Skipping from 1St to 2Nd Grade

Updated on December 12, 2007
A.G. asks from Bala Cynwyd, PA
22 answers

My daughter's principal called us last week and said they would like to skip my daughter from 1st to 2nd grade in January. My daughter's birthday is Oct 31, and the school cut-off is Sept. 1. So she will be younger than the 2nd graders by at least 2 months. She is currently getting enrichment in English & Math, and is bored in school generally. But, she's not especially socially mature (she is age-appropriate socially).
Has anyone had to make this choice for their own children? I'd love to hear how you came to your decision. Also, if you are a school counselor, or someone in academics and you've had experience with this I'd love to hear your opinion too. It's such a hard choice because you never know if the kids in the older grade will accept her...All advice is appreciated!

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So What Happened?

So after we met with the teachers and principal we decided to move my daughter up to the 2nd grade...It was an incredibly tough decision and I hope it was the right one. But I had to go with my gut feeling--and it was telling me that she would be better off in the 2nd grade. I appreciate all of your input, and I recognize that most of you told me not to move her up. Please wish us the best anyway!! Happy Holidays, A.

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L.T.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Based upon my elementary education background and my parenting style, if it were my child I would strongly consider keeping her where she is and looking for alternatives such as placing her in a 2nd grade classroom for Eng and Math only, putting her in a gifted program in the district, beginning music lessons, enrolling her in activities outside of school that will stimulate her or looking into private/magnet schools that are more academically challenging. I think being with same age peers is very important for social development and self-esteem.

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S.P.

answers from Scranton on

Did you ask her, how she feels about it? I wouldn't just drag her away from her friends or anything. Ask her what she wants. You could always consider cyber school, if it doesn't work out for her. They have great programs online. You don't have to pay, they have public schools. They can get a better education that way. www.k12.com that is just one of them.

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A.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

A.,

I've taught first grade for about 13 years. My thought is that if your daughter is receiving enrichment in reading and math that is holding her attention, keep her in first. Being socially ready for a grade is very important, too. Keep in touch with her teacher to make sure your daughter has things to do when she's done with her work, etc. Kids seem to like learning spelling words so perhaps the teacher could give your daughter second grade spelling to do.

I also have a certificate in gifted education. Talk to your child's teacher to see if she thinks that your daughter may be gifted, as that opens doors for new opportunities geared to your daughter's strengths. Just keep in mind that not every child who is advanced truly meets the clinical definition of "gifted".

Good luck with whatever you decide! Good job on raising such a bright little girl!

A. D.

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S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi A.,
All schools are different. Our cutoff is the first of September, but they really don't like to take "summer babies" into kindergarden when they are 5. My son fell into this category, so I held him back for a year. He is very bright, and in the enrichment programs at his school, and is rather bored in class. However, I don't think that socially he would be ready to be advanced another grade. You may not notice it now, but maturity becomes a bigger issue in 4th, 5th and 6th grade when kids are expected to be much more independent. I would rather see my child a little bored at this point and challenged with enrichment programs rather than be faced with difficult struggles later on. Also, I weighed the issue of being 17 when he graduated and decided that was too young.

Enrichment programs can be really good, but be sure you stay involved in what is going on. Giving students "extra work" when they are finished with their regular work many times backfires as they get older. The same for being a peer tutor for other kids.

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A.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

We have run in to the opposite. Our school district (for whatever reason) likes the kids to be older when entering school. In other words the state cut-off is September 1st but if your child is born between April and August, they advise you to wait. My only concern with all of this as a school nurse is that when they are Juniors and Seniors, body changes and maturity all shift. You have to imagine your daughter as a 15 year old among 17 year olds some day. And she will be going off to a University as a 17 year old and although she is very intelligent...she will still have the naivity of a 17 year old. There will be students in her class two whole years older than she is based on the fact that some parents opt to hold their kids back.

I think that you are in a tough spot. On one hand you want your daughter to be challenged and meet her academic potential, on the other hand, advancing in school brings on MANY psychosocial issues that are not reversible. Does your school offer any courses in conjunction with cyber school? Have you ever considered home schooling...I have a friend who opted for this being in a similar situation. I also have a friend who sent their child to an academy (Sewickly)for more challenges in academics but that is a huge expense.

I feel for you, trying to make the right decision at this early juncture is REALLY hard! Just remember that whatever you decide, you are not psychic and predicting the future is impossible. You can only do what you think is best!

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D.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi A., I have 2 daughters and went through this situation twice. My older daughter with a July birthday was skipped 3rd grade and went directly from 2nd to 4th. She was in a public school and we didn't notice any social issues until 5th grade. Because my daughter was very bright they were using her as peer tutor and unfortunately some of boys she was tutoring had been "retained" and they were as much as 3 years older than her. Not to sound negative, but after some counseling, we moved her to a private school where she flourished beautifully.
Our younger daughter has a Feb, birthday, so she was already on the older side of her class. We were told they wanted her to skip kindergarden and go directly to 1st grade. She is also extremely petite and always looked and still does 2 years younger than her classmates,as well as very shy.
She was a little more challenging. We moved her immediately to a private school, and then 2 more before we found one challenging enough with other children like her. But she has settled in and made lots of new friends and is now president of her 7th grade class.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your daughter will be as much as 2 years or more younger that some of her classmates. Make sure she is in the most challenging program for her academically, or she will bored, and make sure she is comfortable socially, as well. Bright children often get picked on.
Good luck with your decision.
D.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

Since your daughter is obviously so bright, I have to wonder if 2nd grade work would even be challenging to her. Then what?? Since she just misses the cut off however I would seriously consider moving her up. Under achievement and discipline problems are common among gifted kids.

On the other hand...
My cousin and my husband business associate both skipped grades only to be held back later for social issues in middle school. Both feel it was a mistake to skip a grade. They were boys however so physically they were not as good at sports etc. this made fitting in socially all the more challenging.

About my personal experience w/ education:

I am not sure what to do w/ my 9 1/2 daughter. She test any where from 4 - 8 years ahead of same age peers on reading related achievement test. Her verbal IQ (WISC IV) is in the 140's. How can you challenge a child with this ability in the classroom setting?

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W.C.

answers from Williamsport on

I sympathize with you! But I'd still say, don't skip your daughter, even though it means working to make her learning more interesting. Here are two experiences.

My husband's daughter had a Nov. 4 birthday. He and his wife (at that time) chose to start her early. From the stories he tells, it was a disaster for his daughter. She could do the school work, and she apparently made friends. BUT she had the behaviors, concentration span, and patience of a child a grade younger, and the teachers got very upset. Your daughter could feel "different" for her school career. (And then there's puberty, when her friends are maturing faster than she is. Ouch!)

Our daughter's birthday is Sept 22, and she's very bright, so we had the same choice with her. I talked to relatives and friends, some of whom had faced the same question, and they recommended NOT pushing children ahead.

One of the cousins (who could have been pushed ahead but wasn't), said "It comes down to: Do you want your child to be a leader or a follower? " He was always the tallest in his class, and one of the most coordinated. (Remember gym class, and picking sides?)

Anyway, we kept our daughter in the right class for her, and we are generally happy with the choice. She does extremely well in school, and her teachers love her. Yes, she is bored sometimes, even though she has two hours of gifted classes per week. I try to take her and her sister (also gifted) on trips, and to museums.

See what you can find out about gifted education in your area. Is it mandated? Are there other resources for you? Also, I've found that as the children progress, the work gets harder and comes faster, and the less they report being bored. (I've even considered taking them on family vacations in early Sept., since that is when they're most bored with review, review, review.)

Good luck with your choise. I know it's difficult. Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]____.com.

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M.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

Dear A.:
If the principle decided to promote your daughter to second grade, he must have evaluted and discuss the situation with your daughter's primary teacher and school psychologist first. I do not think they only go by academic work before they make the decision to let her skip one grade. My son skipped one grade before,I think it was only to his advange. I am glad that I let him take this challeng so he can reach his potential.
M. L

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M.D.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,

The short answer, my daughter was the youngest student in her grade, she had a social melt-down in the 9th grade and was failing. She was able to get good grades but followed a different path. She repeated a grade and is currently the President of her class and a honor roll student. It was a mistake allowing her to be the youngest student in her grade. It took awhile but it caught up with her. You might want to challenge your daughter in other ways to supplement her school work. If your daughter wants to play in a sport, she will also be at a disadvantage. Hope the input helps ...I wish someone would have given me the heads-up on this issue. I noticed the kids who are the best adjusted in high school are older than their classmates. Good luck.

B.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My brother was young in school, he turned 5 the end of September the year he started school. He too was very bright and bored...and younger than everyone else in the class. He never did have more than a couple of friends in his own grade...or his own age until he went into the Navy right after graduation when he was 17. Is he successful? Yes, very. He went to college while he was in the Navy, and earned his PHD soon after getting out. My mother always regreted not waiting that extra year, she felt he would have been happier. Sometimes it's better to wait. Let her stay with her friends in the class that she is comfortable with keep doing the enrichment stuff, why not consider the gifted program instead? In our school district the gifted kids get to go on special field trips and meet after school for aditional learning & challenges. This might be a better option for you right now. You can always change your mind or have them move her up over the summer instead of in the middle of the school year. Happy Holidays...

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P.C.

answers from Scranton on

I started school when I was 5 almost 6, because the cut off was Sept and I have a late Dec birthday. My mom wanted to start me when I was 4, but the school district wouldn't let her. When I was in 4th grade they wanted me to skip 5th grade and go right to 6th. My mom said no because I already had many friendships established so she thought it would be hard for me. So, my opinion is, if you are ever going to do it now is the time because she is still young and probably doesn't have alot of friendships established in her grade. I wouldn't worry about her social maturity, she will be fine.

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S.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

A.,
I am a teacher. What are the teachers basing this move on? How is she socially? Sometimes this is more important than an academic comfort level. Also, she is so young- is she that much more advanced? Is there any other kind of enrichment in this school? My advice is to keep her with her peers or find another school that can meet her needs.

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R.B.

answers from Harrisburg on

My oldest son is in the gifted program at his school. When he was in kindergarten we had also discussed putting him ahead but like your daughter socially he was at his age level. We kept him in his grade and had a meeting to do an IEP that had in it what he needed in his gifted areas which were math and reading. His teacher gave him the more advanced work during the normal reading and math times. Now he is in fifth grade adn we switched districts at the end of his second grade year. In this district they have a class for the kids that are gifted and they go once a week. In this class they are given work that helps enrich them and challenge them. He loves it. He also started going to sixth grade math. My suggestion is to find out all your school can offer without moving your daughter to a different grade. Just because she is mentally ready for the upper grade socially she may get lost. If I would have done that with my son I feel tht that would have happened. Good luck, just remember to stay on the school and remember that they cca't force you to move your child.

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J.R.

answers from Allentown on

I made a VERY similar decision, but did it earlier than you. My first daughter's birthday is on October 30, and after going through the 4 year old preschool, I felt she was ready for kindergarten, but she missed the cut off. We sent her to a preschool for kids who missed the cut-off, then we homeschooled her using 1st grade curricula, and entered her in 2nd grade for her first year in public school--which would be the point where you are now. She is now in 4th grade, and is doing fine. As you mention, she is a bit behind the 4th graders socially, but she is catching up. I suspect that by 6th grade she should be fine, and she will have the bonus that year of moving to the middle school that year and meeting a bunch of new students who will not know her as the "little bit behind" kid.

My decision had a lot behind it. I have an early December birthday, and was very academically advanced. I was one of the older kids all through elementary school because of having missed that K cut off. By 4th grade I was being sent to a 5th grade classroom for language arts, by 7th grade I was taking science, math, and language arts at the 8th grade level, and in 8th grade I jumped up to 10th grade math...all of which was NOT good for my social life!

I also had an issue with having a sister who is a year older than me who would have been a grade ahead of me...except that she is learning disabled and failed first grade, and then I went and jumped ahead. Sigh.

So anyway, with our DD, she has a younger sister who would have just been one grade behind her if we had stuck with the school cut offs. I preferred to have 2 grades between them. I did have to argue a *slight* bit with the school because when our daughter entered 2nd grade she was on the low end academically with second grade (hubby and I were not the most disciplined teachers), and the school folks thought it would be better for her to "excel in 1st grade" than "struggle with 2nd." I disagreed. I told them that I knew she would catch up fast, and that I much rathered have her be an "average" 2nd grade student than stand out as the "head of the class" in 1st grade (and then continue with that all of the way up). She really has done fine. Actually, she is now in the most advanced math class in the 4th grade. I'm very glad that my husband and I made the choice that we did, because I think she will continue to be challenged academically, without standing out as a "smart kid" to have that social challenge.

Good luck with your decision!

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M.I.

answers from Pittsburgh on

After reading the responses you've received so far, I thought I'd share my experience:

I have a late September birthday, so typically I would have started a year later than I did. However, I was enrolled in a parochial school, so I started school at age 4, almost 5. This meant I didn't turn 13 until 8th grade (it's absurd that there are 13 year old 5th graders now, but that's a different story) and was only 17 when I graduated high school and moved away to college. To be honest, this age difference only affected me twice: when I was a sophmore and nowhere near turning 16 and everyone else was passing their driver's tests, and when I was a junior in college, and everyone I was friends with was turning 21 and I had just turned 20. Aside from that though, it never bothered me. Honestly, it was probably better that way. I wouldn't consider myself gifted or extraordinarily smart, but I certainly didn't have to work extra hard at my work, and I still did well. The age difference never was a factor. In fact, there were 8 people younger than me in my graduating class in high school.

To your situation: The age difference between your daughter and most people in the class will be close to 6 months, give or take a bit on either side. Does she have consistent interaction with older students, either in a family, daycare, church, or activity setting? If so, then the social aspect may not be too far off. However, you know your child best, and maybe the maturity level isn't there just yet. As for acadmics, I would do some serious research into "gifted" programs. Working in different districts, I have seen some that are good, but others where "gifted" means nothing more than an extra worksheet or two once a week. A true "gifted" program would really individualize the education experience, and provide opportunities to do things other than worksheets, such as skits, field trips, general experiences such as that.

Good luck with your decision. I would be sure to include your daughter in it, because this will most directly affect her, and you want to make sure she can be happy with the decision.

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S.H.

answers from Scranton on

Hello A., my name is S., & i had a issue like yours. I decided to keep my child with his class, & i regret it. Our situations were different, i wanted to hold him back, the school wouldn't let me. He wasn't mature enough in my opinion to go to the next grade, & now i wish i would've pushed the issue. My advice to you is to keep your little girl in her grade. Even though she's advanced academically, you really don't want her to be around kids a year older than her if she's not mature enough. They grow up so fast as it is, & even my youngest daughter who hangs out with her older brothers hears things a 7 year old shouldn't. Keep her young as long as you can!!!! Good luck with whatever you decide.

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P.D.

answers from Sharon on

Hi there,

I was advised with my oldest daughter not to hold her back a year in Kindergarten. Her birthday is Sept. 23rd and we also have the Sept. 1st cut off. In Elementary School the oldest in her class had the same birthday as her, the next closes birthday to her was a month and 1/2 earlier (Mid-Aug.). I worried greatly and sometimes over reacted thinking how much younger she was of her classmates, but I soon realized she fit right in. Being around the "older" kids matured her to be compatible with her classmates.

With your daughter being moved up in the middle of the school year may be tough but I have a feeling next year when she starts with all the other kids, she will blend right in and not have a problem.

My oldest is now in 9th grade. she does well with her classmates and is an A B student ... Mom is just having trouble with the "dating" issues as she is just 14!

Hope this helps you

--Tricia

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J.B.

answers from Reading on

Hi yes we also had this come up with our son.We did'nt move him up to the next grade.He was also very bored with school,so he was place in the gifted program,and his teacher this year gives him extra work when done with the class work.He is older then most in his class,but mature wise we did'nt think it would be a good idea.So far this has all worked out for us.My son is in 3rd grade,but his at grade level 5th to 6th in reading and 6th for math.Now most of his friends tend to be older,cause the kids in his class still plays with toys,which our son has'nt since he was 5-6yrs old.Best of luck to you and your family.J.

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J.J.

answers from Sharon on

I too refused to allow my son to go ahead a grade and i am so happy with my choice.David is 12 almost 13(in April)and they wanted to put him ahead.He was already the youngest in his 6th grade and that would've meant him being even younger in 7th grade.
I'm so glad we opted not to do this,he's so much happier right now with being with his peers and not older children.He was very immature for his age and is finally growing into his age i'm glad we waited..i say don't rush her to grow up and i have a feeling is would happen.Maybe not right away but when she gets up there in school age i'm sure it'll happen.
Good luck to you in your choice.Maybe she could help with other kids in her school with tutoring(this is what they did with my son)
Keep us posted
J.

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S.H.

answers from York on

I had to make the same decision for my daughter at the same grade level. She is now in 8th grade. It was hard for my daughter when she entered middle school. That year difference really shows at puberty. Not only is she a year younger but she is petite. Most of the other girls are 7 inches taller than her. I'm very lucky to have a great relationship with her and have had many good conversations through 6th and 7th grade. Social skills through Middle and High school are so important. As long as you are proactive with the social changes at the middle school level, she will do great!!! At any age, a good support system can help you overcome anything!!!

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R.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi, I am a grown woman, and my parents skipped me at the same age--I could read before kindergarten and was bored, bored, bored. After I moved up a grade,I was still academically bored, but socially immature--and it just got the worse in middle school/early high school.

If the school isn't challenging, then one more grade won't make a difference. I "coasted" through an academically poor school system in FLA, and had stunningly high standardized test scores, so I got into a good college--and I was overwhelmed. I'd never had to study before. It took me a long time to figure out how to study and work hard.

So, in my case, skipping grades caused a lot of social developmental problems, and it didn't help at all academically.

I've got a graduate degree now, and am professionally happy, so, if your daughter is really smart she'll turn out fine.

Having said all of that, my son is already starting to read at 21 mos (like I did), and I am determined that he is NOT going to have the terrible educational experience that I did. I don't know if that mean home-schooling for academics, and then sports/extracurricular activities for social development. My husband and I are taking it one day at a time.

The reality is that the average school can't really accomodate student with special needs--and academically gifted students are high needs, just like kids with deficits.

I don't have any concrete advice, just adding my 2cents.

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