I started kindergarten when I was three years old. Yes, it was real kindergarten, and yes, I was really only three years old. Back in the 70s, at that time nobody knew how to explain my overzealous young parents, there really was no advantage in implementing their already underdimensioned three year old in kindergarten. And I think back in the day, at least some schools would take a three year old into a kindergarten group if they could pass the entrance exam.
My mother and father thought I had no problem getting the kindergarten entrance exam to the Holy birth Episcopal School since that age, I’ve been able to read exceptionally well.
What my parents didn’t realize, though, was that while I was could the front page of the Los Angeles Times at age three and recite on demand my favorite longfellow poems , that my grandmother had me their – Achievements that made the caring adults in my family very proud and happy – Reading were the only academic or other kindergarten readiness skills that I had. (And really, those weren’t the kind of skills most educators are looking for anyway.)
At the age of 3, I couldn’t reliably add or subtract. I couldn’t write my letters very clearly yet. And as I learned on the day of the entrance exam, terrible, terrible kindergarten that still haunts me, I couldn’t hold an orange pen within the lines of various shapes on a hectographed sheet of paper.
I remember very well on the day of my kindergarten entrance test. It is, in fact, one of my earliest complex memories. I remember my father who took me to school that day (when my mother remembered, I don’t remember) and proud the female principle and a nun slash teacher how well I could read and how stellar mine was verbal skills had to be explained. I could see that these admissions representatives of the small elementary school looked skeptical as I sat next to my father on the faux leather couch in your office from the two of them, all 30 pounds and 2.5 feet from me (I was a very young child for mine Dude), but I also saw her skepticism melt away as she pulled a nursery rhyme book from the shelf in the room and asked me to read it out loud on what I liked to do without hesitation, as I loved loved sounds in something me that I’ve done so well.
After reading you, they explained to my father that she would take me to an empty classroom so that I could be tested. That was fine with me; I don’t have a shy bone in my body, and the whole idea goes to kindergarten that sounded like fun. So I went down the hall with the nun my father left in the director’s office. I was primed and ready to do some more reading on command to be admitted to kindergarten.
But when we came to a somewhat darkened classroom, nobody asked me to read. Instead, the nun lifted me to an elementary size desk, and placed a number of sheets of paper in front of me, each one requiring a different task. She handed me a pencil and a box of crayons and explained what she wanted from me. First, a terrifying kindergarten math worksheet for which I was poorly prepared. I kind of messed up by that one. Then she asked me to tell her what the names of the different shapes on worksheet number two were. I knew the square and circle from Sesame Street, but the rectangle and triangle sounded so similar and I didn’t want to give the wrong answer so I trembled to explain that I didn’t know my shapes yet.
And then their directions came like the last worksheet – completing an experience that has drawn me for the rest of my life. On the sheet were small line drawings of houses and schools and churches, all of which are connected by a roadway underneath and between them. All I had to do, the nun explained, was the orange chalk she gave me and draw a line from one small building to the next, all the while keeping the chalk within the lines of the pavement.
My hands started to shake. This looked impossible for someone who couldn’t even put on their shoes.
"Who in the world had developed a daunting challenge for young children?" I remember. "If this is what it takes you will go to kindergarten, I bet there are not too many children in this school classes. "
I don’t know how long the woman was in the habit of me when I grasped the chalk and my hand to hold the marks I wanted within those damn lines, but it seemed like an eternity. And no matter how hard I tried, or how hard I focused, my hand wouldn’t do what I asked him to do, and a crazy orange scribble appeared all over the worksheet. It was pitiful and I knew it.
At one point the nun told me that I could quit. She was very nice and told me I had done a good job, but I knew she was lying, and I knew she would dash my parents’ hopes, and let her know that not only I was not the child prodigy, she believed, however I was also so mentally handicapped that she would not allow me in her kindergarten. That was the first time in my life that I ever remember feeling really sad.
I don’t know what they said my parents or what my parents said about it, but to my tremendous shock and surprise they agreed to let me go to their school kindergarten class. So I started kindergarten when I was three, turning four a month into the school year. I loved every minute of it and didn’t even think about being over two full years younger than the other kids by mid school when the fact that I was 10 years old instead of 12 like my classmates really started to be both socially and academically noticeable , If my parents shut me up The Webb schoolWhere I spent the next 6 happy years, they had me repeat the 7th year of school, which I had just completed in school from which I transferred. I remained one of the smallest in my class after the school year, but I was no longer tragically undersized and a minor.
This is my kindergarten entrance exam story, and as you say, the experience of being tested around for my first year of "real" Getting into school was very traumatic for me. It was really. I had never experienced mistakes before, but at that moment of horror, with the orange pencil firmly gripped in my hand, I had my first impression of it and it was not very pleasant.
Why am I giving you this traumatic personal background story? Well, it is because my 4 year old daughter, C, can take her own kindergarten entrance exam in the near future. I explainedn an earlier (controversial) blog post, we are probably not about to attend elementary school, for which our address is zones, and so we are considering the available alternatives that are limited.
One of the most attractive, perhaps the most attractive option for C attending kindergarten is the public magnet school in a poor neighborhood just a mile or two from our home. While the School District we live in has had little success with its few Magnet School programs, this particular elementary school – what I will call School X – is the exception. School X is really stellar, and I know a lot of parents who could afford private school, or who live in much more affluent public school zones who have chosen to send their children to School X instead. I was told that the test results for the kids in the Magnet program at School X are higher than in the highly respected elementary school in the toniest neighborhood in town.
Not surprisingly, we want to put in our application in February for C part of the 2012 kindergarten class of the school x magnet program. If I understand the process correctly, all children who apply first in a lottery drawing are where is the Chance of getting picked randomly. Everyone has the same attitude towards a place in the school class in this first stage raffle. But then, if your child is selected over the lottery draw, he or she must be aware of it. .tested to be admitted. Only the children who were in the 90th percentile or higher in this test, on the Magnet School website "academic" get a classroom slot at the school.
None of my children became novice readers, and C is no exception. At the age of 4 she loves books, and loves them toread but does not show no real interest or advanced reading skills on your own. In fact, she is just starting to combine sounds with letters. We haven’t pushed this skill, nor have we pushed any other kindergarten readiness ability on it because I think 4 year olds mostly need to play, not study. I know that some preschoolers learn to share early with no real effort from parents, but in other cases to read, I see parents drilling their children, and that’s not our style. C is very, very verbal, advanced with large and complex vocabulary and especially adult diction (it’s very nice to hear them explain things.) But in many ways she is your average four year old girl, more interested in dance together with Yo Gabba Gabba and pretend to play with her doll house as math flash cards or learn to read games on the iPad.
I have no idea what specific skills would be needed to score at or above the 90th percentile on an academically oriented kindergarten entry Testing, but I suspect that C might not hit Mark. I already know three or four extremely bright elementary school students – children whose parents are friends of mine – who has, Not "Pass the kindergarten admission test for the School x Magnet program if applied in previous years. That makes me think that everything about this test is pretty strict, at least by your average preschooler’s standards it has to be.
And here’s the thing, I never, ever, ever want C to have traumatic memories of test taking at age 4, or of feeling like they were "Unless" they have no place in the kindergarten class at school. So if we make it past the lottery drawing stage and even get a shot on the entrance exam, I don’t know what I would tell her. I think we would have to explain what the test does to a certain extent, but I would very much like to make sure that we do not feel any kind of pressure or fear before, during or after the exam.
It’s part of me, he just wants to take school X off the table. If I know they weren’t admitted after seeing the test’s super bright children’s signs, the likelihood that my own preschooler would make the cut doesn’t seem so promising to me. And if that is the case, why us through the process at all? But on the other hand, I really believe that if we could get them in, this school magnet program would be the best solution for you among those available to us.
I would love to hear y ‘all the thoughts on how to deal with it. Should we go for him? Or should we cross this particular school from our list? And if any of you have gone through early childhood tests for admission to certain schools and programs for your own children, please share what that procedure is like for you. and more importantly, for your child.
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