Age and parenting go a long way with kids

Published 5:26 pm Thursday, March 29, 2007

By Staff
How young is too young?
That’s a debate Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, has started in Raleigh. The outcome of the discussion could impact a large number of North Carolina’s children in the future.
Folwell is backing a bill that would push back the cutoff birth date for children entering kindergarten. Current law allows a child to enroll at the beginning of a school year if the child turns 5 by Oct. 16. The proposed change, approved by the House Education Committee Tuesday, would set the cutoff at Aug. 31 starting with the 2009-2010 school year.
As it stands now, 4-year-old children can enter the same class as 6-year-old students whose parents decided to delay their kindergarten entry by a year. That creates a broad range of maturing and development in one classroom, Folwell said in a story by The Associated Press this week.
A few weeks may not seem like much, but it can be when dealing with children so very young.
The adjustment would shift 15,360 children to enter the school the following year, legislative researchers said. Only seven states had cutoff entrance dates later than North Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Several education groups support the change, including the North Carolina Association of Educators, the N.C. School Boards Association and the N.C. Association of School Administrators.
The broader issue is how well parents do to prepare their children for entry to the classroom. Some pre-K instructors say some parents seem to think if their child can sing “The Alphabet Song” they are doing well. It goes far beyond that.
And it isn’t that hard. Sometimes it involves parents doing more, sometimes it involves them doing less.
Parents can do more by demonstrating how things work. You’ll help your child develop beginning science skills — the ability to form a hypothesis, test it, and come up with new questions and theories. The more kids notice, the more curious they’ll become. And they’ll be building on that curiosity in kindergarten.
And remember to have fun.
And making learning fun is what it’s all about.