Kindergarten Teachers - Please Help!

Updated on January 24, 2012
K.F. asks from Hillsboro, OR
13 answers

Our son will turn 5 this August. We are waiting an extra year to send him to Kindergarten (cutoff here is Sept. 1) to hopefully make him more mature by middle and high school. My husband and I are both middle/high school educators and don't question this decision at all. The problem is what to do with him next year. This is his second year of preschool (3 days per week) and he is very bright. He can write all of his letters, do simple math, sight read some words and is starting to sound out words. So academically he is more than ready for kindergarten next year.

The school he will attend next year has 2 options for him - a 5 day per week, 3 hour per day pre-K class of mostly 4 year olds (turning 5 throughout the year) and a 5 day per week, 4 hour per day extended kindergarten class of 5 year olds and a certified kindergarten teacher (15 kids). If he did the K class next year, we would still send him to public K the following year.

So, our question is - if we do private K, will he be overwhelmingly bored in public K or will there be enough novelty, short enough day (class is about 3 hours) and large enough class (public K classes here are 25+) that his strong academic foundation will benefit him? Do we put him in the pre-K with the younger kids knowing that academically he is ready for more? The pre-K class has 20 kids and 2 instructors who try to differentiate, but we all know how hard that is in practice and he already can do many of the goals for the pre-K kids. The program he has been in for the last 2 years is very low key without much of a structured curriculum and he already is in the top 10% in terms of what he can do compared to his classmates.

Pre-K then public K or private and public K? If you teach kindergarten, please help us! We are both clueless when it comes to elementary school experience!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I would put him in Kindergarten and if it appears he is having issues then hold him back. He is a smart boy and it going to be bored until he at least gets to first or second grade if he is already doing this stuff.

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answers from St. Louis on

normally, I always recommend waiting until age 6. Since your son is so academically ready for KG, is he really not mature or socially-ready for KG? I'm really wondering if you do need to wait.....OMG, it is so rare for me to say that! :)

Back to your question: If you are determined to wait, I would do the longer class period. He is ready for the certified KG teacher.

I also believe you need to base all of your decisions on how he tests out for the KG screening this summer. It will determine where he should be placed this year & next.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I'm not a Teacher, but:
so he will be 6, when he enters Kinder?
Make sure, that you know that he can enter Kinder at that age.
Kindergarten is not mandatory in many States.
For some schools, if a child enters school when 6 years old or turning 6 years old, they enter that child into 1st Grade.
So head's up.
Check with the school, that your son would be attending.
If a parent requests, that their 6 year old child still be in Kinder...then you need to make sure the school will do that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I own a preschool with a kindergarten program. I know your son is academically advanced but repeating pre-k and waiting for kindergarten is a very wise decision. Kindergarten may not be challenging for him, however the grades after will be a huge transition. There is a lot of seat time required and also homework. The demands for some are fine, and for others who just are not ready to sit for those long periods can be a challenge, especially for boys. I do not know your son but most boys are physical learners early on and expecting them to sit and buckle down can be difficult. If you can give him another year to mature and be ready for all of the aspects and demands of elementary school then do it. I have a 4 year old that is reading in my pre-k, however she is still 4 when it comes to maturity. There are many other factors then just academics as I am sure you know already. I have had many extremely bright children in our kindergarten program that repeated pre-k and they did beautifully, actually the parents who did Kindergarten for the children with summer birthdays wished they had waited. In my town Kindergarten is a half day program, my school has a full day along with a few other schools in town. They gave us an extended cut off date of Dec 31 for children to enter kinder and first grade. Because of the change and difficulty in curriculum they have changed the ruling and gone back to Oct 1 for all students no exceptions just of this reason. There are so many studies on the advantages of play based preschools and the advantages down the line for children, and what they learn through play. Problem solving is a huge benefit that children gain through play. Also, down the line for sports you will not regret your decision it will give your son an extra year to grow. I guess you can see I am passionate about this because I see so many parents who push their children and I think it is great that you, and your husband are willing to give your child an extra year to have fun, and enjoy his preschool experience. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Here is something totally different that I did with my daughter. She attended a co-op preschool that she dearly loved and was ready for kindergarten, but had a late birthday. I enrolled her in a Montessori school (I made sure it was AMI certified to know that it was truly Montessori) and she has blossomed learning "how to learn" and to approach her school work with curiosity and persistence. It has been a great fit for her and is different from the way she would be getting information in a public school setting. The child is taught at his/her level. Just a thought for your little one! Good luck with your decision-making!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

my vote is for pre-K then public pa. i have a ton of experience in this and truely think you son will enjoy and respond better later by having an extras low pressure year. at this age they are very self driven to learn so don't worry that he ill be boredi n pre-. i would worry tons more about being bored in public k where there is less room for him to do activities of his choosing.

i'll add more later to clarify

There is more freedom and play and social learning going on in pre-k. He's got the acedemics already, private K will be a culture shock and what he learned there would be boring to him the followign year in public k. I really feel that you wouldn't regret doing the pre-K route



answers from Portland on

We were in the same position with our son, who is now 24 :) Academically he was already ahead of most of his peers, but socially and emotionally not as mature. His preschool teachers recommended private kindergarten. By late spring, they could advise again whether or not he should go on to first grade or begin a second year of kindergarten in the public school.

He ended up doing two years of Kindergarten. He never was bored in elementary school, because his teachers were skilled at differentiated instruction. He continued to do well academically, and grew to be a leader in his class.

Unfortunately, when he was finishing fourth grade, the school let us know that they felt they could not continue to provide appropriate instruction for him. They would have sent him to the local middle school for math and the English / social studies block class. It didn't make sense to have him at two different schools. We let them double promote him into sixth grade. He continued to do well academically, but the social part was not such a great fit. He wasn't unhappy, but he didn't have as many friends and didn't take on leadership roles again until college. Now, he is a happy, successful, and well-adjusted adult.



answers from Seattle on

I have a son with an October b-day. He also was way ahead academically. I worried that he would be bored in kindergarten.
What we found was that he had a lot of confidence in K. He became a classroom leader and loved K. These early years really are not about the academics.
I think your son will be fine in whichever program you put him in to and also in K. That social/behavioral aspect is really important.
You are great parents.


answers from Philadelphia on

I wish I could've afforded an extra year of pre-k. My daughter was the same as your son in terms of readiness and what she knew, and i'm most likely repeating k with my daughter. Shes in public k now and has a 9/3 bday. I rent and was moving and couldn't afford the 800+ for daycare and she was way ahead to do pre-k again, so I opted to move to the only district with a later cut off and shes in a public 5 day a week K program that is very academically advanced thats funded really well, and has huge 100+ question standardized tests and assessments each qtr. Shes doing great but I still feel an extra year of K will help her confidence. Shes great in all ways but not confident in what she knows. So if I decide to not stay in this school district I'm def doing an extra year of K. I wish they had pre-1st in every school. So many kids could use that. I'd say the private k then public would be good.



answers from New York on

I'm not a teacher, just a parent of a kindergartener (who works in the mental health field). It sounds like he is ready for the private K. How is his emotional maturity? I think he would benefit from the private K and who knows what he will really learn in a large class and adjusting to a new school. My son was nervous about changing schools even though his private pre-K had prepared him well for the academic stuff.



answers from Portland on

Assuming the financial aspect is not in the picture, I'd probably do the private kinder and then public school. By that time you will see where he fits best, K or 1st. Sounds like you are sure he'll need 1 more year, but with his intelligence at this point, you might reconsider.

We thought about moving our son up a grade, as his b-day is two days after the cut off. We ended up keeping him at his grade level, which means he is the oldest kid in the class. It's a great fit for him socially and academically. We were worried he would be bored, since he was also in the top 10% in his pre-K class. He's not bored and I'm pleasantly surprised to see many highly intelligent kids in his Kindergarten class. Some are reading at 2nd grade level, so it really don't matter too much in K. They are all at different levels and our teacher is just fine teaching to each level. They break them up for reading, so that helps.

As far as repeating the grade, I would imagine it wouldn't be that different from going from pre-K to K and he'll have one more year of solid academics. We were happy with our pre-K program though, because it is very strong on academics as well as teaching social skills. The pre-K teacher in our school is fantastic, which helps.

Good luck. I remember trying to figure out what to do with our son. Now that he's in Kindergarten, I have to say I worried too much about it. ;) He's just fine, and would have been just fine if I moved him up a level too probably. One thing I do hear are silly comments that we "held him back" (which we didn't, he just has a Sept. birthday) for sports, so he could be bigger. I think that's funny and try to let it roll off my back, but it does annoy me since that's not the kind of parents we are.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi! I don't teach kindergarten (I'm a middle school teacher too) but my son is IN kindergarten this year!

Given that Kinder is only half day, I'd probably do the pre-K program this year. There is NOTHING to be gained by pushing him academically at this point, and he'll probably make some huge academic gains in pre-K as well.

Don't worry about him being bored in Kindergarten. My son also entered kindergarten testing academically between 2nd and 3rd grade. He LOVES school and he is LEARNING. They group kids for reading, so he gets some individualized instruction on that, but he's also learning to "do school." He is super jazzed about the science and social studies work and loves going to specials.

Good luck. Whatever choice you make will be the right one.




answers from Las Vegas on

I have to agree with Sue H. I am not a teacher, but your son sounds very advanced.

It is possible he matures between now and August. A lot happens in those 6 months prior to school. As well, once they are surrounded by the other students, they do some growing.

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