Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Family Project: Don’t delay kindergarten for son, age 5

Friday, May 22, 2020 by CAROLE GORNEY Special to The Press in Focus

Q. Since my five-year-old son’s preschool has been closed and I have been home with him, I have become concerned about his readiness for kindergarten in the fall. None of his teachers has ever said anything to me about this, but it seems like he doesn’t know a lot of the things my other children had to know before kindergarten. How can I work with him to get him ready for school, or should I consider waiting another year?

After a brief discussion of this question, panelist Joanne Raftas concluded that the panel was unanimous in recommending that the mother not hold the preschooler back another year. There were three basic reasons for this position.

For one thing, Raftas said, “Everyone is in the same boat. The mother is going to see changes in all the kids once they get back to school.”

The differences in children was another consideration for panelist Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, who said, “When I was an elementary school teacher, I observed children at all stages [of development].

“There might be one student who was lagging behind, and then all of a sudden, a light would go on. Things happen at their own pace,” said Mercado-Arroyo, adding, “Don’t rush.”

Even if a student is behind, panelist Erin Stalsitz said, the schools have many interventions they can put in place prior to evaluations, “so I don’t think it is a good idea to hold any child back at this point.”

The reason given the most for not holding back the five-year-old is the availability of readiness materials for the mother to use during the summer to help prepare her son for kindergarten.

One source of help, suggested by panelist Pam Wallace, is, which has learning games and puzzles, as well as reading and writing exercises.

Panelist Chad Stefanyak said readiness resources can be found online by searching “Kindergarten Readiness Assessment pa.” On the is a pamphlet for parents to help them evaluate their child’s readiness for kindergarten. The pamphlet observes that “being “ready” means more than counting and saying the alphabet.”

This week’s team of parenting experts are: Pam Wallace, program coordinator, Project Child, a program of Valley Youth House; Erin Stalsitz, Lehigh Children & Youth; Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, educator and former school administrator; Joanne Raftas, Psychotherapist, and Chad Stefanyak, school counselor.

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The Family Project is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Valley Youth House’s Project Child.

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health-care provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.