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Would you/did you send your son to Kindergarten at 5? Would you do it differently in hindsight?

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
DS1 is currently 4 with an August birthday - he JUST turned 4. He was in PreK last yr and is this yr as well. DH and I have talked a bit about whether or not to send him to kindergarten next year (at 5) or to wait til he is 6. I am leaning more toward waiting. I have little doubt that he's educationally ready (can sit at circle time, knows letters, etc), but do question emotional readiness.

And, even more on my mind, is later (like adolescence) when he would be one of the youngest in his class to hit puberty and all that fun stuff. Given his personality, I am just not sure how he would handle feeling "behind" his peers (yes, I do realize you can never tell when a child will begin puberty and that each child does so at their own time...I'm just generalizing here - for the start of puberty and wondering about MY son

Of those who I talked to with children just a couple yrs older than mine, most have held their (summer bday) boys back til they were 6 - due to emotional readiness. For those who have not, they regret that they sent their son at 5. I've spoken with a couple of parents with adult (or nearly so) boys whose sons started K at 5 and they each very much wish they had waited til the son was 6 (and one, the son was present and he agreed).

With a summer birthday for a son, what have you all done or what do you plan to do? Did you send your son at 5 or wait til 6? If your son is older, would you, in hindsight, do it differently?
post #2 of 67
My ds has a June birthday, and turned 5 in June of 2009 (last year). He started kindergarten at 5. He went to a very part-time, not academically focused preschool for 2 years before kindergarten. He was definitely ready in every way. I can't tell a bit of difference between him and his peers emotionally or socially. Ds tends to do very well academically, though. He's a very conscientious little guy, and has done very well in school. He's now a first-grader and loves his teacher, school and his friends.

More and more people are keeping their children (especially boys) out of school an extra year. I think that parents usually tend to know best when their child is ready to start school. Trust your instincts on this one. A lot can change in a year, though. By next spring, you may realize he has really matured and will be ready for K.
post #3 of 67
We are also sort of faced with this. And I am rather obsessed with it.

Officially, DS missed the cut off date. But I always had it in my head that I would, for the school year that just started, send him to kindergarden at the private school in the next town. When the time came to make the move, my gut told me he wasn't ready. He will start kindergarten next year.

Presently, I know at least 10 families that kept their "young" 5 year old out of kindergarten until they were 6 (or turning 6 soon after school started) and not one of them regrets it.

Growing up, I went to a very small school and I remember boys being held back all the time thoroughout elem. and middle school.
post #4 of 67
My sister and I started Kingergarten at just barely 5 years old. We were the youngest in our class (obviously). We did okay, we passed Kindergarten and 1st grade just fine, but it wasn't easy and we were a little behind as far as maturity goes and had a harder time grasping some of the concepts. My parents were faced with a tough decision, and they decided to hold us back for first grade in order to make sure we were always *ahead* of the class, not left behind struggling all throughout, kwim? They said it was one of the hardest decisions they had to make because they knew the impact it would have on us to leave all our friends and have to make new ones. That said, I am so, so grateful, because we WERE always at the top of our class and learning concepts much easier because we were older, more mature, more *ready* in general. I personally don't want to rush things for my kids and I would prefer they started Kindergarten at closer to 6 or 6.
post #5 of 67
Thread Starter 
Thanks for replies
I know alot can change (and rather hope it does but I also know my son and his personality and that part is not likely to change

Caneel - I feel at times that I too am "obsessed with this"... but, these are my babies and it is my job to do what is right.... only, HOW do I know what is right in this case?!? I suppose that is, to a degree, why I am so "obsessing" now; is to try to think of all options/possibilities so that when the time comes to make the decision, it won't be a spur of the moment thing, but a well thought out plan for our son.

My gut does tell me that, in the long run, he would likely do better starting school at 6....but I would still love to get input from other mom's who've been there done that...or are in the middle of it now
post #6 of 67
My two older boys have Aug b-days. There is only one kindergarten teacher here and she tells all moms of boys to wait till they are 6. We started kindergarten at 5 for my oldest and it was great. Half way through the year we pulled him out because the kindergarten teacher felt that he was not mature enough, even though he loved it and was doing great. We put him in first grade the following year and he did ver well and is starting 2nd grade on Wednesday. Now DS2 just turned 5 and is going into kindergarten with the same teacher DS1 had. I know he is ready and so excited about going. We'll see how it goes.

I feel we did/are doing the right thing. IMO, the problem is with the teacher. If she doesn't like teaching 5 year olds, then she shouldn't be a kindergarten teacher.
post #7 of 67
my ds is only 2 but i am already thinking about this. ds has a mid july birthday.

the plan so far is for ds to go to montessori pre k at 3, he will be in their primary classroom which is 3-6 mixed age group and includes their charter kindy kids (i'm pretty sure). after that he may continue at the montessori school (private, tuition based) or we may send him to a spanish language immersion school (public magnet). i was thinking it might be good for ds to do the full 3 year cycle (including chartered kindy) at the montessori school and then basically do kindergarten again at the Spanish immersion school. the second school is much more formal learning (desks, full day, homework, etc.) and it might be nice for him to have an extra year of learning the montessori way before doing the regular kindergarten thing. but is this holding him back? will he hate me for it when he is in highschool? will it not matter because we will home school in highschool? just so many unknowns!
post #8 of 67
I'm kind of strugling with this. DS will turn 5 next June and I'm really questioning to send him or not. All of his friends from preschool and our playgroup will be going. He has been going to all day preschool 2 days a week since he turned 3. He loves it. DS is a smart kid and the academics wouldn't be an issue, but I'm worried about him socially and emotionally.

My birthday was the end of June, so I was one of the youngest in my class. I hated being so much younger than everyone else. DH has an August birthday and his mom sent him when he was 5. Even though DH went to preschool for 2 years before kindy, he still had some problems (socially) and was held back to repeat kindy. He thinks it was the best thing they could have done. My MIL says that there was a huge difference in DH's confidence from one year to the next, but yet she is encouraging me to send DS to school next year.

I'm really leaning toward not sending him until he is 6. I don't see how it would hurt him to send him a year later, and I do know that it could hurt him to send him early. In the grand scheme of life, an extra year to be a kid doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
post #9 of 67
There is a chapter dedicated to this very issue in the book You Are Your Child's First Teachers by Rahima Baldwin. She quotes some studies that were done regarding children with summer birthdays starting school and I found the information very interesting and took it into account when we made our desicion. I really reccomend anyone looking for info on this subject check this book out. It's a popular book and can be found at most public libraries.
post #10 of 67
I think one thing to look at is which group is his peer group?

As a child, I missed the cut off by 9 days. The peer group I had chosen through that point was the kids who were older than me, not the kids younger. So, from my perspective, my whole peer group went off to kindergarten without me, and I was stuck back with the "babies." This did impact me throughout elementary school--being on the more mature side, I was very impatient with the kids I was grouped with, and never formed any close friendships at my own grade level.

My son is going to be the young 5 (he just turned 4 and is in preschool), and I look around our neighborhood and find he already chosen the older peer group. His best friend F is one of the kids who misses the cut off for kindergarten this year. The kids he would be with if we held him back are the kids he considers the babies. If F went off to school without him, I have the feeling my child would be very hurt and upset by that.

Thus, our plan is that he goes to kindergarten next year.
post #11 of 67
Thread Starter 
that's a good point regarding peer friends. The thing is though, that ds1 doesn't really have alot of "neighborhood" friends and the play group friends are all different ages! He is also pretty introverted - he made one good friend in last yrs preK, but there were only 4 boys in the class.
From observing him in playgroups and such, he tends to be more aggressive when playing with boys in the "older" same age peer groups. Perhaps that is what triggered me to think he might do better to wait - to hopefully be less aggressive if he's not the "youngest"....
I will definitely be looking for that book - Thanks for the reference!!

I think, for me, I would rather hold him back now (another yr of PreK) than to wait til he's actually in school. In preK, he may or may not go to school with any of those kids, but once in K - those are kids he'll be in school with at least through middle school. As a summer birthday myself, I've often wondered if waiting a yr would've helped me feel more confident in school, so that is definitely in my consideration too!

KristineKristine - I would LOVE for both of my boys to go to Montessori schools, but for us that is just not financially possible (there are only 2 here and both are very $$). As for the spanish immersion, that sounds pretty cool too - I would love for ds to be exposed to / learn a second language - so long as there was still a focus on "typical" scholastic stuff
post #12 of 67
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! A teacher friend and I were just discussing this as DD will turn 6 in a month, and some of her classmates just turned 5 a month ago. She was saying she felt the Kindy cut-off date should be May and those summer birthdays wouldn't be up in the air.

I have never met a family who regretted holding their child back but have met MANY who wished they'd have waited.

Obviously, all children are different and you and the child's other parent know them best.
post #13 of 67
We also have an additional advantage, in that we basically have already been through the "young" struggle in a pretty good environment for that.

Last fall, my son started at a Montessori that had a "3 by September 1" rule. With a July birthday, he was the youngest 3 that started with that class by almost two months. Almost half the children that started with him had just missed the 3 cutoff the previous year, so turned 4 in September or October.

The first couple of months there, I think he did have some type of maturity struggle, but a Montessori environment is a good place to have that kind of struggle. When new 3s started this past month, even though some of them were closer in age to him than the children he started with last fall, he clearly continued to identify with the older group and also started to try to help the younger kids with figuring out how they were supposed to behave in the Montessori classroom.
post #14 of 67
My son started on schedule at 4yr 10m. I don't regret it at all. He was ready and holding him back would have been incredibly frustrating for him academically. We learned earlier from DD that school just doesn't offer enough social time to make the hours spent doing below level work worth it! Better to make school an academic fit and find interest based activities for a social like after school. Interestingly enough, when the academic fit is better, so has the social fit been.

Later puberty, not neccessarily an issue. My DD is youngest in grade due to a grade skip. She's 13 and in 9th grade. She's a popular girl. She is a later bloomer physically but she could care less and it has had no consequences socially. Yes, she'll be later to drive but we've also found in our area that the majority of kids AREN'T driving at 16 due to expense of cars, insurance, driver's training, ect. Every stage we got the warnings and here she is in high school and it continues to be a non-issue.

Consider there are some real problems that come from large quantities of parents red-shirting their children (and I'm not talking about the handful of cases where an extra year IS warranted... I'm talking about developmentally on target children held out of school to give them "an edge.") It's become so common place in our district. There were kids in DS's kindergarten class that were turning SEVEN in kindie! These parents love it at first but by 3rd grade, start complaining that the curriculum isn't challenging enough (yeah, because they shouldn't be in 3rd grade.) They want their "advanced" kids in the gifted program but are upset when their children don't have the scores to get it (because their being advanced isn't about being accelerated learners... it's about being a year older.) Almost all the bully issues on my kids campuses involved red-shirted boys AND girls.

We have several friends who PLANNED on sending their younger boys to TWO years of kindergarten for maturity reasons. After the first year of kindergarten, not one felt it was neccessary to repeat the grade and their children are doing fantastically in the higher grades.

I'm not saying red-shirting isn't the answer for your son. You know him and his situation best. I'm just sharing the other side of things and letting you know there are many of us that were happy to send our 4 and 5 year-olds to kindie.
post #15 of 67
I have a late July birthday. I was a behind in kinder and in 1st grade. But by 7th grade, I was in the gifted program. In the 11th grade, I got the highest PSAT scores in my school and then went on to become a National Merit Scholar.

When people talk about maturity, they are generally actually talking about personalities. A child's personality is not likely to change by holding them back. If your child has special needs that affect his ability to learn, I might hold him back. Or if he really is just really behind, like does not even know his colors, then I would. Otherwise, if he is excited and wanting to go, I would just send him.

Good luck!!
post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
My son started on schedule at 4yr 10m. I don't regret it at all. He was ready and holding him back would have been incredibly frustrating for him academically. We learned earlier from DD that school just doesn't offer enough social time to make the hours spent doing below level work worth it! Better to make school an academic fit and find interest based activities for a social like after school. Interestingly enough, when the academic fit is better, so has the social fit been.

Later puberty, not neccessarily an issue. My DD is youngest in grade due to a grade skip. She's 13 and in 9th grade. She's a popular girl. She is a later bloomer physically but she could care less and it has had no consequences socially. Yes, she'll be later to drive but we've also found in our area that the majority of kids AREN'T driving at 16 due to expense of cars, insurance, driver's training, ect. Every stage we got the warnings and here she is in high school and it continues to be a non-issue.

Consider there are some real problems that come from large quantities of parents red-shirting their children (and I'm not talking about the handful of cases where an extra year IS warranted... I'm talking about developmentally on target children held out of school to give them "an edge.") It's become so common place in our district. There were kids in DS's kindergarten class that were turning SEVEN in kindie! These parents love it at first but by 3rd grade, start complaining that the curriculum isn't challenging enough (yeah, because they shouldn't be in 3rd grade.) They want their "advanced" kids in the gifted program but are upset when their children don't have the scores to get it (because their being advanced isn't about being accelerated learners... it's about being a year older.) Almost all the bully issues on my kids campuses involved red-shirted boys AND girls.

We have several friends who PLANNED on sending their younger boys to TWO years of kindergarten for maturity reasons. After the first year of kindergarten, not one felt it was neccessary to repeat the grade and their children are doing fantastically in the higher grades.

I'm not saying red-shirting isn't the answer for your son. You know him and his situation best. I'm just sharing the other side of things and letting you know there are many of us that were happy to send our 4 and 5 year-olds to kindie.
I know what you mean. The parents who red shirted their kids often had their own issues. They were so in to their child being the football star, and then get up in the air when the school work is too easy. Then when the child goes 2 years and learns nothing...it is just because they are so much older. They cannot even qualify for the gifted programs because those involve IQ tests. Just being older does not get you in. In IQ tests, they are compared by age, not grade. You can't have an 8 yr old in 1st grade and then call them gifted.

Another thing is, it has been found that the older the child is, the higher the rate of the drop out. The older they would have been at graduation, the less likely they are to graduate. So in the long run, even though they might have done great in kindergarten (because they learned nothing) they do horrible in high school (because they spent so many years in school learning nothing and doing busywork while waiting for the rest of the grade to get to where they are, it catches up with them). 19-20 year olds do not like being in high school. Even 18 yr olds are not too happy about it, but it they turned 18 mid year, they cope with it better.
post #17 of 67
BTDT.

DS went to kindy at 6. Super smart, nothing terribly outstanding about emotional readiness, although having also raised a dd we did see differences in maturity. It's working out for us.
post #18 of 67
Thread Starter 
You know, I definitely here you moms discussing "redshirting" a child so they get ahead in sports (as the primary reason) later on..I've seen that happen and seen it backfire!
If I were, in any way, thinking of that as the reason, I would not even consider holding my son til he was 6 - I just don't think that is a "fair" reason (for me).
As a matter of fact, given my son's personality - I (right now) doubt that he'll play sports (I do, quite frankly, hope he plays something....BUT mostly, I just hope he finds some kind of extracurricular thing he enjoys (art, band, etc) and I will support him in whatever he likes!).

So, from my personal standpoint, it is completely more of an emotional / maturity / etc standpoint.

That is a very good point though for those who've mentioned that their child (or one they've seen) gets bored b/c they are older.

Really, though, with an august bday - if my son were to wait til 6, and some of the K kids had sept-dec bdays, he would only be 1-4 months older than them.... On the other hand, if he goes to K at 5, he would be 8-11 months younger than those in his class with sept - dec bdays.....

I am liking all of the input and ideas of stuff to think about!! And, it's good to know I'm not the only mommy out there with this worry
post #19 of 67
DS2 has a July birthday. He's 3 this year but we are definitely going to be sending him to K when he is 5. He's in a Montessori class so he's used to working with kids of all ages, as well as having an older brother that he keeps up with just fine. He's actually quite small for his age (25th percentile) but that doesn't seem to slow him down. *Maybe* I would consider holding him back if he had a different personality, but I doubt it, because he *does* make the cut-off, by over a month. If he was just after the cut-off I most likely wouldn't try to push him ahead. But I know several families who have put their boys with fall birthdays into K at just over age 4 1/2 (in private school) and are continuing on into 1st grade with their almost-6-year-olds (they are friends of DS1, and technically should be in his year but instead they will be a grade ahead of him). DS1, who is 5 1/2, actually looks like one of the biggest kids in his K class (though he's always been big for his age). There is quite a range of sizes, and, I assume, ages in that class. So, personally I think that if the child legitimately makes the cut-off and there are no behavioral/developmental concerns that might benefit from an additional year, then most kids are probably ready to go and will do just fine over the course of the year... and perhaps better over the course of their school careers because they will be in the "correct" grade for their abilities, and they will know it (just as they will know if they are "old" for their grade). JMO, though.
post #20 of 67
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