I was dead set on holding him back for kindergarten.
My “middle of August” baby born four years ago has forced me to have kindergarten on my mind since the day I knew his due date. I guess that’s a normal thought process after spending years working towards a teaching degree and years beyond that in multiple classrooms and schools.
Knowing he was a boy with a very late summer birthday, I knew I wanted to hold him back. I’ve had this decision set in my mind for years now.
But then his course of schooling took some unexpected turns.
We had the developmental preschool in our school district put him through their testing to see if he could qualify for their free preschool, which is an amazing resource to have!
After three separate days of testing he was able to gain acceptance into their program under an IEP for speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, all while under close observation for a pending ADHD diagnosis.
Whew. We just went from a child with a few sensory issues that we were working through to a full-on IEP and in-school services weekly.
It was a whirlwind taking it all in and seeing where he landed with all of his testing, while then sitting through my first-ever IEP meeting as a parent and going through each of his goals.
And still, the kindergarten question loomed over me.
Because legally, this is the last year he can attend this preschool and receive in-school therapies as a preschooler, since next year he will turn 5. Therapies and schooling can only continue if he is in kindergarten.
So without the ability of sending him to preschool again as a five-year-old like I was hoping for, it leaves us with two options. Send him to kindergarten as a very new five-year-old, or keep him home for a year so that we can send him back to public school as a very new six-year-old.
I know in many cities there would be many other courses of action that can be taken, like charter schools or private preschools and therapies.
But unfortunately for us in our small town, those are not options we have. Keeping him from kindergarten next year would mean a full-year lapse in therapies that he so desperately needs more than I realized.
It means redoing all of his testing to place him back into these therapies when he does start school again because everything would lapse and we would be starting over from scratch.
I was set on holding him back for kinder. I was ready to put him into the public school system as a six-year-old, more prepared and ready to take on the world with an extra year of playing outside in the sticks and mud instead of sitting at a desk.
But what wins out over what I want, is what he needs. Yes, I want to hold him back a year and I can see the benefits tenfold of sending him to kindergarten later. But I can see the better, higher benefits of sending him earlier, despite my wishes.
Because in the end, the best decision you can make is whatever is best for the child. Always.
Cover Photo: Mallory Wilcox