Kindergarten - Young 5 or 6? - Paola,KS

Updated on January 10, 2013
H.C. asks from Olathe, KS
34 answers


My daughter will turn 5 at the beginning of August 2014. My husband and I are having a hard time deciding if she should start Kindergarten right after she turns 5 or hold her until she turns 6. She will only do one year of preschool so we need to decide if she will go to preschool at 4 or 5. She is also shy and a mama's girl. Did any of your kids have summer birthdays? Did you send them at 5 or 6? Do you regret your decision?


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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your help! I think we are going to send her to preschool in the fall and we will see how she does. If we don't think she is ready then we will keep her in pre-k another year.

Thanks again!

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answers from Columbus on

My son's birthday is July 18th. We kept him back, gave him an extra year of preschool, and I am very glad that we did. His kindergarten was full day -- there was no half day option -- and he was very young for his age. It was the best decision we have made in his education, and I have never heard anyone regret keeping them back.

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answers from Detroit on

I regret it big time, with a summer birthday. Next time I will wait until the child is 6.

I don't even want my April baby to start kindergarten in September, but this one will. But no summer birthdays. Kindergarten is the new first grade.

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answers from New York on

I agree with Gamma G. With people holding back summer birthdays now, the age difference in K can be almost two years. Used to be kids were held back if they were Nov-Dec birthdays. NYC does now allow this, if I remember correctly.

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answers from Albuquerque on

There are quite a few young kindergarteners in my girls' kindergarten class. Tons of July and August birthdays (the cutoff is Sept 1). There were even two five year old birthday parties in the class after it started on Aug 15. I've talked to a lot of the parents and they're all pretty happy with the choice they made to send their kids at 5. The only parents I know in the class who are unhappy are actually the parents of the oldest girl in the class. She turned 6 right before K started (they chose to hold her out) and she is a full head taller than everyone else and feels completely awkward.

It used to be "the thing" to hold your child out, but all the research shows now that it's not the best thing for many kids. It's still awesome for children who are very academically or socially behind, but for the kids in the middle -- even if they're mama's girls -- getting them in school with kids their own age is the best thing you can do. Besides, if she's going to do a year of preschool she'll be all ready by K.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, you should send her to kindergarten in the fall of 2014. Kindergarten is designed for 5 year olds. The curriculum is age appropriate and she will do great.

She may blossom in the next 18 months and be less shy. Or, if she's shy, she will probably still be as shy at 6 as she is at 5. Some kids are just shy and that's ok.

My bday is in early August and I never felt like I should have been a grade behind. My son is in kindergarten this year and some of the kids didn't turn 5 until October and they are doing great. I do not notice any differences between the kids who are 6 and the kids who are 5. Send her.

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answers from New York on

My now 13 year old daughter has an early Sept birthday, so I had the option of holding her or starting her in K when she actually hadn't yet turned 5. She was very verbal and very mature for her age. I never regretted the decision. She's in 8th grade now and in all honors classes. I based my decision at the time on her maturity level which I knew was above average. She has a cousin (boy) who is the same age as she is and he started K a year later. He isn't very social and his verbal skills at the time were pretty limited. Both his mother and I made good decisions.

I would base my decision on your daughter's maturity level and willingness for her to join in to class activities. My daughter had had 2 years of preschool (1 school year at 2 mornings a week and 1 year of 3 mornings a week). Maybe if your child will have less pre-K experience and is a "momma's girl", she might need that extra year to get ready? I don't think you'll be making a mistake by holding her another year.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Isn't it possible she'll be like all the other kids her age and have that huge mental growth spurt during kindergarten and 1st grade.

I would always put a child with the kids their own age, if she waits and goes when she's 6 all the other kids will be like babies to her because she'll be a lot more mature by then.

Kids need to be with the kids their own age and not with kids much younger mentally than them. Send her to school with her peers and see how it goes. If she flunks then hold her back. I think she'll surprise you though.

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answers from Rochester on

Studies show that the longer you wait (to a certain extent, of course) to enter your child into kindergarten, the better they will naturally do. This is due to a number of factors, all relating to relative maturity.

Sure, one child at 5 may be more mature than his neighbor was at seven, but that same child will STILL be more mature at age 6 than he was at 5 because he's had another year to grow and learn.

Studies have also recently show that the older children in a class, all the way through high school, tend on average to do better than the youngest children of the same grade.

I homeschool, and I started my first child on K when she was 4, because she was very bright and I felt she was ready. Once I switched to online schooling, however, I regretted starting her so early because she eventually reached things that were just too much related to her maturity, regardless of her level of intellect. I then had to purposely slow her down until she came back to her regular class group. She is still a full year ahead in math than her peers, and I even regret that because the work has become difficult a YEAR QUICKER than it should have for her, and my only choice is to have her repeat a year of math just to bring her back to maturity level.

With my second child, I will certainly wait until she is standard age before I start her in K.

Overall, my opinion is it's best to wait. A child will HARDLY suffer from another year at home with mom, and they gain a lot of confidence when they are able to master tasks more easily.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My son has a late July birthday, and the cut-off here is Sept 1. We did not send him, and it was absolutely the right decision for him. He is in kindergarten this year and overall doing very well.

Preschool was a huge help in making our decision. We did send him for two years (first year two mornings a week, second year three mornings a week). He was timid at first but soon found his way and loved preschool. He made friends, had playdates, etc. His teachers said he was very bright and thought he was right on track. During his second year we (my husband and I and the teachers) all began to notice maturity issues. It started becoming noticeable that he was the youngest in the class.

Our school has kindergarten screenings and (thankfully) has a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class. When I took our son for the screening, my husband made me promis that I would wait and see what the school had to say. They did recommend him for TK, and we gladly accepted. He loved TK last year, and is in Kindergarten now. So glad he had that extra year, and so glad it was at the same school.

I talked to so many parents in the year or so before he turned 5. I talked to parents of young kids and parents of junior high and high school students. Some said they were so glad they had sent their kids right away. Some said they wished they had waited. Some said everything seemed fine at first but they started to notice in 3rd grade or 7th grade that their child really wasn't as mature as his/her peers.

Not one person said, "We waited a year to send him/her, and it was a mistake."

Preschool will be a huge help. Seeing her with her peers will really help you know whether or not this is her ideal age group. Academic readiness is important, but I truly believe maturity and social maturity is much more important. She can be ready academically (knows her ABC's or counts to 20 or knows her shapes or whatever), but if she doesn't fit in with her peers or has meltdowns or has trouble listening to her teacher, that's something that shows she's not ready. These are the things you want to notice.

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answers from Washington DC on

Your daughter is 3 1/2 and you are worrying about this now?
Give yourself a stress break. Send your daughter to preschool in the fall. By the time the school year is ending - April-June 2014 - you and the staff will know what the best decision for your child is. Trying to decide now is selling your child short.

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answers from Kansas City on

I'm glad you're thinking about this now, but you still have 18 months to really make the decision. I would send her to preschool at 4 (this fall) to see how she does. Her preschool teacher can also give you some valuable input to help make your decision. I have two summer boys. My oldest was ready and is now excelling in 2nd grade. My other summer boy is only 2, so time will tell.

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answers from New York on

I'm a kindergarten teacher. I always tell parents, if you have ANY doubts, wait...I find kids that are an older 5 or almost 6 are at an advantage. Go with your gut. Good luck.

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answers from Washington DC on

My son's birthday is July 5th. He turned 5 and started kindergarten right after. He is doing just great! He loves school. Today is Monday and their school is half days on every Monday. On the way to school this morning I was telling my kids "remember today is an early day, so I will be here after lunch". My son said "aw man! I wish it was Tuesday so it was a full day!". He LOVES school, his teacher and his friends. He is doing great and is right where he should be. I have no regrets at all about sending him at 5 years old. So far this year he has been invited to 3 birthday parties for 6 years olds in his class. I told him, we will have to send your birthday invites out about a week before school gets out since he won't be 6 until July, lol!

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answers from Detroit on

It's really too soon to be trying to decide this now. It will just depend on your child and how really ready they are at that time - she's only 3.5 now and it's a whole year and a half away. I would still enroll her for preschool at 4, because if she is that shy and clingy, the sooner you get her over that, the better. I only say that because of what happened with my nephew, who didn't do any preschool or day care at all before kindergarten, had not been socialized enough or used to being away from Mommy for even a short period of time, so when he had to start K at 5, it was a nightmare and he was totally traumatized. He couldn't even focus on what was being taught because half the year was just him getting used to being there, away from his mom and having to follow another adult's directions and interact with other kids. If only my SIL had at least done 1 year of preschool with him at 4, it would have been so much better. The preschool teacher can also give you a better idea how ready she really is when the time comes.

If your start date for school is Sept 1, you may need to send her to K in 2014, no matter what. That's why I would do the preschool at 4. Here in MI, the cut-off is Dec.1, but in our school district kids with later birthdays between Sept 1 and Dec 1 can postpone going to K if they go to "junior kindergarten" instead - it's like an extra year to make up the gap between preschool and kindergarten, if they are just not ready yet. If your school district offers that, then you could consider it after she does preschool at 4, and then still start K at 6.

For what it's worth, our daughter turned 5 at the beginning of August this year and started kindergarten 2 weeks later and she's done great. She already had 2 years of preschool under her belt and was more than ready - if she had to do another year of preschool, or a year of junior K, she would probably be bored out of her mind.

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answers from Kansas City on

What is your reason for only doing one year of preschool? You could send her to 4 y/o preschool and then still decide. Many places offer a Pre-K type class for students are technically old enough for K (or who miss the cut off by just a month or two) but are waiting a year to start. I would probably consider that as an option.

That being said, I'd wait and send her when she's 6. I truly think being older is better. I taught for 8 years and my daughter misses the K cut off by just a few weeks. At first I was kinda bummed, but now that she is in her second year of PS and getting ready for K in the fall I'm sooooo much happier with how things worked out.

When I taught something we always encouraged parents to think about was the future of their kids and not the present. In K, 1, 2 is it going to make a huge difference that she's on the younger, not that much. BUT, when she is in middle and high school, do you really want her being one year younger and facing those same peer pressure decisions like drinking, sex, drugs, etc. One additional year in experience and self control can make a big difference at that age and I'd rather have my kid be older.

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answers from Austin on

Depends on the child.

Our child was always one of the youngest all the way through high school. But we knew she was ready. First of all, she had been in daycare since she was a year old. So we knew she was prepared..

She could follow directions. She loved knowing the rules. She could read, Very verbal.. she could do everything except tie her own shoes. we did need to help her with some fine motor skills during kinder, but she was not the only child.. even some of the older kids also needed practice.

We just knew if we held her back,, she would be bored in preschool..

She did great.. what we noticed is that by about 3rd grade.. it all evens out and you tend to get a good idea of what type of student your child is going to be all through their school years.

Keep in mind she was in our neighborhood public school. There were boys in her class that had just turned 5 but were the babies of the family.. . There were children that were about to turn 6. There were kids that had never even been to Mothers day out.. There was even one little boy already reading on a 5th grade level at the beginning of the school year!

But they all did just fine.. They all graduated together from high school..

Our daughter was an only child so she did not have older siblings to follow,. we as parents also did not have the experience of children already going through the system, but we all survived.

If you are concerned, ask your school district for a list of their kindergarten preparedness list.. that will be a good guide or you.

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answers from Columbus on

Since that's more than a year and a half away, I'd wait to see how she progresses in general development. She may be ready for preschool at 4; maybe not till 5. Same with Kindergarten - some little ones are ready at 5; some not till 6.

I have two September babies - my son started preschool at 4 and did a couple years (partly because of needing speech therapy) and then started Kindergarten at 6; my daughter didn't do any preschool and went right into Kindergarten at 5 because she was ready!

Of course now they're in high school and both Honors' students so they've both done equally well no matter what ages they started. The only thing that's ever bothered them is my daughter is always the youngest in her class; my son is always the oldest.

As for being shy - my son was very shy - we would go to Barnes & Noble reading time and other little play groups. Helped him a lot. But then Boy Scouts helped him even more.

Good luck!!

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answers from Chicago on

I waited. My daughter has a late Aug birthday with the cutoff being Aug 31. The majority of her classmates had birthday within weeks of hers, so she was the oldest but not by much.

I'm not worried about the elementary years of her schooling. The reason why I felt it's best to *hold* her back is for the junior high and high school years. I would rather have her be a bit more mature with all the peer pressure that goes on.

I also figure that if my daughter is ahead academically, there is always advanced classes. But if she is struggling it's a lot harder to catch up.

My niece started school early. She's now a junior in h.s. She is struggling with all the peer pressure which means her straight A's are now C & some D. She has major emotional stresses with being younger and she doesn't know how to handle it.

Good luck with your decision, it's a hard one.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is now 18 years old. She was always shy and sensitive.

Her birthday is August 31st, and our area has a September 1st cut off for Kindergarten. Daycare, etc was not an issue as I do home daycare (I know this is sometimes a concern for parents...less to pay in daycare once they are in school for some?).

She started Kindergarten a few short days after her 5th Birthday. Other than Math never being a good subject for her, she always did well, took some honors classes, did a rigorous Math and Science program for 5 years, and spent the last 2 years of High School at an Art school. She is talented and starts college next week after many scholarship offers. She did begin at an out of state college in the fall, but being away from home did not suit her, so we are back to my first choice for her! (back to that shy and sensitive thing!)

We never regretted the choice and in grade school she gravitated to 2 particular girls who skipped a grade and were even younger than her in school. They are all still great friends, even though life is taking them in completely different directions now with college.

I myself am a June birthday from the olden days and my husband is an August birthday, so maybe that was part of it for us?

Good Luck!

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answers from Boston on

There is a lot of holding back going on these days for situations like yours, and I think a lot of it has to do with parents' valid concerns over the fast-paced, challenging, rigorous kindergarten curriculum. It was not this way when we were kids - now kindergarten is like the first half of grade 1 was. Kids are expected to be reading by January and have to do much more sitting and listening and less running and playing. I am a teacher; this is the truth! Both my girls have summer birthdays, and ironically, my younger one with a June birthday is in K now and has "struggled" way more than my July daughter, who was reading and excelling by October of her K year. It just depends on the kid. I know my older daughter absolutely belongs with her peers, and she is way above grade level academically, but sometimes I worry about my little one, who is just so little at heart and doubts herself at every turn. Academically, she guesses when she reads and doesn't use sounding out strategies because she seems afraid to get it wrong. We are trying to help her at home and boost her confidence so she feels okay to take a risk and try at school. Her teacher has expressed concern and we are going to be talking in a few weeks to evaluate her progress.

Part of me knows the poor kids are pushed too hard, and in the past, my daughter would be perfectly normal. The teachers are so worried about how the kids will do in grade 1 when they are only in K, it seems they can't enjoy their K year! So I try to relax because she IS normal. It's tough though. Socially, she is very happy and thriving and confident, so in the end, I am glad she went on to K at a new age 5.

You can always repeat K if your child seems to need it. I would give it a shot but remember, the standards are tougher and higher, so don't panic if your child seems a little "behind" at first. She's really not! Good luck.

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answers from Atlanta on

We also have a late July birthday child and had to make this decision a couple times. On the advice of her preschool teachers, we kept her in preschool for an extra year and therefore she has been the oldest in her classes for several years. Down sides: she resented the extra year in preK and she isn't all that happy with the age difference, especially since she is academically ahead. However, we gave her that extra year because she needed the time to mature and acquire confidence, and I am certain that she is doing well precisely because we gave her that extra year. She is also physically a smaller build, so even with being 6-12 months older than most of the other kids, she is still only in the middle of the pack for size--a year earlier, and she'd be tiny by comparison. So for now, we have no regrets. I will say ditto to what the others said, namely just wait and see for the next year. The preschool teachers and others will be able to give you some perspective on what option looks best for your particular gal. They're all different.

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answers from Austin on

It really depends on the child... I have 2 girls with August birthdays... one we did not retain at that point, and one we did.... each girl was totally different.

The older one we sent to Kindergarten when she was 5.... she was really smart, but had a hard time focusing... there was just so much more that was interesting to her. In second grade, her teacher recommended having her repeat 2nd grade, but we declined. At 4th grade, she kind of hit a wall.... the odd thing was, when they did the Iowa Basics tests that year, she tested in math computation, she tested at a late 3rd grade... but for math comprehension, she tested at 7th grade! She intuitively understood it, but at that point, had not memorized her multiplication and division facts, and really struggled.

That was also a rough year for us as a family... too many things to go into right now.... but we moved at the end of the school year to Texas (from Iowa), and had her repeat 4th grade at that point. For her, that was the best thing we could have done..... it gave her a chance to catch up both socially and academically.... she just finished her Doctorate in Microbiology at Johns Hopkins, to let you know how that ultimately did help her.

The other August birthday, was always different from her big sisters.... she just wasn't ready to sit down and learn. We delayed her entry into Kindergarten, and had her attend a different pre-school program. It did help some, but she still struggled when she got to middle school and high school... she is really bright, but was having social problems, and some academic problems. We now realize that she is ADHD, and struggled with focus and social issues all those years....

What I'm trying to say is that we really can't tell you WHAT to do...all you can do is do the best you can to make what you feel is the right decision at the time..... would daughter #1 have turned out differently if we had delayed her entry into Kindergarten? I don't really think so...... but we had her repeat a grade at pretty much the right time for her, and it worked out just fine.

We would have had problems with the other daughter no matter what we had done..... we just had to deal with it the best we could.

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answers from Washington DC on

i sent mine at 4 and he did fine, but kindergarten was a lot more laid back then (and only half a day.) in today's high-pressure kindergarten i'd probably wait.

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answers from Dover on

When I was in school, the cut off was Dec 31st so kids with Sept - Dec birthday started when they were 4 turning 5. It was the norm. My birthday is late July so I had just turned 5 a month before starting school. No problems...I actually did very well.

My son's birthday is Oct and he was ready for school but had a horrible teacher for K and not great ones for 3-5 so they sort of turned him off from school and I have fought that for a long time. I don't think it was his age as the other kids in his K class were having the same problems regardless of their birthdate...yes, teacher was that bad.

The laws have changed and the cut off is August 30th now. My daughter was basically ready when she was 3 turning 4 but with a Dec birthday couldn't start for two more years. She is striving and doing well (but she would have last year too).

In your case, I would only hold your daughter back if she was having real problems (either socially or academically) in preschool and the teachers (there and the ones at the elementary school) really felt she needed to wait a year. Otherwise, I would send her on time.

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answers from Sacramento on

I think it depends on the child. My son is a mid August baby and I wish I had held him back. He's an outgoing kid, but not a mature one compared to most of his classmates and almost a full year younger than many of them.

We are in an area where there is significant academic competition. Academically and behaviorally he has struggled each year. He's smart and always catches up by the last quarter and does beautifully by the end of the year. He's now in 2nd grade and we've realized that if we don't keep up his skills over the summer and the long breaks he starts again at a deficit when school starts again.

I just feel like he's one of those "between the cracks kids". He's not quite ready for the grade he's in, but at this point he wouldn't fit in in the lower grade either. Looking back I would have opted to put him in a more academic preschool or pre-k program and waited til he was 6 to put him in kinder.

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answers from Reno on

my daughters birthday is august 2. We kind of had our decision made for us. we were on the fence about starting her at a young 5, well we did the testing for the private school we wanted her in and she was first on the waiting list so we said if she gets in we will start her and if she doesnt we will wait. well they didnt have an opening that year so we waited. BEST choice for us ever. she is in 4th grade now doing very well. she is not the oldest either which is nice. academics were never a worry by the way.
good luck to you

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answers from Joplin on

My 16 yo has a very early September birthday. Was very advanced as a toddler and could have tested to go ahead and start school when she was barely 5 but I am very glad we didn't send her. She has always been mature compared to other kids in her class and I like the idea that she will be older when she graduates and leaves home:).

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answers from Chicago on

Does your school have testing? My son has been in the preschool since he was 3.5 (he is 4.5 now and will go on to kindergarten in the fall ( his birthday is Aug 9th).

I was very young when I went, My birthday was in Nov.. so I graduated HS when I was 17 and started college at 17 also.

Talk to school and see what they say.. Sometimes they can test and see what would be more beneficial.


answers from San Francisco on

My son is a July birthday and we were on the fence too. I asked his pre-school teacher what she thought and she told me that in her experience most preschoolers make a big leap in maturity during the spring. So, we went ahead and enrolled him in kindergarten. He was beyond ready by the time fall came around.



answers from Seattle on

Girls are usually okay being on the younger side in school. My daughter was extremely shy and a mamas girl at 3.5 but as soon as she turned four she found her voice, and will do just fine at full day k next year!



answers from Springfield on

We have four summer babies, all who were/are eligible to start kindergarten at age 5. While weighing the options of when to start them, we ultimately decided that a year of kindergarten would be more beneficial than a year of daycare/pre-k, and if they didn't progress as much as we wanted, then repeating kindergarten wouldn't be the end of the world.


answers from Grand Forks on

In Canada children start kindergarten the calandar year they turn five, so kids born in the fall start when they are four. While some of the younger kids seem a little behind in kindergarten by grade one they are all caught up. My boys both turned five in the summer before they started kindergarten and there were never any issues. It would never have occured to me to hold them back.



answers from San Francisco on

If she is shy and will only have one year of pre-k, I would definitely wait until she is 6. I sent my kiddo right when he turned 5, but he was sooooo ready. If he would have been able to start at 4, I would have put him in then. He was extremely bored with pre-school. GL



answers from Cleveland on

I am assuming your district cut-off it August 31 or later. The school disctrict where I worked is August 1, so if it is that early, you don't have to worry about it. The school district where I live is Sept. 30, so my son born on labor day will start K when he's not quite 5 (unless we opt to hold him out a year). In Ohio, your child has to be enrolled in K by the time they are 6 (I noticed someone said you might 'have to' enroll in 2014, but at least here, that would not be the case).
This is a popular topic of discussion among my family. My older brother has a late August birthday. While he was ready to start school at barely 5, he graduated hs and started college at 17. He drove later than all his friends. He began his job search at 21. He points out now that all of his friends tend to be his cronological age, but were a year behind him in school. He is very very smart, and was academically ready for school, but he feels that he was never quite socially at the same level as his peers. Just another way to look at it.
As a preschool teacher, I have often referred my late birthdays back to preschool for another year. It really depends on the individual, and it probably is too soon to make this decision, but certainly not too soon to be thinking about it!

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