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Starting kindergarten later rather than earlier

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I know, I know, it's a question on many minds. I'm wondering what people perceive as the DISADVANTAGES of starting kinder later as opposed to earlier. One personal disadvantage for us is figuring out how we will afford another year of pre-school...what do you see as the global disadvantages? I'm interested in the scholarly research (I teach, myself, but I'm a college professor) as well as the anecdotal, editorial opinions.

DS's b-day is in August, about a month before the cutoff. He'd be one of the youngest kiddos in kinder next year. He's bright in many ways and not at all accelerated in others. I'm concerned that he will not thrive if he's put into a classroom where it's all seatwork and worksheets due to NCLB. We're trying NOT to send him to a place where this is the case but we're up in the air until lottery results come through.

Though I know no one else can make this decision for us, I wanted to provide a little background about DS so you know where I am coming from. He has a HUGE attention span for listening, being read to, conversing. He loves pretending. He's learning a second language amazingly readily. He has a great memory. He's able to reason, has good self-control, is fairly logical, and has absorbed a lot of facts about various things (ancient Egypt, types of medieval weaponry, solar system). He's starting to sound things out and read some words, but retreats from this process if we try to pursue this. He is not at all keen on writing. He knew how to make many letters, almost all, about a year ago and then lost interest completely. He's drawing more now, but for a time refused to put pencil to paper. He is easily frustrated and has perfectionist tendencies which immobilize him. He's stubborn. He's sensitive. (By the way, those last three sentences could also describe me if we simply change the pronoun.)

Can anyone weigh in on why NOT to start kindergarten later instead of earlier? Thanks for your thoughts and input. You may see another thread from me later re: how to manage to pay for another year of excellent but pricey pre-school.
post #2 of 29
Montessori. Your son can focus deeply on the areas of interest to him and not be forced to do things that are of no interest to him. The teachers can creatively encourage him to broaden his interests. There area a million reasons why your son would thrive in a Montessori school. Also, because it's a multi age class, it pretty much eliminates the decision of whether to hold him back or move him ahead this year, and you can re-evaluate next year.
post #3 of 29
I think if you started him late, he could end up ahead of his classmates and bored. He sounds ready now.

Besides, if you don't like the kindergarten, how will that change in the next year? It would seem that you are putting off the problem, not fixing it. Are there any other options? Are there any private Ks where you live? Could he do an extra year of preschool and then skip K? Have you really checked out the K?

One of my kids has mild special needs, and in the sn community, holding a child back from K to "give them an extra year to mature" is seen as a bad thing because it is usually done without any sort of evaluation to see if there is an underlieing problem that is causing the child's development to be off from there age mates. There are kids who are held back, receive no services for that year, start school the next year, and the school eventually figures out that something is off with the child's development and then the child gets special services. The parent's choice simple delayed the problem and possible solutions to the problem, made the child bigger than the kids they go to school with, etc. It stopped their child from recieving they help they needed. None of that sounds like it applies in your case, but you asked for negatives about holding a child back, and to me that is the biggest one.
post #4 of 29
I thought this article was interesting: http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/2...yingKEntry.pdf
post #5 of 29
Your DS sounds ahead already academically, but even if he wasn't research supports sending kids to school on time. Just search this forum for "redshirting" and you'll see tons of links to good resources.

Though you will hear many anecdotal acounts of how great XYZ child did in K or first grade when they were held out an extra year, it is often more bout how great it was for the teachers than it was for the child and it doesn't look at the 18yo highschool senior who is bored and just wants out of school.
post #6 of 29
Besides the NAEYC article posted by a PP, I will say I have some anecdotal evidence from my DDs class and the current K class (I help 1x per week in there even though I don't have a child in that class)...for some kids, delaying entry hasn't been a big deal...I don't think I would have known they were older and they're not wildly ahead (so maybe they would have been behind had they started on time), but for two kids I can think of boredom issues were significant..in one case it led to some pretty severe behavioral problems and just refusing to do the work at all (that child actually turned 7 in April of K..he's in the high reading group...reading at an end of 1st beginning of 2nd grade level and just seems bored and refuses to participate). In the other case, the child turned 6 a few weeks before K started (in Aug) and was ahead in K and 1st, not too bad of boredom/behavioral issues, but was a little bit of a pain (and mean) to kids who were just learning letters/learning to read. His attitude issues were mild, but now that he's in 2nd and 3rd and other kids are starting to catch up, his attitude issues seem worse (admittedly, this may not be b/c of his starting later, but in K, the attitude manifested in making fun of or snickering about kids who weren't as academically advanced).

Finally, I feel pretty strongly that if a kid is ready from a cognitive/behavioral perspective, you could be doing them a disservice by not allowing them to be challenged when they're ready.
post #7 of 29
My ds#2's birthday is 2 days after the cut off so we had no choice but to have him be older in kindergarten (our district is absolutely rigid and we couldn't afford private).
My cons (some funny, some not )
-He is the tallest child in the 6th grade. Too bad he's in 5th
-He was bored a lot in earlier grades. He gets things easy and since he's child #3 he was hearing a lot of info that I was discussing with his brother and sister
-He will be able to drive himself to school in 10th grade with an actual driver's licence
- Some things that are age related he will not be able to do because he ages out earlier than his friends in the same grade(Lego Robotics)
post #8 of 29
Well, he could wonder why you didn't have confidence that he could succeed at grade-level/why he wasn't sent on time, esp. if redshirting isn't very common where you are. If he is big for his age, it would be more obvious to him and the other children. From your description, it sounds like he is very bright and ready. Most of the research shows that age-related differences even out at 3rd grade or so. My ds is the youngest in his K class, and quite a few were "redshirted" and are a year or more older. Still, he was definitely ready for K and has had a successful & enjoyable year.
post #9 of 29
Forget it.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by almama View Post
We're in the same boat, but have a later cut-off (9/30). My thinking is to keep him in K this year and if he needs to, accelerate him later. I am all for letting little kids play as much as possible (especially boys), and having them work harder when later.
Unlike holding a kid out for K, acceleration isn't something you can just decide to do as the parent. School administrators have to agree to it.

Most schools frown on it completely. Parents of gifted student, who are working 4 or 5 grade levels above their chronologically correct grade, have to fight tooth and nail often to simply be able to move their kid up one or two grades. It typically involves a lot of testing.

It is very unlikely that future acceleration is a real option. If you hold him out for K, this will almost certainly mean he will be a year behind for the rest of his school career. Of course this means he's starting his work career late too, putting him a year behind in saving for a house and retirement, etc.

Though this is you decision, it is pretty much a permanent one and shouldn't be looked at as a temporary one that can be undone when the situation changes.
post #11 of 29
Something to think about is the vast difference in cut off dates across the country. We have chosen to hold our son a year and start K this coming fall. He will turn six in October. In our state he could have legally started this year, but in more than half of the other states in the U.S. he would not have been eligible to start until this fall anyway. There is a great likelihood that we will be moving in the next 5 years and this played into our decision as well as his social readiness. I find it interesting how quick we are to jump on people who hold their children back based on an arbitrary date based on what state you live in.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugginsmom View Post
Something to think about is the vast difference in cut off dates across the country. We have chosen to hold our son a year and start K this coming fall. He will turn six in October. In our state he could have legally started this year, but in more than half of the other states in the U.S. he would not have been eligible to start until this fall anyway. There is a great likelihood that we will be moving in the next 5 years and this played into our decision as well as his social readiness. I find it interesting how quick we are to jump on people who hold their children back based on an arbitrary date based on what state you live in.
Our niece has a November birthday and the cut off is 1 Sept, so she was nearly six when she started K.
post #13 of 29
How he reacts to K may be different than how he reacts to you teaching him. I could not get ds to practice handwriting at all on my own but he did it in school. He also had to be "in the mood" to allow me to help him learn things; I could tell when he was "done."

Also, I agree with a pp about boredom possibly resulting in behavior issues. Though ds is in the last third of his class to turn six, he entered K reading at at least a 2nd grade level and is advanced in other areas. He has had significant behavior issues all year, though his behavior at home improved significantly a couple of months into the school year.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post

It is very unlikely that future acceleration is a real option. If you hold him out for K, this will almost certainly mean he will be a year behind for the rest of his school career. Of course this means he's starting his work career late too, putting him a year behind in saving for a house and retirement, etc.

Though this is you decision, it is pretty much a permanent one and shouldn't be looked at as a temporary one that can be undone when the situation changes.
It can be extremely difficult to get acceleration-- but not always. It was recommended by the school that my older ds start K early (he missed the cutoff by a couple of months). I declined because I thought he wasn't ready to handle it.

After preK and K, we homeschooled for years, and ds was always working at least one grade level ahead. So, when he applied to private school last year, I asked that he be placed a grade "ahead." His enrollment testing indicated that he could succeed, so the school agreed. Ds is happy and doing well.

Private schools are often more flexible about placement. But, I learned something interesting from a public school principal. We ended up randomly chatting, and she told me that when kids entered ps after homeschooling, they were placed according to age, not birthdate. Say you take your child to register in January, on the day after her 8th birthday. The school will say "She's 8-- put her in third grade," despite the fact that a child with that birthdate who had been in school all along would be in 2nd. Strange, but true (at least in my district!).

FWIW, my younger ds is going to K in the fall, and will be one of the oldest in his class. I think, for him, it's a good placement.
post #15 of 29
Our DS started KG on time but we live in CT with a Dec 31 cutoff. His b-day is Dec 4 so he was four for the first few months of KG. I struggled with this decision but DH (Dec 19 b-day) was adamant that he should start.

Thank goodness I listened. DS is now in first grade, at the top of his class in both reading and math. He is very often bored. No behavioral problems so far because DS has a serious penchant for daydreaming, which he currently can follow during much of the school day.

I can't imagine how much more bored he would be if he were in KG.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by darien View Post
It can be extremely difficult to get acceleration-- but not always. It was recommended by the school that my older ds start K early (he missed the cutoff by a couple of months). I declined because I thought he wasn't ready to handle it.

After preK and K, we homeschooled for years, and ds was always working at least one grade level ahead. So, when he applied to private school last year, I asked that he be placed a grade "ahead." His enrollment testing indicated that he could succeed, so the school agreed. Ds is happy and doing well.

Private schools are often more flexible about placement. But, I learned something interesting from a public school principal. We ended up randomly chatting, and she told me that when kids entered ps after homeschooling, they were placed according to age, not birthdate. Say you take your child to register in January, on the day after her 8th birthday. The school will say "She's 8-- put her in third grade," despite the fact that a child with that birthdate who had been in school all along would be in 2nd. Strange, but true (at least in my district!).

FWIW, my younger ds is going to K in the fall, and will be one of the oldest in his class. I think, for him, it's a good placement.
Home schooling for a few years is a fine alternative if one doesn't think one's kindergarten aged child is going to fit well in any of the kindergarten classes that are available to one. It isn't really the same thing as holding them back a year though with the hope that the parent can later move them up.

There are many great things that a child can do during the K year if the parent doesn't think they will do well in the public kindergarten. Many private preschools run kindergartens that are more fun and playful than public school kindergartens. One can homeschool for a few years. In many areas kindergarten isn't even a required school year, so one can just skip it and pop their kid straight into first grade. However, once you have started school, the system tend to take over and one is stuck with where one is.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugginsmom View Post
Something to think about is the vast difference in cut off dates across the country. ... I find it interesting how quick we are to jump on people who hold their children back based on an arbitrary date based on what state you live in.
We've moved around a lot and K is very different in different places, and the differences tend to line up with the age requirements. Places where kids are younger tend to have more play based K, while places where the kids are older tend to be more read/write/to math on pape

Quote:
Originally Posted by darien View Post
But, I learned something interesting from a public school principal. We ended up randomly chatting, and she told me that when kids entered ps after homeschooling, they were placed according to age, not birthdate.
that is NOT the case where we live. Kids are placed by birthday.
post #18 of 29
Around here, the cut off date is Sept 1st, but most schools encourage you to hold them out if they have a birthday of June 1st or later. DS's birthday is Aug 30th, and we were strongly encouraged to hold him out. In fact, we had to fight a little to make them take him. He was ready, but more than that, it was our only chance to get him into this particular school (b/c of overcrowding in the school we were zoned for). For us it was better to put him in Kindy knowing we could hold him back if he needed it, than it was to send him to an overcrowded school with poor scores.

fwiw, he was the youngest kid in his class for kindy and did really well. We didn't need to hold him back, and he is currently finishing the first grade with high marks. It's exactly where he should be. We're glad we made the decision we made, even though we felt pressured at the time, but I would have been fine putting him back in kindy if he needed to be there.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Home schooling for a few years is a fine alternative if one doesn't think one's kindergarten aged child is going to fit well in any of the kindergarten classes that are available to one. It isn't really the same thing as holding them back a year though with the hope that the parent can later move them up.

There are many great things that a child can do during the K year if the parent doesn't think they will do well in the public kindergarten. Many private preschools run kindergartens that are more fun and playful than public school kindergartens. One can homeschool for a few years. In many areas kindergarten isn't even a required school year, so one can just skip it and pop their kid straight into first grade. However, once you have started school, the system tend to take over and one is stuck with where one is.
I don't think I implied that homeschooling was the same as holding a child back a year, and FWIW, I didn't go into hs'ing with any plan of moving ds up later.

My point was that a child is not necessarily locked into whatever grade they start in. Yes, it can be challenging to change a child's grade placement later, but it's not impossible. It's public school, not a contract! Sometimes public schools are easier to play ball with than expected. If not, sometimes private school or homeschooling will help to "fix" a child's placement. You can move, you can hire an educational consultant.... That's all I wanted to put out there.
post #20 of 29
in my state K is not required, so some of the schools when you "hold them back/out" a year for K just put them in 1st when they start anyway because they didn't *have* to do K.

So if you show up with a 6year old on the first day of school they are going into 1st grade even if they didn't do K.

However, that isn't EVERY school, just some of them.
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