It’s not very often that a teacher recommends a child repeat a year of preschool. I could understand if reading ability interfered so much during elementary school that a child was held back.
But I am such a student, one who repeated 4K. I wasn’t a disruptive student (eating glue, throwing scissors or things like that), but I wasn’t emotionally ready to move on. I got easily frustrated with certain tasks, which resulted in crying spells. I had the bathroom accidents. And there were issues with my fine motor skills that just didn’t put me on pace with my classmates.
When I was older, I knew full well that I had repeated 4K. I just didn’t realize these were sensory processing issues.
But it was quite clear to my teacher and my parents that I needed extra time to adjust to the demands of the classroom experience and reacting to transitions. I was just getting started in various types of therapy, which would help to improve these behaviors, so I just needed more time to allow everything to take its course.
I was already a lot taller than my classmates at this point. My parents were concerned that repeating the grade would mean an even bigger height difference. What kind of impact would being older than my classmates have on my social skills, on my ability to fit in, etc?
I’m sure it was a very difficult decision for my parents to make. But it was the right one. There are no guarantees the height worries would cease to be problems if I had continued straight to 5K.
One of the big events that stands out from my initial 4K class was celebrating Dr. Seuss. Most classrooms have some sort of tribute, so this isn’t unusual. We were given green eggs and ham. I flat out refused to even try. I believe I was the only kid in the class not to try a single bite. Eggs were not supposed to be green. I knew that much. I didn’t care if anyone said there was no change in how they tasted; it was just dye to tint the color. Didn’t matter. I was much more stubborn than Sam-I-Am! Maybe, just maybe, I would have had a different reaction had I seen them being prepared and seen the process of using the food coloring. But I doubt it.
Yes, I could certainly benefit from being a bit less stubborn.
But it’s also a clear indication that I had some food sensitivities.
I had been attending the school where Mom taught kindergarten. With the need to repeat a level, my parents decided to enroll me in a different school. This one happened to be on the other side of town. So since Mom couldn’t be in two places at once with dropping me off at school and being available for her own students, I got to spend more time with my maternal grandparents. I went to their house in the morning and had breakfast. It was a standing offering of Eggo waffles and orange juice. Then they would take me to school.
At this new school, I remember gravitating toward the activity of walking on these home-made stilts. Well, sort of. (Ooh, I found instructions on how to make them!) I don’t know why I liked it so much, but I remember using them a lot. Maybe it was a more enjoyable way to work on balance, coordination and motor planning. I obviously didn’t need to be taller! But as someone who was afraid of heights (I do not like the Ferris Wheel at all!), it’s amazing that I kept finding ways to push myself.
I remember a speaker came to the school to talk about some missionary work in Nigeria. And part of the program was showing us the style of clothing. I was selected to be the model for what children wore in that village. I remember absolutely hating being selected and having to be dressed up. I was very uncomfortable and embarrassed.
The other highlight that stands out was we celebrated Mother’s Day with a special program of singing and demonstrating skills of serving someone else a snack before getting something for ourselves. That along requires self-control. Naturally, there was a bunch of women in this crowded room … and then one tall guy. Mom’s school had their own program, so Dad came in her place. I know Mom hated to miss it, but I’m grateful Dad could be there for me. I can only imagine the drama if I was the only one without an adult present.