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The Kindergarten Dilemma–To Enroll or to Hold Back?

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With summer break on the horizon next week, I can almost say I survived my daughter’s first year of kindergarten.

And am fretting about my son’s entrance into it.

Why would I do such a thing when he is only 3? The reason is simple: I already feel pressured to make major decisions on his behalf. When he was born in July of 2006, I figured he was well within the range for the mid-September cut-off for when he could attend school. I enrolled him in our local preschool last September and he has loved it. He has learned all the sounds of the alphabet and is at the top of his class of 3 to 5-year-olds in math.

It’s a good thing, too because I am counting on him doing our taxes in a few years.

He still has one year left of preschool and then I planned to enroll him in kindergarten the following year. Until the peer pressure began.

“Do you really want him to be the youngest in his class?”
“He will be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t hold him back.”
“I held my child back and have never regretted it for an instant.”

At first, I was puzzled. Why would I hold him back when he is progressing nicely? At a recent parent-teacher conference, his teachers told me his fine motor skills still need developing (normal for a 3-year-old boy) but intellectually, socially and athletically, he is thriving. I shared my worries with them and they said it should be a personal decision based on each child.

“So, if I did hold him back to do three years of preschool, what would I do with him that third year?” I queried.

They didn’t have an answer and acknowledged that he would probably have intellectually outgrown most preschools by that time.

So, call me crazy but isn’t that what the next stage a.k.a. kindergarten is for?

We all want our children to be well-adjusted and ready to enter kindergarten. Of course, I’d love my child to be among the smartest in class but at what cost? Holding him back and running the risk that I am delaying his development? Is making the wrong decision going to cause angst, failure and ammunition for future therapy sessions?

I volunteered in my daughter’s kindergarten this past year. Those who were 6 years old often outperformed their younger peers. The smartest girl in my daughter’s class is also the oldest–and is bored most of the time. The teacher spends much of her day scrambling to find more challenging materials for her. Would this girl be better served in a classroom that engages and challenges her?

Conversely, a friend informed me that a teacher told her that out of the three kindergarten classes at my daughter’s school, only 66 percent of the students are moving on to first grade. If this is true, that means 34 percent of the kids were not prepared for kindergarten and will be repeating it next year. Our school’s assessment test scores are higher than most surrounding schools and we are not considered a high-risk area. But am I alone in finding this a staggering statistic?

I miss Mrs. Garcellano’s kindergarten class. I played house. I had snacks. I kissed my first boy at recess. I plugged the toilet. Those are my kindergarten memories, and what fond ones they are.

Well, most of them. 🙂

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I would love to hear your opinion! Please weigh in on what you would do and/or your personal situation with your children. What is your opinion on how far advanced the kindergarten curriculum has become? Too much too soon, just right or do you feel like children should be older when they start? When is the cut-off in your area?

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Comments
  • comment avatar Beth May 23, 2010

    my daughter is about to graduate from kindergarten. She was 4 when she started. Her birthday is Sept 14 and she’s the youngest in her class. However, she is also amoung the 4 smartest in her class (according to her teacher). Though she may have been a little immature, she wasn’t any more so than the other, older kids in her class. Had I held her back, she would have been bored stiff in preschool and I would have been stunting her cognitive and emotional growth and that is so unfair, in my opinion. I don’t regret my decision at all, and have been reassured by both her teacher and pediatrician that I did right by her.

  • comment avatar Mary May 23, 2010

    Our son is the same age as yours – he will be four at the end of June – and the way our kids’ birthdays fall, our kids will be only a year apart in school. Our daughter’s birthday is in October so we had an extra year with her home, which we loved. She will start kindergarten this year a month before she turns six so she will be one of the oldest in her class. Our son will start kindergarten the following year and will probably be the youngest in his class. I have wondered, since we were glad to have another year with our daughter, if we should hold him back too. But I think we’ll put him in kindergarten next year if he’s ready – and if he is held back, then it won’t be a big deal. My real concern is that kindergarten here (maryland) is full day, which kills me. The kids won’t get home until 4! I think they are too young for that kind of a day.

    By the way, that does seem like a whole lot of kids held back in your school. I wonder if it’s the parents’ decision more than test scores?

    Sorry, longest comment ever.

  • comment avatar TIa Juana May 23, 2010

    Amber,

    With two of my four kids having August birthdays, we missed the August 1st deadline to attend Kindergarten right before they turned 5. Subsequently they both turned 6 within the first week of Kindergarten and have always been the oldest in their class – and both did 3 years of Preschool. I also have one with a June birthday and while she has always been the youngest in her class, she has always been at the top – but that doesn’t mean that her life has been without its difficulties because of that decision. Many times I have wished that I had held her back a year.

    It seems to me that you have already come to the conclusion that your Bode is ready for school but I think the real question you need to ask is if your school is ready for him. By that I mean that you need to look into the programs of your school and find out what types of programs are available for chilren who are succeeding above their age level. Does your school offer an advanced reading class for those who have surpassed the class? Do they have a talented/gifted program and at what age do children participate and what are the qualifications?

    If your child is older in the class then he may be more ready for these types of programs and that can help aliviate your worries of him being bored with the curriculum. But keep in mind that boys tend to struggle more socially if they are the youngest in the grade – and I’m not talking about in Kindergarten, I’m talking about in Middle School and early High School. I would suggest that your decision not be so focused on the here and now but the when and then. In other words – go find your crystal ball!!!! Trust me when I say that the younger boys in Middle School really have a hard time. I’ve seen it first hand time and time again and being top of the class doesn’t have anything to do with it. You will also want to consider at what point in time you are comfortable with the driving/dating thing and whether you want him to be the first to do it, or the last.

    Again, I’m not sure the real question is whether your child is “ready” because my experience is that your child will learn at different paces at different age levels. He may be ahead of the game now but in third grade may take a dip on the learning scale. I have found with each of my children that while they are generally at the top of their class, they have each had years where they have struggled in some way and one if foolish to think that their child will always be the smartest.

    With my now 5th grade son, I am EXTREMELY grateful he was held back that extra year because he hit a point in 2nd – 3rd grade where he had some real difficulties come into play that we were able to work through. Had he been the youngest in the class, I am sure that those issues would have been even more noticable and would have affected his social “game”. It really is all about YOUR child but boys do tend to have more fluctuations in social maturity and I think this is a huge factor.

    You may find that waiting another year seems ridiculous because he is SO ready right now, but if he were my child I would lean towards waiting. He is just a little kid and he not only is he resilient but he is curious and he will learn regardless of where he is – about the world, about his peers, about himself and his abilities. Statistics and reading levels are important but they are not the end all. Yes, the preschool curriculum will possibly surpass him that 3rd year – it did for my daughter as well – and Kindergarten will probably be REALLY easy! But with my youngest I found that bonding time for her and I was far more valuable than sending her on. Our kids grow up so quickly – we push and push and push and they try and try and try – sometimes I think it is nice to push the world aside and just “be”. And, you will NEVER regret “BEING” together!

    I’m sure whatever you decide will be the best thing for you and Bode. It is a hard call and while I have tried to sway you to wait, it really is a personal decision and one that is not easy. Whatever you do, my guess is you will have success and find that you made the right one!

  • comment avatar Melissa May 23, 2010

    I think between you, Jamie & the teachers, you will figure out what is best for Bodie. He’s a bright boy, and I’m sure you will find ways to challenge his learning and keep him engaged.

    I was surprised by your statistic of students not prepared for 1st grade. I wonder if the parents were informed during the year to help their children get ready. But I am encouraged that they did not just push the students through, only to fall further behind.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 23, 2010

    Wow, these are FANTASTIC comments, everyone. Please keep them coming!

    I honestly haven’t made a decision either way. I would prefer to enroll him next year however, this is contingent upon how he does this next year in preschool. I am not opposed to holding him back, either but I just want to make sure it is the right decision for him and to find another program that will help him progress if I do hold him back.

  • comment avatar divrchk May 23, 2010

    It sounds like he will definitely be ready for Kindergarten. He still has an entire year of preschool ahead of him. In my current state, gifted and talented programs don’t start until the 3rd grade and my first grader has been so bored this year. The school has made very little effort to challenge him and it’s been an extremely frustrating year for all of us. He finished the year reading at an almost 5th grade level and math at a 3rd grade level and that is with no help from the school – again – FRUSTRATING! With No Child Left Behind, schools seem to teach to the lowest common denominator and the smart kids are left hanging.

  • comment avatar leazaindenver May 23, 2010

    HOLD BACK!

    OK….here’s the scoop. I started kindergarten when I was 4 years old…turned 5 the following November. My mom started me because I was honestly “smarter” than the other kiddos. But, when high school rolled around, I was a year “behind” socially. It was tough to be the LAST one to turn 16 (junior year), and more importantly the last one to tutn 21 (senior year in college). Sure, academically I excelled…but socially I felt a little behind.

    You may feel these things aren’t too important in the scheme of things…but they really mattered as a teenager.

    I am however, happy to be a later bloomer. 🙂

  • comment avatar andrea May 23, 2010

    My rule is to keep them with the church class age. Mostly because church goes by age, and it’s hard when you’re a year ahead (or behind) in school than everyone you spend your church social time with.
    My dd will be 4 entering kindergarten and can’t yet identify letters/ numbers. My other was 5 and was already reading. So it’s so varied. It took me months to convince the teacher that she could read (she is so quiet and shy) and got her to send chapter books home for the reading instead of see jane run type books. I was shocked when I found out there were even a few kids repeating kindergarten. Your area seems really high!
    Is it possible to put him in kindergarten for 2 years? Instead of preschool for 2? That’s what I would do if it still keeps him with the church age in the long run. Just my opinion 🙂

  • comment avatar Scatteredmom May 23, 2010

    The cut off date in our province is December 31st. Jake was born December 21st, and just squeaked in under the wire.

    We were in the same boat as you, Amber. Jake was intellectually SO ready for kindergarten that holding him back would’ve been an issue. As it is, this year in grade 9 he was taking grade 11 classes online and was getting top grades in those as well.

    From my experience of working with kids (18 years: 13 spent in elementary school), I think that there is no cut and dried answer. Being the youngest doesn’t automatically mean they will be at a disadvantage, nor does being the oldest mean they will be ahead. It depends on the individual child.

    Now, our experience has been that even though Jake has been fine academically, like someone pointed out, he’s had a bit of a hard time socially. There were times where all his friends would register for some community class, and he couldn’t because he was just under the age limit. He’ll get his license later. They all had jobs last summer and he only just became old enough to legally work this summer. In elementary school the teachers would comment about how immature he was and we had to keep reminding them that he WAS the youngest in the class. Even now in high school, his friends aren’t really the kids in his class, but the ones a grade below.

    Having said that, I don’t think that holding him back would’ve changed anything. He would still have a learning disability to struggle with, and the only difference would be he’d be bored silly. He’s bored now. I can’t imagine if he was even a grade lower.

    I’m sorry, but there’s no easy answer. Either way you’ll look back and wonder what might have happened if you handled it differently. I think you should sit down with Jamie and Bode’s current teacher, and discuss in detail his social, cognitive, and fine motor development. Then make your decision, and stop listening to the naysayers. You know Bode best. That’s what matters.

    (Ps..and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me anytime!)

  • comment avatar Jill - GlossyVeneer May 23, 2010

    I don’t have kids, so take this with a grain of salt… but my birthday is August 11. I was always one of the youngest kids in class. I graduated from college when I was just 20. However, I was also one of the top students and school was always easy for me. So if Bode is doing well with the academics, perhaps he’s ready for kindergarten. I wouldn’t want him to feel bored by school because he’s ahead of the others (if he was held back) which could be more of a breeding ground for troublemaking.

  • comment avatar Melissa May 23, 2010

    I concur on the comments about placing a strong focus on considering teen years. I think it’s less about how they place in class at age 5/6. Think of boys at age 16. Yikes. We “red shirted” our late August birthday son. Fortunately he happened to be in a Montesstori preschool that offers kindergarten/work at your level curriculum.

    But then we were very concerned about him being bored in public school kindergarten after having a year of preschool kindergarten. Our fears were unfounded. There is a problem in school if a child is bored (at any age). Kindergarten teachers are accustomed to working with children at many levels of development in one classroom.

    Our son was a high achiever in preschool and we were certain he would be the strongest reader, most mature, etc. Ha. Turns out that his public school kindergarten class was full of the same. But, most importantly, even if he were “ahead”, the teachers would not allow him to rest easy/slack off so the rest of class can catch up. They expect the same level of development year over year regardless of where the child starts.

    We’re only three years into this experiment (he’s finishing second grade) and so far we have been really happy with our decision. Our younger son is a winter baby and he is finishing kindergarten. If I were comparing, I’d say that his “numbers” are not as high as his brother’s were at this point, but he’s doing well, is on track, and most importantly, he loves school!

    One other point. Our school is apparently not reluctant to hold kids back in kindergarten. Know of several kids. While it may not seem a big deal to the parent, I’ve seen it affect the child’s self-esteem. You might place a high emphasis on trying to avoid that potential.

  • comment avatar Melissa May 23, 2010

    Everyone does have an opinion on this subject… even me 🙂 Our daughter’s birthday is in October. The cutoff date here in California is the middle of December (which seems insanely late to me!) and I was going back and forth on sending her or not. Academically, she was ready. She knew all her letters, most of their sounds and was starting to read. She could count fairly high and recognize shapes, colors, blah blah blah. I felt like she was ready to go into kindergarten.

    But then a friend asked me an interesting question that I hadn’t really given much though. She asked if my daughter played more with older or younger kids. She told me to have her play with a group of kids that had children just older and just younger and see who she gravitated to.

    My daughter chose to play with the younger kids every time. Those were the kids she was more comfortable with. They were the ones that she interacted with more and was socially more comfortable with. She would interact with the older kids, but it just wasn’t the same. She wasn’t as happy or as playful with them. She was more timid and didn’t express herself as much as she did with the younger kids. So, we held her back.

    She’s in kindergarten this year and excelling in everything. There are times when she seems a little bored academically (that’s usually when I give her something a little more challenging at home), but she is friends with everyone in the class! It won’t be long before the opinion of her peers will be more important than mine. I’m hoping (please, oh, please!) that being comfortable with her peer group will help. As one of the older kids, she’s more of a leader and less of a follower. Even at this young age, she’s not swayed by what others want her to do.

    So, I would say to watch him. Does he get along better with the older kids? If so – go for it! Put him in kinder next year. If he seems to be more comfortable with his younger peers, maybe it would be best to give him a little more time.

    Just my two cents!

  • comment avatar JoAnn May 23, 2010

    I know how you feel! Only, I have the opposite problem. Claire misses the cutoff date for Kindergarten, but she’s MORE than ready to go. After much gnashing of teeth and phone calls and questions, I decided in the end to just adapt to their system. I found an excellent preschool that will be her Pre-K (2nd year of Pre-K, actually…but it is what it is). They are keeping her challenged, and she’s thriving.

    Right now, I’m researching Kindergartens for the 2011 school year. One of the schools at the top of our list groups the kids together in multi-age classrooms by design. In this particular school, she would automatically go into a class with First Graders. They do their own testing and put her in with kids in her same level in different subjects, regardless of age. Almost all of the schools I’m looking at will do this, so I’m not too worried about her being bored.

    So…long story even longer, I sucked it up and will have her do one extra year of Pre-K, and it will all work out in the end. 🙂

    GOOD LUCK to you! I say, if Bode is ready, he’s ready! You’ll know what the right answer is when the time comes. 🙂

  • comment avatar Amber's Crazy Bloggin' Canuck May 23, 2010

    I love that there are so many different perspectives and backgrounds. Every situation is different and you have given em some great things to think about. Keep ’em coming!

  • comment avatar Helen May 23, 2010

    Amber. Good luck with your decision. Parenting is hard. I wish I had advice for you, but I’m not there yet. We are still worrying about how to protect our cat from Emily, how and when to potty train, and how to get her a sibling. Love your blog! Helen

  • comment avatar Angella May 23, 2010

    Hey Amber,

    With our two boys being September and July babies we plan to hold them both back. Since we had this plan from the beginning we are transitioning into Preschool differently by starting 2 days this year and then possibly 4 days next year.
    From everything we’ve experienced and read on the subject, boys really benefit from being held back. They’re not as emotionally mature, they’ll do better in athletics if they’re given the chance to grow a little more, and their language skills will be better developed. For us, the athletic aspect is the largest deciding factor. Steve was always the youngest in his class and he felt he matured after everyone else and therefore wasn’t able to compete at the same level. I felt this was really obvious with Brenden as I watched him try to compete in high school sports.

    Girls are completely different and, after reading the comments above, I think you should only consider those given by parents of boys.

    It’ll be hard on our kids to not be in the same class or grade level as the neighbor kids but I think they’ll appreciate it in the long run. If you’re not needing kindergarten to be your childcare, as many do, is it that big of a deal to wait one more year?

    You know us, always happy to give our opinion! Good luck with your decision!

  • comment avatar Liza May 23, 2010

    Hey Amber;

    Don’t forget that here in Calgary the cut of is the end of February. Meaning that when a kid starts kindergarten they must be 5 but February 28. Aiden’s birthday is in Feburary and we chose to hold him back. Now both my girls have summer birthdays. Emily (the older of the two) I might have held back but I wouldn’t have really known that until about grade two when she started to struggle. But now that she is in grade four with a fantastic teacher who was able to agree with me that there was a possible learning diability and worked with me to diagnose and put an IPP plan in place she is thriving in school again. Megan the youngest would have gone completely squirelly if we had held her back until she was six. She is far to social and advanced to be in preschool an addtional year. Mostly because she has older siblings who she copies after.

    I struggled with what to to with Aiden only because all that I had read and heard told me that boys will struggle socially when they are older. In earlier grade Aiden always migrated to the boys in the grade above him (the year he “could” have started). It made me question if we made the right decision. He still gets along well with those older boys but fits in well with his grade level peers also. I think with him we have been blessed with a well socialized kid.

    Remember that Kindergarten is SUPPOSED to be about socialization and making sure that the kids can line up, colour inside the lines, count and know thier alphabet and play nice.

    I suppose the advice I offer is not to stress to much, take a deep breath and follow YOUR gut. If you choose to put him into Kindergarten next fall and they hold him back then so be it. Support him, love him and encourage. That is the best we can do as parents. If we continue to second guess our every decision then what kind of parent does that make us?

  • comment avatar Kassie B May 23, 2010

    My husband and I both have September birthdays with the cut off in October, so we were both younger. I know (according to my mom) that I struggled the first 2 years – K & 1st. But when 2nd grade started I started to excel. My husband never had a problem, academically or socially, and he was a small kid, didn’t have a growth spurt until his junior/senior year of hs. His mom swears up and down she is grateful that she didn’t hold him back, as is he. He was already bored as it was. Anyway, I’ll be facing this decision in a couple of years when my July baby boy gets to this point. Everyone has given wonderful advice about this and my thoughts are: every kid struggles at different points in their lives… it’s called growing up. We, as their parents do what we can to help them and guide them through those difficult experiences… it’s called life. Regardless of what you decide, I don’t think you are going to scar your child for life. Good luck with your decision!

  • comment avatar rachel May 23, 2010

    My son is actually turning 5 at the end of September and I have opted to hold him back another year. I think he is plenty smart and could do well in Kindergarten, but my philosphy is simple. We have our WHOLE lives to go to school, study, take tests and later work. Why not let our kids enjoy the pure bliss of childhood a little longer? Zack is learning plenty in school, and most importantly he is builing friendships and social skills. I feel like I am giving him a gift, an extra year to play 🙂

  • comment avatar Kristen Race, Ph.D. May 23, 2010

    Amber,
    Wow! This is a topic that is sure to spark all kinds of conversations. I get asked this question all the time and I think that when making this decision each child and families needs to be considered individually. That being said, there are a few things that I feel every parent needs to think about when faced with this choice.
    First, I am more than shocked by that statistic that 34% of students are not ready to enter first grade! I hope this does not mean that 34% of the students are repeating kindergarten. I think many parents think they will give kindergarten a shot and if it doesn’t work they will just have their child repeat. This is not a good option! The research is very clear that retention, at any age, has a significant negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and future success in school.
    Second, it is far more important for a child to feel socially and emotionally confident than for a child to feel academically challenged. Simply think about a time during your school career when you were on the outs socially. Regardless of how academically challenged you were at that time, it is pretty likely that you hated going to school and felt miserable while you were there. Kids who are developmentally younger tend to have more social struggles than peers who are more socially mature. In addition, these social stressors (clicks, bullying,etc.) are happening at an earlier age. In other words that social stuff that we dealt with in middle school commonly starts in 2nd grade and the kids who are often targeted are developmentally young.
    Third, and I know there are people who will be taken back by this one, it is a myth that kids will be bored. Kids who are happy are not bored in school and effective schools can find ways to keep all children stimulated. I would much rather have a happy child who has extra time for enrichment activities than an academically challenged child who hates school and does not want to go out for recess because they feel socially inadequate.
    Finally, I would echo all of the previously mentioned concerns regarding what happens further down the line in a child’s academic career. There is a huge difference between sending a 17 year-old off to college and an 18 year-old. Throughout their adolescence they will be faced with a lot of tough choices and I would want them to be equipped with as much maturity as possible when they are making high stakes decisions.
    Last but definitely not least, I know that some voice concerns over the “academic redshirting” of children. In an ideal world we would have one standard cut off throughout states and districts. The problem is that until we as a country decide to put funding into educating the whole child, rather than just focusing on what the standardized tests are measuring, parents need to take their child’s social and emotional well being into their own hands. One of the first things cut from school programming is character education and bully-proofing programs. If some extra time can help a child have a happier, healthier, and safer academic experience, isn’t it worth the cost of one more year of preschool?
    Oops, I kind of ended up on more of a soap box then I intended. I hope some of this info is helpful to you and others! Good luck!
    Kristen

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 23, 2010

    Wow these awesome comments just keep coming. Everyone’s opinion is so valuable. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  • comment avatar Chrissi May 23, 2010

    My Son’s birthday is July 22nd. I choose to send him to Kindergarten right after he turned 5, therefore he has always been one of the youngest in his class, if not the youngest. He will be graduating elementary school tomorrow, moving onto middle school 🙁 I have never regretted sending him to school at a younger age and not holding him back in Pre-school. My son has excelled and would be bored out of his mind if he was just finishing up the 4th grade. He too had to work on his fine motor skills, but in about 2nd grade there seemed to be no difference between him and the older kids. He now has some of the best handwriting is his 5th grade class.

    I would say go with your gut, you know your child better than anyone else and stick with what you feel. I had a couple of friends that tried to pressure me into keeping my son back, but I just knew that would not be the right decision for him and like I said have never regretted it!

  • comment avatar Gretchen White May 23, 2010

    I’m in the same boat, Amber.

    Beatrix was born September 2006 and will be eligible to enter kindergarten in the fall of 2011. She’ll be 4 for the first few weeks of school and will most likely be the youngest kid in class.

    I am not terribly worried about her being socially unsavvy with older kids. She has 4 big brothers and a big sister. She has street cred. with kids of all ages. As far as handling herself academically, I don’t anticipate any trouble keeping up with the demands of kindergarten work.

    She has tagged along when I volunteer in the classroom and totally makes herself at home.

    I wish kindergarten admission was based solely on readiness, rather than a random date on the calendar. Kids would start their school careers fully equipped to succeed based on expert opinion and not when they happen to blow out 5 candles.

    But because that’s our current system, I have to base our decision on where she’ll be in about a year. At this point, I am leaning strongly toward 2011.

    Also, afterthought here…my oldest child was born in July 1997 and began kindergarten about a month after turning 5. She did just fine. But it’s getting weird NOW. She’s still 12 and in 7th grade, but all of her friends are 13 and even 14. There is a huge difference between those ages, it seems.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 23, 2010

    Great perspectives looking down the road. It’s one thing to look at the now and if they do fine but later, age differences could make all the difference. Interesting food for thought!

  • comment avatar Alison May 23, 2010

    I have also been exploring this issue. We have a tall son with a July Birthday, which also puts him on the younger end. As many of the above comments point out, it seems that in my survey of the issue, social readiness is the biggest concern.

  • comment avatar Anne May 23, 2010

    When my brother was held out of kindergarten in 1985, my mom send him to a different preschool his “held out” year so that he would be challenged in a new way. He alternated between maturity and typical boy immaturity growing up. He graduated from the Naval Academy, worked on nuclear attack subs, and is set to start a new job at Google tomorrow. My mother has said it was one of the best decisions she ever made, and my brother likes to tell people he “failed preschool.”

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 23, 2010

    I love your description and had a good chuckle over it. My husband told me today about his buddy that was held back in 1st grade. Then, he deadpanned, “He’s a lawyer now.”

    🙂

  • comment avatar Tonya May 23, 2010

    I was the youngest kid in my class all through school and I hated it. I was the last to do everything. The last to become a teenager, to drive etc etc.
    My son is a Nov birthday and I was thankful that he would almost 6 when he start kinder. I think it’s better to start them later but that’s just my humble opinion.

  • comment avatar Tanya May 23, 2010

    Holllllllddddd on a minute! Back UP the TRUCK! Forgive me, but he is still three years old, right? You have one WHOLE year to make an informed decision. Here are some things to keep in mind:
    #1 – It’s YOUR decision (well, including Jaime, if you’re in the mood) and no one else.
    #2 – It’s easier to change grades around when you’re younger vs. when you’re classmates are more apt to teasing you.
    #3 – Follow the pace set by your child. He will give you plenty of indicators to let you know if he’s ready.
    #4 – It’s your decision. Don’t try making anyone else happy — excite Bode.
    Personal experience? My kid has always been the youngest in class and performed at the top. What does that prove? Absolutely nothing. Bode needs a safe, welcoming place to come home to everyday where he will be accepted and know that his personal best is always expected, but every good effort will be appreciated. If he has this and knows you love, everything else (including taxes) is just gravy.

  • comment avatar Head Nurse May 23, 2010

    My daughter is an August birthday. She is nearly 12. She was more than ready for kindergarten when the time came. She actually would have done very well socially and accedemically if we had sent her the same year as her brother who is 18 months older.

    We chose to keep her home another year for a multitude of reasons. One- another year between she and her brother, instead of being a year apart in school, they are two. Best case scenario for brother.

    Two- as the oldest in her grade, she will drive and date as a sophomore instead of a Junior. Very big deal down the road. I know alot of people keep their sons home for sports- not a reason for me personally, but something to think about as well.

    Three- she will graduate and head off to school at nearly 19, instead of nearly 18. (This has a big effect on boys and serving missions as well- trust me)

    Ultimately, you have to decide what is best for your child. I personally wouldn’t worry as much about him being bored in preschool as much as I would weigh in the future consequences at the times in his or her life where things will carry much more weight.

    My daughter asked me why I didn’t send her the summer she turned 5. When I explained our reasoning- she was totally okay with it. She really likes being the oldest in her class, and she isn’t as bored as I worried she might be.

    I looked to the future, accepted personal revelation regarding what was right for her, and haven’t had any cause to regret it so far. I am pretty sure I won’t regret not having fights over her wanting to date before she is 16, but already in high school.

    That being said, my sister sent all of her summer birthday kids (three) to school when they turned 5, and they have all done great so far. They were all very smart, and very tall for their ages. She has no regrets that I know of.

    Sorry this is so long 🙂

  • comment avatar Joy Opp May 23, 2010

    One thing made our decision very easy: boys! Instead of looking at the picture in elementary school, because all kids tend to even out academically around third grade anyway, we looked way ahead to the fact that we do NOT want our 17 year old daughter arriving at college surrounded by 18 and 19 year old boys! If I had a boy I would feel the same way.

    We have held Amanda back (Sept birthday) and yes, she’s bored at school right now but I do not expect the local public school to be her only learning opportunity. We engage naturalists, librarians, grandmas, doctors, zoo keepers and every other adult we run across as her supplemental teachers. She’s a leader in her class and thrives on helping others.

    Of course I wonder if she should be more challenged academically, but I think life gets challenging enough in its own time so why push these kids now? That extra year was a gift to us – time we’ll never have back, and time very well spent… with mom and dad.

  • comment avatar DA Sue May 24, 2010

    As an old teacher, if he is 5 in Sept, send him. The amount of kids not progressing onto grade on is pretty high it seems to me. Your children are exposed to life experiences beyond the normal which build IQ , social skills and life skills. If he isn’t stressed by pre-school, he should do fine in kindergarten. You can only judge this the summer before he is 5 but it this point, I say, it’s a mute point.

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  • comment avatar Lauren in GA May 24, 2010

    My two oldest boys were very young and did fine. I was told to hold them back, too. My third son is repeating the first grade because he just wasn’t ready but wanted to go so badly so I let him. They way you describe Bode, he sounds ready to me…but I guess my point is, I regret my third son having to repeat a grade, but each child is so different.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 24, 2010

    I was talking to a friend who said she had to repeat first grade because she just wasn’t ready. She said she carried that stigma around with her the rest of her schooling that she just wasn’t smart enough. It’s a tough feeling to overcome. That’s why I feel pressured to make the right decision from the get-go!

  • comment avatar Lauren in GA May 24, 2010

    I’m so worried my boy will carry the stigma around, too. I wish I had chosen differently for him and taken into consideration that he is totally different from his brothers.

  • comment avatar Patty Smith May 24, 2010

    With all the “expert” voices yelling in our ears, it’s no wonder these decisions are so difficult to make. Take a deep breath, ask for a blessing, and follow what you’re told.

  • comment avatar Carrie May 24, 2010

    I have a June Birthday Boy as well. His teacher at Fremont, whom I adore, said the summer boys sometimes have a hard time in the beginning. Riley is a smarty pants like Bode (good at Math, knew all the PreK stuff etc.) I went ahead and put him in Kindergarten at age 5. He seemed more then ready academically and socially ready, so I figured we were good to go. Oh my goodness first semester was a challenge. He cried almost daily. He had unrealistic fears that I would forget him. This all on top of major health issues as well. (Did you know Kindergartners can get MONO???) I started to rapidly regret my decision. He was apparently not emotionally ready.

    So now we are at the close of the Kindergarten year. He is near the top of his class (no one can beat the oldest girl) and completely turned into this grown up little man. No more daily crying! He is composed and maturely handles his fears by simply stating the issue and asking his teacher for help. I know many of the younger boys had bouts with crying in the first months, none as severe as mine. If you ask me today if I regret my decision, the answer is no. While we had some challenges I feel we came out ready to face whatever comes our way in the future.

    As a mom, you need to consider your family dynamic, your sons abilities and most importantly your instincts and do what is best for YOUR son. Regardless of anyones opinion. Good luck to you!

  • comment avatar Amanda D May 24, 2010

    I’m sure you don’t need another opinion, but if you send him to a third year of preschool, he will be so bored come kindergarten. Kindergarten isn’t where he’s going to learn a lot – it’s an introduction to school. Maybe that wont be the case if you have all day kindergarten. Here it’s 2.5 hours. My son is a July birthday and will start kindergarten in the fall. He’ll be among the youngest, but big deal. I can’t imagine him doing a third year of prek.

    Good luck with your decision!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 24, 2010

    No amount of opinions are ever enough. Please please keep them coming. I value everyone’s perspectives!

  • comment avatar Jenna Hallock May 24, 2010

    My goodness! I can’t remember the last time I saw 40 comments on one post at MHM – great topic! Our son also has a July birthday and “should” go to kindergarten in August, but we are holding him back. He’s done a 2-day and 3-day preschool program. Next school year he will do the 4-day program. We are fortunate to have this option without switching schools. (We are at Mission Hills Early Learning Center and LOVE it!!)

    He’ll be older and bigger (never a disadvantage for a boy), plus it gives me one more year to have him at home with me! Once they are in school all day, you never really get them back again.

    PS. Even once they are in school, they could be advanced/behind and need extra help. I’d like to hear if there is anyone who can recommend materials for using at home (maybe supplemental home school materials?).

  • comment avatar Lisa May 24, 2010

    I have done it both ways and it is much easier to hold a child out of kindergarten for a year than to have him/her repeat a year.

    My oldest son has a late June birthday. I started him in kindergarten when he was 5. He struggled and we made the decision to have him repeat. We have struggled with him feeling like he failed. He would alway tell people, when asked what grade he is in that he is in, for example, 2nd but he is supposed to be in third. He is now in fifth grade and doesn’t do that any more but it took a long time to convince him that we enrolled him too early and that he is right where he is supposed to be.

    My younger son is a July birthday and after our experiences it was a no brainer to have him wait a year. He did 3 years of preschool. Our preschool had a Jr Kindergarten class that was designed for 5 year olds. It was perfect.

    You will never regret keeping him out for another year but you will regret sending him if you have to have him repeat a year.

  • comment avatar ShanaM May 24, 2010

    The cut off date where I live is Dec 31 and since Marissa’s birthday is Dec 25, she has always been the youngest in her class. So she was 4 when she started kindergarten. Plus, where we live, we have Junior Kindergarten so she was 3 when she started school. And she was so ready.
    So Marissa will still be 15 when she starts grade 11 in Sept, a year younger than a lot of her friends. I see a lot of her older friends, not doing as well as Marissa so I can see that every kid is different, no matter what their age is. Marissa has done well all through school
    I think that most kids learn WAY more when they are young and a cut off date of JuneJuly is way too early, in my opinion. Of all the different school boards in North America, every one has a different cut off date.
    But every kid is different. When I was asked, if it was wise to send Marissa to school at the age of three, I said, “Of course. She is READY.”
    Being READY is the most important factor, not an orbitrary cut-off date.

  • comment avatar Jenn May 24, 2010

    I’ve put three kids through kindergarten so far and have one more enrolled for the upcoming fall. My oldest was an October birthday, so she has always been at the older end for her grade. My 2nd, a boy, born the end of June. There a year apart in school, and I have never regretted sending my son to Kindergarten instead of holding him back. He excels in his school work and socially and emotionally is doing great. He’s just finishing the fourth grade this year and doing great. It’s a personal choice, but I think generally speaking kids with summer birthdays do just fine being in the grade they “technically” are supposed to be in. It’s all about how much the parents are involved in their child’s education. The more you are involved the better prepared they are and the more you can be aware of their readiness or unreadiness.

  • comment avatar Carol May 24, 2010

    My birthday is August 30th and I barely made the cutoff in Texas. I was always one of the youngest in my class but I performed well in school and in sports. I will have to say that there was one year that I needed a little extra help when I was in junior high to get some of the concepts that they were teaching. All it took was a few weeks of extra help after school and I was good to go. I ended up graduating 5th in my class and the one girl who was younger than me graduated 3rd in our class.

    I don’t have any regrets being the youngest and was often proud that I was able to do so well even though I was younger than everyone else. I believe you have to really evaluate each child and decide if they are ready both intellectually and socially.

    Good luck with your decision. You seem to be a very involved and conscientious mom and I’m sure you will make the right choice for Bode!

  • comment avatar Lisa J May 24, 2010

    I don’t have any kids, but my opinion is don’t brake something if it’s not broken. If you are not worried with where he is at with his learning, I would just keep going forward. If it does become a problem, then I would look at it again.

  • comment avatar Sabrina May 24, 2010

    Depends on the kid. If your school is open to holding back a kid if need be, I’d consider enrolling. You’ll never know until you see the kid in school whether or not they’re up to it. My son James repeated first grade, and it was the best thing we have ever done for him – and also the hardest decision ever made!

  • comment avatar MommyTime May 24, 2010

    I went to Kindergarten at 4 and didn’t turn 5 till the end of April, so I was always the youngest in my class by a year. Academically? Not an issue at all. Socially? I had a few very close friends but was never part of the popular crowd. Worked great for me. My sister, who missed the birthday cutoff by a mere 6 days was also put “ahead” a grade like I had been, and she struggled a LOT with it. Moral? Totally depends on the kid.

    I will say this, though: the people who hold back boys who ARE old enough to make the cutoff, just so that these boys can be bigger and more coordinated in sports, are doing a disservice to the rest of us who just want to start our kids on time. My son, with a January birthday, should theoretically be about the oldest kid in his class, since the cutoff for us is Dec 1. In fact, there are kids with birthdays in the summer who were “redshirted” to start later. The popularity of this plan (for boys especially) means that kids who start on time seem “immature” — which, of course, they ARE compared to kids a full seven months who have been “waited” to start school so they could be bigger. This strikes me as a big problem in the long term too. To be clear: I am a HUGE advocate of waiting a child who is not socially or academically ready for full-day school. I just oppose the holding back of a kid on principle, so that he can be bigger and more coordinated further down the line.

    If I were you, I would focus on whole-kid readiness. And I would take comfort from this fact: my kid started out as one of the most advanced readers, math doers, etc., in his class, but pretty painfully shy despite being 5 3/4 at the start of kindergarten. Now at the end, he’s choosing to take magic tricks to perform at Show and Tell. The ones who started as socially outgoing but unable to read? They’re reading. Kindergarten is a magical place: kids LEARN stuff there. 🙂 And they all end up more advanced even at the stuff they didn’t succeed at before. Take heart. You will make the right choice.

  • comment avatar Fiona May 24, 2010

    Kat is an August baby and doesn’t make the cutoff for our school but does at the program at her pre-k so she’ll go there and then enter kindergarten at our school. My son was a june baby and I sent him to K but kept him there another year – not for academic reasons but because I felt emotional/socially he needed another year – he was very young for the class – it was the best thing I could have done for him… and he STILL isn’t the oldest in his class!

  • comment avatar Manisha May 24, 2010

    If you think he’s ready emotionally and intellectually, he is! Statistics are just that – a guideline but aren’t necessarily true for your child.

    We had a slightly different story. My child (June birthday) was more than ready for 1st grade when she went into kindergarten. She was reading and doing math at even higher grade levels. Public school rules prevented her from skipping kindergarten and going directly into 1st grade; lazy parents prevented her from going to a private school 45 minutes away one-way; pediatrician warned about size / playground / sports issues if she skipped grades. She grew socially but was never much of a fit as her humor was advanced, her skills even more so. Kids just didn’t ‘get’ her.

    Things improved when we moved to the Boulder area. Her elementary school had a GT program and they also had ability grouping. She still wasn’t challenged as much as she could be and the size thing remained an issue in the playground. Even now, no-one wants her on their team – she’s not athletic, and will not push or shove to get ahead. She’s wrapping up the last week of 6th grade in a middle school that’s excellent: she’s doing 7th & 8th grade math and even though they don’t offer other advanced courses, she picks up harder assignments or chooses to work at a higher level. We know that in 7th grade she will be doing 9th grade math and Advanced LA. Neither age nor size figure in this.

    She has friends over a wide spectrum of ages and grades: there are elementary school kids who come to her math class that she’s friends with; she has friends in all middle school grades and she has friends in high school who she looks up to. She seems to fit in better now than she did in elementary school!

    Holding her back was never a consideration and while we could have done something about getting her a year ahead, it doesn’t matter anymore. We did make sure that she got the input she needed outside of school. Age is not an issue as she is increasingly accepted for who she is. She will never be good at sports and honestly, none of us really care as long as she’s active, healthy and fit.

    I think it’s unfortunate that size plays a larger role than intellectual and emotional development. It’s a sign of how development in the classroom is not nearly as important anymore. I did hear on NPR recently that college coaches are going to elementary schools to identify future sportstars.

    You know your child best. Do right by him.

  • comment avatar Diane May 24, 2010

    Amber,

    My son’s birthday is in July also. We had same decision to make to make way back when. Since he had 2 years of preschool and did swimmingly, we put him in Kindergarten at 5.

    I didn’t question our decision until middle school when it became apparent that our son wasn’t as mature as most of the other kids. Most of the other kids were nearly a whole year older and he was often treated badly because of it. When we moved from one school district to another near the end of 7th Grade–we had him repeat 7th Grade the following year. Best decision ever, but he was mad at us for awhile. Socially, he fits in much better now with kids his own age and maturity level.

    Tough decision. Good luck.

  • comment avatar yvonne May 24, 2010

    I would say that each child is different–you are the mom and you know best. If you think he’s ready then by all means he’s ready. I’m sure you will have tons of different opinions–I think you’ll know.

  • comment avatar Lisa May 24, 2010

    I think you are going to find valid arguements for both enrollment and holding back.

    I went to school when I was 4, I have a Sept. birthday. That worked fine for me.

    It sounds like he really likes school and is doing well. I think that is a good sign that he will be ready.

    I also believe that you are the type of parent that will make sure he is on track along the way – if he needs help or is completely bored and needs a more advanced schedule.

  • comment avatar FFG May 24, 2010

    In Texas, holding your kids (especially sons) back is the norm. My friend’s daughter’s birthday is the end of May & she is the youngest in her class even though the cutoff is Sept 1st. I understand your points.

    If my kids were near the cutoff date, I would definitely send Lexi because she was more than ready LAST year and she still has another year to go. **makes me crazy**

    As for Jordan, I would hold him back even though he’d be ready too. I think it is tougher on boys being the youngest. Being the oldest is more of an advantage in high school when it comes to sports, driving, & school work.

  • comment avatar FFG May 24, 2010

    By the way, in Texas they call it “redshirt” – just like freshman football players in college.

  • comment avatar Laughing Yoga Mama May 24, 2010

    The pressure is crazy, Amber! When my July birthday boy was two people were asking me if I was going to hold him out a year. I always replied that we’d decide that when he was five. He was totally ready for school, wanted to be like big brother, and has done great so far.

    I am also a summer baby and graduate high school at 17. It was never a big deal for me. I was teased more about my height, or lack thereof, than being younger. Having strong academic and social skills helped me get through all the muck.

    Trust yourself and what you know about Bode. It’s way too easy to overthink this stuff. Whatever decision you make you’ll need to adapt and support him along the way with the many challenges of growing up. 🙂

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 24, 2010

    Thanks for the votes of confidence. Everyone’s insightful comments continue to amaze me. THANK YOU!

  • comment avatar Jennifer May 25, 2010

    I have a May birthday so was one of the youngest in my class when I started K. I was then moved from first grade to second grade after a month in first – since I was the only kid in class that could read. I graduated high school 2 days after I turned 17 and graduated college (with a 4 year degree) a week before I turned 21. I’ve done just fine. I mean – I even moved away from home to attend college and was 17 my entire freshman year.

    I was picked on more for being smart than for being the youngest. My parents bringing me up and encouraging me I think helped me not feel younger than my peers. It was never an issue. Age is just a number. Some 4 year olds act like 6 year olds, some 6 year olds act like 4 year olds…

    What magically happens when a child turns 6? Nothing. A switch is not flipped at midnight on their 6th birthday that all of a sudden makes them more mature.

    My daughter started Kindy this year at 4 (turned 5 in September). She is more mature than some of her classmates and scored highest on the class assessment test. She’s been around older kids all her life (was the youngest in daycare as an infant/toddler too). We’ve never made an issue of it. She’s thriving. I think she would’ve been miserable had we waited a year, which probably would lead to her hating school instead of loving it.

  • comment avatar Karen P May 25, 2010

    Both of my boys have July birthdays. July 1st and July 15th. Never held them back. Neither of them had problems with being the youngest in the classroom. My oldest son changed schools in the middle of first grade to a gifted program. At his old school he was reading with the second graders in first grade and needed more advanced math. They both were good students and attended church preschool from 3-5. They are now 29 and 32.

    I would say it depends on the child. You are the one that knows your child best. Why not send him to kindergarten? Sounds like keeping him in preschool may not be very challenging.

    I have a September Birthday and started school at 4. Didn’t have a problem.

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  • comment avatar Kristen Race May 26, 2010

    Amber’s post inspired me to write one of my own http://bit.ly/9AB2M2 . This decision of ‘when to start kindergarten’ is one we as parents often torture ourselves with, and understandably so. I hope my thoughts are helpful here. Thanks, Amber, for being so candid and giving this important subject a venue for parents to discuss.
    Kristen

  • comment avatar Rebekah May 26, 2010

    My daughter turns 5 this August and I’ve struggled with the decision this whole past year and I am still a bit undecided. But here are my thoughts so far.

    Kindergarten when I was a child was a lot less structured and rigorous than it is now. In fact Kindergarten today is what first grade was for me. We learned our ABC’s in first grade and how to count. For me reading didn’t come until second grade along with writing and introductory math. It seems everything has moved up and this gives me pause. What is our rush to teach our kids? I’ve read and heard that play is the most important learning a young child can do and at least in my child’s school, play will not be a big part of the kindergarten curriculum.

    My little girl is doing well. She knows her letters, the sounds they make, she can count to 100, and is trying to sound out words, but her fine motor skills still need to develop. She has trouble writing letters and her pictures are still very rudimentary. In her kindergarten she is expected to enter knowing how to write her first and last name using upper and lower case letters. This is just not possible for her(believe me we’ve been working on it for months now).

    After an assesment and confrences with both her preschool teacher and would be kindergarten teacher we are leaning towards keeping her back. I’ve been told that if I put her in she will likely struggle for the first few months but then be fine, if I keep her out she may get board with preschool; my answer to this is to enroll her in an enrichment class next year like piano or chinese.

    Looking long term I’d rather have a confident carefree child who might be a bit older and a bit more advanced, than a struggling child who is always trying to keep up.

    In addition my daughter can be on the shy side and also on the small side. So another year of social development and physical growth may benefit her as well. In the end it is a tough decision and ultimately I just wish she could start kindergarten in December.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 26, 2010

    Fantastic write-up, Kristen. I encourage everyone to visit her blog to check our her insights.

    The wonderful comments just keep coming. Thank you for giving me so much to think about!

  • comment avatar Kat May 27, 2010

    Such a dilemma! My 7 year old has a late October birthday and is currently finishing first grade. We thought about pushing him forward in school-he is very articulate, very confident and VERY social. He is also quite tall for his age. There is one boy in his grade who is a true peer.

    I know he could have handled school a year earlier and I sometimes regret not pushing him forward. He’s been at a private school for two years and we’re switching him to a charter school next year because he is getting really bored in school.

    I have heard from parents, teachers and principals that puberty is the toughest time for the kids who aren’t where they should be–as if puberty isn’t hard enough!

    My point? You might have some regrets along the way about your decision (either way), but as long as you stay engaged and do your best for your children, they’ll probably be happy and well-adjusted!!! Good luck!

  • comment avatar Cheryl May 31, 2010

    My Spencer was born on August 14, and I had the same question. I sent him to kindergarten when he turned 5 (this year), and he has loved every minute of it. He was totally ready, and he has done fabulously. If Bode is ready, send him. Don’t worry about whether or not he’s at the top of the class. Fooey. It all evens out in a couple of years anyway, and if he can keep up, great. If he can’t, then have him repeat kindergarten. It’s free, right? Preschool isn’t. No harm, no foul.

  • comment avatar Kagey June 18, 2010

    Growing up, we lived a few years in Indiana. There, people assumed that parents who held back their boys where hoping for athletes (basketball!!!), and that extra year meant their sons would be taller and stronger than the competition. They would do this even with birthdays in the middle of the year, nowhere near the cutoff. To me, this is an extremely petty reason to make this kind of decision.

    I was very young for my class, and I had some social drama around being one of the last girls to mature in my class, but the oldest girl in our class, who entered into puberty in 3rd grade in a somewhat dramatic fashion, had far more issues than I ever did. So which one is worse on that score?

    I, too, am amazed at how many people tell me their are putting their kids in “junior kindergarten” for that extra year of preschool. My daughter will be a Kindie this fall, and has a September birthday. I have no doubts she will be fine. My 2-yr-old has an early November birthday, and I’m actually concerned that he will be bored by things by the time his year for kindergarten comes around.

    They could move the cut-off date, but in the end, there will always be younger and older kids in the class, and your child will have to cope with some difference sometime.

  • comment avatar Erica July 10, 2010

    I have a son who turns 5 in the middle of August and we live in Telluride, CO and the cut off for kindergarten is 5 October 1st. We already have such small classes and just like you stated, my son is one of the brightest, was singing his ABC’s before he walked, knows his math and is already reading “Bob” books. I was ready to send him forward acknowledging that he would be the youngest “boy” in his class. Because our town is so small, he knows most of the kids around his age already and has been in preschool for 2 years. It was at a birthday party for one of his friends that made my decision clear. He was by far the shortest child there, played on his own on the side, and got picked on. Now, these are his friends and they came back and played nicely with him as well but I realized that I did not want him to be the smallest boy in the school. My husband and I talked about it and agreed. We spoke with the preschool teachers and they said that he would do fine if we sent him on to kindergarten but would do even better if we held him back a year however they did not recommend that he attend preschool another year as he had completed the program, progressed thru the stages, and graduated. We decided to enroll him in the Montessori program here where he can learn at his own rate and then join kindergarten the following year. He is at summer camp with his friends and has explained that he is just going to a different school that is going to concentrate on his music. (He is extremely talented with the piano.) This seems to satisfy him and plus he is really looking forward to going. I believe that every child is different and I want to set my son up for success and this is the best fit for him. Plus, he does not have older siblings that sometimes helps the younger ones mature more quickly. I have not heard one negative comment from anyone in this town that has held their son back. But the pressure is certainly there and I will find myself questioning the decision we made come the first week of school. Will he be bored? Did we hold him back from his friends? Will he realize that he is being held back? Is this going to affect him? Should we have sent him thru? But, in the end, I think he’ll do fine, make even more new friends and be famously happy!

  • comment avatar Shoney Sien August 24, 2010

    As an educator and mother, I’ve been following this discussion for years…on this site, on playgrounds and in schools….here is my opinion. Listen first to your child and to your gut. I taught in primary schools for many, many years and most of my top students were—surprise—on the younger end of the age spectrum. Many of my deeply troubled, disruptive, needy and unhappy students were on the older side. I’ve had many discussions about this topic with other teachers and administrators and found my experience was pretty typical. Having said that, I think the decision is very personal. My daughter had an early November birthday, was very tall for her age and reading/writing and doing math at age 4—BUT, she struggled to ride a bike and with large motor skills—still she was excited to start school and I trusted that decision. She did well throughout her school years. My younger brother started school with his “age group” and really wasn’t ready, so he repeated that year–I think in his case it might have been wise to hold him back. Whatever you decide, I hope that your child has a positive, joyful early school experience.

    Good Luck!
    Shoney Sien
    Director of Admissions
    Watershed School, 205 Canyon Blvd, Boulder, CO
    “Serving 6-12” grade

  • comment avatar Andy October 31, 2010

    My dilemma is a bit different. My daughter’s birthday is at the end of August, so she will turn 5 about a week before kindergarten. She has been attending preschool for 2 years. It is 4 half days per week. She even rides the bus. She absolutely loves school, and is doing very well socially and academically. Well her father and I are divorced, and have different opinions on if she should attend kindergarten or not. I think she is more than ready, but he wants to hold her back. He bases this off the fact that he has a fall birthday and was put in kindergarten and had to repeat. He was a biter though, and they thought he was too immature, so they made him repeat. Anyways…..I am struggling to convince him that we should enroll her in kindergarten. I’m afraid that if she is held back that she will grow bored and not enjoy school as much. I don’t know what to do now to convince him without going to court. Does anyone have any web site suggestions or articles that maybe he could review? Thanks!

  • comment avatar Julie Poppen December 7, 2010

    This is indeed a very hard decision. Our daughter has a September birthday so we enrolled her in kindergarten as she was turning 5. She’s a third grader now in a good Boulder Valley school and in the talented and gifted program. She’s a smart cookie. Emotionally, though, she’s at a disadvantage and continues to struggle. So, at this point, we’re questioning whether we did the right thing by enrolling her when we did. However, I do think she’d be really bored if we had held her back. So, four years later, we’re dealing with the same question. You may never know what is the right thing to do. We relied on preschool and kindergarten teachers’ feedback. I hope we feel more conclusively that we did the right thing in a few years.

  • comment avatar Julie Poppen December 7, 2010

    for more information on this topic and others related to the intersection of school and parenting, see a site I edit called EdNews Parent and sign up for the newsletter, which you’ll receive every other week in your inbox. Find it at http://www.ednewsparent.org.

  • comment avatar marty December 16, 2010

    I held my twins back and I have never regretted it. They were born in Sept. but due in October. They are 20 now, sophomores in college and are doing fine.

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  • comment avatar Joseph Rishik June 12, 2014

    Send him on time. If it turns out he’s not ready, you can always hold him back. But you can never know for sure unless you send him time. I have an October birthday. My parents redshirted me, and I was really resentful of them for that. I wish that had at least started me on time, even if I would have had to repeat a grade later. The fact that they didn’t even let my try really made me mad. You don’t want your son to hold a grudge on you, do you? Who knows, he might surprise you and do really well. And look at this way. If you’re the oldest, then it’s expected of you to be at the top of your class. But if you’re the youngest and you’re at the top of your class, that’s impressive. By redshirting him, you close all doors of glory. Being the smartest when you’re the oldest is nothing to be proud of. He also might get teased by other kids. You should try as best as possible to avoid that situation. But like I said, it it turns after a year or two that sending him on time was a mistake, you can always hold him back.

  • comment avatar H January 16, 2015

    People talk about when they were kids, but one thing to remember is that school has changed since then! What was half day kinder has become full day kinder. What was first grade curriculum is now what they are doing in kindergarten. This is not a bad thing, just different. I was always the youngest in my class as an August baby born back in 1980. I was always shy, made A’s and B’s, and never was quite as mature as the other kiddos. In high school most of my friends were a year or two below me. I just seemed to fit in with them better. I think each child is different, so there is no way anyone but you can make the choice for your son. You know him best and you have insight from his teachers. My oldest child is a very late July baby, did great in kindergarten as the youngest in her class, but then in first grade a lot of issues showed up. She wasn’t ready for the structured setup of the first grade classroom yet. The girls in her class were more mature (and bossier) and it was just a weird year all together. She still made the highest scores on tests, etc., but just couldn’t focus on seat work and ended up missing recess and p.e. every day to complete assignments. As a former teacher I totally disagree with this but that is another story. Needless to say we are homeschooling now and it is working well for us. Genetically I just think she is just a late bloomer like I was. I never fit in with the kids in my grade. Even the other kids with summer birthdays were more mature than I was lol! It totally depends on the kid. people try to make this into a right or wrong debate, but there is no cut ‘n dry answer. Every child is different, just stick with your intuition and if something changes later you can always make adjustments.

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