Q:

My daughter will begin kindergarten in the fall. She is reading at a late first grade/early second grade level, and her math skills are similar. Do I let the teacher know this at the beginning of the year and ask for extension activities or just do nothing? I don't want to be labeled "one of those parents," but I want to make sure there are opportunities for my child's growth in these areas, even though they are beyond the state benchmarks for her grade. -- Want to Help

A:

The kindergarten teacher should really be given the chance to identify your daughter's academic abilities. However, in case you need to find a more academic kindergarten, you need to give yourself some time to do that. Contact the school now and arrange for an appointment to talk with a kindergarten teacher or administrator. Ask what provisions the school has in place for students who are one to two years above grade level in reading and math. Your daughter is definitely not the first child to have entered this kindergarten and been capable of working above grade level.

Remember that the kindergarten teacher has the job of teaching every student in the class. If the school does not have a curriculum or a policy of challenging children like your daughter, you might want to look for a more academic program for your daughter next year at a different school.

You did not mention if this is a half- or a full-day program. That would definitely make a difference, as there will be less time for reading and math activities in a half-day program.

Remember that you can also provide some of the academic stimulus your daughter needs by enrolling her in programs that challenge her. Don't get so focused on reading and math that you forget other academic areas like music, art, science or foreign languages. Your daughter is constantly learning from her entire environment; don't just limit her to reading and math knowledge.