Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Developments and Dilemmas - Cooper

As I watch the kids grow and develop, I'm amazed at how far they've come in the 16 months that they've been home.

This pic is at a Rockets game - Cooper asked me when the fire was going to come out!
He thought we were there to watch a rocket launch!  Funny boy.

Cooper, 4 1/2 years old, is a bright little guy.  He's clever, observant, witty, caring, loving and sweet.   He colors within the lines and very neatly.  He's starting to spell and read.  He writes his name and all of his letters well. He can cut with a scissors well.  He knows shapes, the alphabet and can recognize numbers written as well as spoken.  His fine motor skills are excellent.  His gross motor skills are excellent. He can run, kick, stand and hop on one foot - he can do everything he needs to do for Kindergarten in August.
Here's a readiness checklist for KG:

Fine Motor Skills
1. Puts a 10- to 12-piece puzzle together  - can put together a 24 piece puzzle together easily
2. Holds scissors correctly - Yes
3. Holds a pencil or crayon properly - Yes
Gross Motor Skills
1. Runs, jumps and skips - Yes
2. Walks backward - Yes
3. Walks up and down stairs - Yes
Social Skills
1. Uses words instead of being physical when angry - Yes
2. Speaks clearly so an adult can understand him/her - Yes
3. Plays with other children - Yes
4. Follows simple directions - Yes
5. Expresses feelings and needs - Yes
6. Goes to the bathroom by him/herself - Yes
7. Waits his/her turn and shares - Yes
8. Talks in sentences - Yes
9. Asks questions about things around him/her - A LOT!
10. Enjoys having books read to him/her  - Yes
11. Can tell a story about a past event - Yes
12. Says "please" and "thank you" - Yes
13. Can spend extended periods away from Mom and Dad - Yes
Academic Skills
1. Recognizes shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle) - Yes
2. Can sort items by color, shape and size  - Yes
3. Can identify six parts of his/her body - Yes
4. Understands concept words such as up, down, in, out, behind, over - Yes
5. Counts from 1 to 10 - Counts to 30+
6. Recognizes five colors - Yes, more
7. Tries to write his/her name - Yes, writes it very well
8. Recognizes his/her written name - Yes, LOVES Mini Coopers!
Personal Information
1. Knows his/her full name - Yes
2. Knows how old he/she is  - Yes
3. Knows his/her address and telephone number - Working on it
4. Knows his/her mother and father's first names - Yes

He passes this test with flying colors and he's not starting until August.  
Our dilemma?   
Well, his maturity level is a little lower than the other kids.  Sometimes he gets too silly and has a hard time settling down when he's in 'that' mode.  He's especially silly when he gets excited - like when we have company (of course, right?).  It's really not excessive so that's not my main concern - I think he'll mature out of it.  The main concern is that he's so small for his age.  He's 37" tall and weighs 33 lbs.  YES, he eats!  He is growing at a normal rate, on the normal curve, just below where he should be. 
We've had him examined by the Pediatrician who had us take an x-ray of his hand.  Their determination was that he has Constitutional Growth Delay.  His bone age is delayed and it's due to genetics not disease.  According to them, he will catch up in puberty.
Since his birthday is in July, he could either be the oldest in the class or the youngest.  We are leaning towards sending him to KG twice so that he'll be one of the older kids.  That will at least give him an extra year to grow. 
The school he's in now only goes up to KG, so we would put him in another private school that starts from PreK to 8th grade for his second KG.  He'll be with different kids, different teacher, different everything.  I think it will be a good transition year to get to know the new school since he'll already know the academics.
Jim and I have talked about this at length - 
What do you think?


Tammy said...

I know that my sister and my cousin both have boys, and both feel more comfortable holding their boys back a year for maturity reasons. Neither of them feel their boys would be ready for school right at age 5, though they are both very bright and intelligent. My sister also emphasizes that it is easier for boys to be the oldest rather than the youngest in their class. So, either waiting a year to send him to Kindergarten or going for two years, would probably be a good idea if that's what you are leaning towards and feel more comfortable doing since you two know him the best and where he is at maturity wise. Hope that makes sense!

Chris said...

Congrats on Cooper doing so well with all his milestones! I completely understand your concern and should tell you that it not unusual for boys with summer birthdays to do a "bridge" kindergarten exactly like you described. Neighbors of ours with twin boys whose birthdays are at the end of April actually did that and they are in 2nd grade now and doing so well, and I should add the parents are so glad they did the bridge program.

Many books I've read have said that if you feel your child is academically ready for Kinder, but behaviorally not, you should wait.

Christian will be 4 at the end of March and will be in Pre-K next year, and he hits many of the milestones you listed, but he also has the same behavioral issues, especially when he gets around his friends. He gets so silly and wound up and really has difficulty focusing and just wants to play. I find myself many times thinking that other kids in his class this year(he goes on T/Th to a MDO) turned four back in September and are 6 months older than him so of course they can do things he hasn't mastered yet, and I stress yet because I have no doubt he will, he's a bright little guy too. But the truth is that will always be the case for him. He could start school and kids will already be 6 months older than him. I think we'll make the final determination next year at this time, but we have considered a bridge program for him at the preschool he is at now and then the public school we're zoned to for kinder again.

Sorry to go on and on, but it is a "hot topic" and something many parents are thinking long and hard about.

AddingOn said...

Hi, you don't know me, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in anyways, since you asked and all. My Cooper will be 6 in a week, he is only 41" and 38 lbs. He surprisingly is not the smallest in his class, there is a large range of sizes, differences by feet not just inches!! My hubby is short and I'm average, so it's to be expected. My other son, who is almost 9 has about caught up with his peers height wise, so no worries.
About the school. I think you've got a great idea, especially since he'll be switching schools, so he won't feel like he's just being left behind by his friends.
One note I want to mention about his immature behavior, does this happen at school often, does it effect him paying attention? I had nothing but sons for 8 years, then added a 7 year old girl, girls are just calmer, and even when they are hyper it's just different. My boys are angels at school, NO behavior problems. My Cooper is in Kindergarten, he reads at a high second grade level, and is ahead in everything. My fear for your Cooper, since he seems to be such a smart little guy, that repeating K may make him bored, which would cause behavior problems.
I love reading about your Cooper
Sorry this is so long


Jane and Jim said...

Cara, I know exactly what you this is one of my fears too. Since he is smart, I don't want him to be bored and get into trouble. BUT since he'll be changing schools, maybe they'll teach different things or teach differentLY. Don't know.
It's a little overwhelming!

Karen said...

If he hasn't started Kinder yet, why not just wait and see? Maybe actually going to Kinder next year will help him mature some. That's just my 2 cents. My July boy (who is also on the small side) will just be starting preK next year so I'm not there quite yet but we've thought about it too. Good luck with your decision.

Jackie said...

Jane- Gosh, I was going to add my two cents about doing KG twice... because I have a summer boy and I did that for him. But then I saw the comment from Cara about the possibility of him being bored. That is a good point too! My husband was one of those boys in school who was so bored (because he knew all the material),he has behavioral issues.

Here's a thought. If you put him in KG this year at the first school...reevaluate at the end of the year. Perhaps he will have caught up in many ways developmentally and he would be ready for 1st grade (at the new school). But if you feel her would be better served doing KG again at the new school, then that option is still available.

I am amazed at his kindergarten readiness skills! He is one smart cookie! (As my first grade teacher used to say!)

JennyM said...

Hi Jane,

My husband and I adopted our little girls from Russia in 2008 as well and our 5 year old (we thought) was ready for kindergarten this year. She was very bright and knew most of the things for kindergarten. We had her evaluated at a private Christian school in our city and the teachers recommended her for Pre-K. Her English was still a little broken so they didn't understand her very well but I didn't think that was a reason not to start her in KG (I called the public school system and they said she should start). However, after thinking about it, my husband and I decided to put her in Pre-K and she is just flourishing. I am amazed at how much they teach in Pre-K right now and seeing her grasp concepts and truly understand things is so rewarding. I think, as adoptive parents we have to think about the comprehension abilities of our kids as well. Simple, everyday things (especially if they are repetitive) are easier for them to comprehend but instructions while they are in school might be a challenge.

That's just my 2 cents. :) I think we talked before we both got our kids. We went through 2 1/2 years of waiting before we were able to adopt our girls. Many months of questioning if we were ever going to bring them home. Your kids look just like you. :) We get comments all the time about how our girls look like us.

Good luck on your school decision. Ultimately, as the parent, you know your kids the best but the final thought I had was that I'd rather she'd be ahead and confident than right at the line and a little unsure of things.


Becky and Keith said...

Okay... get out of my head! :-) Everything you said in your post is everything I've been thinking. Keith and I have been having the same conversation you and Jim have for months now. Andrew is an August baby and is 8 days short of the Sept 1 cut off. As of this very minute, we're sending him to Kindergarten in August (we reserve the right to change our minds 5 mins from now!). Like Cooper, Andrew is small - 40 pds, 40 inches, but he is smart as a whip. He is in Pre-K with some 5 year olds and some young 4's and seems to be able to hang with both. I'm worried that holding Andrew back will be worse because we can't "bump him ahead" if he's not challenged enough. I think Andrew is the kind of child that will get in trouble if he's bored. Like Cooper, he's writing, starting to spell and read and from what we understand entering Kindergarten is a repeat of all of that. We've talked about private vs. public, 2 years Kindergarten, etc... such tough decisions so I know what you're going through! I'd love to chat more about this if you want, so shoot me an email! Just know you are NOT alone in this tough decision! I think, when you and I were growing up, holding a child back because of their birthday was so rare and not something our parents really had to worry about. :-) This parenting thing is tough! :-)

Nancy said...

Our son Nathan has a May 31 bday...he's at the 3rd percentile in height. Very smart but also emotionally immature. We had him in Pre-K last year and this year he's at a different private pre-school in a "transitional kindergarten" class. I'm so glad we waited a year for kindergarten. He's much more similar to the kids in his class this year in terms of his social skills. He's still probably the shortest kid in his new class, but not by far. It's a tough decision, but whatever you decide is right for you.

Troy and Rachel said...

Well we have another year for Daniel, but my thoughts are to at least try and not hold them back. Cooper is doing everything needed and with a tougher workload he may settle down because he's not bored.

I really enjoyed your post below too. We look at photo albums alot here, but Daniel doesn't seem to interested in asking questions yet. We mainly talk about the fact that he was born in Russia and that we flew there because God chose us to parent him.