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Letters : Readiness for Kindergarten

April 06, 1985

Ireally enjoyed your piece on kindergarten (March 28). Experience with my seven children, now grown, seems to urge me to provide some interesting input on the subject.

Most definitely, and most importantly, one must understand that not all children are ready for kindergarten at age 6 or 5, and in some cases they go at 4 1/2. "Smart" has nothing to do with it. Any kindergarten teacher will tell you that in many cases she is baby-sitting babies who should be home with their mothers for another year or so.

Children develop motor skills and physical abilities at different rates. Many are unable to concentrate or sit still, or to focus their eyes properly at a prescribed age. Some are just not ready for the class scene. If they are, learning usually comes easily. If not, and they are pushed ahead, school becomes for them a miserable experience for years and they develop the habit of failure and a similar self-image.

It is no disgrace to pull a child out and wait a year. I've done it and it works. It is no disgrace to ask the teacher's advice about repeating kindergarten or first grade. I've done that too, and it works. The teacher is always relieved and amazed.

Family pride gets tangled up in an issue where nothing else but the welfare of the child should be considered. It doesn't matter what the relatives and friends think. Only the child matters. Parents explain to the child that they made a mistake, that he/she is not really old enough yet to go to school, and that next year would be better. And it always is!

I have told the above to many parents, and when they followed this line of thought, it worked.

RITA PALMER

La Crescenta

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