I haven't posted to these boards in a few years (got busy, I guess). Some of the other boards I use to participate on have all migrated to Facebook - and now I am looking for advice.
I am Canadian (so different school system and cut-offs) and have just moved to a new province (Alberta). I have four kids - 8, 7, 5 and 3.
My third child is a January 2006 baby. The school cut-off in our old province was December 31 and has a junior kindergarten program (1/2 day), a senior kindergarten (again, in many cases 1/2 day) and then the children move to Grade 1. My child started in junior kindergarten in September 2010 as per the normal age cut-offs as one of the oldest in his class. He is a boy, a busy one - no known learning issues - just a happy, busy, sometimes doesn't pay attention normal boy. I was very happy with him being the oldest kid (I searched the site and found a post I placed a few years ago suggesting how happy I was not to face the redshirting questions).
We moved in late December. The new province has a cut-off of February 28 (yes, compared to many states cut-off of September 1 or 30th - very very young children in kindergarten). However, it doesn't have a junior kindergarten program - just a kindergarten program (1 year of 1/2 day kindergarten and then on to full day Grade 1). We didn't want to pull our son out of school and send him back to preschool. His first school said he was ready for kindergarten so to place him in kindergarten. (i.e. in essence, skipped a grade, albeit kindie, half way through the school year) I am now regretting the decision (2.5 months later). He will be 5.5 years going into Grade 1.
Our son is struggling - I think it is mainly the lack of interest in learning his alphabet, sitting at circle time, fine motor skills, as well as social skills. I don't believe it is a learning issue or attention deficit issue (however, he can be wiggly and a bit of skatter brain ... need to repeat instructions in many aspects of life). He wants to play. HIs teacher hasn't suggested holding him back but I know when we first met the teachers they don't like the Feb. 28 cut-off (the children are so young to be in Kindie) and inferred that they would hold back their own kids (and one did hold back).
We are now working more intensely with him - reading Bob books, playing letter and sound recognition games, math games. He has made a lot of progress in the past few weeks. His teacher has also noticed that since mid-February he has been more engaged in the classroom etc.
One issue is the level of Grade 1s at this school. My second child is almost two years older but is only in Grade 1 (again, the age cut-offs - February 2004 boy in Grade 1). He is reading at Grade 3 - Grade 4 level, knows multiplication, is a mentor in his Grade 1 class. While he is performing well above Grade 1 levels, given the level of performance of the school (very strong school), he has a lot of peers in his class that are at the same or higher level (well above average Grade 1 class). I cannot imagine his younger brother will be anywhere near that level next year.
Do we contemplate holding him back? Do you finish out the school year or pull him now (I could send him to a preschool, attached to the current school for three days a week in a kindie prep program)? How do you ensure we don't rock his self-confidence, think he 'failed' kindie? (We have just moved here so have very few friends or kids that know us well.) What do we tell his older siblings who, like most siblings, can tease or say inappropriate things?
One truly odd thing about this province (a few more, I might add) is that sport teams have a December 31 cut-off - so at this rate, he will play hockey/soccer etc with the kids in one lower grade (if he continues on) - so holding back has a social advantage in sports.
What is best for him?
Sorry this got so long.