Last year, I blogged about my just-turned-five-in-June daughter, who was old enough to enter Kindergarten in Duval county but did not. We decided to have her wait a year and attend preschool one more year. I am thrilled to report that we are very happy with our decision. See my original post HERE.
Our once shy, four-year-old VPK Lily has blossomed into an outgoing, confident five-year-old. She is now one of the oldest in her class (instead of one of the youngest). An additional year of the fundamentals is absolutely what she needed. Since I’ve been through this dilemma and feel like I have come out of it wiser, I’ve put together a list of things I believe you should do if you find yourself in the same predicament we were in last year:
1. Talk to your child’s teacher- NOW. Yes, I know it’s not even Spring Break yet, but this is the time when parents need to start thinking about next year (check out Kathy’s post about all things VPK, Preschool & Kindergarten HERE). Share your concerns with them and listen to their professional opinion.
2. Visit the Kindergarten they would attend. This was huge for us. I met with the Principal, Mrs. Susan Phillips at Chets Creek Elementary. This very busy Principal listened to my concerns and allowed my daughter to “shadow” a Kindergarten class for a few hours. I then had the opportunity to speak with the teacher of that class who spoke frankly and honestly with me.
3. Visit possible “re-PreK” Schools. My daughter did not have the option of attending her VPK preschool again, which I was very sad about (at first). I realize now it was a blessing. It was much easier for all involved to be at a new and different school. It just made it easier for her to transition to a different teacher and new friends, rather than the same preschool but without her classmates. Until I walked into her current preschool (Wilma’s Little People at Jacksonville University), I was 100% confident with my decision to have her repeat. The staff at Wilma’s have been wonderful for our family (my younger son also attends preschool there) and it has been a positive experience for all.
4. Listen to your Mommy Voice! I know I said it before, but my gut knew she wasn’t ready for Duval’s 39 kids in a class Kindergarten. I’m glad I listened to me. Like I said last year, I met lots of Moms who all told me the same thing, they didn’t regret starting their child later if they had the opportunity. And I’m not going to lie, I really enjoy her school day ending by 12:30 and a family nap with her and my three-year-old around 2pm. I know those days are numbered!