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Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

  • 1.  Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 25 days ago
    I have a four-year-old preschooler in my class who has been learning English at preschool this year and last year. (Parents are bilingual but only speak Spanish to her at home, so she is just exposed to English for four mornings a week at preschool.) She has made tremendous growth with her English and is on level with her peers in pre-reading and math skills.  She will turn 5 in June and the cut off for kindergarten for the public schools here is late August, so she will be eligible to start kindergarten next school year. However, schools start here in July, so it is not uncommon in this area for parents of kiddos with summer birthdays to give them one extra year of preschool. There are some occasional behavior challenges, which may or may not be language related. She speaks in full sentences to her peers, but her language is not as advanced as her peers, naturally, nor is her listening comprehension for read-alouds on level with her peers.  I haven't been able to find any research on the effects of delaying kindergarten for ELL learners and would love to help the parents make an informed decision. Any thoughts?

    Thank you!

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    Amy Cote
    Gilbert AZ
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  • 2.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 25 days ago
    This is a great question. There is no research to answer your question because there are so many individual factors that would affect how a child would do as an early Kindergartner or late Kindergartner. It really depends on the individual child's needs. You seem to say your preschool is part day. Would kindergarten be full day or half day? What kind of curriculum is used in the local kindergarten?Kindergarten is not the issue - it's the kindergarten curriculum that can really make the difference in how children do. Is it a developmentally appropriate kindergarten program with child-centered, play-based curriculum? or is it a stressful, overly academic curriculum? Does the school have a good reputation for providing effective supports for children who are English learners? In other words - it's best to ask whether the kindergarten is ready for the child rather than putting the pressure on the child to be ready for kindergarten.

    Wishing you the best!

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    Karen Nemeth
    Author/consultant/keynotes
    Language Castle LLC
    Allentown PA
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  • 3.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Amy,

    I from your e-mail I think you are dealing with two different variables 1 - the child is bilingual, 2 - the child has some behavior\listening skills issues, but are those related?You  mention she can communicate with her peers and that she is at the same level with them on pre-reading and math skills.  So take the language factor out of the equation if you had a monolingual (English Only) child showing the same level of skill and behavior, would you recommend that the parents hold back the child a year?

    Also bilingual children don´t really have language developmental delays, just because they are bilingual, if you are seeing delays there could be other factors.  Parents can still make sure that her listening skills, and language skills are growing even if only in is Spanish and help her get ready for kindergarten. It is very likely that her kindergarten class will have a mix of of children that did not attended pre-school or structured daycare. The age difference from her class mates can be as much as 18 months given that some of the older kids were probably also held back, so given that range will she fit in with the rest of the class? If she is held back will she benefit from being in a class with less mature children in Kindergarten, will she get bored and as a result be even more distracted?
    There are multiple theories on redshirting almost as many as bilingualism, these two articles make for interesting reads on those subjects.

    https://tessais.org/bilingualism-and-speech-delays-whats-the-connection/

    https://www.brookings.edu/research/is-your-child-ready-for-kindergarten/

    I´m in Iowa and here school starts in late August and my child has a mid-August birthday so I was given the option of holding him back a year. I decided not to hold him back and he is reading at a 5th grade level but he is only a 3rd grader and he is in on the 75% percentile for Math, he is also learning a Spanish because we are a bilingual family. However, I did not introduce Spanish until I enrolled him at a bilingual daycare center when he was 3 years old.

    This is really a great question and I agree with Karen Nemeth, that the current Kindergarten curriculum needs to be factored in order to make the best educated choice.

    Claudia Brown
    Hispanic Educational Resources\Conmigo Early Education Center
    Des Moines Iowa

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    Claudia Brown
    Comigo
    Des Moines IA
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  • 4.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 24 days ago
    Claudia,

       Thanks so much for your insight and sharing the articles. The article from Brookings was the best I've read so far on the subject and brought up points I hadn't considered before. I too, agree with Karen about considering the kindergarten curriculum and appreciate you both validating my thoughts!

    Many thanks,
    Amy

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    Amy Cote
    Gilbert AZ
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  • 5.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 24 days ago
    ​Karen,
     Amen to your statement about readiness for kindergarten. Yes we should be making sure the kindergarten is ready for the child and not the child ready for kindergarten. The district we work with assume that if a child doesn't do what they have planned on transition day for the preschoolers, that they can't do it. Example: They have the child write their name. They watch and the child doesn't write it correctly. So they say the child can't write their name. Yet every desk in the room has a name card with their students' name on it. I then tell them that the child can write their name if they have a name card from which to help them. Also most children won't perform well for adults they do not know so this is not an accurate assessment of what the child can do. ELL's are especially timid as they don't want to make mistakes with expressive English language but are treated as if their receptive language lacks as much as their expressive language does - which is often NOT the case.
    We need to make sure the teachers in the kindergarten rooms are ready for the needs of their incoming students. I believe all kindergarten teachers should have the opportunity to visit the preschool classrooms that their incoming children are already in.

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    Sue Miller
    team leader
    Child Development Center
    Hawarden IA
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  • 6.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 24 days ago
    Karen,
      Thank you so much for your response. Parents are considering different kindergarten options, and some are definitely not child-centered nor play-based and this was a concern of mine. I love how your phrased the issue of making sure kindergarten is ready for the child and not the other way around. I will be sure to communicate that sentiment to the parents as they consider different options.  I greatly appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks!

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    Amy Cote
    Gilbert AZ
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  • 7.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 25 days ago

    Hi Amy,

    I have had several students in the same situation. What we have found is that delaying their pass onto another school year has not rendered  any additional success. The only way delaying a child has been helpful, is if that particular child has some sort of developmental delay. Other than that just catering to her needs and making sure she understands instructions in enough. Just give her time, she will catch up!



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    Cecilia Escalante
    COLEGIO EL ROBLE SC
    ESTADO DE MEXICO MEX
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  • 8.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 24 days ago
    Cecilia,
       Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience with this. It is helpful and I will be sure to share that with the parents!

    Thanks!

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    Amy Cote
    Gilbert AZ
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  • 9.  RE: Determining Kindergarten Readiness for ELL child

    Posted 23 days ago
    NAEYC has a blog post: Is the School Ready for Your Kindergartner? (I wrote it and I forgot to post it here!)


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    Karen Nemeth
    Author/consultant/keynotes
    Language Castle LLC
    Allentown PA
    ------------------------------