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Age Cut off for Kindergarten

My son's birthday is October 5th, which means that he will miss the age cut off for the Westborough kindergarten by about a month. For a while this wasn't too much of a concern because I've received plenty of advice from other moms and from books that boys tend to be better off not being rushed into school. I had no problem with that (even agreed with the philosophy), and frankly, didn't feel the need to push my son unnecessarily.

He showed signs of being an academic kid very early but for quite a while lacked confidence and was easily intimidated by other kids. Again, this was another reason I was totally comfortable having him start school when he is almost 6 instead of almost 5. I'd rather give him the chance to succeed and be confident than throw him to the wolves too early and have him sink.

And here's why I am now in a quandry. He has completely broken out of his shell. He's outgoing, makes friends easily, is confident (and is now a leader among his peers), separates from me like it's nothing, and is extremely interested in learning. We do not push him academically (we want him to enjoy being a kid), but he is constantly pushing the envelope with reading, counting, math, the solar system, nature, you name it. He is mature and self-controlled, has a very long attention span, and is very focused.

He is now at the point, with both his maturity and his academic learning that he is light years ahead of his cousins who, by virtue of their birthdates, will be one year ahead of him in school. The difference between him and cousins who will be in the same year as him is so great that it's absurd.

People who meet him ask me, "He's not starting kindergarten til he's six???? What are you going to do with him?" And I reply, "I have no idea."

I've had some people recommend private kindergarten. Others have recommended homeschooling kindergarten. We really want him in public school for the long run, but does anyone have any thoughts on starting him at home or a private school and then putting him into the public school system when he's the required age for the school's first grade?

I'm not saying I have the next Einstein here, but simply a kid for whom the age cut-off feels incredibly inappropriate. At the end of the day, waiting the extra year may just be what we have to do, or really, the best thing to do, but we'd like to get some advice from people who have had a similar experience.

What can I do next?

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If you are in Westborough, MA try the kindergarten room at a Bright Horizons or a Montessori program. In high school, you will be glad you waited. A freshman high school boy is not as capable at sports as an older boy- not even as good as the girls (my daughter cried when she learned about how mean some of the boys were to a very young freshman boy she beat at a track meet). They look like kids not the young men with 5 o'clock shadows who are juniors and seniors. They cannot drive when their classmates can and you will be sending a boy who is NOT 18 years of age off to college.

Many private kindergartens won't let them start unless they meet the cutoff. One thing that I have talked extensively with teachers about (because my daughter was in a similar situation) was that at this point some kids are ahead of others, but by grade 2 the children that started kindergarten when they were on the younger side tend to get overwhelmed with the work and the social aspects, therefore older is better. I believe there is a way that he can "test" into kindergarten. You might try searching the Dept of Ed website or calling them about that if you're really worried about it. You might be able to find a 5 day pre-k class that he'd be happy in too.

Many towns still have the cut off age for first grade so it won't matter if you home school or go to private k he will still have to wait to go to first grade. Enjoy another year he has forevere to be in school.

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I am actually a kindergarten teacher in a school district that wouldn't budge on the cut off date. Even if you sent him to private kindergarten for one year, he would be put into his age appropriate grade when you returned to public school (although if you did wait until 3rd grade, that probably wouldn't be the case). Some districts will budge on the date though so you may want to find out about that.
The testing that gets done for school entry is not necessarily about academic readiness. The tasks children are expected to do are developmental ones. They really have nothing to do with academics (in the traditional sense) and are just to screen for any learning disabilities. For example, there is nothing about reading in the test. Even if learning disabilities were suspected, students would still enter kindergarten. Teachers would just monitor those areas. Remember, the testing is done about 6 months before the students actually enter kindergarten. And this testing is state mandated so it's the same everywhere.
Personally, I would keep my son where he is. School is not all about academics, especially in kindergarten. There are many other aspects to consider: social, emotional, physical, etc. I think Gigi has a good point about being the last to do everything later in life. Things like that really affect kids in middle and high school.
Also know that there will be other kids in his class who have also missed the cut off date so he will have peers in that regard. Whereas if you pushed to have him start early, he would be the youngest always. Age doesn't always dictate the level of academic ability or even maturity always, but I think it would be a factor if he was the youngest by a month.
He will have 12 (and probably more) years in school, why start early? Especially if he loves to learn now...I would foster that love and make sure it stays with him when he enters school. Enjoy the next year and appreciate his love of learning, because believe me, it doesn't take long for kids to get sick of the rigorous demands of school.
I do have one caveat...does your town do full or half day kindergarten? If it's half day, I would send him to private kindergarten and then public for first grade.
Good luck!

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My son pulls this at 10 To him it seems thathis friends do more than he b/c thier Dad does the fireworks for a LOT of places. So thier trips are work related and the kids really just sit around playing videogames. We actually take him fun places Disney World. Nothing is ever enough. It's just something they go through. It's our job as parents to knock them back to reality. No matter how big or little the situation there is always a learning experience.
The car thing, I get. I was one of very few who had to work for my own car! My Dad actually met me half way but I didn't know it then. Dad knew the people selling me a car and told them to cut the price in half for what they told me the price was. So what I now know was a $1200 car, I thought I paid it all for $600. I did pay my own insurance and gas. It taught me a lot! What I find best is what my Nana used as life lessons. I think a lot of this new stuff about raising children just doesn't work. How do I know? I tried it. I even had a psychologist tell me to NEVER punish my son b/c of his ADHD & ODD. Are you kidding me. I didn't learn lessons on the things I wasn't taught or punished for. My way is actually the only way that works with my DS.
Keep up the good work!

R. - how is he physically compared to other kids? Growing up he will be the smallest in his class if he goes to school early. This is another thing to consider - not just academics. I went to school early myself when I was a child and I was always the shortest, the smallest, the youngest, last to hit puberty (which was brutal as a teenager) last to get my license, etc, etc. But I did excel academically. I probably would have been in line with everyone else had I waited a year to go to school. Hope this helps!

You are still being influenced by people who are pressuring you. Don't! Put him in a preschool program with a lunch option a few days a week, put him in a program once a week at a library or even a museum. What do they mean "What are you going to do with him?" - you could enjoy him! They grow up so fast - what's the rush? You can take him hiking at the Walkup Reservation, get a membership at the Ecotarium, do crafts, look for frogs, paint a birdhouse, and so on. He can learn to play independently and entertain himself. Do a weekly playgroup with others in the same situation - go on picnics or to a playground. If you want to pay for private kindergarten, you can, but you will not be able to move your child into the public schools for at least a couple of years - I think it's 2nd grade. That is at least a 2 year commitment with tuition. Is it really worth it? Let him start at 6 - my son did and is now a leader in the school. I had to fight a lot of people but it was always the right decision. Starting at 6 is NEVER about academics and I'd 'stop worrying about who's light years away from who else. Don't even engage in those conversations - it's not healthy for you, or for you kid. His birthday is October, end of story, problem solved. Have faith in yourself! You are obviously doing something right because your child separates well and is outgoing - probably because you gave him the time and the opportunity. Don't stop now!

Hi! I've found that some of the private daycares have great kindergarten programs that will transfer over easily to a public school setting....he should be able to have kindergarten there and then possible skip right up to first grade the following year, as kindergarten is not a requirement...

I am in the same boat as you my sons birthday is in Nov and we have looked into private schools. They give a test to see if they have the social and acdemic skills to begin kindergarten if they feel they are then they allow them to start at 5 and not wait the extra year. I know that private schools are expensive, but if you compare them to day care you would still save money.

Hi R.;

You have described my firstborn. His birthday is October 19, and he started kindergarten at age 6. Same profile; academically minded from the git--he was reading by age 4. His favorite outing was spending the day at the science museum in Boston, and his collection of National Geographics fills a 3x4x6 cupboard. People said the same thing to me: What are you going to do with him?

He had 2 years of nursery school under his belt when I got pregnant with his little brother. I landed a job teaching at the sister school, so he got a third year--I worked mornings 3 days a week--until his brother was born. He finished out the year at his old school while I stayed home. We continued to do outings and feed his brain with movies, books, and outings.

Even at age 6, his transition into grade school was rocky. He was considered hyper and the school psychologist wanted him tested for ADHD. I did a lot of reading and chose not to have him tested. By 5th or 6th grade he began to adjust to the restrictions of school and got along well with his teachers. His classmates stopped picking on "the nerd," and began to appreciate him. His social skills developed more fully once kids accepted him. It wasn't easy--kids like him stand out without meaning to.

Long story short, I am glad he started school later. The extra year at home with us gave him a solid foundation for carving out his own identity. He had the freedom to develop his interests and his personality without the restrictions and limits school and peer pressure inevitably brings.

People thought I should send him to private school; we didn't have the money for that, and in any case, he assured me he'd rather experience "the real world."

He graduates from UMass Amherst with a physics degree in May (he will have no debt because of all his academic scholarships.) He was recently accepted into UNC's doctoral physics program and is happier than I've ever seen him-- doing what he has chosen and what he worked hard for.

Sometimes academically minded kids need that extra year at home; as an at-home mom, you can provide a solid base for his later explorations. You can't get that time back, and he'll thank you for it. My son thanks me often.

Good luck! Keep your own counsel. There will be a lot of people who think they know what's best for your son, but you and he will figure it out together.


Hi R.,
If you truly feel as if he is ready for school then go to the School Board and plead your case. I have seen many children who were ready for school but they missed the cut off date. The children whom I am speaking of were in a preschool program and had the preschool directors standing behind them. Ask to meet with the school and tell them of your wishes and see where it leads you...
Good Luck..

I would speak with the principal of your local school. Explain all of the things in your post to him or her. Sometimes there is some flexibility in age policies. There is inconsistency across the region as to when the cutoff date is. In my district in Maine it's not until October 15th. Depending on the number of incoming kindergarteners, they might be willing to accept him. Is he in a preschool? If so, ask them to write a recommendation for him.

My just made the cut off and is the youngest in his K class. We had third quarter parent teacher conferences last week where we were told that literacy group is not challenging him at all, he was asked to read and write numbers to 30 and he read them to 1000 (I am not exaggerating), he is often seen reading to the other students in the class, he is writing at a level that is above average. The teacher is individualizing instruction for him since he is not challenged in the least bit by the K curriculum and she has stated to us that this is not ok. However, we cannot afford private school and as a teacher myself (I am home right now with my other two boys) I do believe that our public schools should provide appropriate education to all students. I asked about the gifted and talented program, but it does not start until 3rd grade here. My husband and I are now looking at whether or not our son should skip first grade next year.
I would meet with the principal and see what can be done. I did homeschool my son for the first quarter of the school year this year and sent him to school for specials (art, music, French). He wanted to go to school full time and since we have a small school and liked what we saw going on there we agreed to try it out. I don't know what you can do, but it sounds as if having him sit at home all year would be a waste.

I do not think you have to worry about this, he will be fine. Put him in a really good preschool program for the year prior. Some children are ready academically for K, but are they mature enough, they may lack some of the social and life skills? You need to ask yourself if he is ready in all aspects of schooling. Schools create cut off dates for a reason...I would not worry about it. Do not listen to the mothers that bawk at his age when he enters K, they are the reason mothers stress themselves out, so what if he will be 6. As he gets into the higher grades it will work out better for him, I have been in education for 10 years...he will be fine!

Hi R.,

The issue isn't NOW, it's down the road. When he is driving, faced with peer pressure, needing to make important choices, when he hits puberty and plays sports, being the oldest instead of the youngest will make a huge difference.

My son was Sept 21st and I decided to not launch him into Kindergarten at nearly 5. Our school had a placement only Pre-K grade. Even if he didn't get into that program, I would have kept him out. He is SO much better being the older one in the class. I can already see how it's going to help him out when he's older. He's a leader, other kids look up to him and he's physically stronger.

Probably doesn't make a world of a difference as a first grader. But having a middle school child as well, I can see the difference it will make then. My son is 13 and has friends who are 12 in the same grade and the age difference at that age is very obvious.

Maybe you can find a pre-K program? I'm so thankful we had that opportunity...although it is no longer offered, my son's class was the last! :(

Hi R.,
We had this issue with our daughter, who was Oct. 16. We snuck her into our Catholic school early. You could try this, but the flexibility varies with different schools, as to whether they'll bend the rules or not. We actually ended up pulling our kids out and homeschooling anyway, but even if you decided to homeschool him for kindergarten, you'd have to check your school district's requirements about enrolling him in first grade. They may just go by age again, unless they are one of the easy districts who will accept the homeschooling kindergarten year as legit. Also, with homeschooling you may find that then he'll even be way ahead of the first graders when he does go back, particularly since he sounds very bright. Though he may have this issue in public school anyway, unless you have really great schools where you are. It's a lot to think about. I guess the best thing to do is check out what are even realistic options for you. Good luck.

unfortunately, you can't fight city hall - or the school department.. you can try to appeal to the superintendent, but I can tell you, they won't budge on it.. let him wait, start at age 6, and he'll flourish! You may have to challenge him or at least talk to the school and request teachers who will be harder on him because he's so advanced, but they will also see that and place him with the harder teachers. My daughter missed the cut off by one day and she's the oldest and very advanced and I get nothing but wonderful comments about her at every conference.. maturity right now isn't the whole picture - when they are in middle school and high school, that's when it counts.. good luck..

My son's birthday is Nov. 14th. We had the same problem that you are going through because of the cut off date for our school. Waiting the year did wonders for my son because it taught him to want to learn, not being forced to learn because he was already in school and had to. By that I mean that he had the freedom to explore and learn on his own about things that interested him in that extra year, which I highly encouraged. When he got to school, the teacher was so impressed with how he absorbed everything that he was learning that she gave him extra materials to satiate his yearning for more information. He is excelling academically to the point that his first grade report card is showing him at above expectations in every area. Looking back, I am glad we did not put him into structured learning at 5. He was academically ready to learn and socially able to be with others, but I think that having to be forced into structure that early would have negatively impacted his ability and want to learn. I know from experience from my older child who was in structured learning daycare at 5 yrs. old that even eager learners turn can be tainted from wanting to learn if it becomes a burden and forced too early.

I can see why you are discouraged. What will probably happen is that he will probably get bored with Kindergarten at age 6 because he is probably ahead of them game with most of his peers. My daughter who is 3 (Jan birthday) is starting preschool this year and she is a very bright 3 year old. Excellent vocabulary, knows her alphabet, numers to 20, shapes, colors, and is even getting close to being able to write her own name....I wory that by the time Kindergarten comes around she will be bored with it, because she will know too much. I would ask your local school systrem if there is a test he can take that would allow for early entrance into Kindergarten. I wouldn't with my daughter because her birthday is halfway through the school year...but fr you, your son is practically already 5 at the beginning of school. If you think he is ready, maybe there is some test that he could take that would allow him to enter. If not I may also suggest private school for at least the first few years....if he does that he may be able to test out of a grade and skip one when he enters back into public.

My son's birthday is October 16th, and I did get him started early. I took him to an independant tester and had him tested to prove to the school that he was ready. To this day (he's 11 now) I feel I made the right decision, he's not bored, and even being the youngest in his class he's always kept up, and at times exceeded the expectations for his class. He's your son, you are really the only one that can determine if he's ready. My main advise is not to let other people decide for you , you won't like the result. Good luck to you!

Hi R.,
Speaking from the perspective of a kindergarten teacher and as mother whose children will both miss the cutoff date (one by 10 days and the second by a month), I think the cut off date is in place for a reason and should be followed in almost all cases. However, there are many activities that you could get involved in that may interest your son and provide supplemental education. I know at our local YMCA they offer science and experimentation classes, language or art classes etc... In addition you could use your local library as a teaching tool and do "research" projects on subjects that your son is interested in. Another great tool that I often used as a teacher is a website called enchanted learning (www.enchantedlearning.com). You do need to subscribe for a yearly membership ($25.00 for the year) but the information and tools available are excellent.
I am sure your son will flourish in school or not where you are taking an active roll in his excitement for learing.
Take care,

I'd say homeschool him and let him control the pace of his learning. Its too bad the school is so strict about these cut-off dates. What is right for one is not for another. My birthday is October 11, and I know I was ready for school at almost five. They were not strict back so they let me in and I did great. I'm sure your son is ready if you think he is. Let him learn.

I would offer all the musical, artistic, cultural and academic enrichment you can if they won't let him in now. Not necessarily in a private setting. Do you have the time to take on the task yourself? At some point he will be in the honors/advanced classes and will skip a grade if he is, in fact, beyond his peers.

Hello. My son was born in January 1994 and we were in a similar position back then. He was more than ready for Kindergarten by 4 1/2 though our school system felt otherwise.

At the time, he had been attending a local Montessori pre-school, more for the childcare than the academics. We had him start Kindergarten at the Montessori school, then the following year, enrolled him in the public school 1/2 day program as well. There were a few issues with him acting up due to boredom at the public school and adjusting to the more rigid schedule there, but otherwise, he has continued to flourish and heads off to high school next Fall with no trouble keeping up with his peers.

As a counterpoint, my daughter was born in September 1997 and qualified to begin public Kindergarten as soon as she turned 5. However, most of the children in her class are 5-8 months older than her. She has never had an issue academically keeping up but sometimes seems a step behind emotionally/socially, and this has only levelled out in the last year.

So I would definitely recommend you let your child start some flexible form of Kindergarten now, then work with your public school to transition him to either another year of Kindergarten or starting First Grade when he is older. Wishing you all the best!

Well I have a friend whose son was the same way and she sent him to a private kindergarten and by the time he was in 3rd grade he has slowed down academically so he was held back in 3rd grade. So my advice is keep him home till he is 6. Just keep him reading and writing, etc. while he is home so he will be even more confident and secure in kindergarten when he starts.

Once your child starts school, they CAN advance him a grade. My son started pre-school reading (and counting to 100..and starting addition). Due to age requirements, he couldn't go to Kindergarten. However, after a week in K - the teachers were like "We have to develop a whole different teaching plan for this one child" and they were more than willing to advance him a grade. :-)

My son also has a very large attention span, ir mature and he follows rules. He was tested and his IQ is 5 from genius...

Anyways - keep in mind, you can skip a grade early on... Go talk to the principal and let her meet him and go from there...

I've read all the responses to date and it looks like most advice is to wait. I just wanted to share that I was the youngest in my grade all through high school and never had a problem academially or socially. I was the shortest but it didn't matter. The cut off in my school was Oct 31 and my b-day is Oct 26. And considering that schools can hold back a child I say it shouldn't hurt to ask if they could bend the cut off date for you son if that's the road you want to travel with him.

Hi R., I hear you on this one and the best that I can tell you is don't rush it! I live in Everett and I have a six year old boy. The cut off for Kindergarten I believe is they have to be 5 by the end of August. I have a neice that was born in April of the same year as my son and a nephew that was born in December of the same year. My son missed the cutoff for Kindergarten by 11 days. He was very clingy when he was 3 so I enrolled him in preschool in a public school, although he missed the cutoff for that as well, because he turned 3 after school began. Cameron was due on 10/17/01 and was born on 9/11/01. He scored a 9 and a 10 on his apgar test but during his first year he always seemed behind his two cousins that were the same age as him. He also didn't speak a complete sentence until he was 3. Because of his lack of language, I had early intervention come in and help work with him, this is what got him into preschool early. He completed three years of preschool before entering Kindergarten. Although in the beginning I thought this was a waste, he still seemed like he was behind his cousins who seemed miles ahead of him. Well, it was the best thing I did for him. Out of 21 children in his class he is the #2 reader and #1 in Math. He also adapted well to being in school as far as rules go. When it comes to my nephew who is 3 mos. younger and always seemed ahead, my son is now miles ahead. My nephew is always in trouble because he can't sit still and my son can read better than him. I say wait. All children turn 6 in Kindergarten anyway and your son will turn it one month into it. My son turned 6 two wks into school and there was another child who was a day older. So he'll always be one of the older ones! L. ____@____.com Email with any questions!

Hi there,
I am a special ed teacher and a mother of a five year old and a two year old. The towns set up age cut-offs for a reason and not every child fits the mold. I think a pre-kindergarten program (private) would be great to keep your child motivated about learning as well as busy and having fun. I also feel that with the MCAS, if you are planning to send your child to public schools, having him enrolled in the public kindergarten becomes very important because the curriculum frameworks for education starts there. Private schools are not obligated to follow the state curriculum frameworks as the public schools are. Something else to think about. Good luck!

Hi R.,
My son is 15 born 6/24 he repeated Kindergarden. His first year was in public and his second in private. We have never regreted doing this and in the end it's far better having him one of the older boys in his class. Holding him back so young was never really an issue. A year makes a huge difference in so many ways especially with boys. It becomes even more noticable in high school. He just seems to have his act together more and I'm certain it has to do with being on the older side. He is the middle child between two girls 17 and 13. Feel free to contact me should you wish to hear more.

I am currently in that same spot. Both of my boys have December & November B-days. My suggestion is to find a "town" Pre-K program now, to get him ready for that transition. If he isn't in a school program and goes right to Kindergarten he will have issues. The structured day is great for preparation for what's to come. The town program hours are not that long if the town provides the program but it may have a tuition. You are so much better off keeping him where he is at, my sister who is 31 (Born in Dec and the cut off was 12/31) had this happen to her and my mom to this day still feels better that she did this. And my sister is now a teacher and feels strongly that they shouldn't be pushed. Although my son passed the Kindergarten Pre-screening when he was almost 4 it didn't matter to the town. Plus I knew any "pre-education" he had, the better he will be in the long run. Contact your Town School Adminstrators to see if they have any programs or do they recommend something in town. I bet he will be so successful one day, so don't listen to everyone else, that drives me nuts when people give opinions when they don't understand! Good luck!

I too have a child in a similar situation...I can't offer any advice, I'd love to know what kind of suggestions you receive.

If you are in Westborough, MA try the kindergarten room at a Bright Horizons or a Montessori program. In high school, you will be glad you waited. A freshman high school boy is not as capable at sports as an older boy- not even as good as the girls (my daughter cried when she learned about how mean some of the boys were to a very young freshman boy she beat at a track meet). They look like kids not the young men with 5 o'clock shadows who are juniors and seniors. They cannot drive when their classmates can and you will be sending a boy who is NOT 18 years of age off to college.

Hey, R.. I actually don't have an answer for you, but I have a similar concern for my daughter. She's been reading since she was 3, and she's 6.5 now. I had a really hard time with her having been in kindergarten this past year instead of first grade. Her birthday is in mid-November, and she's about to go to first grade. I really think she could be great in second grade, since she's reading at a mid-second grade level right now - not just decoding words, but comprehending and discussing.

It's especially hard for me because I graduated from high school after just turning 16 (my parents falsified my birth certificate to get me into first grade when I was 5, and then I skipped the 8th grade). I feel torn, because I did really well academically. Socially, things were a little challenging, but not too bad. But there's a big difference between an October/November birthday, than an April birthday, I think. I think your son would be great in kindergarten, from what you describe. I'd be interested to see what other folks have to say.

My birthday is also October 5th!! I started kindergarten early and I really didn't mind being one of the younger kids in my class. In one way it was better for my parents because all my friends got their driver's licenses before me and I always had rides and they didn't have to worry about me borrowing their car as much. I started college at 17 and could have probably waited a year just to figure out what I wanted to do besides party, but this has little to do with chronological ages as it did with maturity. I think it would be great if you could send him to a private kindergarten first and then evaluate where to go from there, you will have a better idea at the end of the school year. If he loves it, keep him there for 2 years and start public school in the first grade. If you live in a good school district they should recognize if he is advanced and possibly have a "gifted" program.
Maybe the fact that he is a boy, high school will be easier on him if he is a little older than younger than his peers.....?
Good luck!

My daugher was in a similar situation, late october b-day. I was considering a private kindergarten and other options because she had already had 2 years of preschool and b/c of the cutoff date she would have 3 years of prschool. i ended up going with the school system and am glad that i did. yes, she was ready emotionally and acedemically for kindergarten a year earlier, but now that she is in 1st grade, i have no regrets that she stayed within the school district cutoffs - a number of children with summer birthdays struggled with kindergarten and into first grade. some have even repeated a year, at their parents discretion. it's not just the early grades that we with Fall babies need to be concerned with, do you really want to have the youngest kid in middle school or high school? wouldn't that extra year of maturity come in handy in their later school years? I think so. And it might be something that you want to take into consideration as well. Just a thought :)

My daughter's birthday is September 29th.... same issue! Keep the love of learning alive at home. Visit museums, parks, etc.... Have kids over to play. This is a lovely age. My daughter's teacher always says," Are you in a rush to send them to college?" With public funding going the way it is, you may find yourself doing a lot of this in any grade your child is in! Good-luck!

Try a Montessori preschool for the year before Kdg. They allow for children to learn at their own pace and interest levels!

I'd vote to keep to the age guideline. Here's why:

My oldest was a lot like your son- very advanced and just made the cut-off for kindergarten. Socially she was ahead, academically she was ahead. Now, she is in High School in all honors classes, keeping a busy social schedule with lots of activities and still making honor roll.

One of my middle kids was in the same exact boat, she is slated to go to Middle School next year and I am hesitant about the situation. She's the youngest in her class and very free-spirited and innocent. Sending her to the Middle School and it's difference in teaching styles, attitudes, and issues that come with being 14 (8th graders and she is 10) feels a lot like sending a lamb in with the lions. The 'maturity' (for lack of a better word) of issues there is disconcerting.

So, as I question that, I am torn about sending my 5 year old now on to the first grade. She is a bright girl, reading, social butterfly, but now I realize that while she is ready to go on to 1st grade now, it might not be in the best interest for her childhood to send her to Middle School 5 years down the road, or to have her graduate High School and go off to college before she turns 18.

I talked to my oldest about this, figuring she'd say what I felt about her-that she faired well and is still excelling now.

What she said was this: I was I'd had that other year. I'd have been more secure if I were older. I do great now, but think of what I could have done with that other year.

She also said that sometimes, because of being the youngest, she sometimes found herself in situations with friends that maybe made her mature a little faster than she had to.

You only get to be a kid once, and your child is only with you for a surprisingly short time. If you send him on schedule instead of early he'll be sure have an academic, social as well as age advantage over many of his classmates and be sure to fair very well throughout his school career.

Hi. My son's birthday is in January. He went to pre-school for two years (age 3-5) and then he was 5 and a half when he entered kindergarten. He turned 6 halfway through it. My son was and is like your son. Very ahead of the game, even at 3. Like you, I don't think I have the next Einstien but he is very articulate and academically capable. He's now in third grade and he can do the work (sometimes with his eyes closed it seems) but he chooses not to do it in a timely manner or to the best of his ability. He always tells me he is bored and the work (most of it) is way too easy. We have talked to his teachers and they have always told us they don't advance kids to the next grade level (even though I have seen this happen on more than one occasion) but he "Gets to do some class time in math and reading with the 4th graders." I don't feel it hurt him to wait to enter kindergarten but I do think they are hurting him now by not allowing him to do more advanced work. He is a boy who needs to be challenged and his imagination is immense. Don't let what others say to you bother you. You know your son and you will do what is best for him when you know he's ready. If you are worried about him getting bored check with your school to see if they could do a half and half day - half a day in kindergarten and half a day in 1st grade. I couldn't have kept my son home at 3 from school even if I wanted to. He told me he was ready and had no problems. Just don't let him get bored because I feel like my son has hit a wall in the school system here but because we live in such a small community (3 teachers for 6 grades small) it isn't like I can transfer him to another class or school even. We try our best at home to stimulate his mind and creativity but he is outpacing me these days!! I wish you luck and I don't think your son will suffer ill effects for waiting if you continue to entice him academically at home.

Many towns still have the cut off age for first grade so it won't matter if you home school or go to private k he will still have to wait to go to first grade. Enjoy another year he has forevere to be in school.

That is a tough call. I don't know why there is such thing as a cut off date? If there has to be one I feel that the children who don't make the cut off should be able to take a kindergarten screening test to see if they are capable of starting kindergarten at an earlier age?

I am 27 and am a mother of a beautiful 7 year old girl!

As the youngest graduate of my class, let me say what is great when you are young (I could read at three, and was super tall, mature, etc) keeps going every year. Including High School. You will have him being the youngest boy (ego thing for boys, especially if they are on the small size) and situationally, you are putting him in with teens a year ahead. His development now just came in a spurt, because that is what it does. And can you count on that for the next 12 years? Just food for thought. Boys, athletics, driving, interest in girls, I think you might want to seriously consider giving him the "gift" of another year. There are enrichment programs you could sign him up for to maintain the stimulation academically. Good luck,

Yes, I second the idea to get him linked into playgroups or local homeschooling activities! If he is bright and curious and able to socialize, go for it! The only caveat: If he's been homeschooling in an unstructured way or going to an "alternative" private school, you'll want to do some expectation preparation before sending him to a more traditional school. And he may not like it there. Things to think about: If you send him to private school and then he hates public school, will you still be able to send him there, or are you able/ready/willing to continue to shell out the money to keep him in private school?

hi there- we both have boys almost the same age. My son will be 6 as well, his birthday is sept 12th. I am considering going to a montessouri school for the beginning because he is very advanced as well. I don't want him to get bored! I am curious to read your responses....good luck! M.

First, congratulations on being an open-minded parent! Regardless of where you place your son, I'm sure he will become happy and well-adjusted. I do notice that your "about me" says he's currently 3.5, so if you are talking about enrolling him in 2009 or 2010 you have ample time to decide. First, look into the school district policies - do they have an early entrance exam or steps to take (they might but won't advertise, so you'll have to dig)? If they do, check the validity of the test by doing your own research on it - you'd be suprised how many exams are used that have nothing to do with academic development. Finally, I'd have his IQ and EQ (emotional quotient) tested by someone independent. It will give you a good baseline for where he is - THEN make a decision. I have grade-skipped both of my children; it was not easy and not an easy decision but for them, it was best. They are happy and fit into their grade peers much better than their chronological peers. Years later, no one can believe they aren't the same age as everyone else! And they aren't "genius" level but they are highly bright (top 2%) and also physically very tall and older looking - socially, this was by far the best decision we could make. Incidently, my younger went through private K and into public first and that worked out fine - my older did both public - I preferred the private setting but that is just me. Good luck!

Some further food for thought: There was a NYTimes article published June 3, 2007, titled "When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?" If you search NYTimes.com, you should find it.

Good luck!

Hi R.!
Most schools have a screening process in place for children who need some special consideration. I would contact your school and ask what their policy/procedure is. They will probably conduct a general assessment of his skills and give a recommendation as to whether they feel he is ready for kindergarten. If they feel he is ready, then they will take him regardless of the cut off date.

I hope all works out!! :-)

Apparently the people who are asking what is wrong with your child (because he will be six when he starts school) do not have children. People with children are well aware of the cut off date. In fact each town is different. No Attleboro is f by the start of the school year, and attleboro is 5 by October 1st. And Pawtucket is 5 by the end of the year.
Don't push him, he may seem ready now, but come 4th, 5th grade, he may stumble. My son excelled in school, could write his name at three, knew all his letter and numbers (up to 100) and could write them at three.
Plus the curriculum is always changing--Our math program changes next year (thank god) the majority of the kids in fourth grade are so far behind in math, that they are supplying math tudors during school. He will do fine when the time comes to start school. He may have the advantage, for starting the next year (after his cousins) I know my son did.
Plus do not worry about what other people say, they're just jealous, that your child is so bright and outgoing. Be proud of that.

Many private kindergartens won't let them start unless they meet the cutoff. One thing that I have talked extensively with teachers about (because my daughter was in a similar situation) was that at this point some kids are ahead of others, but by grade 2 the children that started kindergarten when they were on the younger side tend to get overwhelmed with the work and the social aspects, therefore older is better. I believe there is a way that he can "test" into kindergarten. You might try searching the Dept of Ed website or calling them about that if you're really worried about it. You might be able to find a 5 day pre-k class that he'd be happy in too.

Hi R., we will face the same quandary, our daughters birthday is Sept 29. What has helped me is thinking about where do we want her to be in high school. I have no doubt she will be ready to enter Kindergarten when she is almost 5, she sounds a lot like your son, but when I think about 10 years from that Im not sure that I want her to be one of the youngest in her class then. I skipped sixth grade and was the youngest in all grades after that. Academically it was fine, socially it wasnt the same. I was the last to get my learning permit to drive, even my summer jobs were effected since state laws have caps on how many hours younger teens can work. I had loads of friends and have always been very social, but I definitely felt a bit out of the loop because I was younger than the rest of them. Teens have that pack mentality which is so important developmentally, and hopefully if we do decide to hold kindgergarten off for a year it will pay off later on down the line.
Our daughter is only 2.5, but I have been thinking about this a lot since preschool enrollment is looming and when we enter her in kindergarten does effect what type of program we choose for preschool. Right now I am looking at pre schools that have pre-k programs, or private kindergarten, so at the very least she will be challenged and enriched should she do 2 years of pre-k or end up repeating kindergarten after a year in a private program. this pre-k/k age seems a lot easier to manipulate to our daughters benefit rather than having her struggle later on with what may on the surface seem like silly issues, but to teens they can be anything but.
good luck with your decision!

I have read a lot of the replies and people have a lot of insight for you! I am going to give you my opinion as a Kindergarten teacher AND a mom. Let him be a kid. Being older in a classrrom is much easier than being the youngest - even if you're the smartest. Give your son some great experiences. The information that he can gain from everyday life in the "real world" will shape him into a worldly person with alot of things to relate to.

Speeding a young child into school is just speeding them into college and into the workplace. As I go to work everyday and spend the day with 5 and 6 year olds, I just think, "Oh to be a kid again!" Embrace your son and his gifts and have fun with him. School will be there next year.

Good luck to both of you!

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