In the fall of my son’s Kindergarten year, a shift occurred.
He was a typical rough and tumble little boy, and seemingly overnight, there was a noticeable change in his temperament – and it wasn’t for the better.
As first time Kindergarten parents, his father and I were plugged in and excited about what lay ahead in his new school community. He started Kindergarten with established pre-school friends, he was meeting new friends, teachers were excellent, etc.
It was sure to be a positive experience for all of us, right?
Age-wise, he was in the middle of the pack. We never considered that he might not be ready for Kindergarten, but with more structure in his days, attentional issues began to emerge. If his teacher gave the class a 3-4 part assignment, he usually completed the first task, maybe the second and almost never closed the circle on the remaining two instructions. In addition to not being able to complete his own work, he became a distraction to others in the classroom.
Mrs. W. worked tirelessly with us throughout the year to come up with creative ways to channel his focus. Talk about pushing a boulder uphill…
and it was only Kindergarten. By spring, we decided that he should go back to Kindergarten for a second year, in hopes that with some maturity, he might outgrow some of the inattentiveness and impulsivity.
Mrs. W. was the lucky one who delivered the news to him. His father and I held our breath, waiting for the eruption. The eruption came in the form of total denial. According to Mrs. W., he listened respectfully and seemed to hear her message. However, when we broached the subject at home that evening, he simply acted as though he was headed right on to first grade with his friends.
He did, in fact, go back to Kindergarten the next year. He had another amazing teacher who did everything in her power to help him acclimate to a new group. A few of these boys had also been with him in Nursery School, so there was some re-connection. Mrs. S., his new teacher, tried to give him small leadership roles to build self-esteem.
Overall, it was a pretty good year, thanks to all hands on deck ….
The next year didn’t go so well.