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5 Year old Son
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5 Year old Son

My son is 5 years old with an August birthday (cut off for school is December 1st in my state). He is very intelligent, can read with help, can tie his shoes if given enough time, can do addition problems, etc. But he is very easily distracted and it is hard to keep him focused. If I tell him to get dressed, eat his dinner, if we're playing a board game, having a conversation, etc. he's no different than any other 5 YO child. But when he gets in groups or is doing something he really doesn't enjoy, he is hard to keep focused. He loves t-ball and I think because it's structured and he knows what he should be doing at all times, he was able to focus and played very well. T-ball was a great experience. But soccer is impossible. There are too many kids just following the ball and he seems to feel lost and intimidated, and he'd lose focus and stand off to the side humming like a race car. We ended up removing him because he didn't want to play and he was just running around smiling and watching the other kids. He used to do this when playing outside with a group of kids. He'd just lose interest and sort of go off on his own and pretend to cut the grass or something. He is thankfully growing out of that some with the other children and is engaging more with everyone else.

He did well in pre-school. But now, it is one month into kindergarten and his classroom is chaotic. His teacher informed me that the majority of the children in the class are rude and basically do what they want (my son is not included). But he doesn't have control of his class. But he is concerned that my son is "easily distracted", won't face him when spoken to (he sometimes gets shy or intimidated and doesn't want to look at someone when he's uncomfortable - which I'm working on correcting), won't walk in a straight line (I haven't gotten to the bottom of this comment yet), and lacks some "basic kindergarten life skills". I am torn because I suspect that the walking in a straight line and not looking at him are my son's discomfort with the newness of the class and the chaotic environment and the teacher's lack of control on his class. But I know how my son zones out and was in the class one day to observe that he didn't even hear the teacher telling the students to put their backpacks down because he was looking out the window daydreaming. The other children heard him with no problem.

I'm very worried about him, especially now that his teacher seems to be worried. I'm worried that he's going to struggle in kindergarten. I keep wondering if he's just stressed over the new year (we are after all only a month into the school year), if he's just going to outgrow this (my daughter was easily distracted - less so than my son - but she outgrew it by now and is now in 2nd grade and thriving - loves sports, school, etc.). It has been suggested to me that boys take longer. And I am seeing improvement in him. I don't know if that is age or if he's on his way to growing out of it. Does he sound like a child with a severe problem?
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Avatar_m_tn
   He doesn't have a severe problem.  He has an age related problem.  Wonder if you live in California, because we just changed the law to where you have to be 5 by Sept. not Dec.
At any rate, he probably is one of the youngest boys in his class.  Couple that with a teacher that admits (?) he doesn't have control of his class - that's not good.  I think I would look into a good preschool.  And I would also try and find a different teacher for Kindergarten next year.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you, you confirmed my feelings on the fact that he's just young. We're not in CA and we've had a Dec 1 cut-off since I was a child. He's not the youngest in the class, but is certainly one of the youngest. There is a young fives program for October and November b-days. So most of the truly young children are in young fives.

The teacher is just very disorganized, sounds discombobulated when he speaks, uses poor spelling and grammar in correspondences, has no helper in the classroom, and admits that most of the kids are misbehaved and rude and as he put it, "basically do what they want." As my husband said, that tells me that the problem is him and that he has no control over his class. I helped in his class one day and saw first hand that the teacher spent about an hour out of the class trying to console a child who cried for 1 1/2 hours about going to daycare after school. Other teachers came in to babysit my son's class while he dealt with the boy. When he was in class, he spent most of the time trying to get the kids to listen and follow directions. The other K teacher is someone that I avoided like the plague because of negative reports from other parents. She's no better. The K teacher that my daughter had has moved on as the art teacher.

I guess what it boils down to is that I believe that my son is easily distracted, but I truly believe that K is a place where he could thrive and it could truly help him grow into a more focused boy. I don't want to hold my son back when I feel that academically, socially, and emotionally he can handle K. He needs an environment that will hold his focus, and a teacher that can put a little focus on his needs instead of spending all of his time trying to control the chaos. He thrived in pre-school and they told me that he was ready for K. But that was a great program with great teachers and great kids. I guess I posted because I needed a little encouragement that I'm not just turning a blind eye to my son's challenges. I am going to meet with the K teacher and talk about his concerns, consider any that fit with the child that I know and see what he suggests for helping him to focus, explain my concerns (gently) and explain to him where I think my son is struggling with his class. I'm also going to talk to him about fighting for a helper in class. They always had them in years past, and this year they have made cuts. If nothing else, I'll help out in class myself as often as I can.
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973741_tn?1342346373
I agree whole heartedly with Sandman.  In our state the cut off is September so your child would be the youngest in kindergarten.  There is such a huge range of maturity in that age group and then adding in that some kids may be a full year older than him------  I'd switch him out and try again next year.  And I'd request a different teacher.  Maybe a private school for kindergarten and then switching into first grade at that school.  Just a thought.  good luck
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Avatar_m_tn
   Dang, talk about being between the anvil and the hammer.  Hope it works for you.  Maybe by volunteering a lot in class you can help out.  Maybe by simply talking with the teacher, he will start paying more attention to your son (that is usually what happens).  What scares me a bit is that this is a new teacher.  I think (from my experience as a principal), that kindergarten and first grade are the hardest to teach!  Of course, that was because the kids scared the heck out of me - always moving, etc.  It takes a very organized teacher to successfully deal with this age group!  It does sound like his heart is in the right place!  Furthermore, any male who teaches kindergarten automatically gets bonus points in my book.  
   The thing that you need to think about is that this guy could be a much better teacher by next year.  Just keep that in mind if things are not quite working out.  Also, your son will always be one of the youngest kids in school.  In sports, in AP classes, etc.  Its not just now that you are dealing  with.  Its his future.  If you were ever to hold him back, this is the easiest year.  And, by the way, if you did so - I would still go in and volunteer for this teacher.  best wishes.
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