web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Leave Them Back Or Push Them Ahead? School Date Debates

Schonfeld-logo1

“Mrs. Schapiro. Hi, this is Mrs. Rosenfeld from XYZ Yeshiva. I am calling you because I noticed that your son’s birthday is September 28. We have recently pushed the cutoff date at our school from January 1 to September 1. Because of that, I am afraid Yaacov won’t be able to apply to kindergarten until next year.”

“Mrs. Rosenfeld, thank you for calling me. I’m confused. The cutoff date has always been January 1. I have an older son who was born on December 1 and he started kindergarten before he turned five.”

“Yes, I understand. And I am sorry we weren’t clearer before, but we won’t be accepting applications from children who were born after September 1.”

“But, Yaacov is ready for kindergarten. He knows his letters and his numbers. He loves school. And it’s only a few weeks. Can’t you just make an exception?”

“Hmm. Mrs. Schapiro. Maybe we should set up a meeting to talk.”

***

The above conversation is a very real possibility for many people in our community today. While some schools have already switched their cutoff dates, others are considering making the switch. Some of the reasons for the decision include:

More time to learn the basics. Today, kindergarten is increasingly about learning how to read. Children who are older and exposed to more print enter with greater phonological and print awareness. With this foundation, children are better able to learn to read.

Greater ability to sit. Generally, the older the child, the greater his or her capacity to sit. Kindergarteners spend a lot of time sitting and listening to a teacher’s instruction. The earlier cutoff date ensures that the children will have longer attention spans.

Leveling the playing field. The earlier cutoff ensures a more homogenous class in terms of dates. Rather than an eighteen-month span of age differences, the children who enter the class are all within twelve months of each other.

 

Those who oppose moving the cutoff date provide the following reasons for their position:

Children aren’t defined by their birthdays. Many educators and parents argue that simply looking at a child’s birthday should not indicate whether he or she is ready for kindergarten. There are some four-year-olds who already know how to read while there are some six-year-olds that do not know how to hold a pencil.

Homogenous classrooms aren’t not always the most conducive for learning. While it is true that teachers have the easiest time managing a classroom of children with similar skills, research has shown that non-heterogeneous classrooms provide different opportunities for learning.

Later starts involve more childcare costs. For those who are not going to send their child to school until they enter kindergarten, starting a year later means greater costs for childcare for that extra year at home. These extra costs are offset by yeshiva tuition for most people in the Jewish community.

Playing With The Cutoff

Parents who have children with birthdays that fall between September 1 and December 1 are often faced with a dilemma. Should they push the school to make an exception and have their child be the youngest in his class? Alternatively, should they keep him out of kindergarten until the next year, making him the oldest in his class?

Many parents in NYC have chosen the second option, opting to keep their children back in order to ensure that they will be the oldest in their class. This process is colloquially called “red-shirting,” a term used in sports when coaches keep the freshmen on the team on the bench for the first year in order to ensure that they will be healthy for their stronger, peak athletic years.  Parents who “red-shirt” their children believe that it will give them a leg up on their classmates because they will be older and wiser than their peers.

In a recent article in The New York Times, Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, explained why they believe red-shirting can have negative impacts on some children.

It matters very much who a child’s peers are. Redshirted children begin school with others who are a little further behind them. Because learning is social, the real winners in that situation are their classmates.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Leave Them Back Or Push Them Ahead? School Date Debates

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
parent org's website homepage of new political campaign office in Israel.
Look Who is Behind the New US Democratic-Style Campaign in Israel
Latest Sections Stories
Resnick-012315-Artist

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

Respler-012315

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Baim-012315

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

Dr. Lowy believed passionately in higher education for both men and women and would stop at nothing to assist young students in achieving their educational goals.

It’s almost pointless to try to summarize all of the fascinating information that Holzer’s research unearthed.

The special charm of these letters is their immediacy and authenticity of emotion and description.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

Teachers, as well as administrators, must be actively involved in the daily prayers that transpire at a school and must set the bar as dugmaot ishiot, role models, on how one must daven.

Often both girls and boys compare their date to their parents.

We love the food, the hotels, and even the wildlife. We love the Israelis.

Few traces remain of the glory days of Jewish life in the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, but the demise wasn’t due to the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Rather it was a manmade volcano called the Edict of Expulsion from Spain – and not even an invitation to return in Shevat of 1740 could […]

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

Schonfeld-logo1

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

While encouraging your child to take responsibility for bed-wetting (like asking him to change the sheets), remember that it is important not to get angry or make him feel guilty.

As we said, you cannot get rid of a bad habit, you can only change it. But, how?

In order to diagnose separation anxiety, these symptoms must not be isolated and must occur for more than four weeks consecutively.

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

Children develop at different rates – they say their first words, take their first steps, toilet train, read their first word, and lose their first tooth at different times.

Once you understand why you are lying, you might be better able to tell the truth.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/leave-them-back-or-push-them-ahead-school-date-debates/2013/10/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: