How do you feel about kindergarten online?
The kindergarten experience is not only about the academics, but also the chance for a child to flex their independence and test their social and emotional skills with their peers. This year, with most elementary schools moving to remote learning, many parents are making the difficult decision to hold their children back from kindergarten, enrolling them in pre-K programs that offer in-classroom learning.
“Learning online is completely ridiculous! Kindergarten is about being social, playing, learning how to sit at a desk and not sitting in front of a screen,” says Snoqualmie mom Kit Bekken. Her 5-year-old son, Ari, will be attending a Montessori preschool program instead of kindergarten online, which will help him receive the full attention he needs in a school environment. That’s something Bekken admits that she and her spouse cannot provide, while both work from home and help their oldest child with virtual learning.
Washington state law doesn’t require students to enroll in elementary school until age 8, and many preschools and daycares are preparing to accommodate an older age group than usual.
“[Our] daycare is exploring ‘learning pods’ for a three- to four-hour block of the day, where school-age kids will get more traditional academics,” says Bothell mom Angella Coker.
And with many kindergarten-age children switching to preschool programs this year, families do worry about future kindergarten classes swelling, as well as inadequate school funding due to low enrollment this year.
”We’re planning to keep our daughter enrolled [in public school], so the school gets credit for her, but have no intention of participating in virtual school,” says Coker.