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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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Is it safe to have a blended 4 year old and 5 year old all

Customer Question

Is it safe to have a blended 4 year old and 5 year old all day kindergarten class? Our faculty is struggling with the behaviors of 4 year old in the afternoons which is taking away from the learning of 5 year olds to be ready for 1st grade. The board deliberated for many hours over this and we're at a stale-mate. Hope you can help! My phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX WE NEED HELP!!!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
I am interested in tackling this interesting question but need more information. Would a half-day program also be available for 4 years old children?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The half-day is what we're going to after x-mas break. The problem is there are angry parents who now have to juggle their schedules to pick up kids at 11am. The problem is that we're focusing on the kids and what is best for them. There are 5 year olds that need to be ready for 1st grade and unfortunately, I feel that takes priority over someone wanting their 4 year old looked after for 8 hours. My rebuttal at our board meeting is that my 5 year old regressed from letter and number recognition. We read and do activities every day so I know nothing changed on my end. I'm on the school board and the teacher expressed concern because there are 24 kids to look after, of which 11 are 4 year olds. After lunch/recess, it's chaos in her room and the 5 year old curriculum essentially gets tossed to the wayside to deal with behavioral concerns of the 4yo. She brought this up to the board. We tried to hire a part-timer but they didn't meet the parochial qualifications of certification or sub-licensure. I just wanted to go to the board meeting, tonight, with insight from a professional that would help ease some of the parents' understanding. Hope you can help and it is GREATLY APPRECIATED!
Expert:  Bonnie replied 5 years ago.
I hope it is not too late.

At this young age the developmental differences are great (between 4 and 5 year old children). Putting them together is not a good idea. Four year old children are less able to sustain attention and more likely to become fatigued if expected to perform at a 5 year level of immaturity. Once fatigued, their behavior will become unorganized and disruptive to the organization of the class. As you noted the academic needs of the 5 year old children will be adversely affected. A program structured for a 5 year old would build in more structured learning activity than a 4 year old can tolerate.

I hope some of these developmental facts will help in advancing your position.
Best of luck.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We already had our meeting last night at 6:30pm. I was hoping to get this answer before then, but we decided to cut the afternoon 4yo Kindergarten, permanently. At least until the school is able to finance another teacher to accommodate. Thanks, anyway!

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