Is your child failing kindergarten?
If you are searching this query, then something must be happening in your life to cause it.
Likely your child is in kindergarten and is struggling. Before I go on, we have to look at what it is we are talking about. When you say failing kindergarten, what does that mean?
Does that mean that your child is failing to learn and acquire skills at the same speed as their peers?
Or does that mean that they failed practical tests or exams?
Perhaps they are struggling with interpersonal and social interactions? Or have they fail to regulate themselves in class?
As you think about what fell means to you and for your child’s situation, you have to remember that kindergarten and other requirements at various grade school levels have changed dramatically since we were kids.
Children, they have not changed appreciably in our lifetimes. But expectations for children and for parents have grown dramatically.
The fact that you are searching about a child failing kindergarten is an indicator of how far we’ve really come.
Historically, kindergarten was something that children attended for only a few hours a day.
Now, kindergarten is frequently a full day experience similar to first grade and onward. Children are expected to do things now that previously they were not expected to do until they were in first or second grade or beyond.
Traditionally, kindergarten was a place for a child to experience being out of the home and in the care of other providers for the first time.
Now kindergarten is a very academic place. Children are really focused and kindergarten on learning skills, and to prepare for first grade. But in the past, kindergarten was a place to play, dance, paint and draw, and sing.
So when you talk about your child failing kindergarten, and search for solutions, I would suggest that you instead try and relax.
Let’s take a look at what your child is failing at. Does your teacher say that he’s behind in reading or writing? While the fear mongers and everything you read on the internet may tell you this is something to freak out about, or something you should be ashamed of as a parent, you should not really be concerned at the kindergarten age level if your child is not reading books or writing extremely well.
A good portion of children at the kindergarten level do not read or write. In fact, studies have shown that a focus on reading or writing at the Pre-K and kindergarten levels can actually hurt a child’s long-term ability to be a good reader.
A child’s brain develops at its own pace. A child’s brain at the age of 4, 5 and 6 learns by doing things that don’t involve reading. Children at this age actually learn best when they are doing things like playing, riding bikes, jumping in puddles, drawing, and singing.
When you look at how your child is failing, you may want to look instead at whether or not the kindergarten that she is enrolled in is failing her. If your child is struggling to sit quietly for learning at circle time, take a look at how old she is. Being able to sit for long periods of time is actually a really difficult task for kindergarten age children, who are wired to move to learn. If your school is requiring that your child sit for learning for long periods of time and is critical of her inability to do so (and this is one reason why you think she is failing), this really is not a signal of a fail. This is a signal of a situation that a child is set up to fail in.
Another thing to consider is the maturity of your child. Children develop at different rates. Not just in size or shape but also in emotional capacity and readiness. A child who is failing kindergarten, in most cases is not a bad student or a bad person. In most cases they are simply a child who is not ready for school.
You might feel embarrassment that your child is not ready for kindergarten at an early age, but this isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses or your kids doing things as well as other kids. This is a situation where the child’s needs should be first and foremost. If a child is truly not ready for kindergarten, and then forcing them into it when they don’t have to be there can actually be harmful.
If we are setting up our kids from an early age to believe that they have failed and are failing at things that are actually unrealistic for them, it will make it hard for them to develop the confidence that they need to be a successful adult.
I know it is hard to really get on board with this but in many cases, it is better for parents to wait to enroll their kids in activities, and it is better to wait as long as possible before putting them into really disciplined and structured programs. Some kids are ready. However, too many kids are not but are forced into kindergarten as soon as possible because it alleviates financial burdens on parents to pay for daycare or other child care situations because in most cases kindergarten is free.
If your child is failing kindergarten, one of the things I would suggest is that you consider a different program. Rather than blame the child, perhaps you should consider that your child learns in a different way. Many of the play based kindergartens such as Montessori turn out to be a really good resource to help kids develop those initial skills but without forcing them into situations where they fail and struggle.
Another thing to consider is having your child repeat kindergarten or to hold them back a year to give them more time to grow and mature. I’m no doctor, but even I can see that the rise in diagnoses of ADD/ADHD correspond right along with the changes in the structure of primary education.
If you are freaking out about your child “failing” kindergarten, I would just take a step back. Is your child healthy? Does he learn, even at his own pace? Is he curious, active, and talkative? If the answers to all these questions are yes (and your pediatrician doesn’t have any other flags to wave), then I would just chill out about it. Yes, you can work with your child to get caught up in the trouble areas. But if you make kindergarten failure the center of his life, I think you are going to make it harder for him to succeed going forward.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a full-time mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer screen when the kids are occupied or sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.