The Neighborhood Parents Network is making an effort to get CPS to allow kids with IEPs, including social/emotional delays, to start Kindergarten at age 6. In support of their effort, Tuesday’s Child, sent this letter.
To Whom It May Concern:
Tuesday’s Child supports the concept of children entering kindergarten at the age of six. We believe offering a developmentally appropriate curriculum to children provides them with the necessary tools for continued school success.
In 2003 the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Task Force stated that one forth to one third of children entering kindergarten do not have the necessary skills to succeed in school, and a 2005 Yale University study estimated that more than 5,000 U.S. preschoolers are expelled each year – a rate three times higher than in elementary or high school.
There are children who need to spend additional time focused on the practical school readiness skills that preschool provides. The preschool years emphasize and nurture increasing attention span, understanding rules and following directions. Practicing the art of conversation is another social goal for a preschooler, as is the art of taking turns or asking for permission. Sharing the teacher’s attention is an important pre-requisite to kindergarten. Circle time is a time for preschoolers to practice and learn how to be inclusive, to sit patiently and hear about the key parts of his/her day. Tuesday’s Child believes that for children with social/emotional delays, having an extra year to foster these skills greatly improves their ability to be life-long learners.
Katherine Conklin, M.Ed Jo Anne Loper
Program Director Director of Parent Education