K.L. asks from Walnut Creek, CA on August 12, 2008
Kindergarten Readiness and Summer Birthdays
My son who just turned 5 in July is suppossed to start Kindergarten in 2 weeks. My husband is having second thoughts and NOT becasue he isn't ready now (we both agree he would probably do fine this year). His preschool teacher said "send him" and so did the entering kindergarten teacher. Our son is a second child, likes to learn, interacts well socially and emotionally. The K teacher also said that out of 29 kids in her class, 8 would be the same age as Ryan or 2-3 months younger. 5/29 have Fall birthdays and would be 9 months older than our son. However, we are worried about the long term effects that "might" develop later on down the line as academics get harder, competition with kids that are 9 months to a year older, etc. Are we crazy to wait another year if teachers say yes to sending him now? Have any of you sent a summer birthday child who seemed ready at the time, but then later ran into maturity/academic issues?
So What Happened?™
Thank you SO much for all the input fellow moms. After many more late night discussions and additional valuable input from the entering kindergarten teacher, my husband and I are sending our son to Kindergarten this fall. We told him this morning on our way home from our last summer vacation, and he's thrilled. Thank you again for all your incredible input. This was my first time trying mama source and it was a great experience. I can't wait to tell others.
J.D. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
All kids are different, if you really feel he is ready, I'd say send him. My daughter's birthday is in October and I had her start kindergarten at 4. Now she is 5, starting 1st grade in two weeks. She is fine and loves school and all of the homework. We are also in a school district/community that emphasizes academics.
K.W. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
I understand your worry about putting your child in Kindergarten early. My son has a late September birthday and I went through the same thing. He was socially ready but I wasn't sure about academically. The teachers thought he would do fine but I had friends that told me that being a boy that he would eventually get behind. Well, he is my best student (the only boy) and I am so glad that I put him in when I did. He is also very tall and would have looked like the goofy tall kid if I had held him back that year. I say go for it, my son never had a problem and he is now going to be 12 and in 8th grade. The only thing that would make me do otherwise is that he plays sports and playing in high school a year later would maybe help him. We are moving this year so I gave my son the option to hold himself back for the sports if he wants, but I think he will just stay as he is.
I have seen those kids that are held back in Kindergarten and I think it is a lot of times the kid that wasn't ready at all and only sent there to save money on child care (just my opinion). Bottom line is that I think Mom and Dad know best so go with your gut.
C.L. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
My son is a second child with a summer birthday too. (July 19th). All he wanted to do when he turned 5 was go to the school that his big sister went to. He woke up on his 5th birthday and asked me, *Mommy can I go to kindergarten today?* I was advised by several teachers at the school, as well as close friends, to give him the gift of time. I was faced with the decision of doing that, or breaking his spirit. All he wanted to do was go to kindergarten! So, my husband and I decided to let him go to kindergarten that Fall. I have to tell you, if I could do it all over again, I would give him the extra year. He had a hard time academically between 1st and 3rd grade. Plus, he is so much younger than a alot of his classmates. He did fine in kindergarten, but first grade is when we really saw the struggle begin. He is at grade level now, as he begins to enter 4th grade, but I do worry about him as he advances, especially when he gets to middle school. So, that is just my two cents. I hope it helps you with your decision.
P.T. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
I have three kids, 13, 10, 4. My middle daughter was also a July baby. We did not hold her back and she has always done well. My oldest was a december baby and we had to wait to start her. She has a harder time because she is older than the other kids in her class, but she is doing well academically. If his teachers think he is ready (they know what to look for in readiness) I would send him. One thing to think about is how he will feel if you hold him back. He knows he is old enough to start and will most likely feel like he is not good enough and that is why you are not letting him start. If you do decide to wait proceed with caution when it come to what you tell him. You do not want him to feel bad that he can't start and give him a bad beginning to school.
K.V. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
SEND HIM!!! You mention he's a second child, so I'm sure he's used to keeping up with bigger kids. Also, remember that the 9-month age gap disappears with age.
I'm sure he'll do fine. I started kindergarten at 4 (December 26th birthday - Canadian system is the calendar year) and I don't know what I'd have done had I been born a week later and started a year later. I was tall and could read when I started and would have been very bored had I waited. So again I say: SEND HIM!!!! ;-)
L.M. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
Hi K.! I understand the stress you are feeling about sending your son on to kindergarten when now a days so many parents are starting their children later. As a result, many kids are starting kindergarten at 6 instead of 5. I am an elementary school teacher, and I taught kindergarten for 5 years. It sounds like your son's preschool teacher says he is ready, as well as the teachers from the K program. I definitely think you should send him and allow him the opportunity to participate in a kindergarten program that he seems to be perfectly ready for. When I taught, the children I recommended to continue on with an extra year of kindergarten were children with late birthdays (Possibly september,oct, and nov). These children needed an extra year of K to mature. These were not children with learning disabilities. I feel it is beneficial for a child who is going to repeat, to do so in a kindergarten class rather than an extra year of preschool. The child will be familiar with the K routine, academics, and socialization. I hope you decide to give your son a shot at K this year. Good luck!
D.T. answers from Phoenix on August 13, 2008
Hi--It is such a big decision and always takes a lot of consideration. As a teacher I can tell you I have never met a parent who was sorry they waited and I've met many who were sorry they sent the child 'on time'. California is way behind with respect to cut off dates! As another poster mentioned, Kindergarten these days is what 1st grade used to be. There is a lot of pressure to achieve certain benchmarks in order to go on to 1st grade. When children start at age 4 it is extremely difficult for them to reach these goals and many have to be retained for a second year in Kindergarten.
I have four children, with birthdays in January, May, August and October. Where we lived in NJ, the cutoff date was Oct 1. So my January girl and Oct 11 boy waited the year and were always very successful and confident and a great students. My second boy had a May birthday, and I was reluctant to send him even so. I was pressured into it and he paid the price. He did OK in K, but was moved from 1st back to K midway through the next year. He settled down somewhat after that, but was never a good student and never really liked school. My last was an August girl and she started right when she turned 5. I think she would have done better to wait because as the youngest, she is the most immature of my kids.
Sorry to bend your ear with so much of my story! Bottom line is, if you have ANY doubts, wait. There is no real down side to this. It can't hurt and may well help. Good luck with whatever you decide!
J.S. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
I have a second daughter who's birthday is in October,and we started her in kindergarten at 4 turning 5. she is now a freshmen in high school and if I had to do it all over again, without a doubt, I would have kept her in preschool/daycare another year. Starting in second grade, it would take her half the year to catch up to the rest of her class. She could write her name and do all the things the other Kindergartener's were doing. But, boy did she struggle and still does today. We have tudor's to help now but I have always kicked myself because of it.
Good Luck in whatever you decide.
S.M. answers from San Francisco on August 13, 2008
My daughter has a July birthday too. I sent her to kindergarten when she turned 5. I had the same concerns about her being with peers that were 9 months to a year older. My daughter seems to be like your son. She will be entering fourth grade and each year at school I hear from her teachers that she is doing very well. She can't wait for school to begin. I wish my other child shared her enthusiasm for school. I know it's an important decision. Based on what you wrote about your son, he sounds like he is ready.