Starting Kindergarten Early???

Updated on October 07, 2011
A.S. asks from Albertville, MN
9 answers

I had my youngest in to the Dr on Friday for his 4 yr check up and I left feeling happy but shocked. He is a happy, smart and energetic boy. When I was reading over the sheet the Dr gives out about what a typical 4 yr old does I realized (and really already knew) that he is advanced for his age. In talking to the dr she said that I need to talk to the school about starting him in kindergarten early and even look into testing for schooling for the gifted. *insert shock* He has his kindergarten screening on Nov 4th and thinking back to my other children, my youngest knows all of the things that are used in the asessment. I don't want to talk to the school before the asessment because I know that is the first step but it is driving me crazy now!
Do any of you momma's out there have info, opinions or advice on starting kindergarten early (for a boy) or on gifted programs in MN?

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

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Gifted doesn't mean that he is emotionally and socially ready! Very important park of K is this area.

More Answers



answers from Rochester on

Having been a gifted and talented teacher, I would be a little cautious of a gifted "diagnosis" this young. In the district I teach in, we don't start looking at selection for G&T until 2nd grade. Partly that is because giftedness is very difficult to identify in younger kids. Many times younger kids appear gifted, but in reality they are advanced beyond their peers because they have had more exposure to life experiences. By 2nd grade, many of those students have "leveled out" and are academically equal with their peers. I had a parent of a kindergarten student who requested her son be advanced to 1st grade because a doctor had said he was extremely gifted. The student had been "kicked out" of a Catholic school because of his behaviors and the doctor felt it was because he was bored in school. He was a very bright student, but we actually found that he had challenges in reading. He did not even come close to meeting our district's criteria for being gifted. He is now in a regular 3rd grade classroom and is right on target for that grade level. There are always exceptions, and your son could definately be one, but I wouldn't go on a doctor's word. Being gifted is not a medical diagnosis.

As far as knowing if you should start your son in kindergarten early, I would look for a checklist of kindergarten readiness skills. I'm sure if you google it you would find one. Or check with your local school district. The checklist will let you know what kinds of things students should be able to do before starting kindergarten. You will probably be surprised to see that for the most part they are not academic skills. They are more along the lines of being able to sit and listen to a story being read, able to use the bathroom unassisted, etc.

As a G&T staff, when we looked at doing grade advancements or subject advancements, one of the biggest questions we asked was, "Will this child be at the top of the advanced class?" We never wanted to advance a child if that child would possibly begin to struggle or drop below average. We never wanted to set a child up to fail and possibly have to move them back. That is probably the best question to ask when deciding if early kindergarten is right for your son. Also remember that most school disrticts will not take a doctor's diagnosis of being gifted. They will do their own testing before making that determination. Our district will not even accept IQ test results if they were done outside of the district. Wait until after his kindergarten screening. Like you said, that is the first step. Waiting a month is not going to hurt your son at all. In the meantime, do a lot of reading with him and continue to expose him to lots of new experiences. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dubuque on

I'm a retired teacher and suggest that u really think about your child's social skills and maturity now and in the future, not just cognitive ability. They will always be the youngest in their class. Some of the other kids will be nearly 2years older. It may sound silly but you do need to think about what it will be like for them going to junior high at such young age. Or not being able to drive for almost 2years after some of their classmates. Also, how about graduating when they are barely 17. Not many kids that age are mature enough to handle college. I'm not saying not to do it but just realize there is much more to it than just their being "smart enough" now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

THere is a wide range of skills a child can do at 4. SOme read and do math computations, some dont', some climb trees and do cartwheels, some don't.
Personally I would not advance a boy.
I have an intelligent boy. BUT he is 100% 10 years old and behaves just like every other 10 yo 5th grader. We homeschool, he is completing a 6th grade curriculum, but he will NOT go back into school a year ahead. In the middle schools and high school they have advanced classes he can take, he'll do that.
My daughter was advanced. Would I do it again for her? Yes. But she is more mature for her age and a girl. We are only now coming into some issues, she is 16 and a senior. She doesn't want to leave home next year, not a huge issue. THere are community colleges. She will graduate high school a month after her 17th birthday. Her best friend will turn 19 in Aug of that year.
She has had others that were advanced in her schools, we are military so many schools. Every one was a boy, ones that we know were at the time either held back (in middle school) or put into lower classes because of their maturity. One did 5 years of high school, but he graduated at 18 like every one else.

If you consider this ask some questions
Does he make friends with older kids?
Are his academics more than 2 or 3 years ahead?
Can he handle frustration?
Does he get upset with people for not teaching him things?
My daughter freaked when the teacher didn't teach her how to tell time with the second hand. On day one she came home in tears from PreK because they didn't teach her to read, that day.
Does he have a phenomenal memory? Can he look at the eye chart in the dr's office and memorize it?
Is he small for his age? Think of sports
Do you really want a 17 yo on a college campus alone?

I would let the school assess him. Then look into extracurricular activities at home, museums, camps, books, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I am so tired of people saying don't start boys early and even more tired of people actually encouraging holding boys back. The research just does not support this. Our son was born less than 2 weeks before the cut off and so many people told me to wait a year. Thank goodness I didn't listen to them. My son is the youngest in his class but at the top in every subject. Writing was a struggle until 3rd grade but other than that it has been a breeze for him and is actually too easy. He complains of being bored much of the time. During his intercession breaks last year (2nd grade) his school let him take classes with the 3-5th graders and he did fine. Go through the process step by step, observe your child in a variety of settings (social, academically boring, academically challenging), observe how he handles himself, listen to what others say about his specific strengths and weaknesses (but ignore generalizations that people make about boys), and include him in the process. Understand that no matter what you end up deciding, there will be rough patches that will require additional support from you (either academic or social/emotional).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My son turns 5 in a couple of weeks, and is currently enrolled in half day kindergarten. He is young, but he is ready. When we first started talking about enrolling him early, I was worried about how ready he was emotionally. (Academically I was not worried at all.) However, he was in a wonderful pre-K program last year 3 mornings a week, and his teacher saw immense improvements in his ability to follow directions and learn the routines of the school day. When she said he seemed like a good candidate for early enrollment, we went forward with all the analyses and testing that other posters have mentioned. Nick passed all the tests with flying colors, so we enrolled him, and he is doing really well. He gets so excited to go to school, he even asks on weekends if he gets to go those days!
My best advice is to enroll your son in a pre-K program this year, and trust the opinions of the experts around you. Don't let non-professional opinions dissuade you; only you know your son well enough to make the best decision you can, whether you go ahead or wait another year. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would not do it. Let him be a kid for another year before he enters school full-time. I have never heard anyone regret not sending their kids early, but I have talked first-hand to several people who regret sending their kids early. My kids were all on the border of starting kindergarten right at turning 5. They are all bright - one especially. I waited with all of them. My oldest is in 5th grade and I've never regretted waiting. She's always been in the talented and gifted program, is challenged, and is with peers her own age - and that makes a difference socially. Please make the most informed, best decision for your child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

When is his birthday? How much younger would he be than his classmates? I have two boys, both in gifted programs in public school. One is a September birthday and one was July and we waited until he was 6 for kindergarten for social and emotional reasons although he was advanced academically. No regrets. There is so much more to kindergarten and school in general than academics. The social, emotional and self help skills can be just as important or even more important than their academic skills. I would seriously consider those skills as well. Talk to the kindergarten teachers and principal of the school he would attend. They can give you some insight. Unless he is really gifted and advanced socially and emotionally, I would probably lean against it. It's also a little soon to know the exact nature of his giftedness. As one of the other posters said, in Minnesota the formal GT evaluation and programs don't begin until 2nd grade although there are other opportunities for enrichment. My kids have had occassions where a particular class, teacher or subject matter bored them, but they have never been bored overall or felt out of place in school. Other than my oldest in 1st grade math, all of their teachers have always found ways and subjects to challenge them. When they were little, I had them enrolled in preschool and 1/2 day kindergarten. During the off days or mornings we did our own enrichment type activities--zoo, Science Museum, History Center, Arboretum, Children's Museum--and it was really nice to have that extra time with them before they started school full time.

All of that said, early entrance in Minnesota requires passing a certain test and you need to pay a fee to take the test. Years ago when I knew someone taking it the fee was $250. I don't know the current fee. I would contact your school district to learn the fee and timing of the test. You can probably get more information about it at the upcoming assessment. The assessment itself is very basic and I wouldn't necessarily use that as the determining factor in your decision. Good luck.


answers from Philadelphia on

if he J. turned 4 by next year it will only be starting him a moneth early right? my daughter turned 5 9/3 and is in K now. Id say put him in full day pre-k and see how he holds up to the long days then you'll know.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions