Late Entry into Kindergarten or Straight into 1St Grade

Updated on January 25, 2010
S.M. asks from Littleton, CO
14 answers

My daughter will be six in April. We tried Kindergarten, though I elected to pull her out due to a situation with the school and another student. I know what she needs to learn prior to entering 1st grade for this year and I have been working with her. Some of the teachers that I have spoken with say she will be too old for Kindergarten and not ready for the rigors of 1st grade. If I put her in Kindergarten she will be 6 1/2 going in an 18 during her junior year of HS. I don't care about the HS part as much but my spouse thinks it will be a problem later on. My real concern is overwhelming her by going straight into 1st grade. I am seriously frustrated with some of the reactions of teachers that I have spoken with about her not being in Kindergarten. They behave as if she has no future. It's ludicrous!

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answers from Denver on

Helping her by homeschooling or getting just the basics down will really help her to feel more prepared for school. The option of getting her into a charter school right NOW is a very positive one. She could start getting the basics down and learn the behavior of how to be with others in school. I know it is more work for you to find a school right now.

She is older and yes she may get ahead of her peers or become bored. Keep a look out for this. You may need to do summer schooling and bump her up a grade the following year.
The best of luck to you,

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answers from New York on

Its up to what you feel your daughter can handle. I know that as a first grade teacher I could tell the difference in some children who didn't attend a K program as they were behind their peers not only academically but socially as well. School shouldn't be about just reading and writing but also a place where kids grow emotionally as well. That said I've had some kids that have done just fine and you'd never know they didn't attend preschool or K.
Districts have various requirements for each grade level so check with yours to see if you'll be meeting them before she begins. Is there a different school she could go to? A Montessori, private, church, or even tutoring if it's needed?
Some kids have trouble making friends so keeping her enrolled in some sort of activities with kids she'll be going to school with is always a great idea. Some kids are older and or younger and have a harder time socializing as they are more mature or less mature than those around them. Overall its up to you and your husband to do what's best for your daughter. Good luck.



answers from Rochester on

My DH is a kindergarten teacher, so I asked him his opinion on this matter. She sounds like she will have a solid academic approach to kindergarten if she returns to it. But, he did point out that kindergarten is not only for the basic academia, but also to learn social interactions and the procedures associated with school. I think you need to evaluate your daughter and her adjustment in the social and procedural environment. Does she have a lot of playmates that she interacts with on a regular basis? Does she attend some type of structural setting such as Story Hour at the local library? How does she do following the rules and procedures in such an environment?

I think your answers to these questions will help you to make the right decision for your daughter.



answers from Chicago on

As a teacher and a parent I can say that only you know what is best for your child. Don't let what the teachers say frustrate you. As a teacher, I would say try to put her age aside and base your decision on where you think she fits best academically. The school should be able to give you some benchmarks of what children should know coming into each grade, and exiting each grade. Try to get a copy of this and see where your daughter falls. Being "too old for Kindergarten" isn't a bad thing. Age wise, she would be older but she may thrive and it could be a more motivating setting for her if she's older. Even if she knows some of the material, it would be encouraging for her and could create self confidence. As far as going to first grade, it depends how frustrated your daughter gets with unfamiliar tasks.

Again, it's your decision as the parent, and the teachers should support you not discourage you. Try to get the benchmarks for skills and I think that will help you make an informed decision. Good luck!



answers from Boise on

Kindergarten is not a requirement, however, the schools have put a lot of focus on the education in the Kindergarten classroom. All you need to ask yourself is if she is mature enough to handle first grade. If you say "yes" then she will be fine. My son's school requires the students going into 1st grade reading proficient because they are required to read in cursive(He goes to a private school with excellent education). Make sure that she has a sound understanding of letters, sounds and basic reading and math concepts and she should be fine. My husband's parents chose not to send their kids to Kindergarten, but started them in 1st grade, and they did not have any educational or emotional issues or setbacks.



answers from New York on

What about finding another kindergarten class for her to be in. She needs kindergarten or some type of schooling before 1st grade. Think about putting her in kindergarten to finish out the year. Good luck



answers from Boise on

Kids can skip Kindergarten. I think her being too old in HS will be really rough on her more than jumping into 1st grade. She'd be way taller and older than all her peers all through school, which may make her feel like a freak because she is different, plus I would guess she would get more bored throughout elementary school because she'll be ready for harder concepts than her peers.




answers from Cincinnati on

I think you will be surprised by how many 6 year olds are in Kindergarten these days. A lot of parents elect to hold their child back a year if their birthday is anywhere near the cut-off date. I would ask the district to have her tested and they should be able to place her abilities and see if she will be ready for first grade or not. You may need to discuss with them (especially if this is the same school you pulled her out of) the issues you had and figure out with them how you will work it out with them in the future when there is a problem.



answers from Salt Lake City on

Consider that when you look around at other happy, productive adults, you can't tell if they attended kindergarten or not, or if they started young or were held back. You can trust your instincts that your daughter will not be scarred for life by your careful decisions regarding her early childhood learning experiences.
My son, too, had an unpleasant start to his kindergarten year at our neighborhood public school. After Christmas, we chose to pull him out and had him finish his kindergarten year at a small Montessori school. It was the best thing we could have done, for a variety of reasons. The teachers were gentle and responsive (the previous kindergarten teacher had been a big part of our disappointment) and our son just thrived in the mixed-age classroom.
Montessori was not a long-term commitment for us; our son went on to attend first grade at the local public school the next year. But the time he spent in the mixed-age-group classroom was so valuable. The kids ranged in age from 3 to 6. He could look up to the children who were older and more advanced, and was encouraged to help the younger children. Academically, between me having fun working with him at home and all the wonderful things he learned at his Montessori school, he was well-prepared for first grade and was and is still at the top of his class. If you have a nearby Montessori school, I'd encourage you to look into it.
You could also find some homeschooling families and get together with them for group activities for socializing experiences, or just enroll your daughter in a couple of fun classes (dance, gymnastics, library story time, etc.) and work with her a lot at home so you feel confident she has learned what she needs to, both socially and academically, to start first grade.
Personally, my birthday fell the day after my elementary school's age cut-off day, so I started preschool as the oldest in my class. Then, in kindergarten, I could read fluently and easily and was bored learning letter sounds, so I was put into first grade, where I was the youngest in my class. I stayed there until I reached fourth grade and *struggled* with the math concepts taught. Looking back, I believe I was just not ready to understand some of the abstract concepts, and the teacher was not one I particularly connected with. I repeated fourth grade and was back to being the oldest in my class. This is the age group I stayed with until I graduated from high school, so I was always one of the oldest in my class. No big deal. I turned 18 at the start of my senior year and it was really no big deal.
Best wishes!



answers from Detroit on

Google Home school Cariculum and Work through it over the summer. I as long as she knows the info it soes not matter if she learns it at school!



answers from Denver on

Put her in Kindergarten next year and I think you will be happy when social challenges arise. I have two August kids that I started as 6 year olds in Kindergarten despite running into some of what you describe from teachers as your daughter having no future. And FWIW, we are a tall family which was another thing some teachers had said we should consider and start them younger---I started them older anyway and my kids are the tallest in their class--BIG DEAL!

My oldest child has sensory processing disorder that was discovered in preschool (7 years ago) and one of the first questions the teachers asked was his birthday---he's in March and they described him as being young and that developmentally that MAY have been playing into some of his difficulties as well. They felt that children born before the turn of the year generally had an easier time keeping up with the curriculum.

On the other hand, I am an April baby and never felt like one of the younger kids in the class. However and understanding she is a different person, I see how well my August daughter has handled all the pettiness girls can dish out (it started when she was four!), and I wish I could have handled it half as well as she does. She is 8 and in second grade and is one of the most level headed kids I know. Yes, I am biased, and have no idea how she does things so well but the only thing I can give myself credit for is starting her as an older Kindergartener.

Best wishes.



answers from Provo on

If I were in your situation, I would find a good homeschool program and you prepare her for 1st grade. Then I would find a good charter school. You could even look for a charter school now and talk with the principal about getting your child in now. My daughter is attending a charter school and we love it, because of smaller class size and the schools seem to care about what happens to the children. Another option would be to not decide right now, and work with your daughter until next year and then have her tested to see where she is academically. I hope your able to find a good solution. Good luck.



answers from Grand Rapids on

I would try and put her in another school for Kindergarten now or maybe a young 5's class. Something to keep her in a school setting. My son went to young 5's last year and this year is in Kindergarten and I'm amazed at how much different it is. It's much harder. There's so much more going on. Art, gym, library, computer, lunches plus all the in class work. It took us a few months to get used to the busyness of it all. With that said you should do what you think your daughter can handle. If you think she is ready for first grade next year send her but if not don't hesitate to hold her back. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

Maggie, You need to trust you heart on this one. I am a preschool/kindergarten teacher, and I see all different levels of development with the children. Some of them definitely benefit from additional time in kindergarten, while others are clearly ready to move on...

My youngest sister was held back a year, for developmental reasons, so she was 7 in first grade. My mom intuitively felt it was the best decision for her. It turned out to be wonderful, and my sister made life-long friends in her class. She was ready, confident, and happy in her class. She went on to be one of the top students in her class, and went to an ivy league college, and is getting married this year!!!

I think confidence is key in terms of academic success. Holding a child back for a year rarely hurts, and I would recommend it more than pushing a child before she is ready.



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