A commenter reminded me, a few posts back, about the Louise Bates Ames series based on the work of the Gesell Institute of Human Development. Each book is titled Your _____ Year-Old (fill in the age). I have read all of them up until Your Five-Year-Old. Maybe by then I thought I had it figured out because I didn’t order Your Six-Year-Old.
Last week a neighbor mentioned that she was reading Your Six-Year-Old (we both have girls going into the first grade) and that she found it really helpful. So I went ahead and ordered the book. A-HA!
Now I get it! The title says it all — Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant.
So anyway, I ran across this very interesting checklist of items to assess whether or not your child is prepared for all-day first grade. This book was first published in 1979, so I have to say it comes across as quite dated at times. So let’s take a look, shall we? The idea here is that about 10 yesses out of this list of 12 would indicate readiness for 1st grade.
1. Will your child be six years, six months or older when he begins first grade and starts receiving reading instruction?
2. Does your child have two to five permanent or second teeth?
3. Can you child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or policeman, where he lives?
4. Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored?
5. Can he stand on one foot with eyes closed for five to ten seconds?
6. Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels?
7. Can he tell left hand from right?
8. Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?
9. Can he be away from you all day without being upset?
10. Can he repeat an eight- to ten-word sentence, if you say it once, as “The boy ran all the way home from the store”?
11. Can he count eight to ten pennies correctly?
12. Does your child try to write or copy letters or numbers?
Based on this criteria, my six-year-old is ready for first grade, but just barely. Who knows if she can travel around four to eight blocks by herself? I’ve never let her even try! I’d probably be reported to the police if I did try!
She would probably be more appropriate (the authors suggest) for half-day first grade. I’ve never even heard of half-day first grade. Does that even exist anywhere outside of maybe a Waldorf School?
What do you think about this? Are we pushing and expecting too much of our kids these days? Or did we underestimate our kids back in the 70’s?
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