Can You Enroll a 5 Y/o Straight into 1St Grade Without Kindergarten Experience?

Updated on October 27, 2018
T.R. asks from Marietta, GA
25 answers

My 4 year old turns 5 in November and because of the Sep. 1 rule she can’t enrol into kindergarten. I don’t want to wait and have her be 6 and in kindergarten. I want to know if she can enroll into first grade even if she has never been to kindergarten

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T.H.

answers from Dallas on

Why don't you want to wait exactly? Both my kids have birthdays in September and they did just fine as 6 year olds in K. In fact, I much prefer to have them on the older side than the younger side for lots of reasons. There are lots of kids in their classes that have birthdays in Sept/Oct/Nov. I think you're overthinking this.

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R.J.

answers from Tampa on

I personally would not do that.
My youngest son is the oldest in his class as his birthday is mid September. He's doing fine. Kindergarten is a great beginning to learn how to be a student, and good classmate. There's nothing wrong with being one of the oldest.
I think skipping Kg, if you even can, would be a disservice to her.
Is she in preschool? If not, I'd start there

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Where I am, I have known people who did this by enrolling their kids in a private school Kindergarten class, which has less stringent age cutoffs. Then, the next year, they can enroll directly into 1st grade regardless of age because the child already completed an accredited Kindergarten program.

(I would not endorse this, but I have seen it done.)

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

When I went to school there was a December 31st cut off so I was one of the youngest, smallest kids in my class. Every single year. I graduated high school at 17. I can't say it was good or bad for me but in the long run it might have been better if they had an earlier cut off and I was one of the older kids.

When my children went to school there was a December 31st cut off. My oldest 2 went to kindergarten and ended up going into readiness (basically full day kindergarten with a little extra learning) because they really weren't ready for 1st grade. If there had been the cut off I would have kept them home and they probably would have gone straight from k to 1st grade.

Don't push your kid forward because there's a lot of learning about how to get along with others in kindergarten.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I have no idea why you want to skirt the law and push your child into kindergarten. So many kids in my son's grade were 6 when they started kindergarten, and many more turned 6 in the fall, as your daughter would. In fact, my son could have started at age 5 (he's a June birthday) but we held him another year, putting him in a pre-K year of preschool with an extended day option for a few days a week so he got used to eating lunch there, transitioning from a morning pre-K session with one teacher to an afternoon play/learning program with a different teacher to help him get used to longer days and switching rooms. It worked out great. Maybe you could find a program like that.

I wish you had said what your reasons are. I hope it's not just because you think she's so advanced and already knows everything (letters, colors, shapes, whatever...). That's just not what the point of kindergarten is. But just so you know, most school systems have a few parents who want to bend the rules, their kids don't do well when boosted ahead, and then there's a conflict for years. Don't be that parent. Let your child be a child.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

In most school districts, that's a no. In mine, the only option is to enroll in private school for Kindergarten at age 4 (almost 5) and/or first grade at age 5 (almost 6) and then you can transfer into second grade in public school at age 6 (almost 7). Or homeschool for two years and enroll in second grade. Ask your school district what their policy is - some states and districts are more flexible.

FWIW, a lot of children turn 6 in Kindergarten. Not sure why you think that's a problem. Your child will be the norm. My oldest has a November birthday so she was 5 when school started and turned 6 that November. She never felt older than her peers, because she wasn't. With the number of summer kids who enroll a year late anyway, she was right in the middle of the class in terms of her age. I think you're making a problem where there isn't one.

Also.. the cutoff was 12/31 when I was a kid. My two sibling with November birthdays both enrolled at age 4. One was held back in Kindergarten. The other one got a ton of academic support in elementary school and in retrospect, should have been held back. He was always immature and struggled academically and could have used that extra year.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

My niece has an October birthday, and I remember thinking that she should not have to wait to start kindergarten. She seemed extremely bright and very social, and I just thought it would be so sad if she had to wait until she was almost 6 to begin kindergarten. My sister didn't have a problem with it, so it didn't really matter what I thought :-)

Turns out, the school was right. My niece did great in school, but she also had another year under her belt. She adapted very well to school and was socially mature. If she had started kindergarten when she was 4, almost 5, she probably would have struggled socially and emotionally, and she would have been one of the youngest, if not the youngest, kid in her class.

There really is something to be said for having your daughter wait until she is 5 to begin kindergarten. It's not just about being older as a kindergartner, it's also about not being the youngest when she hits middle school and junior high and the other student begin talking about boys and other "tween" topics. It's about not being the last one in her class to drive. It's about not always being 6 months to a year younger than all the other kids in her class and always feeling like everyone else gets the joke and she's just a baby. It's about being in the same grade as other kids her age.

If she starts kindergarten when she's 4, almost 5, or starts first grade when she's 5, almost 6, she will most likely always feel like she doesn't fit in. That' sjust not a fun place to be.

Let her go to school with kids her own age. There's no reason to push her. Let her be a kid a little longer and start kindergarten when she's 5, just like everyone else.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

It probably depends on the school system.
Some might allow it and some won't.

There's nothing wrong with being 6 in kindergarten.
Our son had to be 5 on or before Sept 30 to start kindergarten.
He has a late Oct birthday - so he was only 5 for a few months before he turned 6.
He was always the oldest/tallest in his class unless there were any earlier Oct birthdays.
That little extra maturity worked out very well for him.

Kindergarten is not just for learning letters/colors/numbers.
It's for learning to listen to the teacher, walk in a line when the class travels, raising your hand and waiting till the teacher calls on you before speaking - learning how to work in a group.

I turned 6 while I was in kindergarten - my sister started at 4 yrs old and turned 5 in kindergarten.
It really would have been better for her to wait a year.
She was always crying over everything and because she was on the young side she seemed to always be following along with what ever friends wanted her to do even if it wasn't such a good thing - she was a slave to peer pressure even up through high school.

You probably have your mind made up but I don't think jumping your daughter into 1st grade would be a good thing for her.

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

I think it depends on the district.

I also think that even if the district allows it, it’s going to put your child at a distinct disadvantage. Not only is she going to be over a year younger than the other first grade students, she is also going to not be familiar with the school routine and procedures. And the teachers are going to expect her to behave at the same level as her first grade peers. I always volunteer to help kindergartners get to their classrooms the first week of school. There is a huge difference in the confidence level of a first grade student.

Then there is the academic side of things. Kindergarten is no longer about playing and doing craft projects. Kindergartens are taught the basics of reading— usually about 100 sight words and phonics. They are taught math concepts like number bonds and 10 squares, and the methods that are used to teach them are expanded upon in future years. You may be able to teach her at home, but you need to know what rubrics are being used.

If you really want her to start first grade when she is 6, then I really encourage you to enroll her in a private kindergarten first. That way she won’t enter first grade at such a huge deficit.

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R..

answers from San Antonio on

I have a son with an October birthday and he was 6 almost right after he started kinder. But the extra time he got to be at home go to pre-school a few days a week and be more mature and ready to handle school was so worth it.

He was emotionally, socially, and academically ready to handle kinder which really is the first grade of our youth. Kinder isn't like it was 30 years ago when they leave for first grade they are expected to be effective readers, writers and doing addition and subtraction.

I don't know if you can enroll a 5 year old in first grade. Go ask your school.

But the extra year has been great for my child. I wish my daughter had gotten the same but with a spring birthday she started kinder at 5 and had to wait nine months to turn 6...it made a bit of a difference.

Good luck!

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Why?

You do know that K is also helping children learn rules, structure, social, etc.

I’ve been. In the classroom 18 years. We have a child in 3rd grade now because the parents were adamant and pushed it academically. Yes, he’s bright but he’s so immature socially... he’s often a distraction to others in the class and sits by himself at a desk by the teacher.

Children “even out” around 3rd grade.

The reasoning of your school district to have K is very crucial. Many parents think their kid is the next Einstein and on a rare occasion, one may be but it’s crucial to child development to follow the plan . It’s there for a reason.

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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

I am a November birthday and because of a move and different cut off dates, I was the youngest in my class for most of my life. I did fine socially and academically but being a little shy, I think an extra year would have done me a world of good. Your daughter will be a 16yr old senior hanging out with 17 and 18 yr olds. There is a HUGE difference between 16 & 18. (I have a 16 yr old now). I was 17 going off to college and this is where I really could have used an extra year of maturity and confidence. I was responsible, but very homesick. Take it from one Scorpio who has been there, to another little Scorpio. :) There is NO rush to get her out of the nest early!

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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

It is perfectly typical for for kids to turn 6 when they are in kindergarten. Your daughter is not going to be the oldest or the youngest. She will be completely normal with her age and birthday.

With a Sept 1 cutoff, the only kids who won't turn 6 during the school year are the 5 year olds with summer birthdays. (And some summer kids are intentionally not started in kindergarten until they are already 6.)

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

There will be plenty of other kids just like her in Kindergarten whose birthdays fall after the Sep 1 deadline. My daughter turned 5 in October so she had to wait another year for Kindergarten. She turned 6 a month after school started and you know what, there are always about 5 or so kids just like her in her class this year. It's not a big deal.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Call the school district and ask.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

You need to check with your district.
Though I'm not sure I really understand you wanting her to skip K. The age restrictions are there for a reason and it has very little to do with academics. Even if she's reading chapter books and doing complex math all of that stuff tends to even out by third grade. K is important for social, emotional and physical intelligence.
And why, why, WHY would you want her to be a full year younger than her peers? How will this benefit her going forward, when the mean girl stuff starts, when her classmates are developing way ahead of her sexually and socially, why would you even THINK of putting her in such a position?

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I don't fully get your question because I think you're focussing on the wrong thing (in my opinion). You can ask your state or local schools that question (or check with private schools, etc. to see if you have options). It would depend locally to see what's accepted.

I get what you are concerned about where you're near a cut off date though. This comes up a lot on this site.

I have children who are near the cut off date on either side - and the cut off dates have changed over the years.

So one of mine is one of the oldest of the class, and I have another who is one of the younger ones.

It also depends (I find) on maturity levels and somewhat on birth order. Some kids are also natural leaders and some are just followers. So there are factors here that come into play, as well as (of course) their learning ability and social skills.

The thing is, as others have mentioned, a lot of this evens out at around grade 3. All kids sort of come into kindergarten and kind of just sort of get through it and learn all these things - the basics, and a lot of it is social skills and how to sit, listen, get along, share, participate, etc. How to handle school - lining up, paying attention, get through the school day, etc.

So skipping it - I don't know. I personally would not. Not unless you had something else planned. Home schooling or something else at least. Home schooling is a whole other option that is just as (if not more) effective - but don't skip a year of education for your child. Maybe you've looked into options.

A LOT of children turn 6 in kindergarten. In our experience, most kids turn six in the spring (from Jan on through May) with the majority around March/April here. Maybe it's the climate :) However, that's when the invites come in to parties. So a lot of kids have birthdays then. But there certainly are some in November - my kids have friends then, and we have some winter birthdays in our family.

I agree you don't necessarily want her to be the youngest in her class. I was the youngest in mine and in the later years, it sucks being the last to be able to drive, drink, etc.

Just something to consider. Good luck :)

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M.6.

answers from New York on

If your child can meet the criteria for skipping a grade, then perhaps. Kindergarten isn't "optional" like preschool, and each school has its benchmarks for skipping a grade. There will likely be testing involved for IQ, academics, and social maturity.

I don't see why you would be so concerned about this - November birthdays are really common and your child will neither be the oldest or youngest in her class. Why you would start your child out in her school career at the disadvantage of missing an entire year of learning (much of it social and emotional)?

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C.D.

answers from Washington DC on

It's going to depend on the school district. Some will allow it and others won't. But the way you are wording your question doesn't make sense. I think I get what you're hinting at but well, words mean stuff. They way your worded your question, you are asking if she can attend first w/out ever having attended kindergarten. The short answer is probably yes if kindergarten is not mandatory in your state, which I don't bother to check if it is. They will allow her to enroll in 1st grade the year she is 6 turning 7. You can't just skip kindy and say I want her in 1st next year instead, which is how your question reads. They will enroll her in the grade she belongs in according to their age cutoff. So for your district based on your info that would be kindergarten next year.
My guess is you are asking if you can early enroll her in kindergarten this year which I'm guessing by you asking the question so late in the year, the district said no.
What is your reasoning for not wanting her to be 6 in kindergarten? Obviously, with this age cutoff by stats alone 3/4 of the kids will be turning 6 during the actual school year. She will be far from alone in being 6. My son had an October bday and in his class of 19 students, 16 turned 6 in kindergarten before December. My daughter on the other hand has a late may b-day and she's one of the youngest in the class. She hates it.
Kindergarten is very intense now and the cutoff makes a lot of sense. In my county you can't even petition if your bday misses the cutoff by more than 2 weeks (barring very extreme circumstances of course like kid really is a genius). So in my county the answer would be a hard no. Plus kindergarten is mandatory in my state. I personally think you learn a lot in kindy. I say this as a parent of a child who was reading at age 3 and reading Harry Potter in kindergarten and doing 2nd grade math in kindergarten as well. He was my October bday kid. And guess what, he wasn't even the top kid in his class. Don't get me wrong, he did well, but so much of kindergarten is learning life skills and interacting with other people. But since you didn't give a reason other than you don't want her to be 6 in kindergarten I don't know how to truly give helpful advice without assuming a ton. You didn't mention her academic level and most parents who think their kid is bright and that's why they should skip k would have mentioned it so I'm guessing it's not academics it really is you think 6 is too old to be in kindergarten. In which case please remember that she would be 16 in high school where the majority of her classmates would be 17 and 18.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

why not call your own local school district and ask them? aren't they more likely to be familiar with the laws of your particular area?

not sure what's wrong with being 6 and in kindergarten. it's not like she'd be the only one.

kindergarten WAS still optional when my kids went, and i was so happy there was a half day option. that's no longer the case here, and it's probably not where you live.

i hope you have some actual reasoning behind your desire to have her skip kindergarten, though. in some schools it's mini-school and very academic and hardnosed, but in many sensible school districts it still has a large play component and is fun.

unless you plan to homeschool i don't know why you'd want her to miss out on the experience.

khairete
S.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

Since the cut off date is September 1st she would only be 5 years old entering 1st grade. Although you may feel she is academically ready how will you feel when her friends start driving, dating etc. My daughter has an April birthday which I thought would be pretty average. Since so many parents hold back to have their child on the older side, she is actually one of the youngest. She’s in college now and will be the last of her inner circle to turn 21. She hates not being able to go out with her friends to clubs. (Btw...my daughter was extremely advanced. By third grade she tested between a 9.8 grade - 11.7 reading comprehension level. Of course her maturity level did not match her reading level). My advice is to keep your daughter with her same aged peers.

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B.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

You do not say why you want her to go to school a year early. It makes no sense to me.

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

There are already a lot of good answers here, but what our preschool director asked (of parents of kids who had the option of being the oldest kid in class vs. the youngest) was, "Would you rather have your child get an extra year of childhood, or a head start on adulthood?"

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B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I suppose it depends on whether kindergarten is mandated in your state.

Around here people skirt the rules by sending their kids to parochial school for kindergarten at an early age and then transfer them into the public school for first grade.

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N.C.

answers from San Diego on

Enroll your child in a private preschool with a kindergarten. Don’t miss a year of learning.

One school my kids attended offered transitional kindergarten for kids in this situation.

My daughter was the youngest in 1st grade. In California the teacher recommended she be held back for 2nd grade because at 6 in first grade some of her class were 8!!
It’s called “red shirting” it really messes up the class average. We moved to NY that summer and she tested at high levels and was placed in 2nd grade with no issues.

I am so glad she didn’t stay back a year.

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