Entering Kids into Kindergarten Early......

Updated on August 25, 2010
A.F. asks from Columbus, OH
29 answers

My son will be 4 the very beginning of Oct. Next year he will miss the cutoff to get into kindergarten by a month. I talked to the school the other day and asked about kids entering kindergarten early and they advised me to enroll him next year and he will go through a testing process and interview with a psychologist to see if he can do early enrollment.

Just some background on why we are set on entering him early. He already knows how to write all letters of the alphabet (in caps), he knows the sounds that all letters make, he can spell several words, he can sound out words to figure out how to spell them, he can count beyond 30, he can write most numbers, he is very articulate, I can go on and on. Our daughter was in kindergarten last year so I know what they learn and we're very confident he will do well. He would only be 4 years old for about a month of kindergarten. My mom is worried about him starting early b/c he will always hang out with older kids, I hung out with older kids and I didn't start school early so I'm not worried about that. He is very tall for his age so he won’t look like he’s the youngest of the bunch. We’re going to put him in preschool this year a couple days a week so he can be around other kids. I am a stay at home mom so he’s not with kids outside of family very often but does very well making friends at the park or other places we go. We don’t want to rush him growing up but we don’t want to keep him out of school two years, it would only be holding him back educationally. He has always been more advanced than kids his age (not meaning for that to sound like I’m bragging, it’s just the truth).

Are there any moms out there that have entered their kid(s) into kindergarten early? If so, What was the testing process like? Did your child do well in school not only in kindergarten but beyond? Please tell me your experience.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the opinions and experiences everyone shared. We will continue with our original plan to have him tested to go into Kindergarten next year. If we lived in a different school district in our city that has a later cutoff date, he would get in without being tested. He'll turn 5 one month after school starts, it's not like he'll be a year & half younger than other kids. As far as him being mentally ready and mature, he's very mature for his age. He gets bored when he plays with kids his age. He’s a very unique kid. You would just have to know him to understand the extent of it.
My thought is if my child was in school and they tested out of their grade and was recommended to move up a grade, I would not hold my child back. There's really no difference. Also, I think not allowing you kid to go to school cause you like going to the park with him/her or because you want them to be the oldest in hopes they’ll be the smartest in class if just not right. But that’s just my opinion and of course that is what this site is all about, getting other moms point of view. Thanks again Moms! :)

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answers from San Francisco on

In Calif. the cutoff date is Dec., I believe, so my November b-day daughter didn't have to be tested in order for me to enroll her early.

She just graduated high school, and has done just fine socially and academically. She's even in the second level of calculus in her first year of college!

It sounds like you son will be ready. Really, what difference does one month make?

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answers from Cleveland on

I might find that it is different if I were talking about one of my boys, but in my daughter's case, I pulled her out of school and we now use an online program and she is basically homeschooled, because at age 7 she is reading, writing and doing math at a third and even 4th grade level, depending on the subject matter. I refused to have her in a class with children that much older than she is. While it may not be an issue now what happens in junior high or high school? Just something to think about. Holding him back is NOT the answer but you need to know he's safe as well.

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answers from Chicago on

I am a teacher and also come from a long line of teachers in my family. I would not recommend worrying about studying for the test. IF he is ready, then the test will show it. My school offers a pre-k class for all the young fives that missed the cut-off date. If he does not pass the test, then I would recommend finding a preschool that offers an older group, so that your son isn’t in a room with kids almost half his age. They also factor in emotional development when testing to see if a child is ready for kindergarten. A child can be ready for kindergarten mentally, but still too immature to handle the stresses of full-time school. Curriculum has changed over the years for elementary grades. The school work is much more difficult and intense than in years past. You want your child to be ready for the stress of testing, and difficult curriculum. There are younger kids that are extremely bright, but would cry most of the day at school and have a difficult time socializing with the kids in their class. As a teacher and parent, I would want my child to be the oldest kid versus the youngest. I have seen what happens to some of the youngest kids in the class. I am not saying that all of the youngest in the class have trouble, but 75% of them usually do. Your son may be in the 25% category of younger classmates that flourish and do quite well. Can your son socialize with all ages? Is he outgoing? Does he do well in situations when he is dropped off somewhere without his parents or family members? How well does he handle a situation when he cannot figure out a solution? Does he get frustrated easily? These are also factors that you need to consider when putting your child in kindergarten. His maturity level is just as important.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I ditto what Bobbi & Allison said.

My son tested to enter Kindergarten this year and actually tested at a first grade level academically, socially & mentally. He is 4 and can read, write, do math, knows our States and all the facts about our solar system. He is also very imaginative, can tie his own shoes and gets along great with kids younger and older than him. HOWEVER, I've decided to wait until next Fall. I love having him at home going to parks, beach, nature walks, museums, aquariums, library or just sharing an ice cream together on our front porch. He will be in school most of his life. I want to enjoy having my son at home with me as long as I can! He will start school at age 5 (almost 6) but at least he will not be the youngest, but the same age as most the boys in his class.

As a parent I will continue to nurture his brain at home by challenging him academically.

My son does sports and takes summer camps so he is getting a lot of socialization outside of the house without me.

That just my 2 cents =-)

I’m sure whatever you decide will be the best decision for you son. You know him better than anyone!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

my daughter is 11 and missed school by only 4 days.. she is in all excellerated classes and i could have put her in early.. i'm glad i didn't.. they grow up to fast as it is. she is top of her class and one of the oldest.. i see kids that are 1 year younger struggle as they get older because of issues assoicated with acting younger, not growing as quick maturity level, falling behind, can't play sports with the kids in their class because sports goes by age not grade, ... it doesn't work as they get older... let him be top of the class next year.. my daughter was reading to her kindergarten class.. she read her first harry potter in 1st grade.. so she was tops.. but it was fine.. because she is with kids her own age.. she is not tutoring a lot of her friends in math.. it's all good.. i'm glad i didn't push her.. she did another year of pre-school and excelled .. was bored ... but when she got home we always gave her more to do and learn.. she loves learning.. good luck.. don't push him or her.. it's not worth it.. wait.. they are in school so long once they start.. give him another year to be a 4 year old..

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answers from Atlanta on

We struggled with the same dilemma. We asked anybody and everybody for advice, i.e. teachers, friends in similiar situations, school personal, etc. It's a huge decision to make for a child at such an early age. It will impact them for years. The simplest and most profound advice came from a friend with a boy who had the same struggles was.... your won't see it when he's in kdg or even in 3rd grade but as they get older you will see that the younger ones (boys in particular) will be followers. The older ones will be leaders. That did it for my husband & I. My son had 2 yrs of kdg - 1 @ his pre-school and 1 at his public school. He was, and is, a smart cookie. Our school addresses those kids who are gifted, even at the younger grades. I was not worried b/c I knew they would challenge him acedemically (and they did, with a lot of my input) but when he is the older kid in the kdg class and can follow 4-part directions he was the one that was chosen to run to the office for the teacher. He was given more responsibilty and he blossomed knowing it.

My son is now in middle school and in the gifted classes. He is also in school politics and a patrol leader in his boy scout troop. In retrospect, "holding him back" was the BEST decision for us and my son. Every child is different. Go with your gut feeling and in the future you will know that you did the very best for him. We have never regretted our choice.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I don't think he will have an issue with the school work, but is he mentally mature enough to go to school? Just because he can do all the school work you mentioned doesn't mean that he may be emotionally ready.......

So I would guess that the testing will be both school and emotions.....

Sounds like you have a done a great job with him.......take care....

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answers from Chicago on

They grow up so fast and once they're in school, that's your life -- it revolves around school. If you enjoy being with him and do interesting things with him, why the rush? It makes me sad that parents want to send their kids away so young. (I had a friend who was an early start and it was so hard for her. Although academically she did ok, she was the last one in the class to drive, etc. It's better to be the first than the last.)

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answers from Kalamazoo on

Your school's cutoff must be Sept? Ours is Nov and I know alot of schools that are Nov. That means that there are alot of 4yr old starting K in our district, they just have to be 5 by Nov. I would test him and if he's ready, send him. He'll get bored with another year of PreK. My kids have summer birthdays, so both of them will graduate when they are still seventeen.

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answers from Dover on

I am in the same boat with you (although my daugher's bday is Dec 4th). I know in DE kids that make the cut off do not have a certain rating they have to achieve (although they do have a basic testing they don't have to meet a standard other than their age) while kids attempting to enter early have to score either 95% or 98% (I forget which) AND be evaluated by a psychologist before they can start early. I know they expect a lot more of the early starters. That said, we lived in Maryland when my son started school and at the time they had the same cut off that DE used to have (Dec 31) so he started school when he was turning 5 (didn't turn 5 until Oct). There he was in line w/ all the other kids but when we moved back to DE he was always in classes w/ older kids. They only disadvantage I ever really saw was at the high school level and wrestling, he was younger even though at the same weight...his opponents had an extra year of development and puberty on him (strength).

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answers from Sacramento on

Okay first, let me say: In general I'm opposed to putting kids in school early. Especially boys. I think in most cases there is no harm in waiting, so I say wait.

That said...

My son is starting early this year... tomorrow actually! So I'll let you know how it goes. He's actually starting at an "accelerated school" as well, so the class is kinder for social emotional, PE type stuff, but they use a 1st grade curriculum for academic subjects. He won't turn 5 until January. He will be the youngest child IN THE SCHOOL which is more of a concern to me than being the youngest in his class, but I think it is the best thing for him for a few reasons:

1) He wants to go.
2) His pre-school had already bumped him up, so he did Pre-K last year at 3 (and Pre-school the year before). He has already established a peer group of kids entering kindergarten this year.
3) He's tall... really tall! We went to his orientation on Friday and he is the tallest boy in either of the Kindergarten classes (despite being the youngest by a YEAR in some cases).
4)He's academically advanced. (reads, adds, subtracts etc.)

Finally, 5) He can always repeat kindergarten next year! (there's actually a boy in the other homeroom class who was in the class last year at 4, so it's not a big deal at all at this school).

My son WAS tested for entry, but since it's a private school it wasn't a test for "early entry" perse, it was just the test for entry period. I'll let you know how he does in the school year.


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answers from Columbus on

I was in his boat, went to K at age 4, turned 5 in October, and I think it worked out OK for me. We just followed the cut off dates for our October kid, but she was not in your son's category. You should know though, parents have manipulated the entry age to such a degree at this point that he will likely not only be the youngest in his class, not by a matter of months, but by a year plus those months. Kindergarten redshirting is a real issue, and what has happened is, Kindergarten has become the new first grade. It is not that there are not exceptions, but it is so far out of hand, it is redicuolous. You are in the minority. Most parents are holding thier kids back in an attempt to make every path cozy and easy and make sure that their child is a leader, in the top of the class, emotionally ready, etc. What they want, is to manipulate the bell curve, and make sure that their little one is ahead of yours (who has the natural intelect to be at the top of the curve.)

The evidence is pretty clear, although that evidence was based on the majority of kids being in the right grade for age overall, so the normative standards are in for a re evaluation because so many kids have yet to have the most basic instruction before age 7! But, based on the old standards of going to school within the cut off dates (or weeks therein) children who are youngest in their class have a statistical advantage over the oldest. Particularly, as it turns out, if your child has a learning issue, which is counter intuative (another reason that parents should look at data instead of going with their guts sometimes) Children with unforseen reading issues acutally miss one full year of targeted instruction and frequently miss all targeted instruction prior to the best window of opportunity for easy reading instruction closing around age 9. Being the oldest in the class is highly correltated with reading failure.

Have a frank discussion with the school psychologist, and don't hessitate to send him if they reccomend it, but know that he will likely be gravitating toward kids in his age group for peers, who may not be in his class at all, and that may be something you encourage for him.


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answers from Columbus on

My daughter had a birthday just a few days before their official cutoff of Sept 30, so she's the youngest in her class. She is also tall for her age, and also was always academically advanced. She has done very well with her older peers, and she even was accepted into gifted math classes.

In my opinion, if your child can handle the academics, you should definitely get him in early. Otherwise, he might be bored, which would only hurt him in the end.

Also, in my school district, they have to admit the child into K as long as their birthday falls in the same calendar year as the year of enrollment. Not sure what the testing procedure is... You'll have to talk to their special ed dept most likely.

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answers from Boston on

It sounds like you already have your mind made up. If the school does their test and say he is ok to enroll early then I say go for it.

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answers from Austin on

We have a very good friend who has son that sound like yours. He just has always been very bright articulate and emotionally mature.

The only place he has difficulties is some of his socialization. He finds people his age to be immature and he can seem haughty because he does not play into those social games. But because he was mature emotionally, he has always done well.
He had a girl friend in high school. He was in Band and choir.

He was usually one of the smallest boys in his class. In middle school he started swimming so that in High School he would not have to deal with High school dressing rooms, etc.. He took before school swimming all through high school. He is now in his second year of medical school and is one of the youngest, and is as always doing great!!

You will work through things social, etc.. just like the rest of us. You find a solution and just do it..

Follow your mommy heart and brain.. No regrets!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I definitely think you should allow your child to enter early if you think it's a good idea. My son entered Kinder when he was 4 3/4 yrs and did quite well. In fact, he was and still is ahead of his class. He goes to a Catholic School where the curriculum is very tough and so far , he has done very well. I will say that he is not only advanced, but also more mature emotionally for his age. It's just always been that way. I think every child is different and hence, every reason to treat the situation on a one for one basis. You could always send him, see how he does and if for some reason you felt he is a bit too young, then take him out . I don't see the problem with that...
It's not uncommon for kids to start Kinder early... and of course you have those kids who start at 5 but are still too young. Again, it's so individual.
sounds like you are doing a good job with him. Keep in mind what matters most (As per our son's doctor) a child can learn their ABCs.... and have playdate after playdate, but what matters most is the love you give the child... which sounds like you do... give a child enough of that and most will blossom just fine..
best of luck

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answers from Chicago on

I was THE youngest kid in my class growing up. The cutoff was Dec 1 and my birthday is Nov 30. My mom was a 1st grade teacher and she was teaching me at home and thought I was ready. I never had a problem making friends, and I had friends that spanned the grades above and below me as well. I also did very well in school, consistently making honor roll. I think that if your child is as advanced educationally as you say, get him tested if that is the rule where you live, and send him when he passes.

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answers from Raleigh on

I don't really have any personal advice- I will be in the same situation next year with my son who will be 5 right before the cutoff date- making him one of the youngest in his class. I did just read a study where younger children in school were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Probably because they don't have the emotional growth that older kids in the same class have. While he is probably smart enough, the real question is whether he is mature enough. Here is a link to the study:

In actuality, it makes perfect sense.
Good luck with your decision...


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answers from Saginaw on

You probably will get a lot of responses telling you to wait it out. All I can say is that entering early is from one states discretion to another. You say where you are located he has to test, but in MI the cutoff date is Dec 1. My advice is, if you feel he is ready go for it.
Even though the cutoff is Dec 1, I still here a lot around here about holding a child back another year when they have a fall birthday. Which my daughters do, but honestly, I'm glad I went with my gut and sent my oldest to preschool last year. She is doing great and will start Kindergarten this year. (She turns 5 four days after starting Kindergarten.)

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answers from Columbus on

I don't have an experience to share, but did want to note that I think it's wonderful you are considering...too many parents now a days are holding their kids back to start later...so now we have 6..sometimes 7 years olds in kidergarten??? I don't like it - if he's ready, go thru the testing!
Wow - I have to edit this...after reading some others answers - seriously! It's better to be first than last??? How about teaching your kids to be the best they can - whether it's first or last.. stop doing what's best for YOU the parent (I want to keep my child by me.....) there is a reason kids are suppose to start close to age 5...especially if they are ready... you are holding them back from learning in a group they are suppose to be in for selfish reasons. That's what's wrong with the world today... - we all know life is hard...yet you want to paint this pretty "fake" picture and purposely hold them back so they are #1, so it's easy for them, what does this teach your child? (sorry poster...this is not towards you.....)

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answers from Columbus on

I'm in your postition now & look forward to all you responses. My daughter will turn 5 in Nov. next year. I've spoken to the Gifted Coordinator at her school district. They would consider it to be akin to skipping a grade even though she's only about 6 weeks behind the cutoff dates. They would test her in all areas including socially to determine whether she would be ready. I'm hoping that they take her because right now she LOVES learning new things & I'm afraid that if we wait that year she will be so bored. Like your son, she's writing, counting, and learning to read. I plan on working with her over this year on things to help her get ready.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Speaking from a teacher's standpoint, I'd MUCH rather have a child who's socially ready than cognitively. If they can't handle the social skills, boundaries, discipline, sitting still, sharing, etc, then it creates a problem for everyone.

I've done the screening/testing for kindergarten and have held kids back just for that reason. Parents not happy, but I'm the one who's got to run the classroom, NOT the parent.

In addition, don't compare your child to anyone, even if they've had the same opportunity for learning. Boys and girls can be VERY different in their readiness and abilities, as can one child vs another in the same family, regardless of the sex of the chld. I've had kids fromt he same family, maybe even the same sex, and one child is as different as night and day from another. You certainly don't want this child to be compared to an older sibling. and her performance.

Just some food for thought from a teacher's standpoint. Begin looking at how he's adapted socially and those skills, as well.



answers from Toledo on

I entered my (November) daughter in kindergarten when she was five However in the middle of the year the school and I decided to move her into 1st grade. All went well acedemically and socially, but she was always the youngest in her class. when she was in high school this became more of a problem becasue of age related issues, driving, dating etc. I would suggest that you look into enrichment programs rather than putting him into formal schooling early. Are there any accelerated programs available in your school district for when he does go to school?



answers from Columbus on

Depending on where you live, most schools have a cut off date where they have to be 5. So if your child is not 5 by August they have to wait until the following year to go to Kindergarten. I have the same situation with my daughter, her birthday is in October so we will be waiting to enroll her into K later.



answers from Cleveland on

I know what you mean about a child being academically ready to attend kindergarden. However, the learning that takes place is not only about academics. It is also about socialization, maturity and behavior in general. My son is a 2 months younger than your child and we wondered about the same thing.

My husband works at a neighboring school district so we talked to four kindergarden teachers there and got their opinions. All of them suggested we wait. None of these teachers knew our child, but they said of all of the early enrolled kids, it was very rare to get a child that was actually fully ready for the school environment. They recommended another year of preschool which is what we were also leaning towards. I was amazed that all four teachers always recommended the same preschool.

We trusted their opinions. After all, they are the ones who have the education, background and experience in this field. I want my child to be socially comfortable as well as academically comfortable in school. I also want to make sure he is mature enough to handle a classroom setting for hours so other children receive the full education they are entitled to and not have an individual disrupting the class.

The preschool he will attend in a few weeks is M - Th for 2.5 hrs each day. He attended this preschool last year and it met Th - F for 2 hrs each day. I think this is a nice progression to next year when mandatory all day kindergarden goes into effect.



answers from Columbus on

I am totally interested in your post. I would love to hear what you decide and how it works out. My son is a November birthday, but is also pretty bright. I have been thinking about this for him already.
I do have to make a comment though. You said that not putting him in early would only hold him back educationally; however, you have taught him all this to develop his natural intelligence, so you will no doubt continue this until he goes to school. There are also a lot of advanced classes for kids, so maybe that will help in your decision process.
If you remember and if you have time, I would really love to hear your decision and results.


answers from Cleveland on

Hello! My answer is going to come from my personal experience, not an experience with my son. (who is also 4!) I was enrolled early - and excelled in the gifted programs all the way until junior high when they pretty much dissipated in favor of college preparatory classes, which I also took. There were never any problems with my academic work, I had no trouble keeping up, or even excelling at a level higher than my current grade.

However, I did play varsity sports (cross country and track) beginning in 9th grade. When I started 9th grade, I was only 13. I turned 14 during the year, but spent the vast majority of my time with my team, which had people up to age 19. It's awkward to be in a situation where you are SO much younger than your peers. In every way, I was an equal, athletic ability, academic standing as well as socialization. The biggest problem was my age. My parents were very uncomfortable with my spending time with older teenage guys and girls. (mostly guys!)

Looking back in hindsight, they were right. I realize now, that I really had no business as a 13 y/o girl riding in cars with 16-19 y/o guys! My parents never really considered the effects of an early placement once I got past the middle school years.

Also, upon graduation, I moved into a dorm room at age 17. I was 9 hours away from home, and wasn't even a legal adult. Strange really....

Personally, I advise everyone I know whom are in a similar situation, to just wait. The rush we have to enroll our kids in school is usually unnecessary. If he is academically gifted, do significant research and find a pre-K program that has an actual curriculum.

My son is 4, and turns 5 in December. He is clearly a few months past the cut-off date, but I know for a fact would test very high on the placement tests. He can write all the uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers up to 10. He is very, very bright, with an understanding of life that I rarely see in young children. He is compassionate, diligent and eager to please. Socially he is more than ready - and physically is stronger and more agile that a lot of the other boys in his preschool... I know that he would succeed in kindergarten and then beyond, but have no desire to place him in the same awkward situation when he gets to high school/college that I was in.

I hope this helps, good luck with your little man - and what ever decision you make!!



answers from Toledo on

My daughter turns 4 in December and I too have thought about early entrance. In the state of Ohio, the kindergarten cut-off age is 5 by January 1st. Districts then set their own local cut-off date. If your child turns 5 after the district's cut-off date then they are "supposed" to have an early entrance policy. In the district I work, the early entrance policy includes the results of the kindergarten screening and an IQ test with a minimum standard score that must be achieved. Check with your school district.
My husband and I have talked a lot about our daughter who is more than ready, but we have concerns about her age as a senior and freshman in college. I do not think I want her to be that young.
Good Luck with your decision.



answers from Indianapolis on

Being smart and knowing his letters and numbers has little to do with how well he'll do. He'll be the youngest in his class and many of those kids ESPECIALLY boys, aren't mature enough to handle it.

My mom taught preschool and lower-el her whole career. She also had a early-ed specialization endorcement on her teaching certificate and then wrote her masters thesis on early kindergarten placement.
All her research proved 2 things:
1) It never hurts to hold them back. If they are, in fact, ahead of their class by the time they get to 1st or 2nd grade, they can always be skipped ahead. However, if you start them early and they can't keep up, it can be a HUGE ego hit to hold them back to repeat the grade.
2) If you go ahead and enroll them, they may do just fine. But if you hold them back, they could be really great in their class.

Intelligence has very little to do with kindergarten readiness.

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