grader, and will keep up with that group of children, and not stand out as much as she would if she remained among children her age. That doesn't matter later in life, but it does in Elementary School.

James and I will talk more about it tonight, but I really think tomorrow I'll be at the school to recommend testing for advancement. I think regardless of what decision we make, this is step one before anything else.


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