Picking up Kid Early from Kindergarten

Updated on June 26, 2011
V.B. asks from Columbus, OH
28 answers

Hi all,

our almost 6 year old daughter (October birthday) is about to start kindergarten. State of Ohio requires 12.5 hrs of kindergarten instruction... Yet in our school district (Columbus) full time attendance is required (9am -3:30pm)...Has anyone had any experience with transitioning your kid to kindergarten by picking them up early (say noon) for a few weeks or months?

Filled by anxiety of course, I don't know if my kid can handle 6 hrs of kindergarten every day. Currently she is in part time preschool (3 hrs 3 days a week) and with grandparents at other times while I work. She has a speech delay for which we are doing speech therapy and she is catching up quite nicely, about 80 percent there. She is tall and almost 6 as it is, so I don't think that holding her back another year is a good idea. She is an active kid with normal fine and gross motor skills, a bit of a free spirit, prefers activities to books, is neither quiet or temperamental. When tired or upset she looses interest in things although may appear as if she's paying attention. Basically, I don't want her to get frustrated with school if it's too much too soon, and want to see if there is an option of stepping up the dosage gradually, so to speak...

Any shared experiences on customizing full time kindergarten schedule is appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Ladies. Seriously. Can someone actually share an experience, rather than an opinion? Has anyone been able to negotiate something with the administration on nice friendly terms? I did hear of a friend of a friend who did, so obviously there are people out there who do it. Obviously I wouldn't do this without administration's awareness and acceptance under either some law or some form of negotiated agreement. And I wouldn't even do this if I see that she's actually OK. I am just trying to do research early. Please, any real experience?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I would let her try it first before you start worrying about it. If she really cannot handle it then address it. Maybe you could pick her up early a couple of days a week or something. Whatever you do, do not let her know that you feel this way. It could be a self fullfilling prophecy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The full day kindergarten is not all sitting like the older grades. they have snack times, rest times, play times etc all built in. she will be fine. especially if she is almost 6. at 6 most kids are starting 1st grade.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Oh it's sooo scary my baby is growing up!!! I hear ya, been there 4 times.
She'll be fine Kindergarten teachers know how to keep kids busy and have fun and learn.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Gainesville on

Really? Your daughter will feel so left out if you pick her up early! She will be 6 in october she will be fine! My daughter truned 5 the week before kindergarten and did fine for a full day! Also I'm sure the school will have trouble with you picking her up early..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Don't overprotect her. It will inadvertently give her the message that she isn't capable. She is quite old enough to handle 6 hours at school, even with a speech delay, since she is almost 6.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

The only experience that I have is the fact that I had some of the same concerns you have. My daughter attended 1/2 day preschool 3 days a week before going to full time kindergarten also. I was worried, just like you are, that she would have a hard time with the fulltime thing. She did totally fine. She had an AWESOME teacher and did fabulous. My nerves were just mommy nerves and my baby starting kindergarten....probably a lot of what yours are. :0)

Kindergarten is a lot of play learning and your daughter may feel left out if she has to leave early. Also, another thing to check with the school about....if she does not get the required hours they my hold her back and not allow her to go into 1st grade....you do NOT want this.

Let her start out fulltime, and give it enough time for her, and you, to actually adjust. If it is just not working out then meet with the teacher and school counselor and go from there. :o)

Good luck!! First day of kindergarten is HARD.....more on the mommies than on the kiddos.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

We all worry mom but she will be fine! And you won't do her any favors by picking her up early for a "few weeks or months". I guarantee you'll get pulled into the principal's office for a conference for your child missing school so much.

They structure the children's day so that they are busy all day. The time will fly for your daughter. They don't stay on any one thing for too long in keeping with their attention spans. They break up the tasks/subjects. Like at my son's school they would have math after play or lunch time so that they were fresh to tackle a more challenging subject.

If you are anxious about the transition so will she. Don't show this to her. Be happy for her. Be excited for this whole new world for her. Tell her that. Tell her all the great things that are to come with this new school year.

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answers from Dallas on

in most districts, kindergarten(or enrolling in school altogether, such as homeschooling) is not required by law, but once you DO enroll, you are held to attendance standards. i think it would be academically disastrous, as well as very disruptive to the class, to pick your daughter up early for weeks/months, and the school would prob not allow it. if you are that concerned, look into a half day private kinder program - there are typically a lot of church based half day programs. kinder teachers are VERY much accustomed to short attention spans, they all have short attention spans at 5 years old :)

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I was going to do this with our 2nd daughter (because there was NO WAY she could stay awake, alert, and functioning for a full day). Our public school would not allow it. We did a parochial school for Kindergarten that did half days and I think it was the best thing ever! We transitioned over to public school now and she is in 2nd grade reading on a 5th grade level, advanced in all areas, and could be promoted a grade if we would want...however, she was 5 when she started Kindergarten so we prefer to have her with peers her own age, not 2 years older! :) We live in Fort Wayne, IN so it may have different regulations about that in Ohio. Check with the principal, guidance counselor, or even the board if you have to go there. I know that here in Fort Wayne we have to meet state academic standards and the kids are *required* to have a 90 percent attendance rate. Although, the other alternative is to speak with your pediatrician and tell him your thoughts. They usually cannot argue with a doctors note and have to accomodate. I wish you the best of luck with it all! Just stay strong...only you know whats best for your baby!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I see plenty of five year olds who do very well in full-day kindergarten. My dear friend's daughter is one of them. Her parents weren't sure full-day was quite the right thing, but they did it and are soooo glad they did. She's really thrived this last year.

Remember, too, that your daughter isn't going to be sitting at a desk and reading all day. Kindergarten teachers usually understand the shorter attention span of their students and offer times for free play as well as more interactive options, music and movement to get their wiggles out. From your description, my guess is that an early pickup is going to make her feel more "different" from her peers and she might interpret this as a 'no confidence/you aren't ready yet' message from you. She needs to know that you believe that she can do it. It's going to be an adjustment---kindergarten always is. Try for earlier bedtimes if needed and strong routines, pack her a nutritious lunch, and then let her blossom a little more!:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I'm not sure if they do this in Ohio, but Kindergartner's in WI take a 20-30 minute rest time. (not sure if that's a state law or just the school districts) The first couple of months both of my kids were very tired after school. So we adjusted - earlier bedtimes, no extracurricular activities just until they were used to this schedule. She will adjust and I'm sure you will be surprised at how well she does. But if she doesn't know that she will adjust with some time.

Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

my youngest daughter didnt have any preschool cause i couldnt afford it and she went right into kindergarten just fine. at this point they do alot of "play learning", the hardest thing for her was she was tired when she got home so i would give her a snack and let her sit on the living room floor and relax while she watched a show and she was usually fine. id talk to her teacher at orientation and voice your concerns......good luck!

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answers from Cleveland on

As a teacher, I don't think this is something that you'll be able to negotiate, and I'd be very surprised if you find anyone that can share a customizing kindergarten experience other than homeschooling. In Ohio, there are attendance and academic content standards that correlate with funding. Full time kindergarten is also well on its way to being implemented across the board, funding/physical space the only true vehicle slowing it down. We also have a lottery in my home district and most are very displeased when their child does not get into the full day program. Children learn the same amount of material, but at a slower pace with time for rest. I've known several children that repeated kindergarten as half day kindergarten was overwhelming due to the faster pace.

While entering school may seem daunting, perhaps you may ask yourself if you feel it is more you or her that is not yet ready for kindergarten? I myself didn't feel I was ready for my first to go. What does your preschool tell you? You mentioned she will be 6 in the Fall, but not until October; that still puts her at 5 entering school where many opt to wait until they are already 6. From personal teaching experience, it's the very rare 5 year old that should be entering in the Fall and I've yet to meet a teacher that doesn't feel the same way. More often than not, they lag behind their peers who start when they are 6. I'm sure she will do very well in school when she does go, but I would recommend continuing with the speech therapy as private therapy is always beneficial.

She will be tired the first few weeks of school, but my experience with both of mine who attended full day was excellent. Still, in my personal experience, unless she is very ready according to her teachers, I'd go with next year when she is already 6.

Best of luck to you, V..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Just let her go to school regular hours. Really, they are experts and know that not every kid is used to full days, 5 days a week. Most of the time is spent playing, snacking, having lunch, and with a full day there is probably some sort of nap or rest time. I bet she'll do just fine if you have her start the full day immediately, but if there is a problem, cross that bridge when you get there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My situation was a little different...it wasn't done though the administration but at the teacher's suggestion.

Going to full time is exhausting for them...my son who was in Kindergarten came home tired everyday...but not super bad. Then he caught mono...he missed about two weeks right before Christmas.

When we went back in January the teacher called after about three days and said he was falling asleep in class right after lunch. She suggested that for the next two weeks I pick him up early and see if that helped him transition back into school and fully get over the mono.

She clued me in that in TX once roll is taken at 9am the child is considered in attendance all day even if they leave at 9:01am. So him leaving early wasn't going to effect his attendance.

So, I picked him up early for two weeks then he was much better and was back to all day schedule.

It was the teacher who made the suggestion and helped us. So you might start with her teacher if it seems too much for her too soon.

She will be exhausted the first few weeks it is a big transition. My son went from 5 hours 2 days a week to full day.

Hope it all goes well for you guys!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I teach in a full day K and talk to mothers and teachers in the nearby town with half day K What I hear is the difference between full time kindergarten and half day is that half day programs try to cram the same amount of academics into shorter time and cut back on relaxing breaks, socialization breaks, and play time. I've heard it can be more stressful.
What do her preschool teachers say about her Kindergarten readiness? Trust them, they are experts and they compare her to other kids her age in your town. You are the mommy and they are the teachers-very different relationship! I also feel Most kids would be Very upset about leaving early every and missing something, leaving early could be much harder on her than a full day. and it sends a message that she isnt like the other kids, that she is inferior. Either she needs special ed (doesnt sound like it) or she is ready for kindergarten.
Sorry that most of us have an opinion that doesnt match yours. That can happen when you ask questions here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

We are Columbus schools, too. I can relate to being nervous about full day K, though I don’t have any experience with picking up early.

My son didn't go to preschool but was in full day home childcare with a couple other kids the same age. With our school, K started a week or two after the 1st – 5th graders had gone back. There were also staggered days so for the first week it wasn’t 5 days of 9-3:30. There was an adjustment period for DS and first day of K is tough anyways :-( Maybe even more for mom/dad, though, LOL!

He did great though. They had naps and 3 recesses - morning, lunch, afternoon. I feel my son’s teachers were really good at helping the kids adjust and I believe would have quickly informed us had there been a problem. Parents are encouraged to ask questions and we have always scheduled the Parent/Teacher conference so that we could talk to the teacher and get a stronger feel (than just his report card) for how he was doing. I also believe had there been a problem that they would have worked with us.

Definitely check with your school about their attendance rules. I saw one post about even being able to take them after attendance check – I think Columbus may be much stricter on this and her attendance would be affected.

Has she already had an evaluation with her teacher? If not, that would be a great time to ask about it too. Our school has parent consultants; you may want to see if yours does, too - very valuable source to answer questions, get info, etc. You could also ask about being a teacher's helper if your schedule allows; though she may also do better without you there. With our son I think he actually did better without us being there though I was able to get off work to go help with the Winter Party and Valentine's Party and I also went on the field trip to the zoo.

I hope this helps; please PM if you'd like more info.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I know it's hard thinking about your baby going to school all day, but remember kids do this every year and do just fine. I would think turning 6 in October, she should be fine with the all day, maybe a little adjustment in the beginning, but other than that...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

i am a big believer in half day kindergarten-- both my kids have done it and they will have the rest of their lives to be in school all day-- why start a year early?

we are planning to do partial enrollment for our 2nd grader next year because a full school day is just too much for him. he'll go for about 4 hours. talk to your principal-- you are the parent and can choose what you do with your child. i'm not sure what the laws are in ohio, but here in indiana there is no problem with our plan. i'm excited to have some one on one time at home with him.

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answers from Lansing on

I personally feel you should let the school work with her. You will probably be amazed at what she learns in Kindergarten. I don't know how it is in your state but by the first marking period kids need to know all letters and their sounds extremely well. And by the next marking period they are reading. So attendance is important. My daughter went from preschool 4 days a week for 3 hours to full day Kindergarten 5 days a week and coped really well. She did not have any delays holding her back but she was one of the youngest in her class. She finished the year as one of the top students for her class.

I think you should let the school handle it. Oh and Kindergarten is still a lot of hands on learning with centers, singing and dancing. Or at least it was for my daughter.

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answers from Dallas on

You might want to check your state's attendance laws. In our state, kids who come to school late or leave early too much can get into trouble. You just need to be sure.

Just go with it and make adjustments as needed. Trust in your child's abilities.



answers from Cleveland on

Check with your school district to see what their policy is on attendance - we are in Ohio as well (Medina) and my daughter was marked absent one day for kindergarten when she left 25 minutes early to go to the hospital with me and one of my other children - granted she was only half day but she was there for 85% of the day, and they still considered her being absent (which is ridiculous). If you take her out too many days early and they mark it as absent, you may have an attendance issue.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son just turned 6 last october and just finished first grade (7:45am -2pm) and he's done fine. There were those days where he took an hour nap after school, but he was fine. I think your daughter will be fine with full day kinder!

If you can afford it... who about doing preschool full time or some summer day camp and see how she does with that!


answers from Dover on

I have never heard of a child regularly being picked up/dismissed early from any grade. I have heard of 1/2 day kindergarten but kids are typically required to attend as scheduled by the normal class structure. Taking them out early means they are missing part of their day/some activity/learning or social experience. Kindergarten is more advanced these days but it is truly preparing them for 1st grade. I would suggest sending her, as scheduled. IF after a few weeks you AND the teacher see a problem, try work at a plan...maybe you keep her home longer in the morning and bring her to school (cuts out the bus ride) and pick her up in the afternoon (again, eliminates the bus ride and gets her home earlier).



answers from Oklahoma City on

I think she'll do fine. If she doesn't you can address it when it happens. They'll be taking a nap in the afternoon until at least Christmas break. After that they'll start weaning off it. Also, they have scheduled play time each day too. She won't be sitting at a desk working the whole time or even most of the time.

If the child does not complete the required hours of school they flunk due to absences. If they are late, even 5 minutes it counts as half a days absence. She has to go the full day unless your district has the half day program.



answers from Detroit on

My daughter turned 6 last January. Her school has all day kindergarten, and part time isn't an option. At first I was upset about it, and didn't understand why the school acted like it was a good thing - they were taking my baby away! She also had been in part-time preschool. I didn't like it at all, it seemed like such a long day. They did have rest time, but she was still so cranky when she got home, and I felt really bad for her.

Whenever she stayed home sick, I got notes from her teacher about how "concerned" she was that my daughter missed school. I didn't understand, it was only kindergarten for heaven's sake!

But, by the end of the school year, when I realized just how much she had learned and grown in such a short time, I finally understood why full time kindergarten was actually a good thing. Even though it was hard, it was well worth it in the end, and now I am not one bit worried about her going into first grade.



answers from Boston on

In our town we only provide half day kindergarten. There is a full day option but it costs money and there is a lottery, and all the working parents are always stressed that they may not get their kid into full day kindergarten. Funny, we all stress over something.
I also worried about the long full days, but teachers are very aware that this is new for most kids and scheduled quiet time in the early afternoon. In the first half of the year the kids could bring a blanket or towel to lay on during quiet time, and a lot actually fell asleep. In the second half of the year the teacher would read during quiet time, and still some fell asleep.
You could talk to the teacher about your concerns, and she will probably set your mind at ease by explaining the schedule and free time. Our kindergarten had a picture-schedule with a magnet that they would move along so the kids knew where they were and how much more was to come. But the day started with "free play" in the room, and there were all kinds of fun guided activities and outside free time, and demonstrations and hands-on learning, and going to the gym and the library. etc. It is not all about sitting in one place and learning yet. One of mine is going to high school next year and school has always included activities in groups and various locations, so I think at college is where is becomes about sitting still and just learning. Kindergarten is the time for a lot of kids who did not go to preschool to get used to a schedule, so it is less about academics and more about following along with others. She will probably love it. Keep your own fears at bay, she may pick up on your feelings and expect the worse. I would tell her how fun it will be to see make new friends and do new things. You could always tour the school and meet with the teacher before school if she is shy or timid. Enjoy the summer!


answers from Washington DC on

I was worried, too, but... My kids didn't nap.
My kids were up and moving all day.
If they are up and moving, they might as well be at school.

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