20 answers

Need Advice on Starting Pre-K or Kindergarten

Next fall my daughter is supposed to start Kindergarten. She has never attended preschool, or day care. She has had very little interaction with children her own age, and tends to be really shy, and scared of strangers. I really feel that she is going to be completely over whelmed with starting school in the fall. I am really considering waiting a year, and trying to get her into a pre school for 2007-2008 school year. I just don't know what to do. Everyone says I should just start her in kindergarten, but I really hate to push her into something she is not ready for. I would really appreciate any advice offered!!!! Thank you!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

After talking with the school nurse, we have decided to wait a year. Next fall we are going to enroll our daughter in a Pre-K program. We just knew our daughter wouldn't be ready to handle a full day of Kindergarten 5 days a week. We feel really good about our decision, and I know we are doing the right thing to get our daughters education off to the right start. I would like to thank everyone who offered advice, it was all very helpful!!!!

Featured Answers

THe earlier they start the better. I had the same feeling scare when my son started school early and he started early at 21/2 yrs old. beleive me they adopt very fast she might cry first few days
but at the end she will love it. This does wonders for them they become more independent less afraid, they learn everything they are thought. Please do not wait this only will delay her development, being with other children is good for them they learn how to interact with others, and are less antisocial.
She will be fine my son now hes five he goes on the bus and he has adopted well. Academically I can tell you enough hes doing wonderful knows abc's, #'s colors etc.
please send her to school it will be difficult at the beginning but the end it will be wonderful.
good luck
G.

Hi E.,
My only advice would be if you feel she is not ready for kindergarten then look into putting her in to pre-school. Most pre-schools have a 4+ program for kids who are not ready for kindergarten. I hope this helps. Best of Luck
Jess

More Answers

I would put her in kindergarten. She has time this summer to interact with other children. She may end up resenting that she is the oldest in her grade if she doesn't start when she is suposed to. Plus, you always have the chance that a teacher may want to hold her back a year (lets hope not)and then she will be two years behind.

You have some time to decided. Weigh the pros and the cons. I believe the pros will outweigh the cons.

Good luck!

I own my own preschool and I really feel a child needs Preschool before going to Kindergarten. Kindergarten is not like it used to be, if a child didn't go to school prior, they will have a tought time. I left my son back and he had Preschool.

It is your own decision, but my advice is to hold your daughter back a year and send her to Preschool.

Hi E.,
My only advice would be if you feel she is not ready for kindergarten then look into putting her in to pre-school. Most pre-schools have a 4+ program for kids who are not ready for kindergarten. I hope this helps. Best of Luck
Jess

Hi E.

My advice would be to try to get your daughter involved with other kids her age before starting kindergarden and even pre-school (if you do decide to send her there). There are many mommy and me programs some free and some you have to pay a fee. You can find free programs at the library or even your own township may offer programs for kids at a low cost. Museums have great programs for kids. You could also enroll her in music classes, ballet, gymnastics, etc.. although some of those classes are expensive.
I think that more exposure to other people and other kids her age would help become ready for when you want to send her to school.
Good luck!
C.

hi E., your daughter may just be shy from lack of experience. give her the benefit of the doubt, she may really surprise you. as a (on hiatus) teacher, i can tell you that while at the beginning of a kindergarten year it is pretty obvious which kids have and havent been to a previous program, by the middle or end of the year, if not sooner, you generally cant tell the difference. they have amazing power to adapt. the fear may be more yours than hers... please dont take offense at this, i myself am a mom with "separation anxiety"!
i would enroll her in some kind of separation class over the summer, something where you can be with her and gradually separate. there are lots of mommy and me groups that do this, check out your local churches, etc, or gymboree, they have separation classes, or some other physical activity class, or check out your local libraries or even the town parks, there are so many different things out there, especially over the summer. see how it goes over the summer, she may adapt a lot quicker than you expect. good luck, D.

Hi E.!

My name is J., I am a preschool teacher.
My best advice to give you on the experience I have had in the pre-school area is to start her in pre-school ASAP!!!!

Dont just thrust her into any pre-school fulltime. What we do for first timers, who have never left mommys/daddys side is we have one day where mom or dad comes with the child and they will view and participate in all the morning activities ( about 2 hours ). they get some free play with the kids, we have morning meeting, do a project and our daily jobs.

Then maybe two days later you'll come back for 2 hours in the afternoon. Maybe have afternoon snack, outside free play and afternoon meeting.

Then the next week for two days your child will come for 2 hours in the morning by herself,( CRYING WILLL HAPPEN!! but it will stop I PROMISE! within 5 minutes they get distracted and start playing and making friends ) and then another day for two hour by herself.

We basically slowly work with her to get used to having fun at school and leaving your side.Its a process, sometimes not an easy one but in my opinion if you want Kindergarten to be an easier transition you have to get her started in pre-school.

Not only do they prepare them by teaching them to write there name,ABC's, numbers etc. but they teach them independence.

I'd hold her back another year from Kindergarten, if you know your child and know shes going to have a hard time going to kindergarten I would start her in pre-school ASAP.

ok, i hope i could help. good luck!!!

Hi E.,

It sounds like you have a summer baby. So do I she turned five last August, and we decided to wait. She will be six when she gets on the bus. And for us it was the best thing we could have done. But just like you I was very confused because my daughter did go to two years of preschool but deep down I know she could not keep up. I had to look at it this way I new she was smart enough to go to Kindergarten but it is now so much differant then when we went. Emotionally I also did not think she would be able to keep up. And for about six months you still think about your decision and second guess yourself. but you are really giving them the gift of a year. So I would put her in preschool for social time this year. And by next year you will both be excited for her to go off to school. I am so excited for my daughter because I have seen how much she as grown in a year and she wants to learn and now is ready to be in Kindergarten. And I guess those people who are telling you just put her in kindergarten have not seen what kindergarten is really about these days. They are calling it the new first grade. So stand strong and make the best decision for your child. They are all differant and are ready at differant times.

Good luck with your decision.

H. C

THe earlier they start the better. I had the same feeling scare when my son started school early and he started early at 21/2 yrs old. beleive me they adopt very fast she might cry first few days
but at the end she will love it. This does wonders for them they become more independent less afraid, they learn everything they are thought. Please do not wait this only will delay her development, being with other children is good for them they learn how to interact with others, and are less antisocial.
She will be fine my son now hes five he goes on the bus and he has adopted well. Academically I can tell you enough hes doing wonderful knows abc's, #'s colors etc.
please send her to school it will be difficult at the beginning but the end it will be wonderful.
good luck
G.

Hi E.,

It has been my experience that most kids adjust to going to kindergarten very well even without the experience of pre-school. Most of us parents never went to pre-school as kids. However, I have sent 2 of my kids to some sort of pre-school prior ro kindergarten (my third is only 11 months old).

My 15 year old daughter went to daycare for about 6 months when she was 2 1/2 (she started in Feb after a long winter of 2 feet of snow, we hardly got out and developed a bit of cabin fever and I wanted her to have some social interaction because there were few kids in my area). It was a horrible experience for her, she cried everyday for about 5-15 minutes before she would engage with the other kids. This went on for about a month or so. She eventually stopped and enjoyed herself. We moved just after she turned 3 and she never went back to pre-school. She started kindergarten on time and was excited, couldn't wait to ride the bus, enjoyed being with the other kids from day one and never had a problem.

My 5 year old son will start kindergarten in the fall. He started pre-school in October and jumped right in and loved it from the get go.

Both of my kids are somewhat shy and still managed to make friends on the first day of school. My son was at a fellow classmates birthday party 3 weeks after school started. He can not wait to go to kindergarten with the big kids.

If you do choose to hold your daughter back, check into the local high school. My son's pre-school program is part of the high school curriculum (Child Developement Class for the students) it is supervised by a teacher but the kids are taught by the high school students and it is free. He goes 3 days a week. From what I understand most high school's run a similar program, the kids go for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours a few days a week. The classes are small (average about 12 kids) and I think it may be less intimidating for the kids because they become friendly with the teenagers as well and not a teacher who seems more like an authority figure. My son has learned to write his name, most of his letters, he learns about many different things as well...recycling, plants, planets, animals, holidays, etc, they even have a graduation set for the first week in June.

Make the choice that you think is best for your daughter... I guess you could always look into starting her in kindergarten and if things don't seem to be working out pull her out and move her into a pre-school program. Our high school program doesn't even start taking registrations for pre-school until August but the kindergarten registration is just about over... they are doing orientation in mid-May for both the parents and the kids. The kids get to meet the teacher and classmates and even get to ride the bus around the school. The parents meet in a separate classroom and get the run down on how things will work.

Best of luck with your decision,
K.

hi, the only thing i can think of is trying those mommy and me classes, or something like that...here's 2 links that may be interesting. i haven't done much research, but i know that it's groups that you go with your child, and your child can interact with OTHER children (i'm sure it will help that you are there with her!) and if you do something like that, and you STILL feel that she's not ready, then wait that extra year. but i'm sure there's plenty you can do b4 the school year starts to help her get ready to be around other children. GOOD LUCK!
http://playgroup.meetup.com/cities/us/nj/north_brunswick/...

http://promo.kindermusik.com/enroll_child1.cfm?Utm_Source...

Hi E.,
Being your daughter is shy I would have started her in pre school, but that is water under the bridge. Dont hold her back a year. See if any of the preschools in your area have a summer program. That might help out with the shyness and give your daughter a chance to play with kids her own age.
I have a 4 1/2 year old who has been in preschool since 2 1/2 and it helped him

My daughter is finishing up kindergarten and there are a lot of children that were not in pre school before. ITs not that big a deal. Try to get her to start socializing but don't hold her back unless you really don't think she is ready intellectually.

Jenn Smith
http://jennsmith.stayinhomeandlovinit.com

Hi E.!
I wouldn't wait a year, b/c in NY pre-k is not mandatory and neither is kindergarten. If you do hold her back a year, the following year the school will look at her birthdate and automatically enter her into first grade. Why dont you look into some separation classes now or maybe a few days a week in the summer at a camp to get her used to separating and socializing?
Hope this helps,

E.,

Most kindergartens will do a visit and assessment at the school and they will tell you whether they feel your daughter is ready to start. Don't let anyone push you into starting her just because she might be of age. It can be an ugly experience if she isnt ready. If you have until next fall you could get her into a play group or part time day care over the summer so she gets the interaction. Some kids are shy but more than ready to actually start school, only you and the school can tell. Keeping her back a year if you really feel she isnt ready is a good thing, your daughter won't know the difference at this age and I would rather have my child mature and confident so it is a positive experience. Follow your gut instincts and consult with the school. Good luck,

L.

Hey E., my name is J., and before I had my son (who's now 27 months), I was a kindergarten teacher.
When will she be 5? I ask because if she's on the younger side, then yes, hold her back. I've always thought that holding a child back before kindergarten can NEVER hurt!
On the other hand, you do have the summer to begin socializing her. Bring her to classes, playgroups, anything that will have a lot of children she can interact with.
Hope this helps some!
Good luck

hi E.,i think you are less ready then your daughter.i started my first 3 kids at the age of 3 and it was hard for me to let go too,but at the end they benefited from it all.my daughter J. was shy and starting early really helped break her out of her shell;not to mention academicly it advanced her.so many kids are starting early that by the time they reach kindergarden they come in already knowing what is expected of them.don't hold her back another year you'll regret it in the long run i think she is more ready for kindergarden then what you think,never underestimate the ability of your own child.

Hi E..

I just wanted to say that you made a really good decision. You know your daughter better than anyone else.
And for what it's worth, I was an October child, and my parents had to determine whether or not i was ready. They struggled with this decision too, it as I was a very shy/timid child. They ultimately decided to put me in Kindergarten.. I was four turning five in October. Many of my classmates were 6 years old (talk about intimidating). I then ended up being placed in a transitional 1st grade class as I still was considered too young and NOT ready. I suppose my parents felt that since I had been in preschool type settings at age 3 a few days a week that I would be ready- NOT SO. I didn't have the socialization needed to cope with the other kids. Eventually this clicked for me ... but just not SO early! And as a Special Educator (on hiatus) I understand that all children develop both intellectually and emotionally at different stages...

So- good decision for you and for your daughter :)

And, FWIW, I think some parents have to tell themselves that it is perfectly acceptable to force a child to begin kindergarten before their truly ready (my parents included)... it is called GUILT... as so many parents have different reasons for placing their kids in preschool/Kindergarten before their ready.

Just wanted to say I am glad that you are at peace with your decision.

K.

Now is the time to get her involved in things with other kids. Look into your local area and find out what programs your library offers. Take her to the park, swimming lessons, toddler gymnastics. Anything. My son is not in daycare or pre-school either, my mother has him while my husband and I work. And I had the same concerns you do. I didn't want him to go off to school not knowing how to interact with kids his own age. There is a library group that he attends 2 days a week, he just finished a tumble bunnies group, he has a play group at a local elementry school on thurs and fri is swimming lessons. We keep him busy and he has learned to play with other kids his own age very well. Look into your local resources. Most of the stuff my son attends are free, except swimming and tumble bunnies. He will also start a pre-school type group in the fall for 3 yr olds, again free. You still have several months to get her prepped.

Hi E.! As a parent and educator I would like to advise you to enroll your daughhter in a summer camp for 2/3 days a week. It will be hard but summer camps are fun and engaging. This way she will learn to interact and the transition in Sept would not be so bad.
Good Luck!

Maybe you could start socializing her by attending kid gym classes or other activities in your community.

It is very important for her confidence in the long run to be able to handle a few hours without you, knowing that you will ALWAYS be back.

Don't keep it a secret. Let her know what's coming. And YOU be EXCITED about it. If you tell her "I know you're shy. I know you are intimidated by strangers" then she very well will be. Encourage her confidence by telling her how many friends she'll make, how much she'll learn and how big she'll become and how proud you will be of all of her accomplishments. If YOU are all apprehensive about it then she will be too! It's a normal part of life. It's not that BIG of deal to socialize unless you make it that way. It is important and necessary, not a risk, or a disaster or scary thing.

Maybe the school will let you and her sit through a couple of classes together so she can see what it's all about.

Or maybe you can try daycare for just 2 days a week for the summer. That can be the appetizer. You may be surprised...YOU may the only one really freaked out about the whole kindergarten thing - not her! She will definately flip the first couple of times but after that, she'll tell ya "See you later, Mommy!" The same thing happened with my son.

Now he talks about his friends and talks about all the cool things he's done and ate at school.

With lots of enthusiasm and love show her what an amazing world she has and prove to her she has a lot to offer. It is a huge change for the both of you. You've been at home with her for four years now, you will need something for you to occupy the time while she's learning and growing. Yes! Some time for you! It will be fun and totally healthy for the both of you. You CANNOT screw her up by giving her an education.

Good luck and have fun.

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