Monday, February 7, 2011


It's very quiet at my house right now.  Well, it would be otherwise seeing as it's 10:30 at night.  But tonight, Hassaan and Hammad are spending the night at their grandparents.  I forgot to tell them before they went to school this morning, so telling Hassaan over the phone this afternoon was a bit interesting.  I was met with silence and then "um, okay."  Normally, when he is told he's sleeping over at Grammy's he is very excited.  Hammad was still excited, of course.  But Hassaan didn't seem so excited.

Anyway, the reason for the sleepover on a Monday night is that I was at the district school accommodation review meeting.  For those not in the know, the (insert name here) District Board of Education is looking at how to redo the schools in our area.  One - the one my children attend - will be (as of September) over capacity and already has three portables on the playground in order to meet the demands of smaller class sizes in primary grades instituted by the provincial government.  My kids' school is a JK-grade 3 school.  Then there is a grade 4 to grade 8 school, and then one JK-8 school.  Now, technically, my kids should be attending the JK-8 school as it is their "home" school.  But I chose to stream my children into the French Immersion program to give them a challenge, since they'd done 4 and 3 years of preschool respectively and English junior and senior kindergarten would be too easy.  For Hassaan, being too easy would have created numerous challenges.  If he is bored, he creates more trouble.  If he isn't challenged, he tunes out.  So to challenge my kids, they are in French Immersion and therefore bussed out of their home school area to this particular over-crowded school.

I LOVE this school.  I do not like the school and the things I've heard about the school that they should be going to.  So the thought that two of the solutions to the over crowding problem would be to move the FI program to what should be the boys' home school pains me greatly.  For a few reasons.  One is that the child that was on the bus my sons were on for the first half of the school year (to accommodate my childcare - aka Grampy) that was terrorizing Hammad goes to this school (he told Hammad he had a knife in his backpack and he'd use it on Hammad - this other kid is SIX!)  Another is, like I said, I don't like what I know and hear about this school, the administration and my interactions with a couple of members of staff and school council (aka Home & School or PTA).  And finally - and to me, most importantly - the less we have to change Hassaan's routine and surroundings the better.  I already know that he's going to have to change schools when he goes from grade three to grade four, were things to be left the same.  But changing schools at that point, when it's made exciting for the kids to be going to the 'big kid school' is easier than to change him when he's going into first grade.  Where he knows the EAs already when he's having a bad day.  Where he's become (on one hand sadly, on the other fortunately) well acquainted with the principal and she knows how to gently handle him.  While the French teachers would be moving with the French kids, the rest of it is change.  The couple of mainstream kids that he is friends with would remain where they are, leaving him back with one whole friend.

I am having a hard time looking at this whole process in the big picture when I just want to look at it in terms of what is best for MY child.  And I don't even look at it in terms of Hammad - I know without a doubt that he will be just fine no matter what.  He's my social butterfly who makes friends where ever he goes (even if I say "so what's your friend's name?" and he says "I dunno, but he's my friend!")  So I am purely looking at it from a very biased perspective right now - and what is best for Hassaan is for him to remain exactly where he is.  But I'm getting this sinking feeling that's not the way things are going to turn out.


  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    What do you think of this article?

  2. I completely disagree with redshirting. I think it does more harm than good long term - it's a disservice to the other kids, it's a disservice to that child. One of the benefits of living in Ontario (and probably the rest of Canada) is that this just doesn't happen. The grade you are put in is entirely dependent on your birthday (Ontario is by December 31). Kids that were held back out of Junior Kindergarten because their parents didn't think they were ready don't get to start in JK the next year - they're put into SK with all those kids that went to JK last year. If they were out for JK and SK (and if they were out for SK there would be questions asked and you'd have to register as a homeschooler) then they would be put in grade one. 4 years old (by December 31) = JK. 5 year old = senior kindergarten. 6 years old = grade one/first grade. You just do not get a choice. The government has also made it almost completely impossible to hold a child back or skip them a year.

    I'm glad that we have this system here. There's no way I'd hold Hassaan back because of his behaviour - which wouldn't change with age anyway. And Hammad would be bored silly doing kindergarten work this year.

    But I do think that the ability to red shirt puts low income parents especially at a disadvantage because they may not have the income to have their child do preschool at all, let alone an extra year.