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2 July 2009 SanTan FAMILY FUN
WWhen is a child ready for school?hen is a child ready for school?
by Natalie Morris If parents believe their child is ready socially,
Since Chandler Unified School District discontinued the emotionally and intellectually, they can contact the CUSD
Kindersteps program due to budget cuts, many SanTan office about the process for taking an entrance test. The
Sun area parents face a more difficult decision: what to district began charging an $80 fee for early entrance
do with their children who miss the Sept. 1 cutoff for testing starting earlier this month.
kindergarten enrollment. When is a 4-year-old truly ready “The testing includes an evaluation of the social and
for school? The answer is not always black and white, but emotional factors as well as the children’s knowledge of
many shades of gray. very basic language arts and math concepts,” explains v
Previously, Kindersteps provided an interim “pre-K” Eissinger. “The test is administered in a one-to-one setting.
step for children with a September through December Test results for each child are reviewed by a committee. T
birthday. At the end of the year, parents and teachers Parents then receive a letter letting them know whether
would decide whether the child was ready for first grade the child qualified for entrance into kindergarten.”
or needed to enroll in a typical kindergarten class. With According to Eissinger, once parents reach the point of
this option gone, parents of these kids must now choose having a child tested, they typically have already decided
to have the child complete early entrance testing or to enter the child in kindergarten, if possible.
simply wait another year. “If the children pass this test, then they generally are
Susan Eissinger, spokesperson for CUSD, explains that enrolling their children,” she says.
the district generally believes waiting is best for both boys Enrolling any child in kindergarten can be an
and girls. This waiting period provides more time for the emotionally challenging process for any parent, especially
4-year-old to mature in all areas and allows the child to for those uncertain about their child’s readiness.f
begin kindergarten as one of the oldest children instead of “Again, generally, we feel that the best decision is to
the youngest. allow the children to have that extra year of maturity
“When considering this decision, it is important to prior to entering kindergarten,” Eissinger states. “It is
consider a child’s social and emotional maturity,” says so important that the first year of school be a positive
Eissinger. “Does she readily separate from parents? Does experience. It would be nice to have a crystal ball to
he show independence?” show us the right decision for each child, but since we
Eissinger also encourages parents to consider the don’t have that crystal ball, we have developed the early
child’s readiness to learn by asking questions such as: entrance assessment process.”
Can she speak in full sentences and express her thoughts Parents can contact CUSD about early entrance testing
completely? Can he follow multi-step directions? Does for kindergarten at 480-812-7000.f
she show an interest in books and words? Does he show
an eagerness and interest in learning? Can she sustain
READY: It’s important to consider a child’s emotional Natalie Morris is a freelance writer who lives in Cooper
her interest in a topic or task for a reasonable period of
maturity when deciding if he or she is ready for
Commons with her husband, two sons and their dog, Bella.
time?
Kindergarten.
Contact her at Natalie@SanTanSun.com.
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