Thursday, March 10, 2011
When I was a kid, going to kindergarten seemed like a pretty straightforward process: if you turned five by the end of the year, you got your required vaccinations and you went – plain and simple. So, naturally, when I had Midget and Munchkin, I assumed that it would still work that way. Their birthdays would fall during the first part of the school year (Midget’s almost immediately following the start of school, Munchkin’s on Halloween) and everything would be cool. Alas, nothing is ever simple, not even kindergarten.
So, around these parts, the age cut-off to get into kindergarten is August 31st. If you’re born after that, tough shit, your child is going to have to wait until he/she turns six (or is about to turn six) to start kindergarten. However, there is still some hope: if your child misses the August 31st cut off but is born before November 1st, then you can apply for Early Enrollment. Of course, doing so means extra paperwork and some extra stress. After filling out the required papers, you must have your child evaluated by a Washington State certified/licensed psychologist to see if he or she is sufficiently advanced. To get into kindergarten.
Are you fucking kidding me??!
It gets even better, though! So, this assessment? Midget has to pass every area – there’s no room for error. She must show “substantial ability, above average” in mental ability, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, language development, visual discrimination, auditory discrimination, social/emotional development, and readiness skills. (BTW, what the fuck are readiness skills, precisely? Because that sounds pretty broad…) Oh, and if Midget does pass, her enrollment is still conditional, and she’ll be watched very carefully for her first six weeks by her teacher and the principal of her school; they will be able to kick her out for any reason during that time.
This shit is bananas, right? I mean, surely, I can’t be the only one who thinks all of this is completely fucking insane??
As for Midget herself? Man… she is really, really excited about the idea of going to kindergarten. I’ve told her that she needs to take a test to get in, and that she must pass, and it sucks. (Yes, I have told her that it “sucks.” Many times.) She’s a smart kid, and I don’t doubt her ability, but she has a habit of clamming up and of giving up very easily when she gets frustrated (though she does revisit whatever she’s frustrated with at a later time). There are so many things that could go wrong during this whole evaluation process – things that could skew the results entirely. Midget is a kid who will tell you to "calm down" and "think things through" before going on about the "textures" in her food (she wants to be a chef), but if she doesn’t feel like going over her letter sounds, she won’t. Period.
It goes without saying that this whole debacle will fuck up Munchkin’s shit, too. If I have to keep Midget enrolled in her current school longer than planned, I won’t be able to send Munchkin due to financial constraints. So then Munchkin will be knocked back, so to speak, and she won’t get a lot of the learning and socializing experience that her big sister did. Then she’ll be stuck with me for longer than she has to be, and that’s no good.