Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Kindergarten Can Wait

Izzy is off to her first year of Pre-K as a five-year-old today, and I am so excited for her!

We had plans up until March to send her to kindergarten this year.  Griff and I had a conference with her teacher around that time, and she expressed some concerns about Izzy that we were also seeing at home: not transitioning well between activities, getting her feelings hurt easily, etc.  Well, this caused a few days of full-on stress mode.  We didn't want to hold her back from something we had been preparing her for, and from moving forward with her friends.  We also didn't want to push her if she wasn't quite ready for kindergarten.  It may sound silly, but I was a complete mess over this.  I called my pediatrician in a panic, and he was so kind.  He went above and beyond his job description and performed a quick counseling session for a mama who basically just needed to hear what she already knew.  If in doubt, wait.

We've talked to a few friends who have had similar situations, and they said that extra year made such a huge difference for their children.  My biggest fear was that Izzy would struggle, become frustrated, shut down, inevitably fall behind, and continue to fall.  I was a teacher before I was a mama.  I know how hard it is for kids to catch up and break away from the labels they are assigned early in their education.  I just want to give my children the best opportunities to be successful.  As our pediatrician pointed out, nobody ever says, "Man, I really regret holding my kid back that extra year."  If anything, it's the opposite.  After considering all factors, there were just no negatives to waiting an extra year.  I realize now that this whole idea of her "missing out" was my issue, not hers.  Sometimes us mamas just need to get over ourselves.

The second the decision was made to repeat Pre-K, I felt a huge relief.  I know it is exactly what she needs.  More than anything, I want Izzy to be confident.  There are soooo many things she will experience as a girl that will make her self-conscious, and I never want school to be one of them.  I want her to be a kind friend, a good listener, a helper, a self-motivator, a leader.  I don't want her to get by.  I want her to thrive.  I'm praying this year fosters a deep love and excitement for learning that will stay with her forever.  Now excuse me while I go cry in the corner.

The little one starts tomorrow.  Heaven help her teachers.

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