Why can't little boys skip?

I was recently told of a parent of a three year old child who just started preschool. The parent was upset because her son was told because he didn’t know his ABC’s that he was behind and should consider after school tutoring to get caught up to the school’s standards.
At three years old the child and the parent are already panicked about not living up to someone else’s expectations.

I am reminded of an incident which happened to me in one of my first years of teaching. As an elementary school physical education teacher I loved to reinforce movement skills thru relay races. One of the skills was skipping. I noticed that in first grade while all the girls could skip, many boys had trouble switching legs. Their skip was more like a trot.
When I talked to a veteran teacher of many years I asked her why little boys in first grade had so much difficulty with skipping. Her response was both simple and enlightening.
“Because they are not ready to skip.” she said. “Give them time to grow up. By third grade they will all be skipping just fine.”

I watched those boys the next two years and sure enough by the time these same boys reached third grade they could skip with no problem just like the girls.

When I was told years later that I was to give a grade for skipping skills, I was also told at the time that if the first grader could not perform the skill, they should receive an “F” in that section of the grade report. I refused.

The reason some little boys struggle with skipping in first grade is mostly maturity. They are just not “ready” to skip yet. By third grade boys have no trouble with skipping and don’t remember first grade. You give a first grader an “F” for skipping and they may never try to skip again.
Physical and emotional readiness is a tremendous factor in predicting student success in school. It is a factor that tends to be overlooked in today’s push for higher standards.

Before we upset parents and stress out our children at school in an effort to meet some ever raising level of expectation, we should keep in mind this simple question – Why Can’t Little Boys Skip?

Author's Bio: 

Tom Krause -
Nixa, MO
417-830-9240 cell
National Educational Motivational Speaker - www.coachkrause.com
Parenting 2.0 Global Presence Ambassador
20-time Contributing Author Chicken Soup for Soul
Author - A Teen's Guide to NOT Being Perfect
31 year teacher/coach Missouri Public School System (retired)