My thoughts on starting early:
I have a child who turned 5 in October in a state where the cutoff is Sept. 1
He was starting to read and write last year in preschool, by the end of summer/beginning of this school year, he could read pretty much any child-level book in my house. (Read=both decoding words on a page and answering simple questions to show comprehension. The ability to decode words on a page is pretty useless if you can't also interpret the meaning. I could probably "read" a medical textbook, but with little knowledge of medical terminology, I wouldn't be able to use the info.)
He sounds out words and writes at what I consider to be a solid first-grade level with my past experience working in the schools here. I don't exactly know his reading level, but I would guess it to be well into first grade easily.
I am HAPPY he is not going into K until next year, even though he will be far ahead academically.
Why? Because until recently, we're talking the last six weeks, he was the kid who 'messes things up.' He didn't really know how to enter into a group of kids without disrupting the play that was already happening.
He chose to play alone a lot--puzzles, his writing (which he LOVES). Things like that.
He goes to school on an IEP due to some language delay that has now caught up. Back in Nov. his teacher wrote him the goal of entering a group of kids without disrupting play.
Just two weeks ago, we had conferences--she said that just in the past few weeks, he has started to play so much more with the other kids and she can see those social skills coming into place.
If he was in kindergarten this year, the other kids in the class likely would have been annoyed at this behavior and 'labeled' him. In preschool, he's one of the older kids. The younger kids don't have the same "expectations" the older kindergarten kids would have. AND....he gets to take on that "older kid" role which I think is a huge confidence builder for him. Things like--he's sort of adopted a younger classmate as his little buddy. The child has some obvious special needs and cries quite a bit...my son is the "big friend" who goes to help get him off the bus most days at school, holds his hand and walks with him!
I think that is so sweet and it's just not something he'd get to do as the "youngest." (nobody FORCES that on him, certainly if he doesn't want to he doesn't HAVE to, but the teachers will 'remind' him--and I think it's SO GOOD for both the kids--my son gets to learn compassion for this little boy--and the little one seems to really enjoy having a 'buddy.'
Wow this is a moment where I'm just being overwhelmed with love for my sweet ds1! I know--from past experience in preschool--that not too many kids take on that role of the "big buddy" for the youngest or child with special-needs in their class. I always loved seeing 'that kid' emerge in my preschool class and I am just so HAPPY to be "that kid's" mom now! this is a moment where I really feel I've done something right--I'm the mom of the kid who looks out for the ones who need it the most.
Anyway back to this post and advanced or delayed kindy!
My thought is keep her back to the year she is supposed to start by the law. It's often impossible (is here) to get the early start anyway, and there are SO MANY WAYS to enrich them and give them social opportunities without spending a lot of money!
I have a dd too who just turned 3 in Jan. She wants to go to school SO BAD like her brother. She is able to sit in the circle and loves to sing songs and all that. We've visited her brother's school and the way she joins in you'd never pick her out as not part of the class.
She can't go till August. That's IF she gets in then, they take 4 year olds first and kids who are still 3 get what's left, according to the date they went on the list and family need. (so a non-english speaking child who came in months after my dd could get in ahead of her, because the kid needs more time in 'school' to learn English for k)
My dd loves library storytime, for free.
We go to free playgroups in community centers in town. We *could* sign up for dance or gymnastics I suppose, I haven't priced the lessons out. But I'm sure they are much less expensive than full-on preschool and tons of fun and social interaction.
Plus, kindy here is full-day, that is a LONG LONG day for a young child even when they are the oldest in the class, especially in the beginning.
Let her be little, find some lessons and fun activities. K comes soon enough!