15 answers

Youngest in Class or Oldest in Class

My question is regarding the validity of being the oldest boy in the class and does it make a positve difference and/or is being the youngest a negative experience. The situation is that my child's birthday is right on the cusp of the cutoff date to move forward to first grade. This school in particular has a cutoff date in late May, which is earlier than most schools. I am being told by faculty that it would be better to be the oldest boy in the class instead of the youngest which is what he would be should he go forward. This is also a particularly older class. I am also being told by other parents that it would be a disservice since my child is interestred in reading and writing and the kindergarden in this school is entirely non academic, he is also very tall etc.
Has anyone been in this situation? Which is better to be oldest or youngest or does it matter?? In the big picture does it not matter or will my child be bored and lose the
love to learn?? Or will he move forward and not be emotionally supported being the youngest. Again I reiterate that if the Kindy taught some reading and writing I would have no problem...more practice etc. But its not and he's very bright and motivated. Any experience or advice would be great! Thank you

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Wow! What response! Thank you so much everyone. The overall consensus is that older is better for boys but to of course assess whether your child specifically would benefit. And mine might be ready academically but emotionally I think he would great benefit to wait and be the oldest and not always trying to catch up. He does cry easier than the rest and needs some time. I'll update further later....I have alot to think about. Thanks again! What a great site.

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Definately oldest!! I experienced both with my children and I am extremely pleased with holding back my youngest son so he would be one of the oldest in his class, especially boys. If the kindergarten does not offer some academics, work with him at home to help prepare him to be an older class mate. Good luck!

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Definately oldest!! I experienced both with my children and I am extremely pleased with holding back my youngest son so he would be one of the oldest in his class, especially boys. If the kindergarten does not offer some academics, work with him at home to help prepare him to be an older class mate. Good luck!

As the oldest or at least one of them, I would go for the youngest. However, as a mom of 4 and a grandma of 5, I have a few questions. Emotionally, is his mature? Is he confident in new situation? If so, then I would definately vote for youngest. Is he a first child or a middle? First is another vote for youngest.

What I think you really need to think about is when he is in high school. If he is bright like you say will he be bore and unhappy because he still has another year to go, when boys his age are graduating? It is a hard decission to make. I think that kids have a harder time if they are bord, insecure or having a hard time learning. If you don't think he will be insecure or have a hard time learning, then go for it.

it seems like boys tend to mature slower than girls, so i think it may be in your son's interest to wait another year. my niece was on the cusp, too. my sister had her tested and academically, she tested well. however, the faculty did mention that it may be in her best interest to wait a year because of her maturity level. they did that and my niece is doing well in school (now in the 3rd grade). my parents started me in school young and looking back my mom wishes that she held me back a year. academically, i did well, but i did struggle with social issues. i was always the youngest in the class and at times did feel like i part of the group. however, if you feel that your son is mature enough to start school, then by all means go for it. also, if the kindergarten your son will be going to isn't academic and that's important to you...why not look at other schools?

I was the youngest in my class. My birthday is in Oct. so I was 4 when I started kindergarten and 17 for the first two months of college. It was just fine for me emotionally and great academically. I was always in honors classes and bored stiff in the non honors classes, I cannot imagine how excruciating my life would have been had my parents waited another year. As long as he is emotionally ok I would send him early. I didn't miss out on anything and since he will still be a similar age to children at other schools so it won't affect him too much.

My son is 7 and the tallest boy in the entire 1st grade and also was last year in K. He has a September birthday so 100% without a doubt I knew I would give him the bonus year before starting K. I did the same for my daughter who is now 9 and it has been the best decision ever!! Both of my children are taking on the role of "leaders" instead of "followers". Infact, my son's teacher says all the other boys definitely look up to AJ as the one to go to for all their decisions! My opinion is that there is ALWAYS time for academics! They have 13 years of it! Obviously you have more to consider than me since you've already taken the leap and started him in school. I think that if you are worried about him being bored you can always suplement him at home and that is going to provide an awesome opportunity for him to get a jumpstart on a lifelong of schooling. He will probably never struggle if you hold him back. It is so rewarding to see how happy both my children are being the oldest and their self confidence is awesome. Good Luck!

The short answer without personally knowing your son is...hold him back.

Couple of questions though...is he your oldest child?

In our area..this is very common. My son is a January b-day and he seemed to be right in the middle..he was ready academically and socially. I thought that the parents who held their sons back were babying their boys and it did not make sense to me.

Now my son is in the 7th grade..he JUST turned 13...many of the guys in his class turned 13 last summer and there are some kids who just had their 12th birthdays...

This span in age is gigantic! Some guys are shaving already...their hormones are going crazy...and the same with the girls.

If you wait to enter your son...he will have the additional maturity to deal with all of this other stuff that, if they are stressed out about...will definitely affect their academics.

My husband skipped a whole grade and was the only one not driving when all of the others were...but he was academically brilliant and his father was a pe teacher so he played a lot of sports well.

There are many ways to challenge your son outside of school...maybe a year out and go to Montessori?

I recommend HIGHLY the following books:

"Bringing our boys thru the second decade", Kathleen Fischer


"A fine young man" by Michael Gurian

I think that it would be helpful to take a look ahead and see what issues you will be facing.

If your husband is a very strong male and your son spends a lot of time with family and greandparents and is otherwise very well rounded...it may be okay.

What is the school advising?

C. in California

My daughter is now 11. She missed the cut off by 4 days. She was reading and writing in pre-school and I wanted to start her early so that she was one of the oldest. I decided not to fight it as I spoke to many, many other parents about the situation. I was more concerned about her trying to keep up with the older kids in middle school and high school and not being able to say no in a bad situation. I think that being older, she will have more of an advantage to not bend to peer pressure.

My daughter is in the Gate program and she reads at a 9th grade level. She is the 5th grade. I don't think that anything will hold back their love of reading and learning - especially with you there to encourage them. You can be involved in their schooling and ask the school to put him in a class that will challange him.

Good luck!

I also have a son in Kindergarten with a birthday close to the cutoff, which for us is December. I wonder, is your son in private school? I think there is benefit to boys being older- more confidence, ability in sports in later years, more self-assurance and willingness to stand up to peer pressure, but it depends a lot on the kid. If it were me, I would try to cover some of the academic bases at home, and probably let him be older. I think sometimes teachers see things in interaction among kids that help them to have a better perspective. That said, I also wonder if you do have him in private, if you have considered public school, where he could move up to 1st and not be the youngest, as the cutoff is so much later. Then he would get more intellectual stim., but be more towards the middle of the birthdays for the year. hope that helps,

Being the oldest in the class has many benefits including maturity, getting your driver's license first, being older when you go to college, etc. You need to find out why the Kindergarten at the school is non-academic. They could really be following developmentally-appropriate practices. Public school K does not. It is so academic as to be absurd. They may approach it differently. If the cut-off though is May, then he would be in the middle of a public school class, not the oldest or youngest, so consider that. You may love his school but it may or may not be a fit for him and his needs. Look around and see what your options are. Good luck!

Schools! They look at a childs birtdate or height and deceide if they will move forward or not. Crazy! We were faced with the same situation last year with my daughter. Our cutoff is December 2. My daughters birthday is the end of September. they called us over the summer and wanted her to do a DK program which is basically another year of pre K. we refused. sink or swim in my opinion. turns out she is the youngest in her class by as much as 1 year. That is a huge difference. Most schools now are giving the first grade cirruculum to kindergarteners. seems a bit rushed in my opinion. Of course she cannot compete this year with kids 1 year older than her. It is just ridiculous. She being the spirited child she is has made great strides to catch up with the other kids. Unfortunately in our case she needs to be reading and more mature to be in first grade. She can sound out her letters and read a few words but not enough. these kids will turn 7 before she hits 6. We will probably retain her another year just so she can be on an equal playing field. May is so early for a cutoff date. Is this a private school? Have you looked into alternative schools? If he is doing what the others are doing and they are basing this on age i would say push ahead. If he is lacking academics and will be frustrated in a class of first graders then hold him back. It is a hard decision. i wish our kids could just be 5 and play but the schools have a different agenda.

good luck!

My daughter was the oldest in the class and big for her age.
At the time, there was considerable pressure to let the students be as mature as possible(easier for the educators). I was skeptical - but, followed their advice. My daughter has always been extremely bright, good grades, etc.. Then, she turned 18 in the beginning of her senior year. She decided she was all grown up, checked herself out of an excellent high school (she had a good GPA, too!) and signed up for an "alternative high school" where she could work part-time, live on her own, and go to school. We had five months of pain. She has since moved back home and is getting it together. I was concerned about this outcome even in
kindergarten (and I was right). I am a Professor and
education is very, very important to my family. I would
NEVER do it again. My other child has a better birthdate
and the question does not come up. Good luck! Jules

I had a similiar situation with my daughter,(and girls generally mature faster than boys), and chose the older in the class. It has worked out really well for her. There are many advantages to being one of the older ones. I would recommend you not be worried about your son getting academics in kindergarten. There is much research to support that developemental learning is much better for young children. Let your little one enjoy being a young child, it really does go by very quickly, and rest assured he will get all the academics he needs when he is developmentally ready for it. Let him play and learn in an appropriate way for his age while he's little, he will less likely burn out on school if he gets the academics when he is older. This is the time for him to play(which is child's work at this age), and develope his imagination, which is very important and will benefit him the rest of his life. Good Luck!

This is your choice your child! Go with your gut!! My oldest daughter who is 11 is the oldest in her class. My other daughter is the youngest in her class belive it or not my she is kicking butt in her class. I am bothered because my son id after the cut off and he is so ready. He is ahead of where the girls were at his age. I would put him in and if he isn't ready to move forward the next time keep him back. Every child is different. Good Luck!

I was always the oldest in my class. it was no harm to me and I always enjoyed it, I was a bit more mature and ahead than everyone else. with a boy could be different. boys tend to mature slower than girls, so it might be in his best interest to wait and be the oldest, for maturity reasons? thats my odd thought.

I have 3 children, 10, 8 & 6. My oldest is a girl then two boys. My youngest boy's b-day is Late Nov. and the cutoff is Dec. 5th. He also is quite tall for his age and looks older than most of the kids. I definately kept him from starting earlier for many reasons. Some personal and some social. Being the youngest in the family and a boy, he emotionally was going to be a challenge. He is a smart boy and has no problems with school however, it is their emotional stability I worry about more. The teachers can always challenge them seperatley from the other children, and at this age, frankly, so can you. You can't force emotional growth and most kids, even if they are "smart" are all about even by 3rd grade, unless you have a little Einstein on your hands.
My daughter is one of the youngest in her class but she is the first born and was emotionally ready and a girl. If I had held her back it would have been harder on her than putting her through, she is still one of the tallest in her class while being the youngest.
I would put more weight on his emotional abilities than his IQ or willingness to read.

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