We adopted our second daughter, just as she turned 4 years old, bringing her home in December. We gave her the nine months before the next school year to get used to us, get used to the language and take some parent/child classes together. We started her in 4 year old preschool that fall. When we had her evaluated for Kindergarten, the public school system said she was ready to go, their only hesitation being her spoken language and some gaps in language concepts. Since she was making progress in private speech therapy, they felt she could overcome this. Interestingly, the public school would not offer speech therapy, but would consider her for ESL assistance, due to being in the country less than two years.
We ended up placing her in Montessori school in a mixed age 3-5 preprimary half day class as a 4 year old, even though she had turned 5. This allowed her to work on 5 year old activities where she could and still have opportunities to fill the gaps of the earlier ages.
A friend of mine recently brought home her son, just as he turned 6. She enrolled him in kindergarten starting shortly after they were home. He is receiving ESL services. Looking back, I think my daughter would have benefited from starting school right away, rather than waiting.
If you have adopted an older child, what age and what schooling decisions did you make? Which ones worked and which ones did not? What advice would you give to parents just now bringing home a school aged child?
HR Associate Director