Today, I took Paige to the local elementary school to register her for the 2011-2012 school year that will start in September. I can’t believe they require registration so early. Paige was VERY excited. She’s been talking about going to school for about a month. She is really eager to begin and is not happy that she has to wait.
Naturally, she charmed the people at the school. I was not exactly happy with their expectations though. Paige is barely three years old but they were testing her as if she was four. No, she’s not going to meet all the expectations of a four year old; she just turned three. She will still be three when she starts Junior Kindergarten.
They suggested having her speech tested. It’s not that her vocabulary isn’t strong enough, in fact she has an exceptional vocabulary. Rather, she doesn’t enunciate ALL her words properly. She has difficulties with some “S” words, most especially if it has another consonant following it such as “str”, “sch”, “sh”, etc. She also still uses baby babble now and then when she struggles to find the correct word to express herself or when she is switching topics. Again, she’s 3 and she has time to learn and improve. I will get her tested but I’m pretty sure the therapist is going to say she is fine.
They were impressed with her intelligence. They showed her a bunch of pictures and asked her to identify the objects. She correctly identified them and explained their uses which impressed them. When they were giving me suggestions as to how to convince her to trace letters Paige shocked the lady for that portion of the interview. The woman suggested using highlighters and using a pink highlighter to write out a word and have Paige use a blue highlighter to trace over it. She started to explain that the colours would change because the blue ink over the pink ink would make… and Paige told her “purple”. The woman’s eyes grew wide. Then she mentioned yellow and blue and Paige looked at her and said “green”. At that point, the woman said that Paige’s intelligence shows she’s ready for school but gave me a few things to work with her on that I hadn’t previously taught her that she’ll need to know before school begins.
They provided me with a list of expectations that are necessary to begin Junior Kindergarten and I will work with Paige and she will learn them BUT I think their expectations are ridiculous. I was talking with Grannie (she was an aide for the Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes at a nearby school) and she said that very few kids come in knowing even half of what is on their expectation lists and she assured me that Paige is already well ahead of most of the kids that she helped teach.
We took a long break from Tot School because Paige lost interest and I want learning to be fun. I didn’t want to cram it down her throat but made it available for her if she wanted to do it. It is time to bring it back. I’ve been trying weekly to engage her in the various activities I had but she hasn’t been interested. With the expectations made clear to me, I’ll have to bring it back and make sure she participates even if she doesn’t really want to. I never wanted it to be that way. I wanted to keep everything fun and exciting to learn. If she isn’t having fun, she won’t like school and that’s why I didn’t want to push too hard.
I’m lucky, I’m a stay-at-home-mommy and I have the time to work with her to learn these things but it makes me wonder what they expect of parents that can’t stay home with their children and can’t afford to send their child to learning centres. The school implied that they’ll send home any child that doesn’t meet the expectations on the list they provided. I find that offensive. People send their children to school to learn and if they aren’t willing to teach them, that’s just irresponsible. As I said, I’m lucky enough to be at home with Paige and work with her but I have to wonder about how others are managing and if they’d really kick a 3 or 4 year old child out of school because they can’t rhyme, write all the letters in the alphabet, use scissors, use adult grammar or speak with perfect diction; those are just a few of the expectations on the list.