Is Early Entrance To Kindergarten The Best Choice For Your Child?
Early entrance should be viewed as a means of meeting your child’s needs.The key to determining whether or not it is appropriate for your child lies in developmental readiness. Even though a child may have a lot of ability, they may not be ready for kindergarten. Other important factors to consider are social maturity, personal development and motor development.Kindergarten, like many other areas of education, has changed considerably over the past couple of decades. Today’s kindergarten students are engaged in a rigorous instructional program. Illinois, along with many other states across the United States, has adopted new learning standards for the purpose of preparing learners to meet the demands of the knowledge-based economy and the needs of the 21st century. Early entrance is designed for the exceptional child, who is both academically ready as well as developmentally mature when compared to others of the same chronological age. Some children may appear exceptional simply because of their access to opportunities (i.e., preschool programs, parents working with them on skills, or access to learning materials). Early entrance is designed for the learner who has high ability and easily achieves when presented with new material. Once the decision has been made for early entrance, the choice is difficult to reverse. If a child is evaluated as a good candidate for early entrance to kindergarten, it is important that all stakeholders are supportive of the decision.
Some Considerations When Determining If Early Entrance Is Right For A Child:
- Is my child capable of working in a classroom setting with children who are one year older than them?
- Will my child be frustrated by this placement?
- What are the possible long-term effects as my child progresses through elementary, middle and high school, and begins college at a younger age?
- Do I understand the expectations for students in kindergarten today?
My child seems advanced beyond other children their age in their ability, achievement, aptitude, and behavior.
- My child understands the meanings and uses of words better than other children of the same age.
- Is curious about many things and asks questions often.
- Is very good at working puzzles or solving problems.
- Has a great sense of humor and understands jokes more than other children of the same age.
- Has a good memory and remembers details of conversations or stories.
- Is interested in difficult concepts such as time and space.
- Concentrates on certain activities much longer than other children of the same age.
- Reads (and understands text) in picture books or chapter books.
- Figures out math-related problems better than other children of the same age.
What are important school and academic factors?
- Enjoys learning new information or skills.
- Participates in community-sponsored activities such as sports, dance, gymnastics, and library and museum programs.
- Believes they are capable of succeeding at new tasks.
- Has the ability to attend, or pay attention, for relatively long periods of instruction.
- Can draw and trace basic shapes and cut with scissors.
What are important developmental factors?
- Has average fine and large motor coordination (i.e., holding a pencil, skipping).
- Uses the computer to play games or find information.
- Can use the bathroom without adult help.
- Can button and zip up shirts and pants, tie or fasten Velcro shoes, and put on and take off his or her coat.
- Is able to separate from parent/guardian without being upset.
What are important interpersonal skills for entering school?
- Thoughtfully considers feedback and criticism and modifies behavior appropriately.
- Often behaves in a way that is positive and effective.
- Has good interpersonal skills with age-mates, as well as with both older and younger children and adults.
- Has excellent interpersonal relationships with adults in a teaching role.
- Has the ability to follow routines.
What are important attitudes and supports for success in school?
- My child is enthusiastic about going to kindergarten.
- As a parent, I understand that a learner’s success in school depends on support provided at home. I am able to give my child additional support to help in the transition to a new setting with much higher academic demands than in preschool.
Applying for Early Entrance to Kindergarten
In accordance with Board Policy (6.135, 7.50), Sycamore Community School District 427 evaluates students for early entrance to kindergarten based on cognitive testing and the Iowa Acceleration Scale, 3rd Edition (IAS). An Acceleration Evaluation Team will review the results of the comprehensive evaluation and determine the most appropriate available learning environment for a child.
If you believe that your child may be a good candidate for early entrance to kindergarten, please contact the building principal in your attendance area.
Early Entrance to Kindergarten Evaluation Procedure
The Acceleration Evaluation Team consists of:
- The learner’s receiving principal
- A teacher at the grade level to which the student may be accelerated
- A parent or legal guardian of the referred student, or a representative designated by the parent or legal guardian
- A district school psychologist
Once all of the required acceleration documents have been received, arrangements will be made to begin the evaluation process.
Contact the principal of the school your child will attend for more information on the early kindergarten entrance process.