Preschool- Is Your Son the Youngest or Oldest in His Class?

Updated on March 29, 2012
J.L. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
9 answers

I am thinking about enrolling my 2 1/2 year old son into preschool starting in September. My son will not be 3 until Oct. 24, a month and a half into the school year. I am not sure if I should put him in the 3 yr old class, where he will probably be the youngest, or the 2 year old class, where he will most likely be the oldest. OR, wait a whole year and enroll him when he's almost 4. I'm just concerned about his maturity. I know that the start of school is still almost 6 months away and lots of changes can happen. If I compare him to my daughter, he is no where near as mature as she was at 2 1/2. Also, if I think about the boys in my daughters 3 yr old class, they seem more mature too. Most of the boys turned 4 during the beginning of the school year and before Christmas. Most of the moms felt it was better to hold their sons back. In just the few years I was teaching in elementary schools, it often seemed that the boys who were oldest in their class did much better than the younger ones. This would be the case with my son because of the cut off date; he will be one of the oldest kids. The preschool director is telling me to do the 3 year old and my husband wants to do the 3 yr old too. I strongly do NOT want to do the 3 yr old, but maybe it's just my mommy protectiveness coming through and I need to give my son a L. more credit. I'm so confused! If I consider my son as he is right now, he is NOT mature enough for the 3 yr old class. He is doing great and is on target developmentally so it's not like he lagging behind or anything. Please help me!! What are your experiences?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the help Ladies! I decided to go ahead and enroll him in the 2 year old program. I feel so much relief. The director said that if he is doing really well in the 2 year old program and if there is space, I could bump him up mid year to the 3 year old class. I'm not sure if I would do that and disrupt his year but at least that option is available to me. Thankfully, he would have to start kindergarten when he is 5 almost 6. Gamma G, you made a great point about the curriculum, which was reinforced by talking to the directer, and I definitely think that my son would do better with the 2 year olds program. Thanks again for the insight!

More Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

I honestly believe that kids should already be the age for the class before starting it. In child care they move up to the next age classroom when they have their birthday. In pre-school they have classes that are for the age group that is in for that school year. They have a curriculum that is for the age of the child within that year, for example, your child will be 2 years old and turning 3 sometime within that year. They would focus on that age level and the things kids that age are supposed to be learning and doing. That way they are in a class that is teaching on their level and things that are appropriate. No matter how smart or bright a child is they have natural developmental milestones that they work on in their age appropriate classrooms.

I think that as a 2 yr. old he would be best in a 2 yr. old classroom. He will NOT be in a school class that is not like this. He will have to be 5 before entering kindergarten...that's my point. He should be in a 2yr. old classroom if he is 2.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I put my son in the 2's class- he turned 3 the second week of school (Sept.). He is definitely the oldest- there are a couple of Oct/Nov bdays too. He has definitely thrived in the 2's class. I was on the fence because his bday is very borderline, but it has been a great choice for him. We also plan to send him to kindergarten at 5, almost 6.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Our preschool follows the state guidelines for elementary school--they go by the age the child is on August 31. So, your son would miss the cut-off at our school (because he would have to be 3 by August 31). If you start him this fall, will he go to preschool for 3 years? I would assume your state has an August or September cut-off for Kindergarten, so your son won't start kindergarten until Fall 2015 (I think). My youngest is 20 months and will also start in Fall 2015 (he will be 2 in July). I think he should sit this year out and start with his kindergarten classmates next fall.

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answers from Chicago on

My twin boys are October babies (and they were full-term, so there is no adjusted age). We found a program that was for "two-year-olds" that we enrolled them in. I definitely say enroll him in the two-year-old class. He's going to be old enough that he needs some kind of stimulation throughout the week, but he is definitely still too young for the three-year-olds. At Christmas, their preschool did a program that all students were invited to participate in. We brought our boys to it, and I could instantly see their immaturity compared to the 3/4/5 year olds. They couldn't stay with the other kids, were way more distracted, and ultimately ended up not performing. It was very eye opening to see. Also, boys tend to mature socially/emotionally later than girls. Definitely keep him with his correct class.

On another note, I am an elementary school teacher. In my eight years of teaching, I've never had a parent say, "I'm so glad I enrolled my child when they were younger." Almost every parent that had a child on the cut-off wishes they would have waited another year to start their child. I know we're only talking preschool, but it's something to consider.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I will have an older boy too. My son will be 6 less than a month after starting K.
If the school is flexible enough, which ours is, could you do a trial in the 3 year old class, and if its not working out, you could switch, or wait.
I understand your reservations, and what people say, but I wouldnt hold him back based on what other parents or kids do.
Every kid is different and you wont know unless you try it. I think it would give you a good experience and an idea of where he needs to be when he starts K.

I say go for it!

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answers from Boston on

no matter which one you choose your son still has 3 years before he will go to kindergarten. If you put him with the 2yr olds then those are the kids that would be the same age as him going to kindergarten or he could do like 2 years in the 3yr old room. I think the 3 yr old room might be better because he can see the behavior (hopefully good) and mimick it especially if he is already potty trained. Good luck deciding.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Well, the nice thing about preschool is that they don't have to go. If you are open to it, he can go. Then if it doesn't work out, he stops and you try again next year. I started my son the month he turned three and he did fine - much better than my daughter who was almost three and a half when she started. They were both in a class that had three and four year olds. I noticed the three year olds spend more time on their own exploring and playing while the older kids were definately more social.

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answers from La Crosse on

I wasn't ready to put my son in at 3. So we put him in this year at 4. He is one of the oldest in his 4yr old class. We are still on the fence if we are going to put him in kind. this coming year or have him wait another year because of his maturity also. If we have him wait he will for sure be the oldest in his class.

My other boys I knew I was going to have them start kind at 6 because my middle son has a disability that they told us when he was 9mo that with this they tend to have a hard time with math and reading comp once they hit high school... so we had all of them start at the same age. Im glad I did because the two younger ones are perfectly fit where they are. But my oldest is so bored in school he is the class clown more than anything ( while getting A's). He should have started kind at 5. They wanted to jump him up a grade in elem but he was being bullied by some kids in that class so he/ we didn't want to.

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answers from Sacramento on

As long as the teachers are willing to be mindful that he is younger, I would put him in the 3 year old class. In preschool, it is better for kids to be with kids who are their age or a L. older versus, younger. If for some reason, he doesn't do well in the older class you can put him with the 2 year olds then.

HOWEVER... when he starts kinder I would consider his emotional maturity and impulse before I would start him. My son's birthday is in late August, so he turned 5 right before beginning kindergarten. Looking back I wish that I would have kept him back and put him in a good academic preschool for a year. I am not typically a fan of academic programs for kids at preschool age, but if they are old enough to start kinder but not mature enough or ready for some other reason I think it's beneficial to have them in a program that prepares them for kindergarten, and has them practicing things like writing and math concepts.

In my experience, I went ahead and put my son in kinder at barely 5. He was ready in many ways, but does struggle to keep up and usually by the latter part of the year really gets caught up and does well. Our job is to keep those skills strong in the summer so he doesn't start the next grade being behind. It's a though thing to do in the summer because there isn't the structure of school. He also tend to have a difficult time with teachers who don't understand boys and have a high expectation for behavior. They forget that he is younger (or don't care) and I have to be a stronger advocate for him so they understand what he needs. Otherwise he is frustrated and the teacher is too. These are all battles I didn't have to fight with my daughter who is a January baby (therefore one of the older ones in her class). The only advantage my son has is that he's a second child.

Good luck... follow you gut, mama. You know your son better than anyone~ even the "professionals" and you sometimes have to push for what you know is best for him, despite what other people say.

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