In his current “class” at “school” (I use those terms very loosely, as he is four and preschool is still daycare) Alex is one of the youngest. In fact, he may be the total youngest. With a birthday at the very end of August and cutoffs around this area of September 1st for Kindergarten, I realized a while back that his age could potentially be an issue.
An “issue” only in that I am scared. I am scared that it is an issue.
As the youngest in his class at school, he isn’t the most advanced. He isn’t the fastest; he hasn’t learned the most letters; he isn’t as close to writing out full sentences as some of the other kids; he has trouble sitting still for as long as they want them to. As the kids turn 5 month by month and Alex is still closer to 4 than 5, as the teachers have approached us with concerns that he is talking too much during circle time and isn’t picking up on his writing like his classmates, I worry. The teachers aren’t particularly worried, but just the fact that they brought it to my attention makes me feel like a worrywart.
I find myself doing all of this comparison that I swore I really don’t do much of these days. And I still swear I don’t. I got over most of it when I saw, time and time again, that kids are all different! It seems so obvious, I know, but it took me a while.
And now, here I am, back to comparing. I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be worried about whether my kid is smart. I don’t want to be worried about whether he will be athletic. I don’t want to be worried that he, like me!, will be called a “chatterbox” and be removed from activities in early elementary school. I don’t want to worry that he will be too young and the teachers won’t recognize that he is young and then blame his inability to sit still on ADHD or some such nonsense.
Four year old boys don’t sit still. And four year old boys will talk to their friends if they are sat next to each other. A four year old boy will throw things. And fight. And wrestle. And scream. And my four year old will always choose building with blocks over working on his letters. Every. Single. Time.
With many months of living ahead of Alex, I see his classmates and think, “Wow! Look at them go!” But…they are older. And, quite frankly, it doesn’t even matter. Every kid is different. Even if they weren’t older, I tell myself, it wouldn’t matter that they are writing their name better. It wouldn’t matter that they can recognize the whole alphabet and Alex can’t.
So, in a few months we will be receiving information in the mail about enrolling Alex in Kindergarten. The “Big K.” Real Kindergarten, in our public school system. Real Kindergarten, with the cut off date 3 days after Alex’s birthday. And here I am, wondering. Worrying. Contemplating.
At the end of the day, I want him to do the best he can do. I want him to learn the most he can learn. I want him to be as smart as he can be. I want him to be challenged, but not to the extent that he feels stupid. I don’t ever want him to feel stupid. I want him to like school. I want him to be enthralled by learning.
So, at the end of the day? I think we are going to give him another year. At his current daycare there is a full day, legitimate, Kindergarten program. I think we are going to let him do that. Another year to determine the best route for him (and us!) to take. Maybe after this Kindergarten year he will be ready for first grade. Or maybe another year will help us determine that he is a little boy and should be one of the oldest in his class instead of one of the youngest.