Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Eternal Preschool

Uh oh, I feel a rant coming on.

Angst-ridden, micromanaging, yuppie parents in New York City are sheltering their precious children from the harsh rigors of kindergarten by keeping them in preschool for an extra year. Sometimes until they’re seven! They don’t want their kid to be the “smallest” or the “runt of the class”, you see.

Prepare yourself for more gag-inducing comments from these self-absorbed fusspots.

Preschoolers Grow Older as Parents Seek an Edge
Jack Haims, who turned 6 in late September, started kindergarten this year with an enviable skill set under his tiny belt: He could already read simple rhyming books, count to 100 and write his name.

“He has a lot more self-confidence if he tends to be the older one,” said his mother, Charlotte, 37. “I wanted him to have an easier time.”

Jack acquired his confidence and abilities thanks to an extra year of preschool, or perhaps simply an extra year of life. He is not alone: From Bronxville, where he lives, to Manhattan and beyond, parents are strategizing more than ever to keep their children out of kindergarten until they are nearly, or already, 6 years old...

Fueled by the increasingly rigorous nature of kindergarten and a generation of parents intent on giving their children every edge, the practice is flourishing in New York City private schools and suburban public schools. A crop of 5-year-olds in nursery school and kindergartners pushing 7 are among the most striking results...

“It’s kind of crazy to hold them back,” said Jessica Siegel, 40, whose daughter, Mirit Skeen is back for another year at Montclair Community Pre-K in New Jersey, although she turned 5 in late August and the public school cutoff there for kindergarten is Oct. 1. “Someone’s going to be the youngest. Someone’s going to be the smallest.”

Ms. Siegel and her husband considered the decision for months, waiting until the week before public school started before making it final in case Mirit “suddenly had some kind of huge emotional shift.”

“I felt like her whole experience is about being the smallest and the youngest, and I wanted to change that experience for her,” Ms. Siegel said, adding, “The more people do it, the more people do it — partially because you don’t want yours to be the last.”...

“Nobody ever was successful because they were the youngest in the class,” said Betsy Newell, director of the Park Avenue Christian Church Day School.

“The gift of a year, that’s what I always say to parents,” Mrs. Newell added. “The gift of a year is the best gift you can give a child.”

I would inform Mrs. Newell, if I could, that I started kindergarten when I was four and had a pretty successful career in public schools, even managing to graduate high school at 17 in the top fifteen percent of my class.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I echo your Ugh on this one.

Just when you think that the moronic behavior of self-absorbed yuppie parents can get now worse, they find a way to stumble forward another step.

The fact is that children that have it "less easy" in the school system very often overcome and prevail to succeed in spite of challenges and be very powerful and capable adults.

Kids that have it easy in KG because mom and dad held them back until they were old enough to "cake walk" it, will likely become lazy ass, no-nothing, have it all served on a plate for them, spoiled little weazles. Why deliberately turn your kid into a weenie? I just don't get it.

I bet these same parents are still cutting and pre-chewing their kids food for them too.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Robert Bolling said...

Couldn't agree more, Ray. As we know down here in Texas, the reason to hold your kid back from kindergarten for a year or two is so that he'll be bigger than the other boys when he gets old enough to play football. ;)

3:14 PM  

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