Last night at dinner, as we do every night, Cute Husband and I asked The Boy what he did at school that day.
“I helped Mr. C,” The Boy replied. “And I made a kite.”
“Were you able to do some lessons with the other VPK kids?” I asked.
“They don’t have lessons,” he corrected me. “They have toys.”
Cute Husband and I looked at each other and didn’t say anything.
“I’m really glad we decided to send The Boy to his new school,” I told Cute Husband this morning.
“I can’t imagine they don’t have some sort of curriculum,” he replied. “I mean, this is a pre-kindergarten program. Maybe day care just doesn’t have the same kinds of things they have at school.”
Once we got to the day care parking lot this morning, The Boy echoed the chorus he’d repeated yesterday and the day before.
“Mom, I really don’t want to go to my old school.”
“Honey, we’ve talked about this every day,” I said, trying to reassure him. “It’s only for the week.”
“I know, but I don’t like it here.”
He sighed loudly. “Everything’s too easy,” he replied. “They don’t give me any challenging work.”
Now, I know I have an intelligent child. Really, I think all children are intelligent; some are just given more opportunities to explore different subject matter. So I disagree that I have an exceptionally gifted child. He’s inquisitive, he’s observant, and he’s interested in myriad things. Aren’t all kids?
It bothers me a bit, though, when we have these conversations. There was a brief time when Cute Husband and I contemplated letting him stay at this day care facility to attend voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK). Private school is, after all, not cheap, and his day care did a fine job teaching him various skills while he was there. But we could tell at the age of 3 that he was able to do and explore much more than day care allowed, and that’s what ultimately swayed our decision.
I’m glad we chose to send him to his current school, and I’m even more thrilled that he’s thriving there. But it makes me a little sad knowing that we had to research private school programs in order to give him the challenging environment he craves so much. And it bothers me even more to know that so many families, whose children are probably just as “gifted” (I hate that word) as The Boy (though perhaps in other areas) aren’t able to do the same.
I read last month that the achievement gap between rich and poor kids actually starts in kindergarten, and after these last few days of having The Boy complain about how bored he is in the VPK program at his old school, I can see it.
The gap is really out there, and it starts early.