Pre-K or Kindergarten? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Pre-K or Kindergarten?

Sorry if this has been posted recently. Maggie will be an early 5 year old, the cut off for kindergarten is Sept 30 and her birthday is Sept 7. I was leaning toward pre-K this year and kindergarten next year. A little background info: she is the oldest, currently she goes to preschool 4 days a week, half days. The pre-K and Kindergarten programs are all day everyday. Currently her preschool teacher says she is academically ready for kindergarten. However, I think she is a little immature. My husband wants to send her to kindergarten and I'm so confused. I've heard nothing but positives about starting her later in kindergarten.... help me please Smile
Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker BFP:3/2009 EDD:11/30/09 M/C:4/10/09 BFP:4/19/12 EDD:12/16/12 missed M/C:5/23 D&C:5/31

Re: Pre-K or Kindergarten?

  • Something to think about is a childs school behavior and how they handle things is going to be totally different then at home.

    For example my ds doesnt really talk to anyone when he is at home or with me, at school he is a different kid.  His teachers have no problems with him.

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  • At this age, being socially ready is huge.  I think a year of PreK would be great to help her gain those extra skills.  Yes - someone needs to be the youngest just like someone will be the oldest but if you feel like she is not ready, I would give her that gift of an extra year.  It is a hard decision but if you hold her back, you will not regret giving her that extra year to mature.  You also need to think about how she will do in the fall but also, at 10 and 15 and when she goes off to college.  If she starts kindy at 5 vs 6, she will be 17 vs 18 when she starts college.  I know - it is overwhelming to think about it but you have to.  I totally disagree with holding kids back when it is related to sports but when you are talking about a child who just might not be ready socially or academcially, to me there is a very clear decision.  I held back my June DD (Sept 1 b-day) - she has ADHD and was so not ready in so many ways.  Watching her in her PreK class this year has made it so clear to me that it was the best decision that we could have made for her.  She has grown and matured and has had the chance to gain those skills that she will need for the rest of her life.  She is going to struggle academically but I feel like had we started her in kindy this past fall just because of her age, she would have had a very, very hard time and would have struggled so much.  I think she is still going to struggle but she is more mature and able to handle that and she has learned so much more - comparing where she was last year at this time compared to this year - it amazes me how far she has come across the board.  I have never heard a parent who holds their child back say they regret it but I have heard a lot of parents who considered it but didn't do say that they regret it.  Follow your gut - you know your child and only you can say if they are ready.  You will hear both sides of this on here and some will be nice and some not so nice - I feel this is a personal decision that only you and your DH can make.  Also take note - if holding kids back in your area is more common vs no one does it - take that into consideration.  My DD will be 6 this June and her best friend is turning 5 next month  - there is an 11 month age difference between the girls and my DD is not the oldest in her class.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
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  • I had to make this decision with both DD and DS.  I went ahead and started DD in kindergarten, but with DS I decided to wait a year.  For me, it came down to a few factors:

    DD: birthday was 9/6, cutoff was 9/30 (sound familiar?!?)  K was still 1/2 day at this time.  DD was a quiet kid who preferred to play with other kids like her.  She was independent and mature for her age.  In addition to this, she had already been reading for a full year.  Despite being a quiet kid who was on the young side, I couldn't see how an extra year would benefit her at all, and I felt like it would possibly even hurt her.  I was worried about her socially, and I considered keeping her in Pre-K, but I didn't think it would do anything that K couldn't do.

    DS: birthday was 8/25, cutoff was 8/31.  K was full day by this time.  He was more socially outgoing, but not there yet in terms of independence and maturity.  He lacked confidence and "with-it-ness."  I always felt like it took him until February to catch up to the rest of the preschool class each year.  Although he was also starting to read before he would have gone to K, he was not as advanced as DD in that department.  I knew his lack of confidence and independence would undercut his academic potential.

    For me what it came down to was the "with-it-ness" factor.  I knew DS was not ready to manage listening for his bus to be called, remembering where the classroom was, transitioning from classroom to specials/cafeteria/recess, handling his own materials/coat/lunch stuff when he was just turning 5.  I knew he would always be at the bottom of the heap, that he would spend much of each year just trying to catch up to the others.  He didn't deserve that!

    In the long run, I made the right decision for both.  DD is now in a GT magnet middle school.  She's still friends with other quiet girls like her.  She "likes" a boy who is a quiet, serious boy.  Quiet and serious is just who she is, but she's always been comfortable with that, and she's flourished academically.  Waiting a year would have done nothing but take up her time.

    DS is the poster child for "when in doubt, wait it out."  But there was really no doubt.  With him I just KNEW he wasn't ready, much like the reply above.  I also agree with the PP that it's easier to hold a child back a year in a school where many parents do the same.  My son is neither the oldest nor the biggest kid in his class!  Lots of kids with summer birthdays wait until age 6 to start K at his school.


    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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