Month: May 2014

Let’s Start A Discussion – About First Grade

Our Littles
Our Littles

Welcome to the launch of my new blog, Living the Littles! I appreciate your joining the conversation! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a working HR Director and mommy of 3 “Littles,” Colton (age 6), and twin girls, Lauren and Taylor (age 5), wife to husband Steven, and entrepreneur – whew! It’s a busy but beyond wonderful life, not without its challenges, but overall joyful.

Content here will include weekly discussions of life in general, with focus on our Littles, travel, foods we love, and more. I hope you will join us in our adventures and discussions, offering your advice, opinions, personal stories of your own, and more!

So for today, even though I would prefer not to start off with a challenging topic, I thought we’d talk about an extremely frustrating week. The topic? First grade.

Our Littles have been attending a wonderful parochial school for the past 2-3 years, and while our girls are thriving both academically and socially, our boy (as is the case with many boys) is extremely bright but socially immature. For the entire school year, his teacher and I have been observing him closely and both agree that it will be beneficial to have him repeat the first grade. At the same time, we have decided it would be best to move schools to our local public elementary school, as it is logistically easier, and would be a fresh start for him and mitigate any potential “teasing” from others moving on into 2nd grade.

From what I have witnessed, retaining a child, especially a boy on the younger age spectrum in his class, is not uncommon. BUT – here is the incredible part of the story. Our local elementary school Principal and School Psychologist, despite having been presented with a letter from Colton’s current teacher explaining in detail our reasoning for retention, told us in no uncertain terms that they do NOT retain students AND (the incredible part) the parents have no “say” at all in the decision to retain their own child.

They are citing “research” that indicates retention hurts children in the long run. I’ve read the study (and there really is only one major study out there). It does not take into account the familial structure, stability, or parental involvement. They seem to be fixated on one statistic suggesting that a high percentage of high school dropouts were retained at some point in time. Honestly, I can understand and believe that statistic, but again, the study should go further into the familial environment of those dropouts – I am certain if it did, it would find that family structure and environment very unstable.

Please join the discussion – has anyone else experienced this? I find it truly amazing that school administrators, having never laid eyes on my son, believe it is in the best interest of my son to push him into a grade for which he is not ready, by looking ONLY at his academic record with no regard for the “whole” child.

Needless to say, he will be repeating the first grade in the parochial school (at a large expense), as I firmly believe we know what is best for our son. I would love to know your thoughts.

Again, welcome to Living the Littles! I hope you’ll comment often and subscribe to stay in the conversation! I promise it’ll be a fun ride!