It has been a busy week. I have been waiting to post this until I knew how Jacob would do. About 3 weeks ago, I sat down with his daycare director to discuss some concerns I had. Jacob will miss the cut-off for kindergarten by 21 days in 2 years. I am almost positive that I want to wait until he is 5 almost 6 (three years) to start him in kindergarten. On the other hand, I have seen how far ahead some of the children in Ethiopia are academically at his age. Those children how are lucky enough to attend school in Ethiopia begin at age 3. The 3 year olds that travelled home with us were amazing. Most of them could recognize the letters in English, were beginning to speak some English. It was clear that children that age could learn much more than we typically teach them in America.
I left Ethiopia with the realization that I want Jacob exposed to as much as possible at his age. I want him to be challenged but not frustrated and the material to be available when he is ready to learn it. I believe that children are hardwired to learn at very young ages and will learn naturally when they are ready if given the opportunity. My goal is to make sure Jacob is exposed to the material he is ready developmentally to learn.
Over the past few months, Jacob has made huge advances acadmeically. He can count past 10, can find Ethiopia and the US on a globe, understands the concept of following lines on a map to go somewhere and is beginning to recognize letters. I really felt that his restlessnesss in class recently is because he is bored being 3-9 months older than the other children.
The director agreed to try moving him to the 3 year old preschool room. He did great and loved it. He has begun to trace his name and recognize the letters in his name. He seems to be ready to be exposed to the preschool academics and that my intuition was right. I would prefer he repeat the 4 year old program where the teachers will expose him to material at his level than the 2 year old program with very little academics. So the move seems to be working out well. He officially moved last Monday and enjoyed his first week in the new room.
Now, to figure out what to do about kindergarten....