Advice please.. send my son to Kindergarten at 5 or 6? — The Bump
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Advice please.. send my son to Kindergarten at 5 or 6?

So my son just turned 4 last month September. I was all set on hism starting kindergarten next Sept  at 5 yrs old but my husband is now having fits saying that going to kinder when he is 6  and starting later is really the best thing.  (red shirting) So THOUGHTS ADVICE PLEASE?  My son is right on target for everything and can attend kinder next year but is waiting another year really the best thing? . So my options are

1. Kinder next year then on to first grade

2. Preschool again next year then on to Kindergarten

3. Kindergarten next year then Kindergarten again?

thank you for the advice!

Re: Advice please.. send my son to Kindergarten at 5 or 6?

  • I don't think you want to do option 3 because they make friends and should move on with their class.

    Wait until next Summer to decide. They change in maturity a lot every 6 months. Also, check with your school district. There's usually a check list of what they need to know for kinder and also some schools offer testing to see if your child is ready for kinder or not.

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  • With my son we are doing #2.  His birthday is Sept 13th.  I don't mind that he is going to be one of the oldest in his class.  Actually hope that it will help him some.

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  • I agree with hocus.  If there's no reason other than age to hold him back, send him.  Does your preschool do kindergarten readiness testing? 

    Here's an article that might give you a few things to think about while you're trying to decide:  

    http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Academic_Young/?page=4

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  • If he's on track developmentally, then 1.
  • I would do 1 or 2 unless 3 is done at a preschooltype place and then K again at the elementary school. But I hate redshorting for no reason.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • It is a tough decision. I was going to hold out my December boy, dec cutoff and September boy ,dec cutoff. But we moved to a state where the cut off is september 1st. We did not move for that reason but it was a benefit for our family All I care about is what is right for my boys. I have never heard a parent or teacher say... you will regret holding them out. I am not worried about kindergarten, I am more worried about later in school or going to college at 17. Great for some people, but until all states have the same cutoff... I think a parent is the best one to make this decision.
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • imagersd12:
    It is a tough decision. I was going to hold out my December boy, dec cutoff and September boy ,dec cutoff. But we moved to a state where the cut off is september 1st. We did not move for that reason but it was a benefit for our family All I care about is what is right for my boys. I have never heard a parent or teacher say... you will regret holding them out. I am not worried about kindergarten, I am more worried about later in school or going to college at 17. Great for some people, but until all states have the same cutoff... I think a parent is the best one to make this decision.

    What's wrong with that?  I went to college at 17 and graduated at 21.  Never had any problems with it.

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  • I vote for #1.  DS has a November birthday, and our cutoff is Dec 31st.  In Canada we have junior kindergarten (JK).  It's like preschool.  They don't have 'redshirting' either.  If we help DS back to go to JK next year, they would put him where he's supposed to be because of his age.  If the teacher decides he needs to repeat JK, then that's a different story.  He will start Senior kindergarten next year when he's 4, going to be 5 in November.  He has learned SO much, and although he's probably one of the youngest, he's adjusted really well.  It even a full day (9-3:15) mon-fri.  It will be the same for DD whose bday is Dec 20th.  The full day worried DH and I a bit, but overall it's been a great experience and DS is settling nicely into a routine.
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  • imagehocus:

    While I think September cut offs are better for many reasons I really which that states would pick a cut off, any cut off, and enforce it. If they did then the kids would all be within 12 months of each other and there wouldn't be so much range in the ages. This way instruction could be more focused and age appropriate. When parents can pick and choose then you have classes that range from 4-6. At some point, baring significant delays or other issues, kids just go to school and if everyone follow the polcies it does work better. Sometimes it isn't ideal but you have to have just make peace with it.  Enless we want to consider rolling enrollment programs and year round schools I don't know any other way to do it.

    I agree with this. Since he's so close to the cut off, I'd wait to make the decision until this summer. See how he does in preschool and what his teacher recommends. Try to determine what's normal for your area. My first inclination is to follow the cut off for your state.  

    Annalise Marie 05.29.06
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  • Congrats, so did I as well as my brother who graduated with high honors from college but struggled socially. I was the opposite. I wish my parents held me out. I don't care when you put your kids in school. If you feel they are ready then great for you. My son would not have been successful this year in kindergarten and his teachers agreed. One of the big reasons why they are not pushing the dec 31st cutoff in my old state to sep 1st is because of people that can't afford daycare. School is not the same as it was when I was in kindergarten too. I guess it is good that we moved to a state with a better cutoff for you then!
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • As a teacher I generally don't notice a difference between the academic performance or behavior of September birthdays. I for sure notice it in November and December birthdays. It is so glaringly obvious, even in third grade, that they needed extra time. I would send your son to K at 5. He will be fine.
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  • DD just turned 4 in September as well and our cut-off is Sept 30.  She will be starting Kindergarten next year unless her preschool teacher strongly recommends holding her back.  I think she will do fine and I don't see any reason to hold her back. My concern is that redshirting is VERY popular in our area so there will most likely be kids in her class 15-18 months older than her. One mom we met at the library held her son back a year and he has an April birthday just because she wanted him home for one more year.  
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  • Nephew just turned 6 on Sept. 26. He is in 1st grade. If developmentally he can handle it, I see no reason to hold him back.
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  • My son's birthday is also September 13th and we are going with option #2 as well.  My MIL was a kindergarten teacher and she is so glad that he will be one of the oldest in his class.  I know in our district that a great effort is made to differentiate so I don't worry that he will be bored.  
  • DS#1's birthday is 2 weeks before our cutoff, we debated for a year on sending him to K at the age of 5, in the end we went ahead and sent him he is one of the top student in his both for K last year and first grade this year, one of the youngest in the class too. His first grade teacher told us we would have done him a disservice if we had kept him back. So I would say unless you have a specific reason as to why you would want him to be kept back, send him, if worst come to worst he can always repeat K. 
  • I'd just go by the cutoff date unless there are other concerns.
    fraternal twin boys born january 2009
  • imagehocus:

    imagersd12:
    It is a tough decision. I was going to hold out my December boy, dec cutoff and September boy ,dec cutoff. But we moved to a state where the cut off is September 1st. We did not move for that reason but it was a benefit for our family All I care about is what is right for my boys. I have never heard a parent or teacher say... you will regret holding them out. I am not worried about kindergarten, I am more worried about later in school or going to college at 17. Great for some people, but until all states have the same cutoff... I think a parent is the best one to make this decision.

    I respectfully disagree that this should be left up to parents.

    While I think September cut offs are better for many reasons I really which that states would pick a cut off, any cut off, and enforce it. If they did then the kids would all be within 12 months of each other and there wouldn't be so much range in the ages. This way instruction could be more focused and age appropriate. When parents can pick and choose then you have classes that range from 4-6. At some point, baring significant delays or other issues, kids just go to school and if everyone follow the polcies it does work better. Sometimes it isn't ideal but you have to have just make peace with it.  Enless we want to consider rolling enrollment programs and year round schools I don't know any other way to do it.

    Yes
  • I wanted to redshirt my twins because of their September birthdays, and in the end decided to send them to Kinder this year.  They started kinder a month before turning 5.  We decided we would hold them back in Kinder if they "needed" it.

    To make a long story short, they grew so much over the summer-started reading, etc.  I never thought they would have been doing that a couple of months before they turned 5.  They are doing great academically, and I do worry about "social" issues. However, I think there is always going to be something to worry about.  I am a teacher and do work with them-and I think that's helped, as well.  

    Their younger sister (by 13 months) is affected by the new cut-off date for Kinder, so she will be 2 grade levels behind them. I'll let you know in about 10 years how it all works out. :) 

  • imagetrying to conceive jane:

    my options are

    1. Kinder next year then on to first grade

    2. Preschool again next year then on to Kindergarten

    3. Kindergarten next year then Kindergarten again?

    thank you for the advice!

    To address choice #1, if you enter into the school system, the decision is typically not yours on if your child advances to the next grade the following year or not.  

     I agree with the other posters that there isn't a compelling reason to delay K a year if there aren't any developmental or social issues going on.

    That being said, we held my son back from starting K this year. He was born two months before the cut off and academically and socially he wasn't ready to move forward. Kindergarten has a more demanding curriculum than it did when I was in school, and I didn't want him to spend the next year or two struggling to keep up. I talked to many moms with boys in similar situations, and the feedback I received from those who started K on time wished they had waited a year. And in many of those cases, their sons had to repeat a grade later on during the elementary years.

    For us, it was the perfect decision. My son is thriving in pre-K this year and phonics are clicking now when they weren't last year. Socially, he's also much more outgoing. He was extremely quiet last year and rarely talked, and now he outgoing and doing great with his communication. 

     Good luck with your decision!

     

    Hawaii
  • I think the bottom line is that you know your child best, and you really should follow your gut feeling.  My DD is 4 and will turn 5 in July.  She is in a pre-K class with children that turned 5 before the school year started because their parents are waiting.  Red-shirting is HUGE in our area.  Our kindergartens right now have up to a 16 month age gap between the youngest and the oldest.  That is crazy!   I am generally against red-shirting and wish our school district would stick to a 12 month span of ages.  Then yes, some would be older, some would be younger, but they would all be within 12 months of each other. 

     That being said, I am not comfortable with my daughter potentially being the youngest where the oldest is well over a year older than her.  So she'd have the "waited" kids that all turned six before the school year even starts and then she'd have the kids turning six after the Oct 1 cut-off date with all of them turning 6 throughout the year.  My DD doesn't turn six until school is out!   I am frustrated because I feel like my hands are tied.  She is ready...but she is "I just turned 5 ready" which is where she SHOULD be for K.   In our area, the "waited" kids all go to 5's Programs that are basically a K curriculum.  So they come into school knowing how to read, do math etc.   I don't want her to feel inadequate or "behind" in her work, simply because some parents worked the system and their child is a full academic and social year ahead of my daughter.  On top of that, add in the social/emotional difference that 16 months can bring and I think she will wind up looking very immature being on the tail end of the ages.

    On the flip side.  If I wait, then she will turn 6 only 2.5 months before the first naturally-turning-six-after-the-cutoff children.   So if I wait, there is only a 2.5 month age gap (albeit with her being the oldest) vs. a 16 month age gap if I start her "on time".   I think I have to learn towards waiting....and then get frustrated that I'm contributing to the vicious cycle!

     It's probably important to note that red-shirting is sooo rampant in our area right now. (And we're not talking kids with emotional/social or academic delays.  We are talking about bright, capable, generally "ready" kids from a very well educated families with lots of support.)  So it probably depends on what the dynamics are like in your school district.  My friend's DS got invited to 3 parties the first week of Kindergarten..two were for kids turning 6...one was for a kid turning 5.   So there are very solid number of children already six and turning six when they enter K around here.

    I don't want my DD to be the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most athletically inclined.....however, I don't want to put her at a disadvantage and at risk to feel immature, incapable or inferior from the get go, simply because other parents bent the rules.

    Ultimately, I think you just have to take a leap and do what you think is best.  The bottom line is that down the road at our ages....what did that year matter anyway??  Do what makes sense for your child now and it will all work out. 

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  • Mom of a late summer red-shirted kid who is in kindy now at age 6.

    I AGONIZED over this decision and had my ducks in a row to go either direction but didn't make the final decision until about a month before school started.

    My kid does just fine academically.  He's physically and socially timid.  He's 6 and still won't go down most slides at parks.  He is socially ignorant.  Just kinda in his own world.  On one hand that's great because he doesn't get upset by the drama that can go down with peers but on the other hand I have watched him at soccer practice become a punching bag for other kids.  They literally knocked him to the ground and as soon as he would get up they'd knock him down again.  They thought it was hilarious.    

    We had to have a talk with him that night about when it is appropriate and even important to stand up for yourself.  Good news?  It didn't bother him in the least - he thought it was just a game to the other kids.  Bad news?  Dear God, please don't let my son paint that kind of target on his forehead and end up being pushed around his whole life by his peers.

    The extra year of maturity was a MUST for this particular kid IMO.  I wasn't as concerned about Kindy as I was about how his personality was going to handle being the youngest kid in a group of middle schoolers facing tough choices about drugs, sex, etc.  I was worried about how his personality would handle starting college so young.  I know his personality won't change with that extra year but his maturity certainly has.  I'm confident we made the right choice for him.

    My younger kid?  He's like a duck.  Everything rolls right off his back.  Nothing phases him.  Smart as a whip and socially savvy.  If he was the one with the boarder line birthday I would have sent him without a second thought.

    So - in my experience it's a decision for the parents and varies SO much kid to kid.   

    Make plans to accommodate both options and then make your final decision a bit before school starts.

    The one thing I would NOT do is have him repeat kindy at the same location.  And FWIW - they do understand what grade they are in at this age.  I think having a child repeat a grade might have a negative impact on self-esteem. 

    Our IF journey: 1 m/c, 1 IVF with only 3 eggs retrieved yielding Dylan and a lost twin, 1 shocker unmedicated BFP resulting in Jace, 3 more unmedicated pregnancies ending in more losses.
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  • I also suggest waiting until next summer to decide.

    Our story:  DD's birthday is October 10.  She just turned 5.  When DD started preschool, we lived in a state where the kindergarten cutoff was December 1.  In January, when she was 4, we moved to a state where the cutoff is August 31.   The cutoff is mandated by law for public schools for both K and 1st grade, so I immediately started looking at private school options because I wanted the choice of being able to send her to K this fall if DH, the school, and I felt she was ready.  We placed her in a Catholic pre-K school near our home after discussing the possibility of her starting kindergarten this fall, shortly before turning 5, because we believed she was on track to be ready after two years of preschool four or five mornings a week, and after a couple of months the pre-K and K teachers assessed her and agreed she was ready.  She's been in K for a couple of months and is doing just fine keeping up with the older kids (some of whom were held back for various reasons and are a year or more older than she is).  She's not running circles around them as far as I can tell, but she's certainly holding her own in what her teacher has described as an unusually capable class.

    The *only* reservation I had about sending her early was that she can be shy around new people.  This was mitigated by moving on to K with a lot of the kids in her pre-K class, and she has no problem now making friends.  DH and I were both on the young end of our grades and did well academically - if not always socially, but I think DD has escaped the kinds of socializing issues we had as kids.

    Obviously I don't know how this will pan out long term, but I'm glad this was a decision we and her teachers were able to make at our discretion based on DD's individual readiness, without being strictly bound to a calendar. 

    I don't know if any of that helps.  I think if your son is ready for K next fall (hitting all the recommended milestones) and he makes your district's cutoff, then he should start K then.  If your DH disagrees, that's fine, but your decision should be based on an assessment of your son's readiness that only you and his teachers can decide.

    DD born 10/10/07 * DS born 11/25/11 * #3 due 3/9/2015
  • We're in the same boat and barring anything that we need to worry about popping up we're pretty married to option #1 - sending him to kindergarten at our local public school.  We have friends who think we're nuts, but they ALWAYS reference the advantage in physical size and ability in sports ... our only worries are academic readiness (focus, ready to learn) and social (able to be in a group of kids). 

    I may be missing something, but I just don't see any reason to hold him back.

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  • We're in a similar situation but a year or so away.  DS is 3 with a Sept 15th birthday.  Our town offers PreK for 4 years olds.  My thoughts immediately were - great! One year away from no daycare.

    BUT I'm also a 3rd grade teacher.  This year, I have a student who just turned 8 the other 17 kids are already 8 and several have turned 9 since Sept.  The 8 yo is considerably less mature and she has a little trouble fitting in with the others.  After quickly doing the math, I realized DS would be in the same situation.  We'll wait to see where he each summer but I'm almost leaning toward a plan of having him do PreK twice, then move on to Kindergarten at 5 but turn 6 a few weeks into the school year.

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  • Personally, I would not send your child to kindergarten with the plan that he will repeat.  If you do decide to send him next year and you and the teachers feel that he needs to repeat that is one thing but I would not go in with that plan.  To hold him back or not is only a decision you can make.  I am guessing you have a Sept 1 cut off or something close to that your child has a birthday shortly after which makes it so hard.  Either way, your child will not be the youngest and if you hold him back, he will not be the oldest.  Is your child socially ready to handle kindergarten?  The social side of things is way more than the academics at this point as kids will come into kindy at all levels on knowing letters, colors, etc.  What really will make a difference is how he does socially.  Can he handle school?  Can he follow directions, do OK in a large group setting?  Is he currently in a preschool or daycare setting now?  If now, ask for honest feedback on how they think he would do or if he needs more time. 

    I can tell you from my experience of holding back my older DD that it was the best thing for her.  She has a June birthday and also has a speech delay and ADHD.  She was socially very behind her peers in her PreK class and also behind academically (with those 19 other kids).  We held her back a year and had her do more intense speech theraphy and also got her started on behavioral modication and medication for her ADHD and last year (her second year in PreK) was such a different experience for everyone involved.  I strongly believe that holding her back was the best thing we could have done for her.  Her transition to kindergarten was a little hard but no harder than other kids and she is keeping up with her peers.  She is not in the top group academically but she is doing great and getting the things she is learning.  She is still getting speech services through the school and they are watching her to see if she will need any other extra help.

    My other DD is in PreK this year and I will not hold her back - she is doing great and right on track.

    You need to look at your child and go with your gut.  I have never spoken to anyone that has regretted holding their child back a year but I have spoken to a lot that had been on the fence and decided to go ahead and start that do regret it.  I do have a few friends who had their kids start kindergarten and then at the recommendation of the school, did have their kids repeat kindergarten and they have said that it was very hard on their kids.

    If your DH is simple wanting to hold back to do your child being the youngest and no other reason, I would not hold back simple for that.  In every class - someone has to be the oldest and someone has to be the youngest but if there is a social or academic concern, then talk to the school and think carefully about what is best for your child - not what anyone else will think.

    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • It is slightly jumping the gun for me, our son is 3 now and in his first year of preschool.  He was born in the end of June.  We've already focused (nothing in writing) our plan on him starting Kindergarten at age 6.  He was born slightly premature and is on the small side already.  It is one thing to be the smallest youngest girl, but an entirely different matter to be the smallest youngest boy.  We feel more comfortable with the idea of waiting a year to start him on the continuous path in school.  Not one of his classmates will care if he is a little older than them but (especially when he gets into middle school and high school) everyone will remember if if we end up holding him back a grade somewhere along the line if he does not seem ready to advance.  
  • It seems as though I'm in the minority here, but I believe there are many advantages to holding a child with a late birthday back one year. When making your decision, I encourage you to speak with their preschool teachers about their assessment of your child's academic, social, emotional and physical development. Development in all of these areas are important for school success.

     I think that parents sometimes forget that while children might be academically ready for Kindergarten, their brains will ALWAYS be younger than their peers. Even if they can keep up academically, what about their ability to problem solve, work out friendship issues, deal with stress, control their impulses and regulate their emotions?

     Today's Kindergartener is the 1st (sometimes 2nd!) grade of the past. We are asking children to complete tasks, compute answers and use their brains in a way that often, they aren't ready for! When I went to Kindergarten, you were considered advanced if you knew how to read, even a little. Now, intervention is recommended for Kindergarteners who are struggling!

    I have an infant with an August 22nd birthday (our cut off is August 31). In our state, students are educated on their individual level. Even if she turns out of be incredibly advanaced academically, I'm not going to take the chance that she will continue to mature socially and emotionally on the same level. In addition, struggles in even the earliest grades can create frustration, low self-esteem and learned helplessness...things that can create years of emotional struggles.

     Also, retention, even in the earliest grades can severely impact self-esteem. In my opinion, holding them back past pre school is not an option.

     Are there "Top of the Class" young students. Yes. Are there kids that do "just fine"? Of course. But, in my opinion, it's a risk you take. Like I said, their brains will ALWAYS be younger than their peers. I have never heard anyone say that they regret holding their kids back. On the other hand, I have heard MANY parents, of older students acknowledge how much a young birthday has impacted learning and development.

    Of course, it's your decision and you know your child best! It's a tough choice and I wish you luck in making your decision!

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