Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Edumacation, or What's Another $8K?*

*sponsored post

Let me begin on a defensive note. Danny is doing very well in school. He is, according to his teacher, "an amazing reader," and also "the sweetest boy I have ever met." He has only gotten in trouble once at school, for talking out of turn. He has lots of friends and clearly enjoys his days.

Danny is also one of the very youngest in his class. In two weeks he will attend a classmate's 7th birthday party, while he himself will not turn 6 for another two months. In these parts, it is increasingly common for parents to hold their children back, particularly the boys. The official cut-off date here is September 1, which essentially means that if your kid is born past May, you're either waiting a year, doing two rounds of Kindergarten (preschool and then elementary school versions) or, as we are about to embark on, undertaking Pre-First Grade.

What, you ask, is "Pre-First?" In lighter moments, veteran parents joke that it's where your child goes when they fail Kindergarten. But as I have learned from being on the flip side of things, there's a sensitive spot in our hearts that objects to this idea of failing (see above litany of Danny's achievements). Danny's teacher substantiates this, too, assuring me that if CKS did not have a Pre-First program, he would not repeat Kindergarten but would move ahead. She just believes, largely due to his age, that he would struggle a bit in First Grade and would benefit from additional time to develop his fine motor skills as well as his emotional maturity. From conversations I've had with many parents whose children have gone through the Pre-First program, it's an incredibly positive experience, with a marvelous teacher who keeps them stimulated, motivated, and guides them into true leaders.

We believe Danny has a lot of leadership qualities, as well as some sensitivity and goofiness that perhaps need to be ironed out. I think it must be like the decision many parents make when determining whether or not to hire a tutoring company for their child. We don't doubt his abilities, but rather want him to maximize his potential. I will admit to some disappointment that he hasn't completely dazzled his teachers and peers, but then I remind myself, "not yet, anyway."

At the end of the day I'm most concerned with raising respectful, loving children. From what I can tell, we're well on our way to that goal. If they're stellar scholars in addition to that, terrific. If I know we've done what we can to make them feel confident in their abilities and motivated to try their best, then we've done our best.

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