Letter: Benefits of extra year in preschool
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
My first teaching assignment was as a kindergarten teacher. Admittedly that was over 50 years ago but I do not believe that children and their rates of development have changed that drastically in that period of time.
I was not used to dealing with children that young. They were great, but some had more difficulty dealing with the kindergarten curriculum than others. After the first few months I realized that those whose birth dates were closer to the cut-off date for entry were having more difficulty, and not just academically, but socially and emotionally as well.
I believe the Pittsfield School Committee is wise to push the entry age date back. Let a child spend an extra year in preschool. It puts them ahead of the curve and the risk of them scrambling to keep up is eliminated. That extra time of maturation helps ready them to learn and succeed.
With respect to Brian Sullivan’s recent column, there are kids who are, or seem to be, ready at an earlier age. However, extra growth time does not hurt and may keep a child from feeling discouraged and defeated before he or she even leaves kindergarten. Children know their standing in a class without needing a report card to tell them. Give them the time to get that readiness. It will stand them and all of our society in good stead.