M.S. asks from Rochester, MN on November 19, 2010
Kindergarten..sooner Or Later?
I have a four year old girl who will be five in early August. I had always thought we'd send her to Kindergarten right away, but after our first pre-school conference, I'm not so sure. The teacher says she is "timid" among the other kids, and isn't as far as she thought she'd be with writing her letters and such. (she is our third daughter). Of course, we already start registering for next year's pre-school in December, so that's why it's being discussed so soon. I am wondering about others' experiences with sending kids to kindergarten as a young five-year-old, and some of those who waited and sent their child at 6. Some other info: We would normally send her to the parochial school where they have all-day-every-day kindergarten. The public school is half-day, so that is an option, too, or another year of preschool.
Thank you for your comments?
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G.B. answers from Tulsa on November 20, 2010
I just think it's sad to decide a child is going to fail at something before they even get to try it out.
Let the child stay with the kids her age and see how she does. In a year and a half if she needs to not go to first grade then address the issue.
There are GREAT BIG growths mentally and cognitively in the 4, 5, and 6 year age groups. Give her a chance before deciding she will fail at Kindergarten....
J.F. answers from Minneapolis on November 19, 2010
I would look into a kindergarden at a private school or daycare center. If you still feel the same way you can send her again the following year. My son is 4 1/2 and is already reading so we are sending him to the kindergarden at the daycare we go to for 1/2 day only. The other 1/2 of the day he goes back to the pre K room at the daycare. He is socially not ready for a public school kindergarden with large class sizes but he is doing fine in a small group setting. We fully plan on sending him to kindergarden next year within the public school system (when he is 5) and I don't think it is a big deal to have them repeat if necessary. If you want information about the daycare/kindergarden my son goes to, just email me.
J.S. answers from Dallas on November 19, 2010
My sons birthday is August 21st (he is 4) and he will be starting Kinder next year. But with out Pre-K conference earlier this week he will need Kindergarten to keep him challanged. There is a placement test you can call the school board for and see if she is ready that way if you want too.
K.S. answers from Minneapolis on November 20, 2010
We were in this position (boy, mid-August birthday) and we struggled with the decision. I actually registered him for K and for another year of preschool so that I could wait until August to make the final decision. We ultimately chose to send him to K on time rather than wait a year. I will discuss the factors behind that decision below. Our son is now 7 and in 2nd grade and is doing extremely well socially and academically. The only area that is a challenge at times is the writing but we have gotten him assistance through an occupational therapist as well as having supportive teachers at his school. He is in the top academic groups, has lots of friends, and all the girls have crushes on him...LOL.
Factors that influenced our decision:
1) DS is small for his age so I had concerns, but the school we chose is racially very diverse so his size has been a non-issue (sounds strange but true).
2) DS has Sensory Processing Disorder so I worried about him being in a classroom all day (esp. K) but I made the school aware of it and worked with the teachers so they understood the signs of him being overstimulated by noise and could intervene in a positive manner.
3) DS really wanted to start K at age 5
4) DS was worried about being away from home all day so he came up with the idea that he "would like to have some practice". So we signed him up for 2 weeks of an academic day camp at a local private school during July. Best thing we could have done! He learned what it was like to be in a new setting and be gone all day. I learned what it took for him to get up early and off to school without big battles.
5) In preschool at age 4, DS was not very social. He was still playing side by side most of the time rather than engaging with the other kids (who were 3 and 4). However, over that summer before K, I made a point of exposing him to lots of new social situations and encouraged him to talk to other kids. He blossomed all of a sudden. That skill has continued to grow and he has become a class leader.
6) DS tests in the gifted range. We suspected this before K and it was confirmed in K. I hate to think how bored and unchallenged he would be if we had waited.
7) I read some articles that summarized the effects of starting students late and much of the research finds that most differences in the early grades disappear by 3rd grade and are completely gone by middle school.
8) I had to listen to everyone around me saying "He should wait. He's a boy and boys aren't ready for K at 5." But my knowledge of our son's strengths and abilities along with an awareness of his weaknesses combined with knowing that he would have a lot of support at home, gave me the confidence to send him on time to K.
9) I had to weigh whether things that were part of my son's demeanor and personality were things that would actually change with another year to mature or whether they were a part of his overall person and would not likely change much. I was a very shy child and that didn't change until I was in college. Holding me back a year would not have made a bit of difference in how I related to my peers. In fact, sometimes being the oldest in a class puts a whole new set of expectations on a child. The kids in my son's class who were 6 when they started all had the same issues they would have if they had started at 5 (shy or inattentive or socially inept). Other than size and one case of particularly immature 5 year old, it was impossible to tell who was 5 and who was 6 based on academic or social performance. I spent a lot of time volunteering in the classroom (full day once a week) so I knew the kids very well.
Don't let anybody make this decision for you. Talk with your daughter as well, find out her ideas. And remember that it may be too early to make a final decision. By registering for both Pre-K and K, you can keep your options open for just the price of any registration fee. And be sure to combine reading about people's personal experiences with reading the research on the subject. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
J.V. answers from Los Angeles on November 19, 2010
I would recommend a half-day to ease her into the situation. You can always pull her out of it doesn't work. Most likely her friends in pre-school will all be starting Kindergarten so there will be familiar faces. Do you have a Kumon center in you rarea. Out here in CA most of my friends that have young kids starting Kindergarten put their kids in Kumon alongside preschool the year before Kindergarten starts. It has helped them immensely in learning to write and read. I believe Kumon is a worldwide organization. Good luck. You are the mom, so ultimately, you know best!
S.S. answers from Cincinnati on November 19, 2010
is the school ok with starting that young? I went to kindergarden when I was 5. (my day in june) but my brother had to wait till he was 6 (bday in july) because he missed the age cut off date. if the school is ok with it, discuss it with your daughters pre-school teacher. i knew a girl in my brothers class they had to hold back because she didnt master enough social skills in kindergarden because of her young age, but since your child is already socializing in pre-school this may not be an issue
M.D. answers from Pittsburgh on November 19, 2010
I don't know what to tell you. My son has a late August birthday and we considered holding him back as well. What made us go ahead and send him to kindergarten (all day)was that academically he was ready to go. My son taught himself to read at 4yrs old and was always available to learn new things. He was not very mature and had some language issues as well. Now in kindergarten he is thriving academically, the teacher is very aware that my son quickly grasps the concepts she is teaching. The downfall is that he has trouble communicating and that often leads to behavior issues. I can't advise you one way or the other, but I will say if I had it to do again I would still send my son to kindergarten on time. They teach writing and letters in kindergarten so if that is your concern, they will cover that. If your daughter is shy now, she may always be shy, that might just be who she is. Truly there is no right or wrong answer to your question, you are her parents and you know her best. Go with your gut :)
K.H. answers from Minneapolis on November 19, 2010
My daughter as an August birthday and we held her until she was six. She is in first grade now and one of the oldest in her class, which she loves. She is doing very well and we know we made the right decisions. Our son is a July baby and we are going to do the same thing. I feel there is no need to rush them out of the house when they are barely 18. Good luck, it is a hard decision.
S.G. answers from Rapid City on November 20, 2010
If you wait she will be 18 when she graduates, if not she will be 17 and have to start college before she even is a legal adult. My youngest was 5 in June and we kept him out until he was 6 and it was good in a lot of ways. I do not regret it. He was still taking naps at his desk in 1st grade and I couldn't imagine him doing that in 2nd grade. He also was one of the older ones in class although there were a few of us that had our children in May, June and July that decided to wait to send them. My friend's child was born the same day as my son and she sent her a couple weeks to kindergarten but they moved her into a 4K class.
I heard someone say "which would you rather have, your child driving her friends around or her friends driving her around?" The older ones will get the first drivers licenses and I would rather my child be the older one then the younger one in her class.
L.H. answers from Davenport on November 19, 2010
Please think about what is best for your child now, but also when she is 16, 17, & 18. Maturity cannot be rushed, and it will be hard for her later in life if she is always behind the other kids socially, emotionally, and academically. Children develop at their own pace, some sit up early, some late, some walk early, some late. It shouldn't make you or your child feel bad if she is not ready just because the state says kids can start school at five.
Kindergarten is not a babysitting service anymore. Most districts are forcing more academic routines and structured experiences down to kindergarten. Kindergarten is the new 1st grade. The structure and routine of an all day program can be very stressful for a child if she is not ready yet. The first year of an academic career should not be spent frustrated and always behind. Your child will learn that school is hard, frustrating, boring, and that she is not as bright as the other kids. I don't think the cost of another year of preschool is worth the cost to your child in the long run.
I would not recommend sending her with the intent to repeat K. if necessary. There are a lot of social stigmas with repeating a grade, and it may be hard to make that choice when the time comes. Not to mention that if she were to stay in the same classroom or school she would be very bored the second time around, which would lead to behavior issues as well as academic boredom.
I have never met a parent that was sorry that they waited a year, but I have met several that were sorry their child had to be retained, or struggled socially and academically.
Having said that, a lot can change between now and August. Sign up now if you are unsure, but then wait and speak with the preschool teacher at the end of the year. You may also want to talk to the kindergarten teacher(s) at the school your child will attend. What do they see in their classrooms? Are the majority of kids younger or older? What does their program expect a beginning kindergartener to be able to do? What are the social expectations? How do younger children typically do in their classrooms? Get advice from the trained experts and then weigh it with what you know about your child. If your gut says wait another year do it!
M.F. answers from Lincoln on November 20, 2010
I would wait another year. Our son turned 5 this past July and could have gone to kindergarten. We decided, along with his teachers that another year of preschool would do him a world of wonder. Let me tell you it has!! Last year we had tears almost every morning when I dropped him off. He had no confidence and needed coaxed to do many things. He knew his letters and numbers, but had trouble writing. This year, he walks in with confidence and feels right at home. He answers up in class, he wants to do things on his own and is doing 100% better. Let your daughter gain the same confidence for kindergarten by letting her have another year of preschool.