In Ohio the state mandates that your child is five on or before August 1st to start Kindergarten that year, but they do have an Early Entrance test for children who will turn five between August 2 and December 31 of the school year they would start. Of course Emma's birthday is the very beginning of October.
Now I am not tutting my own horn but Emma has always been advanced for her age, she said her first word at 4 months, her first sentences at 9 months, and she was using words like medicine and actually by 1 year. She knew her entire alphabet and numbers 1-10 by 18 months and colors and shapes before 2 years.
So this winter I started doing some research on what the Early Entrance testing consisted of to see if it was worth doing. Before anyone starts in on me about "let her be a kid, enjoy her for one more year" let me tell you that for about a year and a half now Emma has been asking Dave and I when she could start school. Emma loves to learn new things, she will spend hours doing the different activities in those Pre-K workbooks, that is why I started looking into this. I did tons of research online to find out what they test the children on and I even called the school and spoke with one of the Kindergarten teachers and the guidance counselor. They both told me that the child's, social skills, and mental capacity were more important than what they knew. Based on the information given at that time we decided lets have her tested, what could it hurt, if she doesn't pass then we will just wait till next year when she is old enough.
At the end of March I went and registered Emma for kindergarten like they said to do. At that time I was given a packet of information for the Early Entrance testing. The front page of this letter was a letter from a State psychologist and it stated that early entrance was only for children who were gifted and it went on to say that gifted meant a 4 year old would be at the same level as a 6 year old.
What the hell?! They never said this to me.
I figured I was already there so I would just go through with it anyway and if she passes great, if not oh well. So we scheduled the testing. Part of that testing was an at home test us parents had to give the child. We were instructed to ask Emma the question and write her answers then circle the ones we felt were correct.
Some of these questions were things like; (= Emma's answers)
How are coats and sweaters alike (they're both warm)
How are nickles and penny's alike (they're both coins)
boys grow up to be men and girls grow up to be (Ladies)
You kick with your legs and throw with your (arms)
So far so good right?
They also had us have her stand on one foot and jump four times and skip, no problem. Then Dave and I had to write a letter as to why we thought she was gifted. That was really tough, thankfully Dave came up with the idea to take a list of characteristics that a child is gifted and explain how Emma showed those.
That brings us to today. At 10 am Emma and I arrived at the school. The guidance counselor took us both back to her office where a state psychologist was waiting and they explained to me what they were going to do then I went out in the hall to wait while they both tested Emma. When they were done they called me back in. While Emma played with some puzzles they tell me that Emma is "BEYOND ADVANCED, and GIFTED" when it comes to academics, social skills, and metal capacity (Thank God, is going through my head at this point), BUT (yep there's a BUT, oh shit) she is not when it comes to motor skills.
What??? Motor Skills?? Yep Emma was tested on six things under the motor skills:
Jumping on one foot
Dribbling a Ball
Cutting with scissors
Emma passed the first three but not the last three and this kept her from passing the motor skills portion of the test. Which kept her from being gifted, and that is keeping her from starting Kindergarten this fall.
Now I don't know what all you are thinking but to me keeping a child who is gifted academically speaking from starting school because she can't dribble a basketball is just plain stupid. What's even more stupid is the answer I got from the psychologist when I asked why it was she had to be so advanced in all those area when children that meet the 5 year old age mark are not tested on the same things? His response to this was "Well we feel that the age mark we have set is appropriate and is the most fair way to set a standard in the state." Yep that's what was said, I mean could he be any more vague? I have a feeling he wasn't expecting me to ask that question and he really didn't know how to answer it. The guidance counselor did tell me in private later that the teacher all feel the same way I do, that all the kids need to be tested more so that only the ones that are truly ready start and they want the state to also change it's standards on the early entrance. She went on to say that she had no doubt Emma would have been at the top of her class based on what she saw today but they can't go against the state!
So there we have it No Kindergarten this year for us, which is ok except for how it is crushing my daughter. She so badly wants to go to school and now she will have to wait and watch all her friends go off without her. That's probably the worst part for me, watching her little heart be crushed because she can't dribble a ball, tie her shoes, or cut a circle with scissors.