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Making sure kids are ready to learn

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

San Jose Mercury News

Kindergarten teacher Robin Gieman calls them “rollers”—children who lie on the carpet and roll around when they should be listening to a lesson.

They’re not misbehaving. They’re just not quite ready for prime-time kindergarten, usually because they are too young. “Those with fall birthdays can just be very wiggly,” the veteran teacher said. “We prefer children who are able to sit and pay attention.”

Two years from now, Gieman may have fewer “rollers” in her class at Nimitz Elementary School in Sunnyvale. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a bill headed to his desk, the cutoff date for children to be 5 before starting kindergarten will gradually move from the current Dec. 2 to Sept. 1.

“We’re used to thinking of kindergarten as a year kids had to get ready for real school. Now kindergarten is real school,” said the bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, a former school board member. Educators have long lobbied for changing the kindergarten cutoff date, but for two decades bills to do that have failed, Simitian noted.


View the full story (San Jose Mercury News)