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Repeating kindergarten

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

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.

 

Ann

post #2 of 38

I would hold him back.  I think that would do less "damage" then having him struggle.  Have you talked to his teacher? 

 

I would probably pull him now, put him in the prek preschool program, and play it as, "I'm moving you so you have more time at home to play.  Now you only go to school 3 days.  And next year you'll do 5 half days and have the afternoon off to play, how cool is that?"

post #3 of 38

I'm  not sure this will be a popular response, but given what you have said (behind in both academic and social skills for his current class) I would really consider repeating kinder.  I would be honest with him--- you made a mistake and put him in the "wrong" class.  Now you're correcting that mistake and putting him in the "right" grade.  With the right attitude,  I don't think it will have any negative consequences. 

 

Additionally, I think it will help with sibling issues long term.  His next oldest sibling is almost two years older but only one year ahead--- he will *always* feel not as smart!  DP & his brother are almost three years apart, but because of school cutoffs are only two years apart in school (DP was one of the youngest, his brother one of the oldest).  I think that was hard on DP when very young because he was always comparitively behind where his brother had been at the same grade.

 

I want to be clear that *I* don't think you actually made a mistake or were wrong to put him in kinder this year.  You went with the information you had and the advice of professionals.  But for DS I think it is important to hear that it isn't anything to do with him, per se, but rather just a change in your move.  You can easily explain that he was "supposed" to have two years of kinder and now he will, just like his siblings did.  I say this as a parent who chose to enter my DS on time (8/31 birthday in a school district with an 8/31 cut-off and a lot of red shirting).  We ended up opting to have him repeat 2nd grade for social reasons and this is exactly how we addressed it--- WE made a mistake sending him when we did and were just trying to get him in the right class for him (he went to being way younger than most of the kids in his class to still having two kids older than him in his class).

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

post #4 of 38

I would not pull him & put him in a preschool.  Keep him in kindergarten.

 

Go in & talk to the teachers about their thoughts.  They may not have any yet though, as there is ALOT of time for him to progress in the next 5 months before he goes into Grade 1.  You have until then to decide.    

 

He is not necessarily going to be in a sports team with kids in the lower grade.   Whether you hold him back or keep him in Grade 1 there will be kids who are in the younger/older grade on the sports teams.

 

My dd's dance & the older one just turned 10. She dances with girls who just turned 8, most are turning 9 this year.  It hasn't stopped any friendships from forming.

 

You can't compared the 2 boys to each other.  They will develop in their own way.  While the younger one may not be advanced now, he could be at the same level when he gets to similar grades/ages.  

post #5 of 38

We are considering having our DS repeat Kindergarten next year (he will be attending summer school, and we'll probably decide then).  Our situation is different from yours, and he happens to be in a 3-6 Montessori classroom where many of the kids are younger and so they are staying in the same class next year - so, if he does, too, it won't be as big of a deal as it might be to hold him back in a traditional setting.  Of course, we are looking at switching him to a regular Kindy class as well; just exploring all options, wanting to do the best for our DS (who happens to have some special needs that are impacting him academically and socially). 

 

Anyhow, from what I've read and from talking to teachers and other parents, it is a lot easier on the kid and gives them the best opportunity if they are retained at a Kindergarten level vs. later on.  If you think he could be lost or fall behind in 1st grade (at least here in the US, many 1st grade programs are pretty intense), then by all means, I would give him the benefit of an extra year - especially since in your case, he was put in Kindergarten a year early.   It's kinda similar to how many experts say boys are often better off waiting an extra year to start school - especially if they are close to the cut-off date. 

 

Best of luck figuring it out; I know it can be a bit stressful.  I am torn b/c our DS's teacher thinks he'll be fine either way, yet she does have some concerns as do we.  I  am leaning towards playing it safe, so to speak, and figuring a bonus year of the funnest and by far easiest year of school will lead to a bigger love for learning and success down the road, but it's definitely still something weighing heavily on my mind.  We meet with a team of specialists and his teacher at school once a month to discuss his progress and IEP -- if you don't already, can you do similar?

post #6 of 38
I think holding him back makes sense for many reasons that PPs have already mentioned and I don't think it will have long-term negative consequences. I say that having watched friends of mine go through school as the eldest in their grade and considering holding my son back/repeating K this year and talking to educator friends and older parents about the pros/cons of it.

As far as how to make the decision: what does he feel about school now? If he loves K and wants to finish out the year and you don't think that will be harmful to his educational development, then go with that and then just repeat him in K the next year as well. OTOH, if he's struggling, if school is difficult for him, if it seems like him being in K right now is going to make school seem like a bad place to go, I would pull him out now and frame it as a PP said "we made a mistake, this is not your fault, let's try something else that will make this better for you" while totally talking up all the fun things that will go on with his new situation, whether it's more playtime or more time with family or less fear about school.
post #7 of 38

Have you asked the teachers what they think at this new school?  If he is starting to make progress then he may be ready for the move up by the end of the year, and especially by the end of summer.  I suggest holding off on a decision until the end of the school year.  A few months can make a lot of difference once the subject clicks for a child and it sounds like you may have reached that point. 

 

You may find that when he moves up he is more motivated to try harder because he is surrounded by kids who have jumped a lot in their academic abilities over the summer and he wants to keep up.  My dd also could be labeled as ADHD if she had a teacher who is into labeling instead of teaching (and she was by her 1st grade teacher who let her get away with a lot), she wasn't very focused on being a good student until this year because she wasn't in an environment where it was expected or where kids were capable of really amazing levels of learning until this year.  She has realized that she is in an academic environment, that there are expectations for behavior and learning that she is very capable of living up to, and what the other kids can do and she really strives to be like them academically and behaviorally.  She is doing an amazing job of learning and keeping herself on task.  She still sometimes struggles to pay attention but she tells me her plan for paying attention better when she starts slipping then she follows through and succeeds.  I really think that giving him a chance to be challenged may turn out well.  His teachers and the teacher for the next level up should be able to give you a good idea of whether they think this will really happen though based on where he is at when the school year is over.

post #8 of 38

My sons school has a September 1st cutoff. A few of the kids are already 6 by the time your son turns 5. Quite a few are turning 6 in november, december and january. My son turned 5 in August, just below the cutoff. That makes him one of the youngest in the class. I would love to hold him back, because i would rather he was one of the oldest, or at least in the middle. But academically he is strong, so that probably wont be recommended. He often says,'i wish i was 6' Hell, i want him to enjoy being 5. he can enjoy 6 next year (when his classmates turn 7)

 

Why should a child struggle with children almost a year older than them? How is that fair?

 

In your shoes, i would hold him back.

post #9 of 38

I'd hold him back in K. I'd most likely explain that you were planning on him doing 2 years of K, which is completely true.

 

The difference between cutoffs and expectations in K is WILD in different states/provinces. We were living in Canada when my oldest was old enough to start K there, and she would have done just fine in the schools K program, which was fairly "play based". But we moved back to the states, where she did not meet the cut off and where she would have been a mess in the program, which was a "sit down, read, write, and do math" kind of program.

 

I think you need to do what makes sense for your child where you live right now. And it sounds like for your little guy, K would just be a better fit next year. Which makes sense, he'll be 5.

post #10 of 38

My DD is just a month younger than your DS and she will be K age in the fall.  I think that you were given bad advice when you moved, actually, but that's JMO.  Your DS isn't K age yet - he's Junior-K age - which is preschool age.  I don't even see this as "holding him back" - it's getting him in the "right" grade.  I mean, if he was really into academics and sailing through then sure, leaving him in the grade would be a good idea.  But it would be a grade skip into a grade ahead of where his age-matched peers are.  Having him in K next year is not holding him back. 

 

I agree that you should explain it as a mistake that the school and you made.  Help him get to know some kids that will be in his class next year, and go for it.  If his siblings give him a hard time explain the system to them.  They should be able to understand that he is actually not the right age for the grade he was put in.  Make a timeline or something.  

 

Tjej 

 

 

post #11 of 38

Wow, the whole thing sounds very stressful...I bet you'll feel a lot better once you figure out what to do!

 

I agree with the posters who said if you are going to pull him out, do it now. It seems like it would be easier next year than if he stays there several more months and goes through end of year activities like kindergarten graduation, etc.

post #12 of 38

Wow and I thought our Dec 31 cutoff was late!

 

I would give him another year of kindy. It's very common here (school starts in 1st, kindy is under the preschool umbrella and in small local school buildings). My twins and Avraham Tzvi are all born in Feb, and I can see the advantage of going in one of the oldest (although I guess if we move to Canada they would all skip a grade, YIKES).

 

I can see this year as my twins started 1st. They are doing great. A lot of the younger kids are struggling, or just getting by (yes, there are exceptions. I know a few fall birthdays thriving in 1st), but I would say for the average kid 5.5 is too young for 1st grade. I'd give him another year now, much better than struggling in school. One of their friends stayed back in kindy and it was 100% the right thing. She's not even so young, but I see a different child this year from last year. 

 

Good luck!

post #13 of 38

We know several families who repeated kindergarten for their children, and everyone (the child, the parents, the teacher) felt very good about the outcome. In our area, there's no stigma attached. Good luck with the choice.heather


 

 

 

 

post #14 of 38

Are there any other families of younger children who may have their kids repeat K?  It is not uncommon where I live for kids who would be young for K to either do it twice or to wait a year.  We didn't go that route and actually had one of our kids start as the youngest and then skip a grade.  I say that only b/c I usually am the one arguing against holding younger kids out a year and I didn't do it myself.

 

However, if he's at risk of being pathologized due to his energy and age and is behind where you'd like him to be academically, I might consider it.  If you're going to do it, doing it now also seems much better than waiting for later.  Like TiredX2 said, if you go that route, I'd tell him that he was supposed to do junior K this year but you made a mistake of essentially skipping him a grade and want to put him back where he belongs.  I'd be inclined to finish up the year of K, though, and then have him do K again next year rather than pulling him this late in the year and putting him in preschool/pre-K. 

 

Talk to his teacher, though, and see if her perception of his social and academic placement is the same as yours.

post #15 of 38

I know this is an old thread but I wanted to share that my DS repeated kindergarten this year. It has not been a big deal at all. He's blossomed this year and being one of the older kids has been a really good thing for him. He just wasn't ready last year. As for sports, I've talked with the program and he participates on the kindergarten soccer team instead of the one for sixes and sevens. So, he's with his peers.

post #16 of 38

  

 My son was made to repeat KG.  It was a terrible experience that really hurt his self esteem.

 I would not recommend it for anything in this world!

We finally insisted that he go into the grade he was supposed to be in at grade 3 and he caught up.  Although it was a lot of hard work, we and my son are glad we did it, because there definitely IS a stigma toward kids that have stayed back and are older than the others.

Just want to add that my son is born in March.  Had he stayed back he would have been at least a year older than all his class mates.

 


Edited by raksmama - 5/1/11 at 12:43pm
post #17 of 38

I do not think there is any stigma in holding your child back at this age.  It is better to do it now rather than later when he has more established friends and is more aware of the concept of "holding back".  This all doesn't have to be presented as a failure either, it is up to you to present it as enrichment or the like.  It is not his lack of ability, but the change in the school structure that has caused this problem.

I have been debating as to send my son to kindergarten or another year of Montessori and have read too much, if that is possible, on the subject of - holding back a year, repeating K etc.  Overall it the opinions on the approach to start are different, but no matter what the advice is per when to start your child, the consensus is to hold back now if there are concerns rather than later.  Let him finish out this year, without pressure, and start fresh next year.  Too many changes at once if you take him out and send him to preschool right now.

 

Good luck!

post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by noworries View Post

I do not think there is any stigma in holding your child back at this age.  It is better to do it now rather than later when he has more established friends and is more aware of the concept of "holding back".  This all doesn't have to be presented as a failure either, it is up to you to present it as enrichment or the like.  It is not his lack of ability, but the change in the school structure that has caused this problem.

I have been debating as to send my son to kindergarten or another year of Montessori and have read too much, if that is possible, on the subject of - holding back a year, repeating K etc.  Overall it the opinions on the approach to start are different, but no matter what the advice is per when to start your child, the consensus is to hold back now if there are concerns rather than later.  Let him finish out this year, without pressure, and start fresh next year.  Too many changes at once if you take him out and send him to preschool right now.

 

Good luck!


That would really depend on the area.  My dd jumped to the conclusion that the kids who entered Kindergarten a year late were too stupid to get through preschool when she was in first grade.  She missed the cutoff by two months and she sometimes gets teased because she is 8 and in second grade.  I have taught her to explain that she missed the cutoff and to be matter of fact about it but it still worries her sometimes.  It isn't something adults worry about but it can be something other kids do and our kids go to school with other kids not adults. 
 

 

post #19 of 38

I think there is a stigma too. Having being held back in first because I was small and right on the cut off day I felt older as I grew up. My teachers treated me differently and peers certainly did. I never found work hard but teachers expected less of me because I didn't try. My son is born a few weeks before the cut off day like me, he on the other hand is in his correct year. He is doing well, in fact at the top of his class.

 

Teachers give grades within an abartary system. I found when I was at university my score was at the top of the class (when I was just a name) but in k-12 my teachers misunderstood shyness with lack of understanding and marked me accordingly. 

 

My son can see some kids are up to 1.5yrs older and wonders why. When he asks, we tell the truth, that some kids are held back (ususally because their parents think they need an extra year). He understands that he is in the correct year for his age. What we do see is that the kids disrupting class are the ones who are a year older or the ones who are repeated. If this is because of boredom, or some underlying cause is holding them back, who knows. My experience tells me it didn't help in any case only intensifys the problem.

 

Please don't underestimate the stigma with the parents with what the child will go through. 

post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post




That would really depend on the area.  My dd jumped to the conclusion that the kids who entered Kindergarten a year late were too stupid to get through preschool when she was in first grade.  She missed the cutoff by two months and she sometimes gets teased because she is 8 and in second grade.  I have taught her to explain that she missed the cutoff and to be matter of fact about it but it still worries her sometimes.  It isn't something adults worry about but it can be something other kids do and our kids go to school with other kids not adults. 
 

 



But wait until she gets to HS and can get her license, etc. before all of her friends. They won't be teasing her about being old then! My b-day was the end of April and all my friends in HS were telling me I was "too young", etc.

 

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