The San Diego Unified School District is warning against a kindergarten gap year.
Some schools are seeing a decrease in kindergarten enrollment, and district officials are encouraging parents to enroll their students despite the online-learning curve.
Golden Hill Elementary School parent Natalie Garcia said her daughter was eager to start kindergarten so she enrolled her -- but under certain conditions.
“It was with the understanding that we would enroll her knowing that we have the option to take her out of kindergarten,” Garcia said.
So far, Garcia said online learning is working well for her family and that she hopes her daughter will eventually get to start in-person instruction sometime this year.
Garcia said she had considered skipping kindergarten and starting first grade next year. While some parents have decided to do just that, Golden Hill Elementary principal Steve Elizondo advises against skipping kindergarten, in most cases.
“[If a student skips kindergarten, the] student usually starts [first grade] out a little bit behind, specifically with socialization and really understanding how to learn in a classroom environment, and then again, depending on the home environment they may start off academically behind,” Elizondo said.
Dr. Teresa Hardisty. a pediatrician with Sharp Medical Group, said online learning can be difficult and requires support from a parent at home.
“Online learning for a kindergartner is only going to be possible if there is an adult sitting right there with them,” Hardisty said.
Hardisty believes online learning helps students keep up with curriculum and socialization but that skipping kindergarten can be done successfully with the right guidance from someone at home.
“I would not completely skip the year," Hardisty said. "I would be very intentional to do some version of academic education at home whether it’s structured or not structured.”
Hardisty also stressed the importance of reading to children.
Enrollment in San Diego Unified School District is still open for the 2020-21 year. District officials said that at the end of their spring sessionm 97 percent of students district-wide were participating in online learning, but of the students who did not -- most were kindergartners.