web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Sections Stories
Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

This past summer was a powerful one for the Jewish people. I will always remember where I was on June 12th when I found out that Gilad, Eyal and Naftali were kidnapped. I will always remember the look on my sister’s face on June 30th when she told me that they were found. I will […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Kupfer-102414

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Schonfeld-logo1

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

Children with dyslexia or dysgraphia frequently have problems in social relationships.

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

Because the children suffering from this disorder generally have wonderful verbal skills, the disability can go unrecognized for many years.

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: