August 01, 2010,
S.B. asks from Keller, TX on June 10, 2009
Testing to Start Kindergarten Early????
We want my son to be enrolled in Pre-K before he starts kindergarten. His birthday is in November...just past the dreaded cut off date. If possible we would like him to start early, right before he turns five. (Yes we know the pros and cons, we have researched it and my husband and I both started school early ourselves....). I have been told that there is a placement test that students can take to see if they are academically ready for kindergarten. Supposedly if they pass this test they can be placed into Kindergarten in public school. This was one of the "my friend told me" stories that was passed along to me. I have been unable to find any credible information about this...so I am beginning to think it's an urban legend. Has anyone had any experience with this? I have also been told that I can enroll him early in a private school and then transfer him to public school once he is in first grade as long as he attends an accredited school, but once again, I can't find any information to substantiate this claim either. It would be nice if there was a legitimate way to enroll him early. We know it is not the end of the world if he has to wait and we can definitely see some benefits of starting a little later so this post isn't a debate about whether or not he will be successful later if he starts kindergarten early, we just want to know if that is even a possibility here in Texas? Thanks!
L.P. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
We are currently living in London where they start school a year ealier. So my son started K when he was 4.5 yo, he is now almost 6.5 yo and finishing 1st grade. However, when we move to Plano ISD this summer he will be put back in 1st grade there due to his January b-day. We debated skipping a grade and moving him to 2nd grade when he starts in September.
We did call around to a couple of private schools to ask if they would test him to see which grade he should be in, with the thinking that we could manage paying the fees for one year then move him to public school the following year. Both schools I called said they had to follow the Texas rules for b-day and he needed to be 7 to start 2nd grade. One school said they could test him but they very rarely ever moved kids up to skip a grade.
So, now PISD has told us we can ask at the start of the school year about PACE (their gifted program) to get him enrolled in that. If we still want to have him tested for 2nd grade they will do an assessment and see where he falls academically.
Since we have a son we are thinking more about keeping in his age group, for maturity reasons and also for sports when he gets older. Plus, I would prefer he be the smartest kid in class than to be struggling emotionally and with his school work b/c he is younger.
I do still worry he will be very bored though.
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R.R. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
The larger private schools will not even consider an early kindergarten birthday. As a matter of fact, their birthday cutoff is earlier than public schools. I work at one of the major ones in Fort Worth, in the admissions office. Since you already have your mind made up about the pros and cons, I won't go into it with you. I will just say that in my ten years experience in kindergarten admissions, not one parent has ever expressed regret about holding a child back, but many have expressed regret about starting them before they are mature enough, or socially ready.
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L.C. answers from New York on June 22, 2010
I am from England and many English children I know (who started school at four) test at least a grade ahead of the American children when they start schoolhere. (please be assured that this is an observation to think seriously about and not in any way meant as an insult or a put down) They VERY reluctantly skip them a grade when they get here. What I don't understand (please someone explain to me) is why many parents worry about weather their children are in the ' right sports' and worry little about weather their kids are getting the right stimulation in the classroom according to their intelligence level. Many intelligent children stand out and don't fit in anyway because their vocabulary or way of thinking is so different from their peers. This can also be true of children who are behind, eventually the other kids realize they have been 'held back' Please bear in mind, that whilst you do want your child to be happy and have a social life, that this is school. It is NOT a social club, they are there to learn, friendships and sports are a bonus, the icing on the cake. How many of your Kindergarten friends do you see on a regular basis? Who cares who is the first to drive? It's a good lesson for kids to learn that they are not always going to be first at everything. Where is the glory in your child being the "best in the class" if they are a whole year older. Wouldn't you prefere that they are doing well in a class more suited to their needs? How then can you justify holding your child back to 'fit in' When we make this decision if we are 100% honest with ourselves and do what's truly best for our kids then whatever decision we make will be a good one for our kids. Why are parents so obsessed with holding kids back? You don't see this in many countries across the world. Most parents do it with very good intentions, and if your child is EXTREMELY behind then that's a different matter,but I have heard such hideous comments as, "Oh you want them to be first to raise their hand, first to get the ball first to drive etc" You have met these parents they can't stand that their child is not first or the best at everything. This creates two problems. 1) The fours about to turn 5 and the 5 yr olds and the much taller six year olds and sometimes older are all in the same class the teacher has to cater to all their needs and the younger children (who are of average intelligence) think there is something wrong with them because they can't keep up with the 6 yr olds sometimes almost 7 year olds olds. Kindergarten that was supposed to be an easy transition into school has now become stressfull and competitive because the school has to meet the needs of the older kids.
2) Kids when they hit the real world realize that they can't always be first or the best at everything.
In England the cut off date is the end of August which makes more sense, then no -one in the class can be more than a year older than you !
As you face these dilemas, examine your motives and then do what's best for your child. American parents are very enthusiastc about letting their kids start sports early (which can sometimes be dangerous) So why not school if they are ready. Goodluck everyone, love your kids, and encourage them to do their best and they will do well, and be who they are destined to be:0)
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T.L. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
The cutoff for starting early in private school is usually December 1st. My oldest had a November birthday and started school early .... he was in PreK at 3 and started Kindergarten at 4. Once he was in 1st grade we put him in public school.
Also, this worked out great until he was in 4th grade and his maturity level kept him from advancing properly. Eventually, he was held back in the 6th grade. Now, in his correct grade, he is excelling academically and socially.
R.B. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
As an educator, I am unaware of any test that allows children to start kindergarten earlier than the cut off date.
Not sure if the private school idea will work either. It may at an older age, but I am almost sure the schools will stick to the Sept. 1st cut off date no matter what for kindergarten.
If they started making exceptions, it would get too crazy.
K.N. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
We live in Frisco and the policy there is that you can enroll early in kindergarten, IF the student can pass the third grade TAKS test. This is direct from FISD. And our pre-k is only for the economically and socially disadvantaged. Contact your ISD directly as the rules are always chagning.
K.A. answers from Dallas on June 11, 2009
A preschool friend of my daughter's has an October birthday. Her mother enrolled her in a private kindergarten this past year even though she was still 4.
This website states the following:
A student younger than 5 may be admitted to kindergarten if the student performs satisfactorily on the assessment given to 3rd grade students and if the district has adopted a policy for admitting students younger than 5 years of age (TX EDUC § 42.003).
The best thing to do would be to contact your local school district. From this statute it sounds like it can be done if the district allows it.
J.D. answers from Dallas on June 10, 2009
I don't know why you have decided to enroll him early, but I am going to put my 2 cents worth in. I am a September baby and I did start kindergarten at age 4. I was valedictorian of my class, but I was never mature enough to socially keep up with the other students in my grade. I wish my mother had opted to wait another year. It's so much better to be older in a group of kids than to be the youngest.