This morning, Dave and I met with Julian's teacher to talk about his kindergarten progress.
I was at the same time impressed and slightly horrified by all the testing and evaluation his poor teacher has to do with all the kids, and the absurdly high expectations, though it's certainly interesting. Their goal is for each kindergartner to write a simple paragraph by year's end. I think that's a pretty darned lofty goal for 5-year-olds! That's a lot to ask even of the very high demographic at Julian's school. His teacher did say she used to teach in lower-income areas, and it was a big difference teaching here, since the kids are well-prepared and have so much support at home. But, she also added that for the kids who are ready, the extra pushing is great for them and they enjoy it. And apparently, Julian is among those.
Teachers are careful to be tactful, especially around highly achievement-oriented Cupertino parents, but she did say, without exactly saying it, that Julian came into her class as its top reader ("now a few others are at his level and he has others to read with"). He makes good connections between lessons, applying concepts from one lesson to another area, and overall did great on the assessment tests. She showed us a few paragraphs he did write, with help, and I was so happy to see that two of them were about our trip to the airshow -- it was really on his mind beforehand, and again as a great experience afterward (despite the actual experience). Predictably, his biggest issue is putzing around and not getting work done, but he's improved a lot. Dave and I both came away with the impression, one we expected, that he's thriving.
Even though I really do believe kindergarten is just kindergarten and that most of what kids need out of it are the social aspects, I can't help but to be really proud of Julian.