As a family that went straight from PreK to 1st, I think it can be one of many good options.
Due to a variety of different reasons, my DDs went from PreK to 1st. It was a great choice for our situation. No, it was not perfect and we did and still do have some concerns. But it worked out well overall. DDs were age 5y10 months when 1st grade started and they both were given work in writing, spelling, and some supplemental math at thier level. Reading was given at the highest level offered, but little individualized/small group instruction was given since they would not *test* past 2nd grade officially so there was no record of exactly how far ahead they are/were (they were in a group with two other strong readers). Some math/science was easy, but due to their young for grade-age and they both had special needs it was a nice balance between meeting academic and social development at that time. Both DDs learned a lot and their writing ability grew tremendously!! They made friends and developed some great emotional/social skills as well.
The schools did a very very basic screener to see if K or 1st would be a better fit since we moved from out of state: they sailed through the screener. The tester did not go past 1st grade mid-year material. It was a simple reading outloud (running record) activity, write a simple story, solve basic addition/subtraction facts and do a few mental math activities. It took 15 minutes max.
As for being legal, depends on the state. Some states have a 30 day timeline- but some go by calendar days and other go by SCHOOL days and/or have an exemption for holidays that are more than 3-5 days long (which would be summer break). It can vary by state under the IDEA (individual with Disabilities Act) as far as I know. This may have been updated by recent legislation, but this is what I went by when we moved states awhile ago and wanted info on the referral process.
Here is a link to a map that shows by state if your location even has to offer G &T services (my current state does not!!)
Also remember that in the summer it is hard to round up the people that may be needed to make a choice to be honest. Summer time always takes longer since there are many offices closed, staff gone, etc.
I know a lot of people say do K and skip 1st, but in our situation it was much better to skip K and go to 1st. K would not have been a good fit at all due to their age (they would have been old for grade), the academics presented in K, the girls skills, and the K program itself.(it was 1/2 vs a full day for 1st).
If your area has G &T for K see what is available as well! It sounds like your principal is receptive and that is a GREAT thing! Good luck and hope your DD has a great school year (which ever grade you choose for her).
As for ?s: I would ask
"What do you do for academic differentiation in K (and 1st) in math./reading/writing? What alternative activities do you have for kids that have mastered letters/sounds? Do you have math enrichment/small group learning? Does your school offer mid-year skips? Do you have multi-age classrooms (we looked for a K/1 split in our area, not available)? Can student travel to a different grade levels for instruction in core subjects?"
Edited by KCMichigan - 7/18/12 at 11:54am