J.T. asks from Bellingham, MA on October 29, 2009
Ready for Kindergarten? - Bellingham,MA
Our son will be 5 in May and I have always thought that when he turns 5, he should attend kindergarten. We are starting to wonder if he is really ready. Academically, he really isn't interested in learning his letters and numbers. Behaviorally, he can act more like a three year-old. He would be a gigantic kindergartener at age 6, but it might make sense to hold back a year. Any thoughts or suggestions to know if he is ready??? Our daughter is one of the youngest in her class but she was completely ready for school when she went. I don't compare the two because I know that boys are often delayed in development when compared to girls, however, she was so advanced compared to him at this age.
1 mom found this helpful
B.K. answers from Boston on October 31, 2009
I think all you can do is try kindergarten. If it really doesn't work, the teacher will let you know. He might get more interested in learning if he has someone other than "mom" teaching him, plus there is the possitive socialization at that age too. You can always pull him out and try later since Kindergarden isn't required.
M.B. answers from Boston on October 30, 2009
Is he in preschool or daycare? My son attended preschool because I had a hard time getting him to be interested in learning Letters and Numbers. I thought the same thing. There was no way he would be ready at 5 to go to preschool. But when I met with his preschool teacher and the director they both said no he is ready for Kindergarten. Another thing...if he is not in any preschool now, don't worry. the public school does a testing over the summer of all the kids and they will tell you if he is truly not ready.
L.S. answers from Boston on October 30, 2009
I have taught Kindergarten for twenty six years. There are definitely children who are not ready for school when they reach the chronological age for school entrance. You, as his mother, know him better than anyone and should trust your evaluation. You can start him and give him the first year of Kindergarten, keeping in mind that he may have to repeat Kindergarten the following year...it's a gift of time to allow him to mature, or enroll him in a year of preschool. Has he had preschool? Listen to the advice of the teachers there. If he is really behind developmentally, ask the school for an evaluation before registering him for Kindergarten,
1 mom found this helpful
K.P. answers from Springfield on October 30, 2009
I suggest enrolling him in a full day preschool. I think he will become interested to learn once in that environment. Also, the teachers will be able to evaluate his readiness.
R.D. answers from Boston on October 30, 2009
I think it's good that you are considering his readiness for school. There is almost a year before his school will start so he may mature some over this time. Is he in preschool now? What do the teachers say? Maybe he could be evaluated by your public school (I'm not sure for what-I'm not knowledgeable in this area). My son is 3 and his preschool teachers noticed that his speech isn't where the expected it to be and they are having the waltham public school evaluate him to see if he needs anything at this time.
Hope this was a little helpful :)
A.F. answers from Burlington on October 29, 2009
Although my daughter is only 2 and I don't have any personal experience with this, I have a LOT of frineds that are elementary school teacher and I have a lot of friends with school age children. ALL of them say to hold your child back if he isn't ready. Starting them too soon when they aren't ready is essentially setting them up for failure as their very first "impression" of school could be negative and overwhelming. What's the harm in keeping him home one more year? If you do, he will be ready and be able to start his education on the right foot. He'll struggle less (not just in kindergarten...forever) and he'll be more successful which will encourage his continuing to learn and grow. I know that it's a difficult decision. Good luck with whatever you choose.
W.D. answers from Boston on October 30, 2009
boys mature later than girls, even at this age.. if you have any reservations, then hold him back.. I sent my son to K at age 5 (his bday was the week before school started) because he needed speech therapy, but I held him back from 1st grade because academically he was fine, but maturity, not even close. And it doesn't make a huge difference now, it's when they go to middle school/high school where it will really affect them and kindergarten is basically your last chance to make that decision - it becomes a school issue after Kindergarten. being older is way better than being younger.. good luck
W.H. answers from Bangor on October 30, 2009
Hi J.. In Maine, our public schools do a screening at registration for Kindergarten (usually anytime March-May)in the Spring before the new year starts. They would possibly recommend a Pre-K if he appeared not ready, or offer you some suggestions for things to do with him during the summer. Are there any play groups or activities at the library that he could be involved in?(if that's something that's available near you) If you mention to him anything about going to school, is he sad, excited, scared, or indifferent?? Your 'mom sense' is kicking in; believe in it! It is quite a ways away, but if you try to do more table top activites with him over the next few months (coloring, cutting, board games that use pieces to manipulate, jigsaw puzzles), and he is struggling, you may want to wait a year for regular kindergarten and consider pre-K (if that is available in your area).
Hope this helps! Sorry if long or wordy :) W.
L.O. answers from Boston on October 30, 2009
It sounds to me that - because you are asking these questions - you already know in your heart he is not ready. And YOU would be the best judge. My oldest probably could have gone to kindergarten a year early if they'd let her, she was so ready. My youngest was ready academically, but not socially. She would have had a really hard time. So I held her out an extra year. It was the right decision on my part, although - as you say - she is a GIANT kid in her class (she's 90th percentile for her age anyway, so it doesn't help being a year older too). They have many years to be in school - and getting off to a good start is important. For some things, you will be grateful that he is the oldest kid in the class. Follow your heart. Good luck.
D.B. answers from Boston on October 30, 2009
You are a long way off from having to make the decision so you should be open to the development that will come this year. That said, I need to tell you that we did not send our son until age 6 - his birthday is in late June. Readiness has nothing to do with academics, in my mind - there are people who teach their kids their letters at age 2 and then scramble to find a private kindergarten to take a 4-1/2 year old. What's the rush?? If you are questioning his readiness, then I would say to hold him until he's 6 - unless something incredibly dramatic happens in the next 6 months. You cannot make a mistake by holding him a year, but if you start him and he turns out to not be ready, you will be faced with the issue of having him repeat a year while his friends move on.
Our son had gone to preschool for several years, so we put him in a pre-K program with a lunch option a few days a week. It was a perfect program and gave him a year to build skills and maturity. Our son was on the small size but I think that children's physical size is very deceiving anyway - you never know what will happen to them as the years pass and the other kids catch up.
Also, our son took a 3 hour nap well past the age of 4. There is no way he would have been able to handle a school day that went until 3 PM without another year of development.
Most towns have kindergarten screening by the teachers in the spring. This is for the purpose of assessing readiness. It's not the only tool you will use, but it's one of them. Another will be preschool recommendations to you. You could always have your child attend that screening, and then make a decision after speaking with the teacher. Your child doesn't have to know what he's going for - just say it's a quick play time and Mom will be there.