Starting 1St Grade at 5 Years Old!

Updated on February 26, 2013
R.M. asks from Locust Grove, GA
29 answers

My oldest daughter is 5 years old. her birthday is sept 4 which is only 3 days after the cutoff for school. At age 3 she was counting to 100, knew all colors, how to county by 2's 5's and 10's. could tell time and tons of other stuff. We went to enroll her in a private prek 3 program but were told since she was so smart they would go ahead and put her in prek 4. well everything went great and she got even smarter. When time came around we found a private christian school that allowed her into kindergarten although she was only 4 years old since her birthday was a few days late. We explained to them the situation and they said sure we understand we will let her do kindergarten this year no problem. so she is now finishing up her kindergarten year and is leaps and bounds ahead of her class (we also teach her at home) She can read seamlessly, she can write clearly in both regular and cursive, she can count as high as u will let her go lol she can add and subtract, she knows facts about science and history that amaze me more and more everyday. anyways we get a letter home from the school that says since she isnt going to be 6 untill after sept 1 that she will have to repeat kindergarten and will not be allowed into first grade untill the following year (2014) I am so very upset about this. I was not told that she would have to repeat kindergarten. I spoke with her teacher and she agrees that my child would have no benefit to repeating. we worry about her being bored in class bc she already knows everything, we also worry about her socially. all of her friends will be moving up and she wont be allowed to.. shes very smart and she will not understand why shes having to repeat kindergarten and will be hurt by this. Also, I did not pay for her to attend a private school only to have to pay for her to repeat the same thing again next year. I guess my question is.. does anyone have any advice as to what i can do besides moving to another state where they have a later cut off lol ?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

We do not want to put her in public school we want her to stay at the same private school, which is why we are so ticked! i could understand if i was trying to transfer her. WOW! some of you people are soooo rude and judgmental . First of all she is just fine socially i said so earlier. she has tons of friends. She also does dance, pageants, gymnastics and awana. I was asking about school so i didnt list her other activities.

Featured Answers



answers from Atlanta on

There are private schools that would allow her into 1st grade at that age. Look around. After a year or 2 you may be able to move her back or to public school if you wish. Having kids near the cutoff is so difficult. I would have hated to have mine repeat K as well.

More Answers


answers from Chicago on

I don't know if there is any way around the age rule, but perhaps there is way for her to be in a kindergarten class better suited to her abilities. Is there a school for gifted children in your area, or does your public school district offer a gifted child track? I know it isn't ideal to have to repeat K, but it sounds like you might not have many options. Kinda a tough situation to have such a bright child's progress limited by red tape.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Is she attending the same private school next year? If so, I think you've got a valid case to be ticked... if you are transferring to a public school, you're probably out of luck. That transition should have been looked into before the private kinder started. I know here in TX, the kids have to take and pass the 3rd/4th grade to start kinder/1st grade early. For what it's worth, I think the rules are too rigid and perpetuated by the "trend" of holding kids back a year, which to me shows a parent's lack of confidence in their child, and those kids KNOW they're a year older... anyhoo, you're probably stuck unless you stay with the private school - I didn't turn 6 until halfway through 1st grade.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Big mistake IMO for pushing her ahead. You talk about how brilliant she is, but you fail to mention maturity. Socialization is a biggie. In my book, she can be the brightest of the bright, but if her social skills are not good at all,
Her life will be very lonely. Either homeschool her or leave her In K again so she can be with kids her own age.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

She is young. She will make friends easily with the children her own age. In the long run she will be better off socially with kids her own age. The school should not have allowed her to start early in the first place, and I would expect an explanation as to why they would allow the early start if they were not prepared to follow through. I can't imagine she will be that bored. The kindergarten curriculum is pretty much play based (where I live anyway), so there would be no reason for a child to be bored having fun and playing with other children. Anyway, I would have her repeat kindergarten and chalk up the last year as lesson learned.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You really should have thought this through before moving ahead with her education. It seems to me that unless you find her a gifted program, she will be bored or socially misplaced. The school should have recognized all of this beforehand. You could always homeschool.

I wish I had more suggestions, but I do want to mention that it would be nice if you used grammar when writing in the future. It really does make it easier on the reader.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Private and public schools have different cut off dates.
Private schools OFTEN start Kinder at 5 turning 6 years old and 1st grade at 6 turning 7.

In my State, my kids are late born. But made the cut off. So therefore, they entered Kindergarten at 4 years old then turned 5.
And thus, they were in 1st grade at 5 then turned 6.
And both my kids did fine.

Why don't you home school her?

Academic smartness, is different and not the same as nor is congruent to emotional/cognitive/physical /social maturity.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I understand why you are upset. I am not sure there is any way around this rule. My son missed the cutoff for kindergarten here by just a little bit. We wanted him to start earlier too. I found several private schools who would take him. So I called the public school to see if my plan would work out and I was told that he would be required to repeat kindergarten because of his age. It's possible that the private school is trying to fall in line with the public school.

You may have a case. Appeal to your school. If you are transferring to a public school, there may be options. I know here in Texas, you can test to start school early. Although the test is meant for third graders. It was explained to me that it is intentionally meant to discourage the idea of early start.

If you have to repeat and can't get around it, look into a gifted program. Children in special education who are in mainstream classes, get individualized instruction and modifications on assignments. The same idea applies to gifted children. The teacher can modify assignments and make things more challenging for her, if she is classified as gifted through the school.

In hindsight I am glad about we didn't start my son early. We thought he would do just fine and he isn't nearly as gifted as your daughter sounds. But I think it would have been socially awkward for him at some point. We know someone who recently moved here from out of state and her kids started school earlier (I guess Chicago has an early cutoff). Her twins started first grade at 5. Although they are fine academically, they are having a harder time socially. And the boy has noticed that he is much smaller than his classmates. Apparently, he is really self conscious about it. Her daughter is also struggling to find her place.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Parkersburg on

I find it odd everyone is making assumptions that she is socially immature. You never said she was, so why assume? In fact you said she was going to be disappointed not to move ahead with her friends - which to me implies she is fine socially. In my opinion, homeschooling would be your best option. It sounds like the only way to ensure her needs are going to be met. Unfortunately it's really hard to find a brick and mortar school that really has the time/resources/know how to truly meet the needs of the individual child. Things tend to be done group style. Look into homeschooling. You can follow her interests/talents at her own pace and give her a rich social experience with a wide variety of children and adults in the community through joining homeschool groups, community classes, volunteer/service opportunities, etc. Seriously consider it! :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Are you saying if she was 3 days older she would be on track for 1st gr?

I'm usually against pushing kids ahead but she will be six on Sept 4th most schools would have her in first. Most schools would have plenty of immature, academically delayed kids in first.
You do need to check that she is on track socially and emotionally. Kids who feel pressured academically will show it elsewhere, could that be why they want to hold her back?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

Here's the thing. Grade advancement this early on is not only on academics . it's also about emotional and social maturity. Is she emotionally and socially advanced as well.Most of the time a gifted child is immature socially and emotionally. What you are listing is advanced but I had a cousin that was reading " Death of a salesman " at 3 . They wouldn't let her finish it because she wasn't emotionally ready to handle the ending.

Your best bet, if you want her to advance to first grade is to homeschool her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would find another school with a different cutoff. Academically, your child sounds right on target for first grade. If she's already reading halfway through kindy, she does not need another year of it. I live in NY, where the cutoff is December, so there are plenty of kids with fall birthdays starting school who are yet 5 in kindergarten and not yet 6 in first grade. I would request a meeting with the principal/director and let them know that if they want your tuition money for next year, your daughter needs to be in first grade.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

So good, I'm going to quote it:

"...From a purely observational standpoint you have gone on ad nauseam about how you have made her smarter, how academically superior she is, nowhere in here have I seen mention of a friend, just one, or playing or anything social." -- Jo W's post, below. Jo has hit the nail on the head here.

You don't mention anywhere in your post the following things:

When you were told she would have to repeat K, did you talk to the teachers about whether it was strictly because of her age or whether it might be because of a need for further socialization and maturity? The teacher "agrees that there would be no benefit to repeating," but is that only "no academic benefit"? Your child would be by far the youngest in a first grade class and the youngest ever after. Smart kids often ARE more mature and she may well be, but that doesnt' mean she's ready for first grade. You need some frank talks with the teachers about whether she might benefit from the social aspect of another year of K and having another year to mature. There can be a huge gap between a five year old and a six year old--even if the five year old is book-smart and has a ton more factual knowledge.

You also don't say that the school ever told you, when you put her into K, that there was a guarantee she would just advance into first after that. Did you ask, when you enrolled her, if she would definitely go into first the next year? If not -- they did not give you any guarantee of that, and it is the school's choice whether to promote her.

Frankly, you set her and yourself up for this disappointment by entering her in K so early and making assumptions about what would follow. I don't say that to be mean, I say it in hopes that you can be objective enough about what you've done to see that you didn't think through what would happen next.

Can you be objective here? Can you step back from your very, very, VERY high expectations for this little girl and see that she needs to be a little girl who is well-rounded and not just on a fast track academically? That school in the early years is as much about maturity as about academics? And that she may feel very pressured by your expectations? Even if you do not ever tell her she's brilliant, or point out to her that "You went to K early!" etc. she is probably still totally aware that you expect her to be perfect academically. It's a big weight for a young child, even one who just loves to learn. You surely will say, "No, I don't expect perfection!" but that is how a child her age will see it. If she doesn't go into first next year, she has let you down. She has done wrong, done something bad, hurt mommy. That is how she will see it. Because she is five. Can you think at her age level and see how her emotions may work, not just how her brain works or how she talks more maturely?

If you think she'd be bored, pull her out of this school for a year. Travel with her, take her to museums, but most of all get her into playgroups, have play dates, join kids' classes that are not academic (tumbling, dance, sports, art) and get her a LOT of exposure to other kids of all types, not just super-academic ones. Then start her in first on time.

I predict that when she does hit first grade you will probably find other problems with her schooling -- you'll feel that it's not advanced enough, the other kids aren't at her level so she's not with a peer group that pushes her, etc. You want the best for her but are you setting her up for always feeling like she's the odd one out because her parents feel whatever setting she's in isn't good enough?

Yes, as someone noted, you could homeschool her if you prefer, but please get into some good homeschooler groups where she can socialize a lot. Meanwhile, have frank talks with the current K teachers. And talk with the first grade teachers, who may have some real reasons they don't want her in first grade yet. You have to ask them even if you don't like the answers you may get. If you just dump the school and never ask, you may miss out on some good advice they could give you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

The benefit of a private school is that you can go complain to the principal and expect things to be done. If the principal won't do what you want, you can take your child, her test scores, and your money elsewhere. I agree that from what you've described, there's no benefit in having your child repeat Kindergarten, and I have no idea why a private school would even suggest that?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Didn't the school have a cutoff date for kindergarten? If they did and they didn't abide by it and she obviously passed kindergarten with flying colors I don't see how the school can tell her to repeat kindergarten. I would be very upset to and would call the administrators because this does not make sense.

Each district has their own cut off date. (It is not state mandated) so I think exceptions can and are made. Plenty of kids move after starting school. The new district just looks at the last grade completed. It would be ridiculous if they said had the child be in our district originally they would be in X grade.
I would look at other private schools and tell them you would like to enroll your daughter in first grade as she already completed kindergarten.
Good luck.
EDIT- Is Tess T a troll? ...and who are the people giving her flowers? Do you think she gave them to herself/himself?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Most private schools do not have to nor do they follow the public school cut off dates. If your does, tell them you will find another school if your daughter cannot enter 1st grade in the Fall. My daughter's birthday is a couple days after your daughter's and she started 1st grade at a private school a couple weeks before turning 6. The problem is you will have to committ to keeping your child in private school because of this. If you think you can, then great. If not, then look into the schools for gifted children or homeschool.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I am confused for sure. She's 5 and will be 6 on her September 4th birthday and the local school system won't let her start kindergarten?

That's crazy, unless she's 4 and won't be 5 until her birthday. Then she's just going to have to go to a school district where they have a later cut off date. Many do have later dates, some even have to be 5 by December to start kindergarten which makes them 4 1/2 or older when they start school instead of 5 by the first day.

I truly think you have an exceptional child. It must be such a blessing. BUT your child is 5 years old, not old enough to be in 1st grade socially by any means. I think that if you want to find a program for her that is based on her levels then you'll have to find one outside the box.

Or you could just home school her, I bet if you look around you can find some sort of program that is as advanced as she is. They have programs for child geniuses somewhere or how do they have 13 and 14 year old kids in college?

She's not going to be happy at this current school though. She is going to have super self esteem issues when her friends move up and she isn't with them. So move her or keep her home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Our kids go to private school and they stick to the state cut-off. I think most decent/accredited private schools will. A really great teacher will challenge her no matter what! (My son is in 2nd grade and I occasionally help in the library. Kids is his class are reading anywhere from a 1st-8th grade level. Kids check out and test on books on their level.) I think it is more important to look ahead. She'll start 9th grade at 13 years old (and turn 14 shortly after). She'll start 12th grade at 16 years old (and turn 17 shortly after).

Two of my kids have the opposite problem...they have late July birthdays, so they are the youngest.

States have to draw the line somewhere and kids will always 'just make it' or 'just miss it'. You can fight it or just embrace it. Many would argue that the oldest kids in the class have the advantage.

Is homeschooling an option?

P.S. sorry for all the rude comments. There are a lot of ugly/negative people out there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Home school. Online school. If you go with the K12 program, if it's offered in your state, they will also require she start in K because of her age...but let me tell you, it's the most ADVANCED K curriculum I have ever witnessed.

I was basically in the same boat as you...I homeschooled my daughter for K when she was 4 because she was very bright and fully expected to enroll her in 1st grade through her online program. I was told they wouldn't accept her into 1st because of her age, but to enroll her in K and she could work at her own pace.

She did that...and believe me, I thought I had taught her everything...NOPE. It was extremely humbling. Believe me, you have not taught your child 90% of what's in their K curriculum, except for the math. My daughter flew through K math, and they bumped her up to 1st, which she also finished that same year, so she has been a full grade ahead in math since.

This curriculum includes history in K, and it is very advanced. My daughter is now in second grade, and her current unit is on feudalism in the Middle Ages. Oh yes...and she can tell you the history of Europe and how we GOT to that point, all the way back to Mesopotamia, which is what she began with in K.

My advice is that you check it out. If you want any more info on it, please PM me. Others who have had experience with the K12 curriculum will likely say the same thing. The only course I don't care for is their music course, because it isn't classical, but we just fly through it.

(I also want to kindly second what Tess says below. My 2 year old can count to 100. When my oldest was 4, she could do the things described. I honestly thought she was leaps and bounds ahead, until I put her in K12 and they started learning about the Battle of Thermopylae at the age of 6. Oh, and advanced phonetic concepts. Advanced reading in, why does the author use this metaphor? What feeling is he trying to convey? Science concepts like surface tension. She learned how to use a Newton spring scale in 1st grade to measure force. Honestly, you'd be surprised at how advanced these kids can truly be. I am certainly not saying ANY of this as a brag, but just that there is SOOOO much more your daughter can learn in the proper K setting. I think your school failed didn't fail.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I went through a similar situation, although i was transferring schools and states, so a little different. My girl's birthday is Sept 11, and she started Kindergarten at 4 in Chicago at a private school. When we moved here, our public school insisted she be enrolled in Kindergarten again. The principal was sympathetic but explained it was state law and normally children were not moved ahead in grade levels until 2nd grade if needed. So, I talked with my daughter and explained to her that the school had to enroll her in K again due to her age and the state law. She was actually okay with it (it was me having the problem.) Anyway, two weeks into school when they started testing for group placements within the classroom, her teacher went to the principal and together they made the decision to move her up to 1st grade. So, in the end it all worked out exactly as I had wanted, but it took 2 weeks of school to get it done. I would imagine even private schools have to follow some state laws to stay accredited. Maybe, if you agree that you will enroll her in K if they do the appropriate testing at the beginning of the school year, it will work out for her as well. And, if they are truly sticklers in the matter, than insist her K teacher provide her with additional materials that will keep her interested and on the right track, instead of being held back b/c of the situation. And, be honest with your daughter. If you tell her why (her age not her brain) she is not going on to 1st grade it might not be a huge deal to her. And, just in case she does repeat K, you might want to hide your feelings around her as she will pick up on your disappointment and might take it the wrong way. Best of luck! She sounds like she will be just fine no matter what and since you work with her at home she is doubly blessed!



answers from Miami on

Not sure why people are giving you a hard time. I think this school gave you a raw deal by accepting her and then not allowing her to move up. It would have been best if she hadn't gone into kinder at all, than be made to repeat. I suspect that they just want extra tuition out of you.

You haven't mentioned her maturity level. If they aren't just screwing you, is there a chance they are worried about that?

I want to tell you that just because she can do all this early, doesn't mean that she will end up being smarter than her peers. A lot of kids level off by middle school and the ones who were behind, catch up, and the ones who were early, slow down. Yes, there are truly gifted children out there. But unless you get her IQ tested, you actually don't know that. In the public schools they usually do an OLSAT's test in first grade. Her performance on that can point the school towards additional IQ testing to see if she qualifies for gifted classes. You prefer private schooling, but sometimes private schools don't have gifted programs or higher level classes. That's something you need to consider in the future.

If you cannot get anyone to budge on this, I'd consider homeschooling her. You can take her to a lot of homeschool group outings and enrichment, so that she wouldn't be alone. I'd also study a Montessori approach in your homeschooling plan as well.

Oh, and JC, the answer to your question is YES. Half of what she posts is pulled because of the trolling.

Good luck,



answers from Los Angeles on

I would go have a meeting in person with the principal. If possible, have the current teacher attend. If not, have the current kindergarten teacher write a letter (almost like a letter of recommendation) outlining your daughter's skills and stating her (strong) opinion that your daughter would not benefit at all from repeating kindergarten. Make sure the letter talks about her maturity (assuming she is mature) in addition to her academic skills.

When you talk to the principal, tell him that your daughter has already completed a full year of kindergarten and she is ready to advance to first grade. Ask why they made the exception to put her in kinder in the first place if they had no intention of advancing her at the end of the year. Fight it. A squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?

My son is in kinder now. A boy joined his class a week ago but only stayed for three days. He had recently moved here from England. Turned out that, even though he was age-appropriate for kinder in the U.S., he had already completed it and had been in the first-grade-equivalent program in England. After three days in kinder here, he was moved to first grade because that was appropriate based on his previous academic experience.

Good luck. I can totally understand why you are so mad!



answers from Atlanta on

We went through this, but couldn't even find a private school to take her early for K. She's now in Georgia Cyber Academy. You might want to check it out. A) the curriculum is more demanding than what the local public schools are doing. and B) you are allowed to move ahead. At least to a certain point. They will allow kids to work up to a grade level ahead. (But not usually more than that. They freak out over kids not being able to score well on the CRCT because it had been over a year since they studied the material.) So while she might be classified in K, she could do the math and language arts for 1st. If you enrolled her in GCA, you'd spent the first handful of weeks assessing out of the K material she already knows. Then you'd be given the 1st grade curriculum.
I'm sorry the school basically lied to you. Not sure what your recourse there is with them if they are refusing to put her in 1st grade.
You don't want her to stagnate while waiting for the rest of her peers to catch up. I totally get it. We went through that in K. She was to tired after a long school day, or doing other activities for me to have much time to supplement her education.
I think you'll need to give the school a kiss good bye. Maybe a montessori? or homeschool. We'll be doing homeschool and leaving GCA next year. (I don't like all the test prep stuff that has occured now as a third grader.)
FWIW, I don't think my daughter has suffered socially by being at home with me. It sounds like your daughter is involved in as many things as mine. Plus we do a homeschool co-op once a week.
Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

In PA if you miss the date by a short period (I think it is a month but not sure since we missed it by 3 months), kids can be tested and the date can be waived. Have you looked into whether GA has a similar rule. Many private schools just follow their state regs, so if the state would exempt her, I suspect the private school would too. She is not too young - she will be 6 for all but 3 days of first grade. First graders are SUPPOSED to be 6.



answers from Boston on

There are gifted and talented schools. It sounds like your daughter is way above the curve intellectually! However, it must be difficult for students of one age to adjust to being in a class with older kids. I think that's why they prefer not to skip grades anymore. You many also want to consider homeschooling and just keep her in activities with kids her age to ensure social activity. Good luck:)


answers from Norfolk on

She's going to be bored in kindergarten.
For that matter she is going to be bored in first grade and possibly second grade as well.
Since you are already teaching her at home, you might as well home school her - then get her involved in extracurricular activities for socialization.
The thing is - she might be academically advanced for her age right now - but many lose their lead toward the end of elementary school or in middle school.
Not many kids actually hold onto that lead and graduate college by the time they are 16.
This book might help you figure out what to do:



answers from Detroit on

a regular private school or a public school is not likely to be able to help your child. If she is advanced in all areas.. she will need a private school for gifted and talented children. In a school for gifted kids she will learn with kids her age.. but at her own pace. you might also look into montessori... they allow kids to work at their own pace..

my son is in kinder.. he is reading at 2nd grade level. while the class is learning sight words like 'we and go" they do not do math in kinder.. but he can add 2 digit numbers in his head

a public school classroom has to teach to the middle level of kids.. so the teacher is always trying to teach to the average child.. so the advanced kids are bored and the slow kids are lost.. this is how education works in our country. .

i would have her evaluated by a licensed psychologist.. to see how gifted and talented she really is.

there are special schools for the gifted... it might be the right place for her.



answers from San Diego on

Yep, homeschool if you can. If i hadn't found a school that allows my daughter to go at her own pace, I would have taught at home.

I'm sorry about the other respondents. Your child is bright. That can be strange and challenging. Homeschool or find a school that meets her needs.

I will say, I'm glad that my daughter is with her peers because I don't want her to be the youngest in jr. High and high school. I started high school when I was 13 and SO not ready to be in school with guys who were 17/18.



answers from Lexington on

Our Montessori's age cut-off is in the middle of the year, which is "early start" for public schools. The public schools made it so that those students could not transfer in to public school without repeating a grade before 4th grade. It is absolutely absurd! So the kids starting "early" at private schools cannot transfer into public until then, regardless of how socially, physically, and academically mature they are. We went through that with one of our kids. It used to be there was a bell-curve in schools of kids who were ahead (i.e. skipped a grade) and kids who were behind (i.e. failed a grade). Now, all there are is kids who start "on-time" and kids who started "late" or were "held back". It is all skewed towards older kids, and therefore there are more kids in high school that are 19 years old... or they drop out.

The only "solution" is to keep her in private schools through 3rd grade, or home school her for a couple years. It is "funny" but a child can "skip" a grade in private school, and if they started "early" (even by 1 day) the public school will consider that as skipping TWO grades, and put the child back TWO YEARS... unless the child enters 4th grade, and suddenly, then, that is OK. I kid you not. Their rules are black and white.

Reading your extra there about this being the SAME private school suddenly saying she has to repeat kindergarten.... WHAT!!!!! I would be livid! Was that in the fine-print somewhere that they were going to do that!!!??? It is already late to be looking to transfer her to another school but I would start NOW, for her sake! Having her watch all her friends move on to 1st grade while she gets held back, in itself, can be so demoralizing especially when she is their peer - doing fine - not struggling or anything.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions