The Rapidian

School's started, but many kindergarteners come unprepared to learn. How can we best address this?

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.


combination + don't be in such a rush

i'm sure there are a combination of factors at work, however *also* sometimes children are just developing at a different pace and there is nothing wrong with that. sometimes they need time for exploration on their own, sometimes they need time to grow their social skills and understandings, sometimes the rigor of a school setting is just not right for a child's age or personality. as a new parent, i'm trying to remind myself that when other people's children hit a milestone before mine does, it just means that children are growing and learning and expanding in different ways at different paces. my son isn't walking yet but he's got several words under his belt.. that kind of thing. maybe a child isn't ready for school yet at 4 or even 5, but maybe they're advanced in other ways. why rush them? we'll all get there in time.

maybe, but...

I actually crafted this quesiton after reading this article on The Rapidian. Seems to me if it is true (as stated in the article) that over 80% of Grand Rapids kindergarteners are considered not ready to learn when they arrive, there is a pretty big problem.

  The problem with this


The problem with this question and the article it was crafted from is the 82% number. The article does not cite the source of this information or define the criteria for what makes a child “not ready to learn.” It upsets me that any study or institution would put this label on any child. Holly is right on. At age 5 children are at a wide spectrum of developmental progress. The question should be are the schools and more specifically the teachers prepared to teach? If a child comes to school and they are deemed not ready to learn, what is the point of school? What is to become of the child who is “not ready to learn?” Your choice of answers seems to put that burden on anybody else but the education system. If you're a teacher and you tell me a child isn't ready to learn then you have chosen the wrong profession. You've missed the whole point of being a teacher. This a very sensitive issue with me. As a child I was labeled “not ready to learn” only then I was just the “dumb kid” and every teacher I had in elementary with the exception of one treated me that way. I wasn't going to let this happen to my son.


When my son was in young 5's I volunteered in his class. His teacher was amazing. She treated every child as her own. My son excelled. Kindergarten was a very different story. His teacher was like a drill Sargent running the children through an obstacle course with little patience for someone who couldn't keep up or saw a different way to conquer course. My son regressed and fell below reading and writing levels he had achieved the year before.


We all have different strengths, talents and abilities. Identifying and developing these early on will promote success and give children confidence to venture into areas outside the natural abilities.


Don't tell me a child is not ready to learn, tell me you are ready to teach, inspire and challenge.   

Excellent points

I appreciate what you are saying, and cannot disagree. Possibly I should have included an option that said something like "the schools need to be better ready to teach"? To someone like me, past having kids in school, the referring article - whether fair or not -- can certainly sound an alarm. I do remember having to be my children's strongest advocate. Seems you have really pointed out a strong angle on the problem. What's the solution?

Not enough room here to

Not enough room here to answer that question, if there is an answer.  I would really like to know the source of the 82% number and what "not being ready for kindergarten" means.  My guess is that our education system expects that kids in kindergarten are able to demonstrate a certain knowledge about numbers and know there ABC's.  If that's the case where do these standards come from and are the reasonable?  Do they take in consideration that at this age some kids are just slow starters?  And if some kids are slow starters thats okay.  I realize that there is a great deal of difficulty in assessing where each child is and providing individual attention to different needs, but more emphasis should be put on the individual child and less concern about everybody being at the same level of some seemly arbitrary standard. Once kids reach the upper grades of elementary and through high school standards of some sort should apply. Kindergarten should be about learning to learn and how to enjoy learning, not about failing to measure up when your curiosity and awareness of the world around you is just starting to blossom.