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When Are Kids Ready to Start School?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Post

Howard and many other local educators support a bill by State Senator Joe Simitian that would phase in earlier kindergarten cutoff dates, shifting the date by which a child turns five from the current Dec. 2.

Starting in 2012, the cutoff would move to Nov. 1, followed by Oct. 1 the next year and finally Sept. 1 in 2014. The bill, SB 1381, was approved by the Senate education committee.

Educators have long sought such a change. [...]

While parents often see the grade level question as an academic or even intelligence issue, Dunton explained that social development, especially what she calls the ability to “self-regulate,” plays just as important a role.

“That is the piece that hugely interferes with overall success in school,” she said.

Karen Richmond, a teacher at Valencia Elementary in Aptos with 17 years of kindergarten experience, agrees and offered examples of the challenges faced by four-year-olds in a kindergarten classroom.

“Four-year-old children often have separation anxiety issues, have not had adequate experience in preschool or a pre-K environment, struggle with fine motor such as holding a pencil and cutting with scissors, sitting still, attending to directions and tasks, sharing, taking turns, not to mention simply not being ready to independently access the academic curriculum presented,” she noted.

When they get frustrated, all the students in the classroom can pay the price, she added.

View the full story (The Post)