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Delaying kindergarten; Summer Science

June 28, 2013
By Marge Eberts and Peggy Gisler , forParentsOnline.com

Question: My twin boys will be starting kindergarten in September. They were two months early at birth. One has a speech problem but is very smart. It's just hard to understand him. And the other one is VERY stubborn. I am afraid once they start school they may be labeled as being behind or not ready for kindergarten. Can a school kick them out and have them start the following year if the school believes that the twins are not ready? They know their colors and the alphabet.

-- Ready or Not

Answer: Children are eligible for kindergarten when they reach the age mandated by a school district. We have never heard of children being dismissed from kindergarten because of a lack of readiness. A school district could suggest a pre-kindergarten class if one is available. If your children just make the age deadline. You need to find out more about the possible advantages of delaying their entrance into kindergarten.

Almost every research study on the age of entry to school concludes that the youngest children in kindergarten classes usually do not do as well as the oldest children. There is disagreement about how long the effect of being youngest lasts. Many researchers feel that by third grade, the differences due to age disappear. Others believe that some academic difficulties continue for years.

Also, are you aware that your child with the speech problem may be eligible right now for help with his speech before he even enters school? Contact your school district at once for answers to your questions.

Readers: We have repeatedly stressed the need for all students in grades K-12 to do some academic work in the summer. Summertime learning is especially effective in reducing the achievement gap between students. Quite obviously, it is most important to shore up your children's reading and math skills.

Summer is also a great time to have children explore subjects such as social studies, science, foreign languages, health, computer science, art and music. The purpose of having them do activities in one of these subject areas is the hope that they will develop a passion that will lead them to greater success in school in that particular subject and even a future career related to the subject.

This summer, we are once again providing science activities that should be fun for your children to do. Hopefully, some of these experiments will help them acquire an interest in science. Older children should be able to do most of the experiments by themselves. Younger children will frequently need your help.

In the past, we have provided a great number of science experiments for your children to do. You'll find them on our website, dearteacher.com, under "Learning Activities - Science." Now, each week until the end of summer, we will have a science activity that will contribute to your children's knowledge of basic scientific concepts.

Science Activity: Magnets are fascinating to children because of the way they both stick together and sometimes move away from each other. Playing with them in the following activities is a first step in helping children learn about magnetism. You will need inexpensive magnets of different sizes for this activity.

1. Magnetic Attraction: Select a variety of objects that will and will not be attracted to a magnet, such as pot lids, plastic lids, paper clips, metal and wooden toys, plastic plates, coins, bolts and a staple. Have your child use the magnet to discover which objects it will attract and then divide the objects that are and are not attracted to the magnet into separate piles. See if your child can discover what each group of objects has in common.

2. Making a Needle Compass: Supervise younger children. Your child should tap one end of a needle at least 30 times with a magnet. The other end of the needle should be covered with a piece of tape. The needle should then be stuck through the middle of a wine bottle cork. Next, label the sides of a bowl: north, south, east and west. Fill the bowl with sufficient water so that the cork with the needle will float. No matter which way the bowl is turned, the needle should always point north.

3. Using the Compass: Give your children directions or have them give each other directions so they can practice using a compass. For example, they could be asked to walk 10 steps north and then five steps east.

 
 
 

 

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