My 4 Year Old Having Trouble in Kindergarten - FamilyEducation
My 4 Year Old Having Trouble in Kindergarten
11/07/2012 at 20:35 PM

My Son has been in Kindergarten for 2 months now. He is a very smart boy. He has known his alphabet for a long time, can recognize all his letters and the sounds they make. He sits down, and can sound out words to read books....But when he is at school the teacher has a very hard time getting him to focus or pay attention. She says he is always humming or singing. I just had his parent teacher interview, and after talking with the teacher she had know idea about the things my son new, as he always says " I dont know". She has a very hard time getting him to talk to her. She says that he is physically there, but not mentally. He is also having alot of trouble making friends. She says its like he is very nervous to talk to the other children, so he usually plays alone. We get notes daily about what they did that day in class that he was unable to do, but when we ask him the same questions, or do the same activity he gets everything right without hesitation. I am at a total loss as to what I should do. It really bothers me that they think he is struggling with the work when he finds it so easy at home. Any ideas?

I'm sorry, your son is 4?!! When my littlest was 5, she could barely get thru morning kindergarten without being exhausted. He may be allowed in by the rules of your school, but honestly one year makes a huge difference. If it were me, I'd seriously consider just waiting. Right now, there's alot to be said about his being able to just play and enjoy life a little less unstructured, so I would think preschool is more his speed. The teacher not knowing what he really knows-- is her class overly structured, or lots of kids in it, is she young and inexperienced-- why has she not taken the time to really work with him and draw him out? 4 year olds are not prone to receiving interruptions and being made to do anything very positively, unless it's FUN. If he is naturally shy, it may take just some extra patience while he develops his social skills.

I have to repeat what chjmk has just said. I am an Early Years practitioner and fortunately, in our nursery, we are child led. The children are never forced to do anything they are not comfortable with and we work with them holistically. We follow a Froebelian Curriculum with our young children. They are free to move about indoors and outdoors. When children leave our nursery to go off to schoool, the children are ready and very confident. In Britain, children start school at 5 normally.I think you need to find another situation where your child is allowed to be himself and will be celebrated for who he is and not what he can do. Children all develop at their own pace and should not be forced to relinquish any of their childhood

I agree with you both 100%. I didn't want to send him this year..unfortunately He turns 5 at the end of December, and as long as the kids are 5 by the December 31st they have to start. His cousin who was born a week after him gets one more year to stay home. My son is the youngest in his class and I think that is why he is struggling the most. Im just trying to figure out how to help him .

Ive taught kinder a while. 4 is young for a full day structured class. Boys brains develop slower and maturity is the main reason kinder isnt mandatory at 5. The child ratio is much smaller in pre k bc of this. If you look at retained students there are far more boys. As to what he knows I believe he could be smart but you also could be assessing on a much easier scale. Are you showing letters in abc order? Do you give verbal cues or gestures( even the shape of your mouth is a cue)? Either way he has to learn to preform at school. Thats a maturity issue and not necessarily the teacher. Learning is fun but often assessment is recall. Kinders need an attention span to sit and listen for a long time. Not to mention focus long enough to write sentences. I already think kinder is too hard for older 5 yr olds. As for making friends he might be a lot smaller then the other kids and I'm sure they know he's younger. A lot of his issues are going to be developmental and just take time.

Hi there, When it comes to my son and the alphabet he has been fantastic at it for a long time. He knows his letters upper and lowercase, can write them or tell us what any of them are out of sequence. Also he knows their sounds and is already able to sit down, sound out words and read a step 1 or 2 book. The teacher says he gets frustrated with the other children in his kindergarten class because they are learning to spell phonetically. Ex. NRS = Nurse. My 4 year old son got agitated telling them that they cant spell a word without vowels, cause that's what sticks the words together. So he kept telling them they needed the U and a silent E. At his parent teacher interview she said they wont be touching on that stuff until grade 1.

That's fantastic! That really shows the envolvment of a parent. I agree that young children could be academically ready. My two year old can do several things that some of my kindergartners can't. I think though developmentally he might not be ready when it comes to maturity. If he was ready in that aspect he would be able to follow directions and demonstrate his knowledge for his teacher in the manner she asks. It absolutely isn't his fault because his brain isn't fully developed. His frontal lobe won't be finished until closer to six. I really think this is the issue. The teacher should try and acommodate the best she can. Maybe she can give him his own work or projects, lift him up in class as an example ( if he is cool in the eyes of the teacher it will follow with peers), and differentiate for assessment. Shorten them and make them more playful. Just be patient bc it can be hard with mixed abilities in the class. But don't be afraid to advocate for your child.

Hi! I'm an elementary counselor and the behavior you have described is fairly common among "young children". 4 is very young to understand the "why it's necessary" to do what everyone else is doing even if you already know it (or have done it before). How does your son respond when you talk to him about needing to answer/participate? I recommend setting up some type of daily note that tracks his participation. This could take the form of the teacher's daily schedule (circle time, centers, writer's workshop, etc) with a box next to each. If he follows directions/participates then he can color in a box. This would allow you to track his progress while keeping the focus on positive behavior rather than what he didn't do. You can always video tape him doing the work at home & share that with the teacher (to save your sanity).

This may sound really blunt, BUT it will really help you to remind yourself: WHO IS IN CHARGE of your son's education? Girl, you are the mom! There will be several times in your child's life that you will need to put your foot down, follow your instincts and break the mold of what is "expected". I remember one year I just went along with an excessive homework load and weird assignments. I later learned that I should have spoken up because that was the teacher's very first year teaching and I was right! He may be ready intellectually but not socially, which takes precedence. Look ahead... He will be one day the youngest in his class of kids that are dating, driving, drinking, and other things he's not ready for the influence of. At certain stages, age matters ALOT!! There has to be another school or meet with the administration of where he is--if you ask to wait for him to start, I'm betting you'll find cooperation.

My son is the same age as yours and is also in kindergarten. It is very frustrating for me as a parent and a teacher that kindergarten is the way first grade used to be. Your son might just be very overwhelmed. There is no more center time in kindergarten. When I taught K about 27 years ago the children sang songs, did art projects and played in the housekeeping and block center. My son has reading, writing, math, computers and science. They don't even have any recess time until the spring. Luckily for me he is very sociable and a fantastic reader. He also does well in every subject except writing. The teacher said he is very distracted and only writes down a few words. They forget that at 4 many children don't have the eye hand coordination to write. He is getting very frustrated because he also has to write sentences for homework and he cries the whole time. I think your son like my son just needs a little more time to mature.