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What a Difference the Kinder Ready Year Makes!

Calling all parents of students that land on that bubble…you know the one…the late birthdays where your kiddo will be the youngest in the classroom for all the years of schooling to come!  I had this baby.  Her birthday is August 21 and in the summer she turned 5, she met the right cut off in the state of Texas to attend public school Kindergarten.  September 1 is the cut off for our great state.  This arbitrary date that is chosen in each state stands to make such a huge difference in your child’s future!  Believe me…I know from experience.

The year that we opened Upstream Learning, Grace was set to head into Kindergarten.  She was so bright, already reading, writing, and such a sweet spirit.  We were mildly concerned about the fact that she could be a full year younger than some of her classmates, but felt strongly about her developmental level.  She started Kindergarten in a local school.  By October, I knew my mistake.  Her teacher, an adorable first year educator, sat at our parent conference and said the words, “She’s not the lowest in the class.”  I will not go into the feelings I had about wanting to snatch that sweet young teacher’s hair clean off her head to speak about my child this way, but I will tell you that immediately I brought my girl back to Upstream with me and created the Kindergarten Ready classroom.

Research shows that this pivotal year is such an incredible game changer for a child–one that I didn’t give enough credence to initially because I felt like my girl was ready.  Truthfully, she would have done just fine…and her teacher would’ve learned how to better communicate, but I wanted MORE than fine for her.  I wanted what you want for your children.  I wanted the best.  Grace started high school this year.  I still want the best for her…and I will tell you that giving her that year in our Kindergarten Ready classroom built with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Kindergarten standards as the curriculum with a preschool pace was the best gift I will ever give her.

What a difference a year makes.  Grace is an outstanding young lady.  Now, she is one of the oldest of her friend group and consistently I am told by her friends’ parents about how mature and calm she is; how helpful and kind her character is; how she has unending patience and ability to give great advice.  Many of those things are just the gifts God gave Grace, but some of it certainly comes from that year of maturity and growth she has beyond her group.

In the ten years that Upstream Learning has been open, I have had hundreds of students go through the Kindergarten Ready classroom.  Never, not one time, have I had a family tell me they wish their child had gone on to Kindergarten instead.  Every conversation, years later, is around what a fantastic choice it was to gift their child with that year of growth.

As you consider whether it is the right choice for your family, for your baby, think not about your child at age 5.  Try to consider your child at age 11 or 12 entering middle school/ junior high school…and then again at 14 or 15 headed to high school…and even further as a 17 or 18 year old setting off into college or into the world.  A year will make a big difference in those moments.

I would also encourage you to read an article about misdiagnosis of children that fall into these birthday months within their peer group.  The article states that a huge percentage of students are misdiagnosed with ADHD or ADD of some sort, mostly just due to a lack of maturity compared to their grade level group.  Here is the link:

Finally, I want to encourage you to always be an advocate for your child…even if that sometimes means advocating against yourself or your ideas of what was supposed to happen.  I have been an educator my whole life, but I had to admit that the initial choice I made for Grace was not the right one and change gears for her.  In the long run, I could never have predicted the amazing impact that choice would have.  I watch her today in awe and I am beyond blessed.  If you ever want to talk through this decision with someone that has been down the road, I am so happy to help or even put you in touch with other families to get input!  Let’s get Kindergarten Ready!!!

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