Having Trouble with Kindergarten Cut off Date

Updated on October 10, 2010
S.B. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
20 answers

My son missed cut off date since he was born in October. He tried for the early entrance but scored less than the required score. (He actulally scored higher in some and lower in other areas). Now he is stuck in preschool and is being taught numbers 1-10 and tracing letters. He is way past that and reads some words. I am dissapointed that the school test excludes my son, since for example one of the question was "what is round and bounces". He said trampoline. Well the expected answer was a ball and got that wrong. He is creative and thinks outside the box and the standardized test excluded him. He is bored at preschool and although I teach him at home, I would love to find a transitional program that still teaches him beyond tracing letters and takes him at his level. We are in Northeast Ohio. He also loves structure and most preschools "learn through play". I would love to hear from teachers and other moms in this situation, how they handled it and got through what I consider a wasted year. He does needs some help emotionally/socially but I have found out that he is a "highly sensitive child", so he probably will be that way(Thats his temperament). Structure is definitely his best friend. I do not wish to be a home schooling mom. I want my kids to go to school outside the home. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Geese you mamas are sharp! Thanks. here is an update. My son does go to a transitional Pre-K. Today they went on field trip to pumpkin farm. He goes two days a week full days cos i thought I would try to get him ready for the all day K next year. I am thinking of stepping up to 3 days. Last year in PreK 1, he went 5 days half day. He is having a hard time transitioning into the afternoon session since he is used to only half days. On his days at home with me, we do go to the YMCA where I workout and he goes to the play room there. He comes out with all kinds of paperwork that he does, art etc and he loves it.. We go to the library, museum, zoo etc pretty often and we play a lot on the floor and outside, so please know that I am a vigilant mom. He also does karate and other extra cirricula stuff. I just wished they worked more on teaching him to read and so on. I guesss I will just have to keep doing my bit, but it is frustrating. he is just way past the color and shape stuff.

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answers from New York on

my daughter missed it by 6 days... she was reading full books by age 4! she read to her pre-school class... because she was bored. i put her in an art class and other classes after preschool since preschool was 1/2 day. she read to her kinderg. class too. since most were just learning to sound out letters. yes, she was bored.. but now in 6th grade she is head of the class, not the youngest but one of the oldest... she tutors others... and has gone really far. She used to read to us allthe time, i bought 1st grade books for her to do.. like math workbooks andletter workbooks.. she is in gifted and talented classes... it's all good...

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answers from Detroit on

Would you consider a Montessori program? A true Montessori program is more focused on academics than traditional preschool and flexible enough to recognize when the child has mastered a concept and is ready to move on, and when they are not ready to be introduced to other concepts. Some of them group younger kids with older kids so whatever the older kids are learning rubs off on the younger ones.

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answers from Chicago on

From the perspective of a teacher - two things stand out to me immediately: he did not pass the test and you mentioned that he is emotionally/socially struggling. The latter is way more important. Sounds like he might not be ready or mature enough for kindergarten so why push it? Kindergarten admissions and readiness are two areas where the teachers and administrators have a lot of experience. Although there are exceptions they tend to make really good judgment calls as to whether or not a child is ready. They may be doing your child a favor!

Furthermore, there are cutoff dates for a reason and at least this school gave him the opportunity to test into kindergarten. There are reasons why there are cutoff dates and if the school makes an exception for you then they have to make an exception for every kid whose parents think they are ready for the work even though, in their professional judgment, the kid isn't ready.

Instead of thinking of this as a wasted year, use your community and resources to enrich his life and learning experiences. Explore alternative forms of education like Montessori, library classes, or other non-traditional settings. It really is up to you to decide if this will be a wasted year or one where he explores a wide variety of topics.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Sorry, but it sounds like the school was right in not accepting him. His scores, coupled with his emotional and social issues, really do not make him a good candidate for early admission. You should look for a good pre-kindergarten preschool class. I am sure that you probably have some around you. Ours was terrific-some liked it better than real Kindergarten for what and how the children learned.

And honestly-if you want him to advance beyond what a school is offering-and you sound like you do-you ARE going to have to teach yourself. My oldest child already knew practically everything they taught him in Kindergarten so in order to stimulate him I had to teach him myself at home.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If your child is not mature enough to handle the first grade, don't force them ahead into school. Your comment about him being "sensitive", gives me cause for concern. Ask some unbiased friends with kids close to your son's age.

That being said, I had this same cutoff date (strictly artificiall assigned date) problem with the schools with two of my kids because of their birthdays. One missed their cutoff by 4 days. The other missed their cutoff by 9 days. I put them both in private school kindergardens and one in private school first grade.

When both of them passed the private school kindergarden the schools took one into first grade, but not the other. The one they didn't accept I put into a private school first grade.

When the one passed the private school first grade, the school system still didn't want to accept him. I had to threaten to sue before they relented and said they would accept him into second grade, but only if he was academically capable of handling the second grade. He passed their tests by so much they wanted to put him in the 3rd grade instead of the second grade. (Stubborn, don't-give-me-the-facts-I've-made-up-my-mind bureaucrats) We put him in the second grade and he did just fine. Much to the bureaucrats' dismay and embarrassment, he graduated Valedictorian. (K to 12 school)

Good luck to you and yours

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answers from Des Moines on

How many days/week is your son going to pre-school? If it is 3days/week maybe you could find one for older 4's and 5 yr olds that is 4-5 times/week.

Also, use this time to do other things with him that will help him educationally and socially. He could join a kindermusik class and become part of library activities.

This will not be a "wasted" year for him. He is learning every day....from preschool, from you and his surroundings. You don't have to turn into a full-time teacher, just enjoy these daily moments with him and see them as educational opportunities. (For example, go to the library and choose some books about apples to read, another day visit an apple orchard and buy some apples, at home cook something with the apples.) These are all age appropriate and fun activities for 5year old. However, there is an unlimited amount of learning that could take place from these activities. For example:

using a card catalog (computer) at the library to find apple books
discovering how to find a book on a shelf by author's last name
difference between fiction/non-fiction books
how to check out library books

how many different types of apples
how long it takes to get to apple orchard...time/distance
purchasing apples (weight, money)

cooking...measuring, following directions, etc.

Although you may be frustrated now, your year will end all too quickly, and your son will be in a structured environment soon.

good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

See if the school has a "Pre-K" or "Jr.K" class.
At my daughter's school they do, and it is actually the same as Kindergarten... except the Jr.K/Pre-K class is comprised of younger kids. So, socially, they are at the same level etc.

Or, change schools. Because, you mentioned that your son needs structure... and is socially needful. So... maybe find a school/program that WILL provide that, for your son.

Or, see if the school has a gifted and talented program.

So I assume your son is 4... going to turn 5? Since you said he is born late and is in preschool.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hey the trampoline thing is pretty funny.... LOL..... Technically though the trampoline does not bounce, the person or the thing on the trampoline is what bounces.... LOL... That was just funny though.... He is a funny kid....
Now, it does sound like your child is great academically, but does sound like he has some social/emotional developing to do. Give him the time to do this. Here in our state the cut off is August 31st so he would be way after that with an October birthday. My child is the 3rd of September and missed the cut off. Academically she was reading and writing and knew shapes, colors and even scoring off the charts for cognition test. I have several friends and relatives that are teachers, principals and even a superintendent and they all advised me not to send her. They told me that you can ALWAYS pick those children out for the duration of the entire K-12 experience. When I have 14 friends/relatives advising me; I listened. It was the BEST advice ever!!! She was such an introverted child and that extra year allowed her to grow so much. Also as one of the "older ones" she is now looked at as a leader and the kids really look up to her. It allowed her to be the top in the class developmentally instead of the average or the child trying to keep from the bottom. You may not see it now, but will in the years to come; trust me! For you this year, sounds like you need another Pre-school program. We put my daughter into a 5 year old program for her final year. It was amazing because all of the children were 5s or older 4s. So I suggest you find a different program and I am sure you will be much happier. They are out there you just have to research a little. Oh BTW.... That extra year really helped my highly sensitive child get a better handle on her emotions. Even though she still is sensitive; she can so better handle it!

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answers from Houston on

We're having this problem this year, but I haven't found an answer other than to just teach them what you can at home. My daughter literally came home from the first day of preschool this year and said "Mom, why are we learning colors again when I already know all of my colors?". She has known her colors, shapes, numbers and letters and started speaking in full sentences at 17 months old. She is reading some as well. She has been writing all capital letters since she was 3 and can now write all lower case letters and all numbers. She even does some simple math (addition and subtraction). I will say though, that despite all of that, she still LOVES her school! They are also very focused on "learning through play" and honestly, I feel like since she is so far ahead already that it's okay if she just plays for a year. As long as we're reinforcing everything at home, she isn't going to lose it before Kinder and we'll just work with her teacher next year to make sure she is challenged. I considered homeschooling, but my daughter loves "going to school" so much that I don't think she would be happy doing that. I know that there are tons of homeschool groups that do all sorts of activities, but it isn't the same as going off to school with her friends, so I plan to send her to school next year.

One thing I wanted to say is that I don't think you should discount the emotional/social aspect of his development. He may always be sensitive, but as he gets more mature, he will be able to use more tools to help him navigate social situations at school. So, it may be a blessing in disguise that he is in PreK for another year. You might be surprised at how much he can mature socially by next year. Good luck to you! Hope it all works out for you and your family.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Didn't read your responses, but my immediate thought would be to try a Montessori school, as they are noted for letting children develop at their pace, work at their level, and they embrace out-of-the-box thinking...

Seems like that would be a good fit for your son...

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answers from San Francisco on

I know you want the best for your child and that means that he will most likely be successful wherever and whenever he goes to school. In CA the cutoff is December 2 but they are moving it over 3 years to September 1. My son is November 25. The way I look at it is that I am less worried about the kindergarten end of his education but at high school and college, where a year of maturity can make a really big difference.

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answers from Kansas City on

I do completely agree with the other posters, and even you said, he needs help emotionally and socially. BUT, my first thought with his answer to "what is round and bounces" a trampoline is brilliant! I would see if he could be tested for a high IQ. Just because he doesn't test well to the standards doesn't mean it's not there.
I also had a child, our daughter who also had an October birthday. Last Friday the 1st as a matter of fact. She was a peer/model student in a preschool for developmentally delayed children and I too saw that second year as a waste. So I made up spelling words for her. We played math games at the grocery store, etc. We did have the opportunity to place her in a private school in first grade which we did, because she was beyond what she was learning in kindergarten in a public school. I realize thought not everyone can or even wants to do that. She now is a sophomore in high school and taking 3 honors classes (pre-calculus, world history, spanish 3) as well as English 10, chemistry and French 1.

You are his advocate. You already know and understand he needs help in certain areas, but you also see he is exceptional in others.
Good Luck



answers from Lincoln on

Can you look for a different, perhaps alternative type of school. It really sounds like your son needs individualized attention and an individualized learning plan since he's so ahead on some things and behind on others. Seems like he's a free thinker, you don't want to stifle that by sending him to a traditional preschool that doesn't meet his needs.
I would suggest homeschooling, but since you don't want to do that... try finding a place that will meet his needs and not expect him to meet theirs.



answers from Boston on

lol at "trampoline" He was technically right in my opinion. I loved our preschool they had all the kids in one class but they focused on different things with the kids that were going to kindergarten the next year then the kids that weren't. If he needs help in socializing its probably a very good thing he is doing preschool again because he already has the educational part of preschool down. Hopefully this year he can focus on the social part of it.


answers from Dover on

I can see where you are frustrated. I don't blame you. The trampoline was funny and even though it does not bounce, kudos to your son for his creativity (I would have not marked it wrong but deducted points since it wasn't way off).

I do know how you feel. When I was in school the cut off was Dec 31. When my son started school DE had changed their cut off to Aug 30 but we had moved to MD and theirs was still Dec 31 then so even w/ an Oct birthday he was able to start...he was ready but I wish his teacher had been better suited to K so he would have continued to enjoy school. He did fine, typical boy though and a lot like his dad (didn't like school) so he was a lazy student.

I now have a daughter with a December birthday who is academically ready to start school now (she knows everything they want them to know when they come to school and a lot of what they want to teach them during that first year). Is not far off socially right now and thrives at her preschool. She's only 3 right now and therefore wouldn't start school for two more years so I will have her tested this winter to see if she can start before her 5th birthday rather than when she is almost 6. I will honor their professional opinion and do what I have to in order to help her continue to thrive and grow even if they don't let her start early. That said, I know it won't be easy but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

My point to you is, it sounds like your son is very bright but may need more socialization (not necessarily more as in more or longer days, just more time to grow in that department). Keep doing what you are doing and providing life experiences and plenty of play time (kids learn a lot even though to us it looks like "just play"). Tracing letters helps their fine motor skills (as does drawing, painting, threading pasta or lace boards, play dough). Playing catch helps with hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Museum (kid friendly is best), zoos, aquariums, libraries, parks, nature centers, and other community events can provide a wonderful opportunity to further learning...you can do a different "unit" every month or so. Example: read about going to a zoo, go to the zoo (take pictures and read the info about the animals), talk about what you saw. Then go to the library and check out books about some of the animals you saw (some fiction, some non-fiction). Your son can draw his own picture of the animals (or his favorite animal), make an animal craft or two. Help him make a fact sheet (you write if he can't but let him dictate the info to you). You can do the same with the other venues. Keep it fun...he'll be fine.

Once he does start school, be sure to speak up if he is too bored or too frustated. Speaking up early can make a world of difference.

PS. I went home and asked my daughter what was round and bounces and she replied...a trampoline!



answers from San Antonio on

Any chance there is a preschool that has a gifted program around you? Or look for a program called "Gift of Time" It's a transition program for the older preschoolers.
I had the same problem with my kids. Preschool and even kinder was not very academically challenging for any of them.
We went to the library for books a lot (at their level), went on field trips, got lots of different science and craft ideas from books and magazines. Find a music class or tumbling class for him---or swim lessons.
Accept that unless you find a different preschool, you will have to supplement and add academic challenges along the way. But he can benefit a lot from the emotional and social development at that pre-school.
At this age, those aspects are just as important as academics.



answers from Tulsa on

It's hard, really I understand but rules have to be made for reasons. The basic rule of a child having to be 5 years old before school starts is nearly universal in our country. It just stinks for some kids because they are so smart and bright but it is just one of those things that have to be dealt with. If 4 year old were allowed in Kindergarten then he would be in class with some kids not even fully potty trained. He would also be a senior and out of high school barely 17 years old, and have to stay out of college for a full year.

The system is set up to go one way and when an exceptional child comes along it is annoying but still fits their ideals.



answers from Las Vegas on

What a bright little guy. I love the trampoline being round and bouncing. Maybe marketing will be his niche in life!

My little girl is a bit ahead and born in October. I think they have had more time to learn than the others and the will probably begin to even out, yet have an excellent head start. My little girl is 47 inches and will not turn 5 for 2 more weeks. She is the biggest kid in the class and feels a little uncomfortable about her size lately. She is continuing to eat, so we are afraid she will have another growth spurt. She is 46 pounds, so there isn't a weight issue, so we feed her.

Emotionally and socially my daughter could stand to do some growing and the emotional end could really make it difficult on them if they are not ready in that area. My daughter still pouts, sucks her thumb and cries when her feelings are hurt. I would really hate to regret putting her in with kids who were a little more emotionally set.

Here even private schools will not take them and to my knowledge she couldn't even test in to school early. Perhaps if it were challenged, but I know she needs to grow emotionally.

I think even though he is bored, keeping him in preschool will help him socially. While he is bored with tracing numbers it is not a bad problem. I just want to take my neighbors child and start teaching him. He is four as well and is often outside riding a scooter...he is good at that. I just feel for him because he will struggle while there are children who have had a head start and are ahead of him.

Best wishes.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Does your preschool have a "T" class ("Transition" class)? Is there O. in your area that does? It's exactly for the almost-ready-age kids.



answers from Charlotte on


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