Parenting

I was so wrong about junior kindergarten

"When I signed Addy up for junior kindergarten, I had mixed feelings. Well, more skeptical than mixed. The thought of starting school at three-turning-four seemed a little intense (and/or insane). But I was wrong."

Sometimes I’m wrong (although my husband Peter would argue that it’s more often than not, obviously). Now that school’s over, I can very clearly and seriously say that, with regards to sending my kid to JK or keeping her home until SK, I made the right decision in sending Addy this year. Hands down.

When I signed Addy up for junior kindergarten, I had mixed feelings. Well, more skeptical than mixed, I guess. The thought of starting school at three-turning-four seemed a little intense (and/or insane), and I was super-outspoken about my feelings toward JK—I’m pretty sure I called it a glorified daycare perfect for working parents who don’t have the luxury of free childcare like we do.   A little girl
20 secrets of kindergarten teachers

But then September rolled around. And Addy started going to school Tuesdays and Thursdays (and some Fridays). And she met little L, little S, little B, little G and little A. And we found out that every Tuesday would be pizza day (a major deal). And she borrowed her first library book (“I bought it with my credit card,” she said). And she got to play in the gym. And she discovered she really liked music class and the dance club. And, most importantly, she got to know her teacher, Mrs. E, who I’ve raved about on Facebook, on Twitter, and pretty much everywhere else.

Before Mrs. E, my kid was always glued to me. She knew the alphabet, but didn’t know how to spell her name—let alone write it. She could count—but not by twos and tens. She didn’t know anything about community helpers, or words that rhyme, or what syllables are, or that periods go at the end of a sentence, or how to draw flowers, or the proper structure of a letter to a friend, or…you get the point.

To say we lucked out with Mrs. E is an extreme understatement. Over nine months, we watched our four-year-old gain confidence, self-esteem and social skills—and I credit much of her growth to her patient, friendly, sweet, helpful, encouraging, loving teacher. Someone who—thank goodness—Addy and her little pals who are moving up to SK will have as their teacher again in September.

I can’t actually imagine what it would’ve been like this year if we’d held Addy back for the year and waited for SK. What she learned, how she changed, and the friends she met were worth the tough days at the beginning (well, and after the holidays, and after March Break), the tears, the early mornings, the germs and all-year sicknesses (those disgusting, disgusting germs), the clothing battles (she’s four going on 17) and everything else the school year dealt us. JK was the furthest thing from a glorified daycare.

So if you’re sitting there like I was last July, freaking out about your baby starting JK, wondering if you’re doing the right thing by sending her in September, rest easy.

Read more:
4 things I wish I knew about full-day kindergarten
7 things kindergarten teachers want you to know