Monday, April 15, 2013

Kindergarten Readiness: A Challenge

Gulino, J. (2008). Kindergarten Readiness: A Challenge. Principal (Reston, Va.), 87(5), 30-35.

Principal Joseph Gulino, suggests that parents should be informed about the pros and cons of children entering kindergarten before the age of 5.5. Gulino states, “Our school maintains the state mandated entry age of 5 by July 31, but during the past three years, we have established a team assessment process for children eligible to attend, placed a strong focus on informing parents of the pros and cons of children entering school before the age of 5.5, and strongly encourage parents of students with significant concerns to wait until the following year before enrolling.”

From Gulino’s “team assessment process”, Gulino shares that this enrollment process has led to “an increased number of students who experience early success, a greater degree of positive self-esteem for more students, fewer referrals for special services and higher test scores.” 

There are two things that I find quite interesting from reading Gulino’s article. In one paragraph of this article, Gulino shares the following information about cutoff dates that dictate if a child is eligible for kindergarten. Six states have cutoff dates between Dec. 1 and Jan 1 which usually leads to a large mix of 4 and 5 year olds starting kindergarten together. I know that there have been changes in California about cutoff dates, but it makes me wonder if the dates are mandated in California by the state, or is the cutoff age up to the local district (Gulino mentions that 6 states leave this decision to the individual districts). I wonder now how many states or districts have now implemented transitional kincergarten?

Another point that I found interesting was that Gulino mentions an enrollment process and kindergarten readiness assessment that helps to inform parents about the pros and cons of their child entering kindergarten. I think that it is an interesting point that many parents may not even think that it might be a choice to have their child defer entering kindergarten for a year. I appreciate Gulino’s proactive approach to finding a way to inform parents, but I want to know more about the assessment and the enrollment process to inform parents. 

After reading this article, I am left wondering the following:

What are the cutoff dates in the local Chula Vista and San Diego Districts for students to enter kindergarten?

With new cutoff dates and “transitional kindergarten” emerging locally, are students adjusting to Kindergarten more smoothly?

What assessments are used to determine kinder readiness? What is Gulino  using at his school to determine if a child will be ready to learn in kindergarten aside from stating that students should not start until they are 5.5?

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