33 answers

Starting Kindergarten - September Birthday

My daughter's birthday is in September and she missed the cutoff for kindergarten in the fall by 2 weeks. I believe she'd do better as one of the youngest in her class rather than one of the oldest in her class. Has anybody had success getting an exception to the b-day policy to start a child early in the public school system? I'd love some ideas!!

Thanks,
A.

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I have made a call to the district to have her tested, and see if she is in line with the requirements for Kindergarten. I have a 7 year old, that was transfered from 2nd grade to 3rd grade this year, and I don't want to go through that again with the youngest one. I agree with you totally. let me know if you have any luck and I will keep you posted on what the district office, has to say about testing my daughter.

The only thing I can think of is either homeschool her or put her in private school. That's what I discoverd with my son's simular birthday dilema.

I have a friend in the exact situation that you are in, and she has had to home-school her daughter. Her daughter is very bright and she knew she would be bored in regular school. I have never heard of anyone getting an exception to the rule.

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My daughter's birthday is also in September and she missed the cutoff date as well. She is now 13. In our opinion, she was ready for school, so the year before (when she was technically just 4 at the start of the school year) we sent her to a state approved private Kindergarten (at a church). We had all intentions of then petitioning the school board to have her be allowed to go on to 1st grade rather than repeat kindergarten in the public school. The majority of her kindergarten class did this. There were about 6 of them with birthdays in September. We decided against it though because we felt that would draw undo attention to her and put unnecessary pressure on her. What if she couldn't stay caught up and hold her own like we thought? What if she wasn't the "genius" we thought she was? We live in a small rural area where had we petitioned the school board everyone would have known and it would almost have been as if they were waiting for her to fall behind or mess up. Or so we thought.
Now, she is one of the oldest in her class and has been blessed with the opportunity to have tons of friends in her grade and the grade above her. All but one of the 5 yr olds that went on to first grade have now over the years been held back either by the school or by their parents to where they are all now in the same grade (with the exception of 1). By being one of the oldest and more mature kids in her class, it has given her the opportunity to excel without as much effort. She is very active in Band (regular and Concert), Color Guard, Jr. Beta and 4 H. Every family is different, but not pushing her into the next grade level worked best for us. Hope this helps and shows you another side of possibilities.

I have made a call to the district to have her tested, and see if she is in line with the requirements for Kindergarten. I have a 7 year old, that was transfered from 2nd grade to 3rd grade this year, and I don't want to go through that again with the youngest one. I agree with you totally. let me know if you have any luck and I will keep you posted on what the district office, has to say about testing my daughter.

As a kindergarten teacher of 20+ years and the mother 4 children, I think I can respond.

Here is the teacher response...The cuts offs are there for a reason. You are never sorry for having the oldest student, the smartest student, or the most confident student in the class. However, every year (and I mean every single year) I have parents who express regret for having pushed their young child into school rather than holding them out an extra year. (By this I mean children who make the cut off by a month of two and parents could have easily held them, but sent them.) There is no "do-over." Beginnings happen once. My advice as a kindergarten teacher is let your child be the most confident one in the class and she/he will discover who she/he is a learner and a person during this important first year.

As a mother....my oldest daughter is 16. She is an October baby and I sent her to kindergarten on time...as a 4 year old. She was one of the youngest in the class and she continues to be. However, I have never been sorry for sending her. She was ready... academically, socially, and emotionally. She is quiet and shy but has always been an "A" student. My number two daughter is a September birthday. I held her out of of kindergarten and sent her in as a 5 year old who turned 6 in the first few weeks of school. She talked late and was extremely tiny for her age. Those things helped me in making my decision. I have never been sorry for holding her. She is still small (now 14) and is the smallest in her class, but on the inside, she is BIG! She is smart, cleaver, and quick. She is an A++ student and always at the top of everything. I have never been sorry for holding her. Number 3 boy was a summer baby - no decision there. But, my last child (now 7) was a December baby. He missed the cut off by days. I faced a difficult decision. Follow the cut off and keep him out or follow the district procedures and "challenge" the cut off date for my child. I chose to follow the cut off restrictions and allow my child to be the oldest in his class. I have never, ever been sorry. He was reading when I sent him to kindergarten. Now going into 2nd grade, he is doing multiplication and division. He is the star of his travel baseball team and the "mayor" of our town. He is a leader. Would he have been that way if we had pushed the district's policy and sent him to kindergarten as a 4 year old, signing him up for a lifetime of always being just a little behind? I don't know. Luckily, I don't have to question it. I know I did the right thing for each of my children.
The teacher in me tells you to know your child. You know him/her best. Do what you truly believe is in the best interest of your little one and not a boost to your own ego as a mother and you will make the right choice.

Hope that helps.

I was an exception way back in the early 80's. Instead of waiting one more year my family enrolled me when I was four. I have to say that I did have a hard time fitting in... not academically but socially. One of the things that still stands out to me was that I was unable to drive with my classmates and had to take the drivers-ed class a whole year after everyone I knew did. And I did feel left out in a lot because of my age. Being a full year younger meant that I graduated at the age of 17. Then I went off to college and had a very hard time fitting in there... I was still the baby, and they knew it! It's a challenge! Best wishes in what every you decide!

Hi, I think it largely depends on the District you are in, but most I've spoken with many people in various Districts after going through this and they have had the same experience. We had the same situation this past year! My oldest daughter turned 5 Sept 19th and she was held back only b/c she missed the cut-off by 18 days. I petitioned well in advance to have her tested and moved ahead because she was performing, according to her preschool teachers, way ahead of their program. However, our school District - Newberry County - would NOT hear of letting her attend 5-yr-old kindergarten. There supposedly are many benefits to them being the oldest in their class so i'm just going with it and trying to make the best of it. I wish you much success if you do try to move your daughter forward and I definitely understand where you're coming from!!

There's definitely no exception to the start date for public school, but I think in the long run you'll be glad she's the older one rather than the youngest. My oldest missed the cut-off by two weeks and was more than ready but now I am so happy that he is the oldest in the class. He is excelling academicaly and maturity wise, he is right where he needs to be. All of my boys have fall birthdays so I am happy that all will be the "older" ones. In fact my youngest will only miss the cut-off by 1 day!
I can also say that as a teacher, I can almost always tell which kids have those summer birthdays, largely due to their maturity level.

My daughter's birthday is Sept. 21st., so she missed the cutoff by 21 days. I did have her tested and accepted into Kindergarten early only to find that a majority of her classmates were almost a year older than her. We have always thought she was very mature for her age and she did have a difficult time.
For the first 3 weeks she cried off and on at school, even after 3 whole years of preschool with no issues. Here it is the end of the year now and her teachers say she has done excellent.
I regret my decision to send her early and feel really bad that I made her miss out on a whole year of fun and goofing around.
We decided to hold her back from 1st grade and have her re-do Kindergarten since we now live in PA where there are no exceptions to the cutoff date. She told me she hates being the youngest and I have caught her lying about her age already since all of her peers are now 6 except her.
Stick with the cutoff's people is my advice. Let them be little longer. After all, they do have advanced reading groups and math groups. Most likely always filled with the older children.

Hi A.,
My daughter missed the cut-off by 3 days! I was wanting to push her thru early too, but was thankfully talked out of it by some teacher friends. She is one of the oldest in her class, but that has given her confidence and leadership that I don't believe she would have had if she felt she was always trying to play "catch-up" with the older girls. Plus she gets to help the teacher with the ones who are struggling a bit. I've seen girls in her class whose birthdays are in July and August and the difference between them and my daughter is huge. They seem more timid and have more trouble with keeping up physically and mentally.

Besides, think about when she's a teenager and the older kids are getting their driver's licenses, dating, etc. The pressure will be on your daughter even earlier to want those things.

I say - what's the rush? Just my opinion.
Good luck with whatever you choose!
M.

I inquired about making exceptions (my son is a December birthday) and was told they don't make any exceptions. Now, I didn't push too hard because I didn't agree with my husband that he should go early... but that is what I was told!

I think it will be much better for her in the long run to be older than her peers. She can learn so much from you just helping her here and there from home and then she will always be ahead and "top of the class" rather than struggling to keep up. I have seen as a former elementary teachers, that many times the "young ones" are the ones who just barely make it through the year keeping up....so give her the advantage and let her start the next year. It will only help. And, she won't be the only one! Lots of babies are born in September and October! My daughter is one of those!

My daughter was also at the cut off age by 2 weeks. But 2 weeks UNDER instead of OVER. She was the youngest one in her class. Her bday is Aug. 13. She was behind everyone else, the teacher had concerns which in this case turned out to be learning problems instead of 'oh she'll just catch up'.

At the time she went to K I didn't know the law was that K wasnt' legally required. If I had known, I don't know what my choice would be.

Does your school have 'pre school'? Any child can go at ages 4 and 5, but still check with your school on the ages for preschool.

I have a friend in the exact situation that you are in, and she has had to home-school her daughter. Her daughter is very bright and she knew she would be bored in regular school. I have never heard of anyone getting an exception to the rule.

Please don't start her early. She will do much better being one of the oldest than one of the youngest. It's not only book smarts it's the maturity of the child that matters at that age. I help in my son's Kindergarten class and can pick out the children who are the young ones in a heart beat. They are the children who can't sit still, who have trouble paying attention for the whole day, the ones who can't follow directions, etc. I sent my 5th grader who has a June birthday to school on time. She is now one of the youngest and in the gifted program but her maturity is still well below the other children in her class. If I had the chance I would of held her back.

Don't count on it. I tried with my oldest, his birthday being Sept. 28th, because he already knew how to write his name, abc's, numbers up to 10, etc.. I asked about getting him tested so he could go straight to Kindergarten and they wouldn't hear of it. My middle son missed the cut off (Sept. 4) but I have learned from talking to many teachers and parents that they do not suffer. My oldest is now in first grade and it has proved itself true. Although he might have been advanced for pre-K, he's right on the mark now and has been the whole time really. I guess it boils down to the fact that they made a cut off date and they can't make exceptions. It would just open up a whole can of worms that we as tax-payers don't have the money to invest the time in.
"They have to be five before Sept. 1st to start Kindergarten."
That's the quote I got when I tried.

My daughter is now in college, but was always the youngest in her class throughout school. I think it was sometimes very hard for her socially more than academically. Personally, if I had it to do over, I would have held her back that first year.

The cut off is for a very good reason. it's not so much academics although it helps. It's middle school and high school when she is faced with serious social decisions and peer pressure that you want her to be mature and that extra year really helps. I have two kids one a November one a July birthday I wish I held the July one back a year to have the advantages of the November one who I had to hold back a year. Hope this helps

A.,

And here lies another problem with the school system. Kids enter school based on age and not knowledge yet to graduate from High School it's based on knowledge and not age. I don't know about you but somethings a little strange about this. They wonder why kids get bored in school. I going to take parents like us to change things. I remember growing up and there was an A, B, C and D group. Call me old fashion but all kids learn at a different pace and the school systems need to recognize this and challenge the kids that excel. Their learning ability should not be stifled because another child is not on the same learning curve. My 2 year old, soon to be 3, knows all of her ABC's an is now learning to read which is more than most kids going into PreK or Kindergarden so where do we place kids like this? Montessori, something the parents have to pay for because the school system is not adequate.

You could find a private program. ABEKA is usually a good start or Montessori to start the child in before the transition to public school. Most Public Schools accept the private school's assessment of the child's abilities and does not elect to hold the child back because of a birthday.

DO NOT PUSH HER. SHE WILL SUFFER TREMENDOUSLY. POSITIVE SELF ESTEEM AND IDENTITY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT TO CHILDREN IN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL. WHEN PUBERTY HITS SHE WILL NOT DO WELL. GIVE HER THE ADVANTAGE THAT SHE DESERVES. SHE CAN BE IN THE "GIFTED PROGRAM IF SHE EXCELS ACADEMICALLY. SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE IT WILL CATCH UP TO HER AND YOU WILL BE CHALLENGED WITH HER PSYCHOLOGICALLY!!!!!!!! BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, DIDN'T WORK!tHE UNDERDOG DOES NOT WIN.

I don't believe they will make any exceptions. My daughter missed the cutoff by 9 days and did Pre-k at 5 years old. She is now in kindergarten and is doing fine. My advice is don't push it or her. She will be fine.
K.

Ditto you'll be happier if you wait she can always skip a grade later and go on to Harvard but if you let her go following her age she'll be honor roll in school and Harvard maybe calling her to come. I waited for my son to go to Kindergarten his birthday was in time August 17 I waited to the following year so last year he went. I am not sad what so ever he's honor roll he is more mature to handle his social skills. I look forward to Harvard calling us one day!

my brother and sister-in-law did the opposite with my niece whose b-day is in August and she's one of the oldest in her class and now is an horor-roll student at 10 yrs old. I believe children do better later rather than sooner. it's a maturity issue not a "who's smarter tham whom".

good luck!

is your child highly intelligent? You may want to call principal of your home school and ask for an exception and have her do the pre kindergarten test. I have heard of this before but not really sure of anyone that has done it. But rules are meant to be broken. It is only 2 weeks.... geesh!! Girls are usually ready versus boys.

My son missed the cut off by 5 days and they did not make an exception. He does well being the older child. One teacher last year let him help another student read because he is at a higher level than the others in his class. That made him feel very helpful, because he gets bored if he gets finished before everyone else.

Being a mother with 2 September births and living in a state with a Sept 1 cutoff, I feel your pain. I'm originally from N.C. and the cut off there is Oct 14. Well I was surprise when, upon our return from Germany, we were stationed in Georgia and their cut off date to start school is Sept. 1. My oldest daughter's birthday is Sept 4 and my middle child's birthday is Sept 21. I did not believe that either one should have to wait a year to start school. I feel that the school system should test a child to see if they are ready to start school. After all they test to see if they are ready to get out of school (graduation). Well I could not find any loop holes in the system but I did find out that if they are enrolled in an accrediated(sp?) school for 30 days, then they can transfer to a school in Georgia and they have to accept them. We are originally from N.C. and since were in the process of moving to GA, I decided to enrolled my daughter in N.C. and stay there for 30 days so she could be enrolled and then I just transferred her to the school in GA. With my 2nd daughter who's birthday is Sept 21 (3 wks after the cutoff), I decided to enroll her in a private school (the cost was about the same as paying for daycare which is where she would have been). The draw back with that is that if they are in a private school they must be 6 by Sept 1 to start 1st grade so I had to keep her in private school for 2 years but I don't really regret it. Would she have been alright either way? May be. I think her maturity level would have been higher but she did benefit since it was a Christian private school.

My daughter will be 6 when she starts kindergarten. She too has a birthday that misses the cut-off by 3 weeks. What I would do is find out what other parents do in your area. In our are it is popular just to wait. It may not make a difference in kindergarten but when your daughter gets in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade sometimes it is harder to keep up with the older kids. My son has struggled because he is one of the youngest in his class. He struggles in the beginning of the year and towards the end he has caught up to where he should be in the beginning of the year.

The only thing I can think of is either homeschool her or put her in private school. That's what I discoverd with my son's simular birthday dilema.

Yes, put her in a daycare that goes to pre-k, and she will be ready when it's time to go to school. And, you do your part and take her to the library and introduce to Kindergarten workbooks.

S.

Hi A.,

I agree with these ladies also that I don't think the school system will make an exception. But no harm in asking!

As a November baby, I did fine and enjoyed being the youngest in the class. If they won't make an exception, you can always let her skip a grade in her early elementary years if shes doing well!

Regards,

M.

I have to agree with Kim, I don't see them making an exception. I am sure she will do fine.

I am the mom of 2 boys, ages 14 & 8. I find maturity to be just as beneficial to the child as intelligence. My oldest made-up his mind and has been on the honor roll since 7th grade (maturity) and has applied for admission at our local county charter high school (Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology [GSMST]}. My youngest has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD/Autism}, attends 2nd grade with his peers and is also an honor roll student. When he first started school he had to be persuaded to sit down, let alone do homework. As he has matured, he now knows he is responsible for the work.

Childhood is such a short part of life and I truly believe we need to allow our children to live it as children.

Giving our children the love, support,& confidence that they can reach for the stars and get one IF THEY TRULY WORK AT IT, is to me the biggest gift that parents can bestow upon a child.

Hi A.,
My daughter's birthday is August 10th. She started Pre-K one week before her 4th birthday and NO it was not the Best decision I ever made. Even the Director of the school over Pre-K told me that if he had only known she was 3 when school stared he would have advised against it. I had to withdraw her during the second 9 weeks and now she suffers from anxiety because she was not mentally or emotionally ready. It also took a big toll on me having to leave her crying everyday and then the school calling alot because she had cried until she made herself sick. The decision is yours, but I have decided to just wait until she is Kindergarten age and then she will not have to have that social anxiety.
Hope this helps alittle.
G.

This is just a coment. I'm in the same dilema. My daughter's Bday is on Sept 12th and I'd like her to start prek this year but I think we will need to wait a whole year. I was thinking also about the cost of having a kid at day care, it would be half of price if she goes to GA PREK. If somebody knows some about, please reply. THANKS!!!
A. R

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