WV A Step Ahead In Kindergarten Requirements

By: Shannon Houser
By: Shannon Houser

Are 4 year olds ready for kindergarten? The state of Tennessee is looking to find that out with a new maturity test.

While some states are cracking down on stricter requirements for Kindergarten, West Virginia is already a step ahead.

"The law states that you must be five by August 31st. Kids who turn five in September and October can take a readiness test to start early entry," Director of Elementary Education for Wood County Schools, Karen Brunicardi says.

That test includes having basic social standards. Other states call it "maturity testing."

"They have to be able to wait turns and sit beside someone and not be invading their space you know, keeping their hands to themselves, being able to walk down the hallway in an orderly manner. Making friends, sharing, and then some academic questions to see if the children are more in line with a five year old than a four year old."

But The Mountain State's had a game plan for awhile, preparing four year olds for an easy transition into Kindergarten.

"Now with West Virginia having universal Pre-K, we have school for four year olds, and there's not as much as a demand now for the early entry into Kindergarten."

School officials say it's really all about making sure kids can get along with others.

"All of those are the type of social emotional things that students...it's difficult to teach that at home if it's just one child by himself, but you bring him into Pre-K or Kindergarten, those are the types of things they are taught and expected to do."

If the bill passes in Tennessee, reports say it could save the state 21 million dollars a year, and districts could save 11 million dollars, but Wood County Schools say West Virginia most likely won't see those changes because we already have similar structures in place.


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  • by Tim Location: Charleston on May 2, 2012 at 07:42 AM
    Really, a maturity test for 4 yr. olds that most adults could not pass. When did Pre-K and K become about being socially acceptable? DOES THIS NOT MAKE YOU SICK TO THINK THAT EVERY CHILD MUST MEET SOME IDEALIZED, STANDARDIZED VERSION OF A 4 OR 5 YEAR OLD? DON'T CONGRATULATE WV ON THIS INSANITY.
  • by Anonymous on May 2, 2012 at 06:38 AM
    I think its great to see younger children to be able to start school if they are ready. Although, i do not like that they expect 4 and 5 year olds to sit still and be perfect angels. Kids will be kids and they will be rambunctious. When i was enrolled into kindergarten, i was advanced and ready to start at 5, however my sister was not. She wasn't ready until she was 6 almost 7. She still has trouble in school. Kids mature at different times, and just because kids aren't at the maturity level schools want them to be, doesn't mean they aren't ready for kindergarten. The longer they are not challenged and taught new, more advanced things, the longer they are not working their minds to the fullest.
  • by josh on May 2, 2012 at 03:38 AM
    Cheap child care. Hey that's 3 C's awesome
  • by Paul Location: Vienna on May 2, 2012 at 01:42 AM
    Great, another burden for the tax payers to shoulder. In my opinion, it is govt. subsidized day care for most parents.
  • by mommy of 3 on May 1, 2012 at 08:27 PM
    first off kids already have to go to school for 14 years of thier lives....it is no wonder kids now days would rather sell drugs and steal than go to college....forcing them into school at age 4 is ridiculous when do they have time to be a child. They try to tell you that kids learn from play...well let them play not force them to go to school at age 4. children do need to learn but the more you try to make them do it the more it is going to turn them away from it in the long run. our generation only had to go to school for 13 years one of them being kindergarten and it was only 1/2 day. does that make us stupid??
  • by mommy Location: pburg on May 1, 2012 at 05:06 PM
    I know when I lived in Monongalia county, my then 4-yr-old daughter (who was advanced and since has been IQ tested, put in trek, and is reading at a high school level in the 3rd grade) had no choice but to start in pre-k instead of kindergarten, because her birthday was in late September, only a day or 2 after the cut-off. They said no exceptions and had no test available for her to take. She spent the entire year unchallenged bc she'd already been taught everything they teach in pre-k. I'm glad to see they are finally realizing some kids are ready before turning 5 years old.
  • by bill Location: pburg on May 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM
    u r not required to have your child in school until they are 6 years old,,yet they are required to go through kgrade....leaving my son a 6 year old kgrader....mom couldn't get out of bed and state could care less....
    • reply
      by mom on May 1, 2012 at 01:48 PM in reply to bill
      Not every parent whos kid starts at 6 are lazy! My son is a 6yr old kindergartener. Even his teacher said she wishes more parents would wait! I discussed this in great detail with several different teachers before I made the choice. It is fairly common for boys to be 6 when they start school, simply because they are not socially ready to start at 5. Another factor is the childs birthday. Whats the big deal anyway? He will be 6 in kindergarten so wont several other kids. Most kids TURN 6 while in kindergarten. P.S... Ive never her of it being called KGrade or K grader... maybe you couldnt spell Kindergarten :)
  • by A Location: Saint Marys on May 1, 2012 at 07:38 AM
    So if your child has the right to take the test, but the school district is not allowing it, what is the recourse? I am fighting this issue in Pleasants County right now.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 30, 2012 at 04:49 PM
    My daughter started Pre-K at Kanawha Elementary. She is now in Kindergarden and is reading everything she can get her hands on. Reading! I didn't learn any more than my alphabet and how to write my name during my half-day Kindergarten.
  • by Mike Location: Tyler County WV on Apr 30, 2012 at 04:21 PM
    If your child is not able to wait turns and sit beside someone and not invade their space, keep their hands to themselves, walk down the hallway in an orderly manner, make friends & share at 4 or 5 years old then most schools in WV, especially schools in Tyler County consider your child to have ADHD and want them medicated to become robots. As a parent who has been bullied, pressured & ridiculed for 3 years now by school staff and principals here in Tyler County WV, I say let our kids be kids. Children should start school at age 5, no sooner. Our children are not robots!
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