Attempt at Early Entry into Kindergarten

Talking with the Principal is his office

If you know my story already, then you know that my son was one of those early self-taught readers. He had a seemingly unquenchable thirst for reading, and before he was five years old, he was reading better than most third graders. Unfortunately, my son missed the cut off date to start school by 28 days. That meant that he would have to wait another whole year before he could start kindergarten. He would be six years and two months old.

That seemed crazy to me as my son was already at the stage of reading to learn. He was long past the stage of learning to read. He had also been to preschool and had no problems socializing. He was happy, secure, and eager to continue learning.

Consequently, I had decided that my son needed to start kindergarten early. I couldn't imagine making him wait another year to enter kindergarten when he was already a very fluent reader with an intense thirst for knowledge.

I called the principal of the elementary school my son would attend and asked for an appointment to talk about early entry into school. I should have known it was pointless after our initial conversation.  When he asked what I wanted to talk about, I told him I wanted to talk about registering my son for kindergarten a year early.  He told me that they "never" admit children into school early, so I told him about my son and his reading ability.

To that he replied, "Children that age can't read."

The principal did agree to meet with me, though, and also agreed to let me bring my son with me. I thought if I brought him along, the principal could see for himself what my son could do. When the time came for our appointment, we went to the school and were invited to sit in the principal's office.

My son, ever confident, sat in the chair nearest the principal, who said, "So, what do you want to talk about?"  Without a doubt in his mind, my son answered, "I want to talk about dinosaurs."

To his credit, the principal chatted with my son for a while about dinosaurs.  Ha! I thought. He can see how much my son knows, how confident he is, and how social he is. In other words, how ready he was to start school. I was wrong. The principal said that my son would not be allowed to start school early because he wasn't ready. What about the reading?  How would the school accommodate for that? "Kids that age can't read." I was starting to get tired of that response. At this point, I told the principal to pull out a book and have my son read it. Surprisingly, the principal wouldn't do it. He simply told me that it might look like my son was reading, but he wasn't really. He might read the words, but he wouldn't understand what he was reading.

Clearly, the principal did not support early entry into kindergarten for my son.

Although he had told me that our school district never admitted children into school early, I later learned that this wasn't true. When my son and I visited the school for a tour, one of the teachers whose room we visited told me about one of the teachers there who had gotten her child started early. As if that weren't bad enough, the principal also told me that while some kids may appear to be more advanced than other kids, he assured me that based on his fifty years of experience in education, kids got dumber over the years. (Those were his exact words.) I wanted to ask him if he ever considered questioning the kind of education his school was providing if kids got "dumber" over the years, but I didn't want to make my quest harder than it was.

I would have to take the next step and talk to the superintendent.

Read more about my experiences raising my son. Did you have similar experiences? Share your story with me on my Facebook page.

Continue Reading