Decisions

We had an IEP meeting for YoungestOne a few days ago. It was initialized by his teacher, who is concerned that he is not performing at grade level, has trouble following classroom rules and routines, and who scored him high in inattention/hyperactivity, defiant/agressive behaviors, social functioning/atypical behaviors, and mood and affect.

While her report to the IEP team was depressing to read, it was quickly followed by reports of the other team members, which can all be summarized as “YoungestOne is a joy to be around and is functioning at grade level.” Oh, and he scored High Average on the IQ test, with Superior score on the test that estimates fluid reasoning, spatial processing, perceptual-organization, and visual-motor integration.

The meeting concluded with the team members agreeing that YoungestOne does NOT qualify for IEP, since his behavior and ability are normal. However, the did suggest that he repeat 4K, since he has a late August birthday and will be the youngest, especially emotionally, in his class.

And now we are not sure what to do.

If this was our OldestOne (who was born in January, and who IS receiving IEP services), we would not have even placed him in 4K to begin with. If this was our MiddleOne – well, he was born in September, and we put him in private school last year so that he COULD go to 1st grade this year, despite being born after the cutoff date.

Which brings us to YoungestOne, and the clarity we had with the two older kids goes out of the window. I am angry at his teacher. We asked during October parent-teacher meeting if we should pull him out of 4K, and she said “No.” We asked in January if he would have to repeat 4K, and she said “No.” I don’t feel like I can trust her assessment of his readiness, yet her assessment is all I have. I wish I had put him into a different 4K class (at a Learning Center instead of at daycare).

If YoungestOne had been born in September, I would not have pushed him into 5K, like I did with MiddleOne. And logically, this tells me that YoungestOne probably should repeat 4K. He is young for his age. He acts young. He pretends to be a kitten, and licks me. He likes to snuggle. He still sucks his fingers when he is tired. He throws tantrums. He does not seem to be interested in academics (though he does tell me he likes going to (s)kool and wants to go again next year).

I think the reason I am so emotionally against having YoungestOne repeat 4K is because he did it already. I worry that he won’t find it interesting (because it certainly does not look like he thought it was interesting this time around). I don’t really care about athletics, so “he’ll do better in sports if you hold him back a year” argument is lost on me. “He’ll be the first to drive” does not do much for me, either. He might be less emotionally mature than other kids, but I don’t think emotional maturity comes with age, for guys 🙂

(If he does repeat 4K, it will be with a different teacher, at a different school. He would still have to go to daycare for half days – and that’s not an insignificant cost.)

(When I looked online, these two articles stood out for me: “Voices from the Field”: Wisconsin Early Childhood Education and Care Stakeholders Consider Delayed Entrance to Kindergarten and The Pros and Cons of “Holding Out”. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any studies that looked at kids who were deemed ’emotionally and behaviorally’ not ready for 5K).

(Wisconsin DPI is very clear that the ONLY criteria for admission into 5K is age, and that school districts cannot deny entrance to an age eligible child because there is a concern about the child’s “readiness”. IEP team members made it very clear that should we decide to enroll YoungestOne in 5K, they will support our decision and do all they can to ensure his academic success.)

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what will be best for him. I feel like I have failed my child, yet again.

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3 thoughts on “Decisions

  1. Olya,
    On April, 9 our second child was born – Sergey (2720 g, 51 cm).
    Are you going to visit your parents this summer? Hope to see you this year!
    Karina, Saint-Petersburg

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  2. You haven’t failed, Olya, it’s just another tough thing. And ultimately you know your kid better than anyone else! In the end, you won’t permanently mess him up with either choice – really. 🙂

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  3. I find it somewhat disturbing that the expression “not performing at grade level” is even used for someone in 4K. To me, that’s not technically a grade yet, so expectations should be more flexible. But I agree with Rebekah; I don’t think either choice will permanently mess him up. And on the plus side, in spite of his teacher’s opinion of him, he still likes school.
    By the way, my mom taught 4K for years, so she might have some insights, if you want to talk to her about it.

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