45 answers

Kindergarten for an October Baby. Age 4 or 5? - North Hollywood,CA

My daughters birthday is on Oct 20th. I am so torn on when to start her in kindergarten! She is currently in a playschool class 9-12 twice a week. The school she would be going into is a m-f 9-12 schedule. If I start her in fall 2012 she will go in at the age of 4. Her playschool teacher would love to start her in a pre-k class this spring and feels she could be ready to go kindergarten. Do you have any advice? Thank you!

For our district she must me 5 before dec 1st.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! You guys have been awesome at responding! Thank you. This has been so helpful! Until last week I was completely onboard with getting herall set for kindergarten in the fall. She likes going to school, she is social, she is learning her letters, trying to pronounce words while reading together... she seems ready in all those ways. But last week we were at a park and there were two 5 year old girls playing together. My daughter introduced herself and they said we are 5. She said well im 4! And they said well we don't want to play with you. She had no idea how to respond. I got her interested in something else. A little while later she was looking down. I asked whats up. She said the girls were calling her poopy names. She wasn't even trying to play with them! I made my conversation loud on purpose so the moms could hear what was going on. (I could go on about those two, but ill stick to the subject) Apparently the girls were cousins that hadn't seen each other in a long time "and they probably just want to play with each other." Long story short... emotionally she isn't ready. She may be in 10 months but I like what a few of you had said-think about jr high and high school. I want her to have the advantage. I had the disadvantage of being on the younger side and jr high was really hard. I am leaning toward waiting another year. I spoke to her pediatrician about it too. He said if there is any reason at all, no matter how small, its better to wait, unless there is a financial reason (as in a daycare situation). As far as the Burbank transitional kindergarten goes she is not going to be eligible. Also with the school system changing gradually to a sept 1 cut of date-it seems like I should wait. I love that I can be a stay at home mom to her and her brother. I will be lucky to do it another year with her! Thank you so much everyone!

Featured Answers

Wait until she is 5. She needs that extra year of pre-school/pre-k. She will do so much better if she starts at age 5. GL

M

7 moms found this helpful

As a teacher, I have found that waiting is the best for a child. As I have personally seen it is a benefit to have the child older because the child will be more able to concentrate, sit still and listen better. Younger child is not as ready to sit for long times and that is important. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

2 moms found this helpful

If the cutoff is December and the evaluation team as well as you think she is ready then go for it! There will be a few kids even younger than her.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Wait until she is 5. She needs that extra year of pre-school/pre-k. She will do so much better if she starts at age 5. GL

M

7 moms found this helpful

It's a bummer to always be the youngest in class. It's not such a big deal when you're 5, but when you're in middle school and going through puberty it is. And when you're that last kid in the class to get your driver's license it is. Why the rush to get her in school? I was so happy my second child was a November birthday, because I got to keep her home another year with me.

4 moms found this helpful

My son turned 5 last July and could have started Kindergarten. In Illinois, the child must be 5 by Sept. 1. We chose to wait a year. He is in a PreK type Kindergarten class that our district funds. Best thing we could have done for him! Academically he was probably ready, but he was a young 5 and clearly not as mature as the older 5's.

Keep in mind that she needs to be both academically ready and emotionally and socially ready. Kindergarten is much more academically intense than it was when we were growing up. The state and federal standards are high, and school funding depends on good test scores. Many kindergarten classes do not have near the downtime that kids need, so you might want to ask yourself if giving her an extra year of a less academically intense environment with more play time might be good for her.

Remember, this isn't a race. Let her begin when she is truly ready.

4 moms found this helpful

FIVE!! Please don't jump the gun....& double check with your school district. Our district has "zero" exceptions for the age 5 rule. :)

4 moms found this helpful

If her preschool teacher thinks she is ready then she probably is or will be.
Most schools do K screenings. This gives them an idea as to whether the
child is ready. Now it you had a son, I would say wait. Boys tend to be
immature and need the extra years. Girls no so much.

3 moms found this helpful

I'm an October 20th baby, and my husband is Oct 13. We both grew up in areas that have the birthday cutoff at the end of the year; we were both four when starting kindergarten. We both had no problems with it.

Here's a great article that rethinks holding kids back due to parental fears:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-del...

I think it's pretty compelling, the idea that the older peers can help a child 'grow' into the age group as a whole, than holding kids back if they really don't have a proven need. I see some children who have older siblings who seem more 'mature' than kids with no sibs, only because they have older peer models. I don't know your child, but agree with talking to the preschool teacher about where her social skills and self-help skills are, because those are two areas that kindergarten teachers love children to have some proficiency in beforehand. Can she follow her preschool group through the morning, play well with her classmates, follow the teacher's instructions and take care of her simpler self-care needs like wiping her own nose/washing hands/zippers and buttons/putting on shoes, socks, jackets and clothing independently? Those are areas I look at as a preschool teacher. From what you describe, if she has those skills and is doing the shorter day of kinder, my guess is that aside from the newness of teachers and kids at kindergarten, she'll probably be okay. The article is very reassuring... worth reading!

3 moms found this helpful

Both my kids, are born late.
I have a boy and a girl.
They both started Kindergarten at 4 then turned 5 after starting Kinder.
They, were ready.
They both had had Preschool.
Their Teachers said they were fine as well, to go to Kinder.
We as parents, felt the same way.
It has been fine.
And my kids are doing well.

Myself, I am late born. I started Kinder at that age too.
I was fine.

It really depends on the child and their readiness and maturity. And emotional development.

Both my kids, also, WANTED to go to Kindergarten.
They had no trouble with going at that age.
And adjusted fine.
My kids' school, Kindergarten is everyday, all day.

Now, NOTE, that some schools, some of them have a Kindergarten age entry of 5 years old. If a child starts later, when 6... you need to make sure this is okay.
Some schools will enter a 6 year old, into 1st grade.
Unless the parent specifies/requests that their child enter Kindergarten.

Kindergarten in many States, is not mandatory.
What is the age cut-off's in your State?

The other aspect of this: is that the parent also feels "ready" to enter their child into Kindergarten. At whatever age you choose.
But if your child is ready.... you also need to recognize this.

3 moms found this helpful

i can only tell you what we did, and why. my son's birthday is at the end of Sept. We did not start him the year he turned 5, he will be a month away from turning 6 when he goes. here are the reasons:
1. i would rather make things easier on him rather than harder.
2. i would rather he be one of the first in his class to get to do things rather than the last.
3. he is ALL VERY WIGGLY BOY - so another year of preschool to get some of those wiggles out is not a bad thing imo. that was my biggest reason. he is plenty "book" smart, knows all his numbers and letters and shapes and colors. he's very intelligent and gets along well with his classmates. but i see what a hard time he has sitting still and listening to directions - like borderline ADD, hard - and i think it will not hurt him a bit to wait another year.

these were our reasons. every kiddo is different. one other minor issue for me was that there was a SMALL part of me that was very happy to put off sending my baby off to kindergarten :) we also were not living where we wanted him to go to school, and weren't in a position to move there just then (hadn't even really decided where we wanted that to be yet) i don't count those as legitimate reasons, i mean if he was ready and chomping at the bit, bored to tears with preschool and ready to move on, i'd have done it. but in our situation, it wasn't time yet.

he will be very ready this fall i think :) and we are going to be moving to a smaller district, etc etc. it is all coming together for us. so i am really glad we waited :)

3 moms found this helpful

As a teacher, I have found that waiting is the best for a child. As I have personally seen it is a benefit to have the child older because the child will be more able to concentrate, sit still and listen better. Younger child is not as ready to sit for long times and that is important. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

2 moms found this helpful

I didn't read any responses and it sounds like you have made up your mind... still want to add my answer if that's alright, lol.... My son is an Oct 29th birthday and I was in the same dilemna as you. My husband wanted me to start him at 4 and I was dead set against it. I am an Oct 9th birthday and I did start at 4 so I was always on the young side but it was a different time and generation then. We weren't expected to know how to read in kindergarten back then! I wanted my son to have all the advantages of being at home for another year playing and being a child with no worries. School and the stress of school and life will be here soon enough for the rest of their lives so I wanted to prolong that as long as possible. I waited until he was 5 almost 6 and it is the BEST thing I could have done for him. He is now in the 1st grade and is reading off the charts and does all kinds of crazy math in his head. I took it one step more and home schooled him, but that is a completely different post altogether, lol.

Enjoy your baby one more year! Good luck to you and your family.
J.

2 moms found this helpful

If your cutoff is Dec 1 then I would go for it. Our cut off is Aug 31 so the only way my October DD could go next year would be if we got her tested in. She is in pre-k now and would probably do fine academically but still we decided against it. There is quite a bit of scientific evidence that kids that are the oldest of their cohort don't have as many problems in school both academically and socially. My DD will do two years of pre- k, the second year probably in a language immersion program to mix it up a bit and keep her academically challenged, if she if really quite advanced in K - our school district offers an advanced program starting in 1 st grade...
We would save a pretty penny if we got her into school early, but after thinking about it long and hard we decided that it was not worth it. She is only a little kid for so long and I prefer if she has a little more time to concentrate on playing and just being a kid without any pressure to succeed at school. After all it's not a race and there are no rewards for graduating early!

2 moms found this helpful

My nephew has an October birthday, and he started kindergarten at 4. He is now in first-name grade, and will be repeating first grade next fall. He is just not ready to move on. Too fidgety, too distracted, and he can stand to re-learn first grade work. It just depends on the maturity of your child, I suppose.

2 moms found this helpful

If the cutoff is December and the evaluation team as well as you think she is ready then go for it! There will be a few kids even younger than her.

2 moms found this helpful

What is the cutoff date???? I know in Michigan it is in Dec. My brother was a November baby and started Kindergarten at the age of 4. He was fine......My sister is an October baby and started at 4, but my parents decided to have her repeat kindergarten. If her teacher thinks she will be fine then go for it. :)

2 moms found this helpful

One last thought? I didn't read all 32 so forgive me if it has already been said. As a retired special needs middle school teacher the majority of my kids in the "assisted learning programs" were the YOUNGER ones in their grade and the "gifted" kids were the older ones. Coincidence? Could have said that maybe in my first couple of years, but after 10 years it was still the same.
Let her be little, she has her entire life to "grow up".
My oldest just turned 16 and is in the 10th grade. Most of her classmates just turned 15. She is in the top of her class both academically and socially. It sounds like you are going to wait. I COMPLETELY agree.

B., B.A.:B.Ed.
Family Success Coach

PS: thanks for the question, you inspired me to blog about it. www.AskBarbilee.com

2 moms found this helpful

I have an October baby and she was very eager to start school but it doesn't hurt to wait, which we had to do. In our district there is a cut off of September #? birthday so that was not an option. Why push them to early as if you wait they will for sure be ready. I myself was a June baby and wish I would have been held back. Best of luck in a choice that works for you!

1 mom found this helpful

our cut off is Sept 1.
My DS is an oct 19th and went at 5. He's in first grade now is doing great.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and I both have birthdays the same week as your daughter. We both started school at 4 and then turned 5 in Kindergarten. My older daughter has a mid-September birthday - started at 4 and turned 5 in Kinder as well. My youngest has a June birthday, and started and finished Kinder as a 4 year old! It has been fine for all of us. If kids are ready, they're ready!

Think of it this way. If your daughter gets all the way through Kindergarten and you and the teacher then feel that she isn't ready for 1st Grade, then she can always repeat Kindergarten in a different classroom. No big deal! But chances are, she will be just fine.

1 mom found this helpful

Have you spoken to the school yet? Most of them have a cut off date. There was no question for my October baby, she missed the cut off and not even the private schools would take her. My cousin did find a private school to take her November baby to, but really I think it was too early.

Put your child's age in months instead of years and see how short they come up with someone in the class who may have had an August birthday.

There will be plenty of children in the class with October birthdays, it is a popular month. She will blend right in with the others.

1 mom found this helpful

If the kid were a boy, I would definitely say 5. A girl , I think it depends . I started K at 4 & was not ready for 1st grade. Academically , I was but I wasn't ready to bein school all day. I would fall asleep and get horrible headaches.

1 mom found this helpful

It really depends most on the emotional maturity of your child more than anything. I put my extremely bright son into kindie at the first opportunity because all I could see was how smart he was. It wasn't the right decision for him.

If you look at her whole person and think it's right, then I'd say go for it.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a May baby, so I do not have the dilemma myself, but I do remember when DD became five, and the pre-school year ended. She was suddenly noticeably READY for school, but school was out for the summer. I had to do a lot to keep her busy at her new level of capabilities (which was fine and fun, but unexpected on my part).

On the other hand, given that K is now yesterday's first grade and a bit of second grade, I don't know if staying a year is hurting your child.

Schools need to wise up and have another session of K that starts in the winter semester and end this debate already. Time to accommodate parents on this one.

1 mom found this helpful

My oldest, born in August, was sent to K when she was 5.... (I think the cut-off was Sept 1, maybe?) Anyway, she was very smart, not disruptive, but her mind wandered....

She did fine until she hit 4th grade....then it all became very hard.... it wasn't "intuitive" anymore.

We moved from Iowa to Texas after 4th grade, and had her repeat 4th grade in Texas. That was the best thing we could do! It gave her a chance to catch up in maturity.

Daughter #3, also an August baby, was very different..... she wasn't really ready to sit down and learn.... also very smart, just more ADD/ADHD.... we delayed her K entry.... had her in a different pre-school for her second year. (She then qualified for the Pre-K/preschool at the public school since we delayed her entry.)

In this case, it was also a very good choice to make.

Would we have been better off to delay our oldest? I don't know...... we made the choice we felt was best at the time.....

All you can do is make the best choice you can... and you can always change your mind later if necessary.

BTW..... hubby went to K when he was 4... their district cut-off was Dec. 1, also.... he struggled all through high school, even though he was very smart...... but back then, you didn't hold children back. (He was born in 1951...)

1 mom found this helpful

If the district says 5 before 12/1, then she can go when she is 4. She will be one of the youngest, but if you think she can handle it, send her.
She won't be the only young one...
LBC

1 mom found this helpful

My personal opinion is that a child that makes the cutoff should start school unless there is specific reasons not too. I also think that a child that is almost 5 should start because otherwise they are almost 6 when they do. Of course, some of this is colored by the fact that the cut off was Dec 31st when I was in school. They changed the law when my son was born so by the time he started school, he would have turned 6 on 10/17 but since we had moved to MD (and their cut off had not yet changed) he was able to start when he was turning 5. He was ready, so much so that he ended up being bored and they weren't recognizing it. That is my concern with holding kids back that extra year. My daughter just turned 5 last month and was ready for K but because her birthday was in Dec they did not let her start (even though her teachers, the pediatrician, AND the school district said she was ready).

Unless your daughter has delays or is showing signs of not being ready (socially/emotionally or academically) then I say start preparing her and plan to let her start on time....I don't believe in holding kids back. You can also wait to decide because a lot can change in a few months at this age and she just might amaze you.

1 mom found this helpful

It depends on the child. My daughter is also an October baby and her Head Start/Preschool teachers strongly felt she was ready for kindergarten.
She was.
I enrolled her and never looked back. She did great.
She was often the youngest in her class, but she didn't let that slow her down any.
The only bummer, from my point of view.....she was only 17 when she graduated and I don't know why, but I guess I wasn't emotionally prepared for that. I cried the whole first week of her senior year of high school.
However, I know deep down I did the right thing starting her when I did. It was the best thing for her. She flourished.
Like I said, it depends on the child. I know kids who began kindergarten at 5 and still weren't really ready.
Each child is different.
Try the pre-K and when the time kindergarten enrollment rolls around, if she's not ready, I think you'll know.

Just my opinion and best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

Add 12 years....

...and do you want her to head off to college and into the world at 16 or 17 years old?? Consider that all the guys around her will have been held back and she will be 2 years younger than the hormonal teenage boys calling her, and she won't be able to get a job with all of her girlfriends because she'll be too young to apply....so, she can't earn pocket money while her girlfriends are picking up barrista jobs at Starbucks or hostess jobs are local restaurants.

1 mom found this helpful

In Florida, this is a non-issue. Each child has to have turned 5 by September 1st of the year that they start school....no exceptions. If you have the option of doing this at 4, I would talk to her playschool teachers and the administration of the school that she would be going to in order to get their opinions. I would then go from there....

1 mom found this helpful

I have brothers who are twins whose birthday is Oct 21 and they started the month before they turned 5, as your daughter would do if she starts fall of 2012. One twin was ready, one wasn't and should have repeated it, but was passed on and needed to repeat 1st grade. There weren't any Pre-K programs then which would have helped immensely, so i would put her in Pre-K and see how she does this spring and proceed from there.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you should hold off until the following year. Here in IL, the cut-off date is 09/01. My youngest is an August baby and I worry that he'll be ready to start kindergarten with only turning 5 two weeks before school will start.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is now 9 and an Oct. 19th birthday. I wish I had held her back, although she is right on par in all her areas, but I feel should would have been advanced in all areas had I held her back. My husband thinks she would have been board if we had held her back. I have met other parents who have Oct and November kids, who they did not hold back and they are doing very well. So in the end, it is really a child specific decision (both my husband and I were Oct and Dec. babies and we were not held back, so always the youngest, and did well anyway). One friend held her son back before K and by the time he got to K he was so advanced they skipped him. He is now one of the leading kids in his class (also helps that he is very tall too). Just watch your daughter and try to get a sense of what will be right for her.

1 mom found this helpful

DS is an mid-August baby and he will be just barely 5 when he is supposed to start Kgarten in 2 years. We have already decided to start him a year later, so he will have 2 years of preschool and have just turned 6, with kids who are turning 6, when he starts Kgarten-- regardless of when the cutoff date is for whatever school system we are at. Personally 4 seems too young for full day Kgarten, BUT DD (who is currently 5 and started full day Kgarten this year) would have been fine with a half day program, my son would not. Her pre-K was a half day program, and she was fine the entire year (age 4). So it depends on your daughter and her maturity.

I was one of the oldest in my class with a late September bday, but my sister was the youngest with an early September bday (our cut off was Sept 15) and we were both fine during puberty, high school, driving, going to college and making adult decisions, me at almost 19 and she at barely 18. So if you think she's ready, I'd say go for it and the worst that will happen is they keep her in Kgarten or 1st grade a year longer.

:)

Updated

1 mom found this helpful

I went to K when I was 4 and turned 5 after about 6 weeks. That means that I was 17 when I left for college and was making decisions about drinking and all the other college stuff at 17 - a year of maturity could make a big difference at that point. You can't predict everything, but it sure is something to keep in mind. I say let them stay home and have another year of maturity going into school. I also figured that if I was wrong it's better for my son to be the kid who skipped a grade than the kid held back a year.

1 mom found this helpful

As a middle school teacher I have a number of students who started kinder before the age of 5. Many of my students' parents admit to me that they regretted not waiting until their son or daughter was older (mostly boys but girls, too). They say that there was never a problem in elementary school but middle school is when that age and maturity gap really begin to show. I can absolutely tell the difference between a student who started kinder at 4 vs 5. Emotionally, organizationally, cognitively... the younger kids really struggle. It's not that they're not as smart as the other kids. Rather, their brains are just not developed enough to handle the responsibility and abstract thinking that takes place in middle school. If it were my daughter, I would wait. It's better to be older in a class than younger. You might want to check into schools that have pre-K programs or pre-1st programs.

1 mom found this helpful

The school will not let her start until 5 typically it's not your choice. I would find out from the school district, but my October baby will not be starting Kindergarden until he is 5.

1 mom found this helpful

There's a reason that California law has changed and they are slowly implementing a change to the start date to September 1. That said, I think it really depends on your daughter. My niece also has an October birthday and started at 4. She wound up being held back in 2nd grade. If you think your daughter has the emotional maturity to start kindergarten, then go for it. If you feel she's not ready, wait.

1 mom found this helpful

My son's birthday is late October and where we live, you have to be 5 on or before Sep 30 to begin kindergarten.
So - he was 5 for about a month before he turned 6 in kindergarten.
The only students in his class who are older than him are those who have earlier Oct birthdays.
It has worked out well for us.
He is always the tallest in his class and the extra maturity we feel has helped him academically.

My son is an October bday, he waited a year...he has someone in his class that is a year younger-and man, can you tell. Maybe it is a boy/lack of maturity thing.

Sounds like you already made your decision, but thought I'd give my input anyway. I struggled with whether or not to start my son at 5 or 6. It came done to emotional readiness. I just didn't think he was ready and pulled his registration at the last possible moment. He attended Pre-k and loved it. He made friends and learned how to work together with other children. He was so much more confident. He started kindy this year at six and is doing great. He is ready to learn, happy, excited and making friends. I think down the road in middle school and high school the extra year will really serve him well. If the choice is between starting at four or five, definitely five! Every teacher/educator I spoke with wholeheartedly recommended waiting and one went on to say how she could pick out the younger children the first day. Good luck with your choice!

S.

I would start her with the kids her age, that is what is expected. If she does not do well then she can always repeat it again.

My thoughts are that when the school says they can start that that is what they should do.

I usually think kids should be a full 5 when they start school so they are not 16-17 when they graduate from high school. But if everyone in the whole class is the same age it is okay.

It really depends on your daughter. If she's emotionally and academically ready, I would send her.

My daughter has an Oct. 27th bday. We were very torn between sending her to PK or K. With a new baby in the house and all the chaos/transition that goes along with that, we opted for PK at a private school. The teacher follows the K curriculum of a public school anyway. Well, my daughter is bright...always ahead in reading, math, and reasoning. So, while the rest of the kids are learning the alphabet and phonics, she can read chapter books. They learn their numbers and she does carry-over addition and subtraction. She is so bored! She has fun in the other creativity areas like art, free okay, etc. But, the majority of her day is spent in review of things she learned over a year ago. I believe this is a terrible thing. Can you imagine being bored out of your mind 6 hours a day?

A week into the school year, the teacher confirmed she was more than ready for K. A month into the school year, and after testing, the teacher confirmed she was ready for 1st grade. We opted to keep her in PK because the teacher promised to "up" her school work and give her material more suitable for her level. She is in a class of 13 (wih 1 teacher, 1 aide) giving her more flexibility to work with her individually. I also supplement at home to exercise her brain. At the end of the school year, she'll be tested to see where she belongs - 1st or 2nd. So, "holding her back" from K didn't really work for us. Our daughter will have spent a year in review. Then, she'll end up skipping a grade or to anyway. She'll have to make all new friends in the fall.

It's a difficult decision because you look far ahead into the future. At least that's what we did - college at 17! I've learned that it's not permanent though. You can always enroll her in the level you're comfortable with later. It's yet another transistion, but it really would be better for the child. Start the PK classes to see if it works for your daughter. If she thrives, then you know she is ready and will most likely be ready for K in the fall. Good luck!

I know you've already had many responses, but I'll throw in two cents: as parents, we should try to prolong our kid's childhoods if possible... At present, with so much over stimulation and external pressure, children, especially girls, are beginning their adolescence earlier each day. Infancy, a time for play and imagination, is getting shorter and shorter. Think of it this way: you are giving your daughter a longer childhood if you don't hurry the process.

My son's birthday is October 15 and he started kindergarten at age 4. He has done well. I would decide if you feel she is ready to go. If not, wait a year. It won't hurt her either way

I live in Las Vegas and our cut off is September 30. My son's birthday is December so he just turned 6 years old. He was reading chapter books at age 4 and probably would have been ready or kindergarten last year. If your daughter is writing, starting to read and emotionally ready I would send her. Kindergarten is not what it used to be. Kids are going to preschool and after 2 months the kids are writing sentences in class. I have noticed there are boys in my sons class that were 6 years old when they started kindergarten. People want their kids to be the smartest and are holding them back. But, I have noticed this is only with the boys. You may want to check out the kindergarten class, talk to the teacher and sit in on a class before you make up your mind. Good luck!

I haven't read all but my son's birthday is Oct 20th and he started at age 4. He is in 2nd now and doing great. His K teacher liked to focus on him not having pre-school and on being young. The pre-school slams bothered him. But my husband volunteered in the class weekly. He would listen to the kids read to him. Our son was one of the top 5 readers. I knew for him he was ready. On the other hand my Mom regretted starting my Oct sister at age 4. Follow your gut.

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