Being the youngest. Re: holding kids back from K - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know there is a long thread here about holding boys back in K, but I have some questions, so I thought I'd start my own thread.

My DD will turn 5 in August and we have been planning on sending her to public K in September. The cut-off here is Dec. But from what I have been gathering, almost NO parents of fall-birthday kids will be sending their kids to K this year and will wait until next year. This is for boys and girls. And, I know lots of parents with summer bday kids (so, the same age as my DD) who will be holding their kids back from K.

This concerns me. My DD is very mature for her age. She is advanced academically, has started to read, has super strong fine motor skills and can write all her upper and lower case letters, etc... I have no doubt that she'll be ready for K in the fall.

Still, I'm worried that she'll be the youngest in the class and that it might affect her badly.

At her old preschool, she was put in a class of kids 6 to 12 months older and on a social level, it was disastrous.

WWYD?
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#2 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 01:44 PM
 
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All I can tell you is what we did with our DD (8/29 birthday) and what we'll do with our son (6/24 birthday) and that is that we sent (and will send) them on time. I did a lot of research on the studies that have been done and while the practice of red-shirting among middle-class and upper-middle class families is relatively new (seems to have become more common in the last 10-20 years), there are studies. Most of them show that on a long term basis there is no discernible benefit to holding your child back. Having said that, parents in our middle-class suburb seem about 50/50 on whether they send their summer/fall birthday kids to K (our district cut-off is 10/15). I come from a whole family of educators and while some of them say it can be beneficial for specific kids to be held out, they also say that most kids end up where they would have been anyway (based on their root cognitive abilities) by 3rd or 4th grade. I also know some of the arguments are not for now, but for later (Jr. High, High School College). I guess I understand where people are coming from, but I graduated from high school at 17 and college at 21 and I never had a problem socially. It's possible this could cause problems later, but social problems can happen whether or not you're the same age as your peers....

For my own specific anecdote, my DD entered K barely reading (sounding out basic CVC words). She knew the letters, their sounds and her numbers to 10 or so and that's it. She could write her name, but not other letters. She was probably in the bottom 1/3 of her class prep wise (highly academic neighborhood public). By the end of K, she was reading at an end of first grade level and in the top 1/3 for everything. By the end of 1st, she was in probably the top 10-20% and in second it seems the same (she's way ahead in Math and maybe a year ahead in reading). Things are starting to even out academically and even though I sometimes notice things about her that make her seem younger than her peers (e.g. she needs a ton more sleep than some of her friends), she generally does great socially. As far as my DS, he'll be on the younger end (especially for boys) when he starts this Fall, but he's already reading and much further ahead than she was. He's sort of a quirky little guy who does just fine socially in preschool, but tends to hang out with other quirky little guys and girls. I'm not sure that another year in pre-K would make him any more of a leader or more social...I think this is his personality and he's confident, comfortable in new situations and generally fine. I can't imagine keeping him out for another year.

Having said all of that, we have several friends who have chosen to hold out their kids and I'd say the results are mixed. In some cases, the kids were extremely bored in K and acted out/were snotty to others and in some cases, the kids seemed just fine. Probably not totally helpful, but just wanted to say, people seem to be fine with whatever road they choose.

I will say that my DH and I both felt it was important that they be exposed to academics and school when they were ready and both kids were ready. Even if that meant they wouldn't be the tippy top of their class in elementary, we thought we'd be doing them a disservice by not giving them the chance to go to K when they were ready just b/c holding them out might make them the very best in K.
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#3 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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We held my son back. He was ready academically, but I didn't think he was ready to be gone all day long. Also, I figured as time went on he'd either be one of the oldest in the class, and the first to get muscles, drivers license, etc, or the youngest, and the last to develop, get a license, etc. I really wanted him to be one of the older more confident kids in his peer group rather than feeling younger or being led.
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#4 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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IMO both as a mom of a kindergartener and as someone who was always the youngest in class, it's whether she is emotionally ready that is the key. Academically, she might be a little bored if you wait until next year. But far better than, again just IMO, than emotionally unable to handle it. It's a big change.

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#5 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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Well it's a mixed bag really, where some children do great waiting a year and some don't. DH was always the youngest in his class and it really surprised him when I mentioned this to him a while back - it never phased him being the youngest. DS was born Aug 2, which was 35 hrs past the cutoff back in MO. Up here in WI they have the cutoff at Sept 1. We should have pushed to send him. He was SO ready in every way and now is bored to tears in first grade at 7 yrs old. Bored enough that we're supplimenting his education to see if we can get him skipped to 3rd next year instead of 2nd. DD otoh was born in June and as a summer birthday is one of the youngest in her class. Academically she's more than ready and socially she's a breeze, but it's little things that crop up now and again. She tends to have more energy than her classmates. Not ADHD more just she...bounces I guess. And it may just be her personality, but walking anywhere she just seems to bounce? Also I went on a field trip with her to the pumpkin patch and it did wear her out - to the point where at one point she started to cry from it. Other children were tired as well, heck one girl had a fever of around 100 and sacked out in my arms for the hayride and no one else was crying. So I do see the "youngest factor" there. But with that being said I don't think holding her back would've been the answer because in the past 2 months she's lept so far ahead and caught up a lot with her peers in that respect. Honestly I do believe that this is so child specific that you can't just take a majority vote on it.
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#6 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jen in co View Post
I did a lot of research on the studies that have been done and while the practice of red-shirting among middle-class and upper-middle class families is relatively new (seems to have become more common in the last 10-20 years), there are studies. Most of them show that on a long term basis there is no discernible benefit to holding your child back.
Jen - I recently read a study that cited all of this. Do you happen to have the article link? I'd love to save it for future reference.

OP -- Why was the pre-k situation rotten for your dd? Is she still in pre-K?

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#7 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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I really believe you have to do what feels right at the time.

DD was academically ready for kindergarten but not emotionally ready. It would have been a disaster for her to even go half days. Even 2.5 hours of co-op WITH A PARENT THERE was stressful for her. We held her out--- but homeschooled. She actually ended up entering 2nd grade early for her age a couple years later.

DS has an 8/31 birthday in a district with a 9/1 cut-off. We sent him. It was okay, not great. Last year we decided he was NOT ready to go onto 3rd grade (well, academically he was ready to go, but socially/emotionally he just was. not. ready). So, we held him back.

So, we have two kids who are 2.5 years apart in age and 4 years apart in school. But we are doing what works best for each of them at each stage (or what we think will work best, hey--- we're trying).

Our district has a lot of red-shirting, but unless yours is crazy only redshirting I think you will be surprised at how wide the age range is (in each of my childrens classes they have had both red-shirted kids AND early entrance kids. DD is a january birthday and she has even had kids fully 16 months older than her AND 8 months younger than her in her grade at one time or another--- that's 22 months variation in a class you would "expect" to see 12-13 months). Right now from oldest to youngest in DD's class is August-Jan: 17 months; DS' is June- October: 16 months. It "should" run September-August and in 9 total classes it never once has (even excluding my kids ).

 

 

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#8 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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Jen - I recently read a study that cited all of this. Do you happen to have the article link? I'd love to save it for future reference.
Here's the link to the NAEYC Article:
http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/2...yingKEntry.pdf

There are a bunch of others (this is sort of survey article summarizing the studies). There are some recent articles (one in the NYTimes I don't have the link handy for) that support redshirting, but this is the one good summary of the true academic studies....
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#9 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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I think that you need to take both academic and social readiness into account. The "right" answer is so very individual.

Our DD missed the Kindy cutoff date by 48 hours. We felt that she was super ready, both academically and socially, so we enrolled her in a private school for Kindy (pretty much the same price as pre-K once aftercare was taken into account). She is doing great, both academically and socially, though she is the youngest one in her class. Some kids are as much as 18 months older than her. It does not seem to make much of a difference in terms of academics, as kids are all across the spectrum, nor socially. DD is actually on the more advanced side with respect to language skills but perhaps not in other areas, but the program is structured in such a way that activities are designed to accomodate different levels. Even the group lessons have different things to learn - some kids will only get the basics, while the more advanced kids will "get" the other stuff. On the academic side, I would talk directly to the school/teachers as they will be able to give you an idea of how they handle kids at different levels, whether she enters as the youngest now or as the oldest later.

OP, you mentioned some diffficulties that she had as the youngest in her preschool and that is a legitimate concern. Socially, DD is accustomed to playing with kids of all ages so perhaps that helped on that front. While some variation in social skills is to be expected, if your DD does not interact well with kids 6-12 months older than her, then that is something to consider.

However, given that the Fall is still many, many months away, I would keep the options open as much as you can (e.g. register her for a pre-K program just in case, as long as you do not have to pay too much upfront). So much can happen developmentally in that timeframe that may steer you in one direction or another.

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#10 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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We started our Sept. birthday son on time (Oct. cutoff) with the thought of keeping him in K for 2 years if necessary. I was surprised to hear that teachers and parents even considered June and July birthdays to be borderline birthdays here and discourage "early" entry to those kids too. We have decided to move ds on to 1st. He is a little on the immature side, but that evens out by about 3rd grade, from what I hear. People look at me like I'm crazy or "pushing" him too hard, but the fact is, the date is set for a reason and redshirting isn't necessary.
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#11 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Jen - I recently read a study that cited all of this. Do you happen to have the article link? I'd love to save it for future reference.

OP -- Why was the pre-k situation rotten for your dd? Is she still in pre-K?
Thank you for all these responses, they are really helpful.

I should have clarified in my OP. I believe my DD is emotionally ready to go to K as well. I am just worried because it never occurred to me that many kids would be around ONE WHOLE YEAR older because of red-shirting.

At her old preschool, she "skipped a grade" and was put with the older kids. She felt really left out and was bullied a little bit by a couple of them (this wasn't entirely because they were older, the school was just really bad too). She is now in a mixed age preschool and very much thriving there.

I really feel she IS ready for K, but I just can't believe that almost EVERYONE I know is holding their child back. It's like everyone read Outliers and now you need to be 6 to go to Kindergarten!
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#12 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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It's like everyone read Outliers and now you need to be 6 to go to Kindergarten!
And the worst part is the data in Outliers was just plain wrong Here's a link to a blog that refutes the whole January birthdays have an advantage in Canadian Hockey thing:

http://www.trackvia.com/blog/tag/outliers/

Anyways, as someone who has BTDT and went ahead and sent my DD (and will send my DS), my guess is you'll be fine sending her. It is a little odd to realize there are kids 14-15 months older than my DD in her grade, but it hasn't been a huge problem.
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#13 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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I should have clarified in my OP. I believe my DD is emotionally ready to go to K as well. I am just worried because it never occurred to me that many kids would be around ONE WHOLE YEAR older because of red-shirting.
I don't know where you live or what thing are where you are. I live in CA with a Dec 2nd cutoff for K. After reading all these message boards (where it seemed that the majority was strongly advocating for holding kids, especially boys, back), I was terrified that my son would be by far the youngest. Then I went to playdates for incoming Kinders and I did talk to several parents whose kids were a whole year or more older than my son. Then I was even more panicked about what to do.

We decided to send my son on time to Kindergarten anyways because HE was ready. It turns out that for fall birthdays it was about 1/2 and 1/2 kids turning 5 and turning 6. There are kids more than 1 year older than him, but he is not the only younger one. My son is the 2nd youngest in his class with a late September birthday, the youngest is another boy. Just today I was volunteering in class and those two youngest (both boys) were the very first and almost only kids to finish their number writing assignment. The teacher even remarked on it to me. They also are not the kids with the behaviour issues.

If you feel your DD is ready, it seems the only reason you wouldn't be sending her is fear. I had some of that same fear and I realized it was unfounded.
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#14 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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My stepdaughter is now 7 and in second grade--she's a few days too young for the cutoff but tested in and went early. She had a few adjustment issues that I think she would have had at 5 or 6 (adjusting from a 2-hour daycare nap to a shorter period of quiet rest, for instance), but nothing too atypical. She's thriving now and could probably handle a grade skip socially (though it's academically unnecessary). She gets along OK with same-age and younger kids, but all of her best friends are third and fourth graders.

The LO I'm currently gestating will be a summer baby (cutoff here is September 1, with fall babies allowed to either test, or start K4 and then skip to K5 after a few weeks with teacher recommendation, depending on the district) and I have every intention of sending him/her to kindergarten on time unless doing otherwise is genuinely warranted developmentally/academically. (I live in a city where "redshirting" for sports or to avoid being the youngest is uncommon, so we probably won't have the issue of too many older kids in the classroom.)

I'd say go with your gut--also, if after a reasonable adjustment period it's clear it's not working, you could pull him out and try again next year.

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#15 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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Here's the link to the NAEYC Article:
http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/2...yingKEntry.pdf
Thank you!

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#16 of 29 Old 01-26-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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That totally blows my mind because here the cutoff is December and if your kid meets the criteria usually you would send them. The idea of a child being 6 in Kindergarten is really, really weird to me, to be perfectly honest. My daughter was 5 when she started Grade 1 and turned 6 in November. She is the youngest in her class but she does fine. Actually, academically she is the most advanced in the class and they give her extra added work (like grade 5 language arts, spelling and reading!) because she is so bored with the grade 2 work. If I had held her back a year she would have been bored out of her skull. What you are saying is that you have a child who will be 5 (old enough to go) and could handle the work - so where's the problem?

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#17 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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We have this debate in our house.

We have twin DDs that will be 5 in OCt. The cut-off here is Dec- so they are K eligible.

I am a bit nervous sending them, everyone we have talked to is 'waiting' for their summer/fall Bdays. But we are planning on sending them. THey are in PreK now and it looks like we will have 1/2 day K as an option.

If we can do 1/2 day K I am comfortable. But all day K seem so long- physically and emotionally for a old 4/young 5.

Academically is not a worry, but physical stamina to sustain attention all day- 5 days a week is a stretch. Our local district is very academic- it is common to 'wait' for Fall/Summer, but not to the point that they will stick out. Although, everyone we know that has 4 yr olds that are 'young' are waiting.

But they are ready emotionally and academically (per PreK teacher). My thought is, we can do all day K next Fall if 1st is not a good option. We are doing what is right for them- regardless of what anyone else is doing.


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#18 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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just wanted to say that being 6 years old in kindergarten isn't strange, if you think about it being an all day, academic kindergarten. It wasn't long ago that academics didn't start until first grade, and kindergarten was half a day, and mostly for play and academics. Now they are expected to be reading and writing in kindergarten, and here in Florida I've NEVER seen a 1/2 day kindergarten. I don't think it's odd to feel that a child that is still 4 at the start of the school year is too young for all day academics. Keeping them out an extra year kind of recreates what used to be, as far as I'm concerned.
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#19 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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I have one true borderline child, but he is only 2.5 right now. His birthday is July 17 and the cutoff here is August 1.

I am going to follow his lead, but I would never ever hold him back just because he'd be the youngest. If he was academically unprepared or had significant maturity issues, I would. I don't right now envision holding him back, but I'd never say never.

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#20 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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Around here, school tends to start at age 4 (we have state funded 4 year old pre-K, and it has become an expectation for some sort of "school" at 4).

My son turns 4 on 9/1, which IS the cut-off date. He's not going to start pre-K this fall, which most of my friends find a bit shocking. But, I know that he is just not ready, academically or emotionally. Just not ready. He can not sit through a 30 minute (up, down, all around) story time at the library. He does good to get through 20 minutes, and that's new. Used to be about 10 minutes.

So, for us, I think it would be a failure to expect him to be "on" for the all day atmosphere of pre-K at barely 4. We'll reassess next year (cause he could skip pre-K if I want him to and go straight to kindy), and I'll see. But, for now, I anticipate him being one of the oldest, not the youngest.
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#21 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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My son started this year with a Sep birthday. He never did pre school (shocking thing I know). He found it kind of difficult in the begining because he is shy, to the point that the teacher pulled me aside and suggested he do a year of preschool. However at his first parent teacher conference he is at the top of the class in reading, math and science. Socially, once he met and got used to the kids, teachers and structure of the system then he is shining. Teachers and parents stop me all the time and tell me what a wonderfull kid he is. His major problem is that he isn't allowed to watch all the cartoons that most of the other kids are watching an so in recess he had a hard time finding a kid to play dinosours with rather than bakugan/star wars ect. Academicaly he is still bored and he is learning extended sight words for 1st grade. If I had kept him out of school for another year and put him in preschool he would still be very shy but stupidly bored too.

As a kid I started early and then the school moved the cut off day to one day before my birthday so I was held back in first. I went through school socially ahead and uncomfortable, all the other kids were interested in dolls and I had grown out of that. I also never tried because I could coast without being challenged which my teachers took as average but I thought everything was boring/easy. I was a voracious reader which most of my teachers never picked up on. As an adult I realise I should have never been held back and my mother should have stood up to the school, and I will never do that to my children.
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#22 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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Thank you for all these responses, they are really helpful.

I should have clarified in my OP. I believe my DD is emotionally ready to go to K as well. I am just worried because it never occurred to me that many kids would be around ONE WHOLE YEAR older because of red-shirting.

At her old preschool, she "skipped a grade" and was put with the older kids. She felt really left out and was bullied a little bit by a couple of them (this wasn't entirely because they were older, the school was just really bad too). She is now in a mixed age preschool and very much thriving there.

I really feel she IS ready for K, but I just can't believe that almost EVERYONE I know is holding their child back. It's like everyone read Outliers and now you need to be 6 to go to Kindergarten!
If your DD is socially, emotionally and academically ready then don't focus too much on what others are or are not doing with their children. If you are still concerned about too many kids being so much older than I would talk to the school to get the typical ratio - your own "survey" may be skewed, giving you the impression that "everybody" is red-shirting. That may not be the reality.

We worried more about DD being bored in a pre-K class again this year. She is thriving on the academics and holds her own socially. And she still gets plenty of playtime each day so I am not too concerned about an academic overload.

Apparently doing it rong and ruining it for everyone, but I don't give a crap anymorebanana.gif

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#23 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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As a kid I started early and then the school moved the cut off day to one day before my birthday so I was held back in first.
: How utterly idiotic of them.
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#24 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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I have a late September birthday and went to school before redshirting so I wasn't drastically younger than the kids in my class. But I don't recall having any real social problems with kids in older grades either. I went to the highschool for a math class in 8th grade and was more coddled by my classmates than anything else. I also was the person they'd come to for help when going to a classmate rather than the teacher was appropriate

As for not getting the license right away or whatever, with parents willing to drive, who cares? Or if you're lucky enough to have a really responsible somewhat older friend with access to a car, that's great too

Since you can always take a year off and start back up when she's older, I don't really see any benefit to taking longer to get through school.
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#25 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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I'd send her. My daughters were both more than ready for school at the appointed time, and I personally don't see the point of holding them back if they are ready. Somebody is going to be the youngest kid.

My younger daughter is one of the youngest in her class. She was 4 for half of K. She's also very petite. She gets kidded a bit about being small, but has handled it fine. She is now 9, does beautifully in school, is socially adept and has tons of friends. It's all good.
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#26 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 05:35 PM
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As someone who did hold her son back, I'd say based on your description I would send your daughter on time. If she is socially and emotionally ready, then I wouldn't keep her back just because others seem likely to be keeping their kids back.

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#27 of 29 Old 01-27-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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My husband and I both started K at 4 yrs old, with November and October birthdays. Our daughter started K at 5, she has a late June birthday. Her school recommended she attend "pre-first" between Kindergarten and First grade, and based on the conversations I had with other parents seemed to recommend it for the children with summer birthdays. My husband and I decided to send her to First grade anyway, where she is the youngest, by over a year in some cases (those kids who had been held back), and she's doing just fine.

I'd read all the studies, and I compared them with my husband's and my experiences (we were both fine, and both believe that if we'd been held back our schooling experiences would have been worse). If my daughter were physically small, or if I had entered puberty at an older age (I started young), I might have been more willing to consider it. She is still finding her way academically and isn't at all interested in reading independently which these days is a Big Deal for a first grader. But she's happy, and I'm confident that she'll "catch up" when she's ready to. (And if there are learning differences underlying her reading issues, they'll be caught earlier than if I elected to hold her back because of those issues.)

But I'm also not one to make a decision without a back-up plan. And I decided it would be much easier to drop a grade level than jump a grade level. So if we'd tried it, and in the first month of school we'd ended up with a miserable, struggling child, we could have dropped her back a grade.
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#28 of 29 Old 01-28-2010, 06:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cloe View Post
As a kid I started early and then the school moved the cut off day to one day before my birthday so I was held back in first. I went through school socially ahead and uncomfortable, all the other kids were interested in dolls and I had grown out of that. I also never tried because I could coast without being challenged which my teachers took as average but I thought everything was boring/easy. I was a voracious reader which most of my teachers never picked up on. As an adult I realise I should have never been held back and my mother should have stood up to the school, and I will never do that to my children.
I had a very similar experience, though it involved moving from on state to another. I never had any issues when I was the youngest in the class, it went fine. Being the oldest in the class though wasn't so great.

Academically I was very out of place; testing several grade levels ahead, but floundering b/c of not doing homework (though that was especially complicated for me aside from simple grade level issues, since I am dyslexic.) When I did well academically, it was belittled since I had the "unfair" advantage of being a couple of weeks to 11 1/2 months older than the other students.

It didn't help at all that I blossomed early and was the only girl in 6th grade who needed a C cup (I was D by 9th grade and DD by my senior year of highschool.)

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#29 of 29 Old 01-28-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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If she is socially and emotionally ready, then I wouldn't keep her back just because others seem likely to be keeping their kids back.

We experienced that same worries when starting dd#1 in K. Where we live, the cut-off varies from 5 by 9/15 to 5 by 10/1 depending on the district. Dd's bd is in the last few days of August & she was in a district w/ a 9/15 cut-off. She was at a similar point socially and academically to where you describe your dd. It worked just fine for her to be younger than the other kids. In fact, she wound up skipping 5th grade later and is now 2+ yrs younger than some of her grade mates. (She's in 7th at 11.) It is still working quite well. I'd venture to say that it is a better social as well as academic fit post-skip.

That NAEYC article that someone posted a while back was what swayed me to go ahead and send her even when I was getting advice to hold her out from the elementary and her preschool due to her bd.

Two years later, we started dd#2, whose bd is in the last few days of Sept. in the district with the 10/1 cut-off and then later moved her into the district with the 9/15 cut-off. She is, therefore, a lot younger than many of her grade peers as well. She won't likely be skipping any grades b/c it wouldn't be in her best interests socially or otherwise, but her age hasn't been an issue either. We have other issues, but her being younger doesn't seem to be part of those.
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