Under ehat circumstances would you consider early entry for kindergarten - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 65 Old 02-18-2010, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD misses the cut off for kindergarten by five weeks. When I was a teacher (upper grades, so no experience with these kinds of decisions) I generally felt that the older kids were better off, so until recently I felt glad that she'd be one of the older kids in the class.

But I've noticed a few things about her that make me think that my belief that kids are better off older might actually be preventing seeing what is best for her. I'm not set on it by any means, just thinking that maybe I should at least consider looking into starting her early. I also know I will get pressure from my mother to get her in early, so if I don't I want to have all my reasons thought out in advance. And given the costs of preschool and daycare, I might face pressure from my husband and the bank account.

So here are my reasons why I think early entry might be beneficial:

- she is very tall for her age and more physically coordinated than other kids her age. She is often mistaken for a year older than she is just based on her size and the way she carries herself. I also have good reason to believe she will hit puberty earlier than average (long story). This is probably my biggest reason; I really don't want her going through puberty ages before her classmates.

- she does very well in class and group settings. I've been able to send her off into classes by herself (dance and gymnastics) since she was 2 1/2 (the earliest they'd let her enroll) with no trouble. She takes turns well, learns the expectations quickly, follows directions, doesn't mind being away from me.

- Her brother's birthday is six weeks before the cutoff date, so he's scheduled to start K the year after she is. I think of them as being two years apart and I'd like them two years apart in school. I know this has nothing to do with DD's readiness, but it is a factor in our family to consider.

In other ways, she's pretty much on track developmentally, neither far ahead nor far behind. She seems interested in learning- she likes reviewing letters, for example- but she doesn't seem 'gifted' in the sense that she knows much beyond what a typical three year old would, i.e., she's not reading or doing arithmetic.

Any thoughts? I realize it is still early, but do you have any sense what would make you consider early entry for a kindergartener?

Mom to DD 8 and DS 6.
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#2 of 65 Old 02-18-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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Will they let her start a year early (I know it's not really a whole year, but most districts are really strict about their cut-off dates). If so, I imagine they have formal testing she would need to pass in order to attend.

I don't have any advice about whether or not she's ready (my guess is she would do just fine), but hopefully you get some words of wisdom from others who have BTDT.

My mom held me back a year, and I enjoyed being older than most of my class through the years.

Good luck figuring it out.

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#3 of 65 Old 02-18-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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To begin with, early kindergarten entrance in public schools is very hard to get. In our school district it's pretty much impossible. State regulations for children under 5 yo are often stricter and more complex than for children over 5 yo. DS happens to attend a private Montessori preschool that goes through kindergarten, so we have gotten around the age requirement for K that way. If we want DS to attend 1st grade a year early, we have to get a waiver from the board of education, since there is also an age cutoff for 1st grade. If sending her early would involve going private obviously you won't be saving any money.

If she was really short and you thought she might go through puberty late would you hold her back? Would you hold your DS back to create the 2 year grade difference? I'm guessing probably not.

The independence and following directions is great, but doesn't necessarily mean she should be doing the intense academics of kindergarten. Does she crave to start more academics? Does she want to start doing work books? Does she really want to learn how to read? Or would she really prefer to stay in preschool and play?

DS is academically precocious and I'm still not sure if he should do kindergarten early. Fortunately since he's in a school that is both a kindergarten and preschool (multi-age classrooms) we don't have to decide till halfway through next year if we are going to call it his kindergarten year or if we will sign him up for one more year there.

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#4 of 65 Old 02-18-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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In most places, K is what 1st used to be. They read and write and do math on paper and have homework. I think that very few children are ready for it early and many aren't ready for it on time.

With a birthday 5 weeks after the cut off, she won't be the oldest. There will be a whole bunch of kids with summer birthdays who were held back!

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#5 of 65 Old 02-18-2010, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If she was really short and you thought she might go through puberty late would you hold her back? Would you hold your DS back to create the 2 year grade difference? I'm guessing probably not.

The independence and following directions is great, but doesn't necessarily mean she should be doing the intense academics of kindergarten. Does she crave to start more academics? Does she want to start doing work books? Does she really want to learn how to read? Or would she really prefer to stay in preschool and play?
Actually, I have considered holding DS back! He's really small for his age and hitting many of his milestones late. There's years to go, though, so he could be in a very different place by the time K rolls around. I'm not sure if the procedure to start a child late is as hard as it is to start a child early, but it's way too soon to be thinking about that for him.

DD does like doing workbooks, my mother gives them to her, I'm not that keen on them. A lot of them are just coloring and tracing letters; she calls them 'homework.' But she might also be in a totally different place when the time for K comes.

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In most places, K is what 1st used to be. They read and write and do math on paper and have homework. I think that very few children are ready for it early and many aren't ready for it on time.
I forgot about this. It makes me want to never send her to kindergarten! Thanks for mentioning it- she'd have to be super mature to enroll early then, given that it is geared for a higher developmental stage to begin with. Maybe I should be glad she's at the older end of things so she has a chance of handling the increased expectations.

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#6 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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Actually, I have considered holding DS back! He's really small for his age and hitting many of his milestones late. There's years to go, though, so he could be in a very different place by the time K rolls around. I'm not sure if the procedure to start a child late is as hard as it is to start a child early, but it's way too soon to be thinking about that for him.
I'm actually really against holding kids back. There are tons of research showing it to be a bad idea.

I really don't think size should come into play when deciding a child's grade level. My DH is only 5'4" and 110#, by size standards he should be a high school freshman or sophomore, not an adult with a highly technical job.

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#7 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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It depends too on where you live. My kids were little in Atlanta.. there was a strong tendency to red-shirt kids, especially boys. It made my plain old winter born kids look puny as they were measured against many kids who could be as much as 18 months older.
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#8 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 01:53 AM
 
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In most places, K is what 1st used to be. They read and write and do math on paper and have homework. I think that very few children are ready for it early and many aren't ready for it on time.

With a birthday 5 weeks after the cut off, she won't be the oldest. There will be a whole bunch of kids with summer birthdays who were held back!
This is simply not always true, and highly dependent on the area. Back in 1974 my kindy class was progressive and we did far more than the kindy classes back in our old state. Where we moved it seems to be about the same as it was. (I know that in the quoted text you said "most" but it's easy for that to be skipped over, I'm really not arguing with you!)

DS was born literally 35 hours past the state cutoff, and 3 weeks overdue. He SHOULD have been in Kindy at 5. I thought it. His head start teacher thought it. The district wouldn't budge and we didn't have the money (or a decent private school) to consider alternatives. I may regret that for the rest of my life. Now we've moved and had we been here last year he'd be in 2nd grade not 1st. He's bored to tears. However, the main thing wasn't just if he could do the work academically but what was his maturity level. DD's birthday is 3.5 months before the cutoff. She's one of the youngest in her class, and while she can certainly handle the work, when she gets tired it clearly shows that she lacks a bit of the maturity of the other children. It's not bad, and isn't a constant problem but I do see it. If you think your dd has the maturity to be in kindy and can handle the work, I'd seriously consider sending her.
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#9 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 02:38 AM
 
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The school I work in has a number of children who started K a year early, due to a strange loop hole in our local regulations. Maybe 10 kids total in that situation.

I would say that in every single case but one, there's no doubt in my mind that the child would have been better off starting school "on time". It's harder for them to sit still, to make friends, and to feel good about themselves. In contrast, the kids who are at the top end of their age range, even if they are very bright and academically advanced, thrive. They're confident joyful learners who are eager to participate in every aspect of school.

I can think of circumstances in which I might skip a child, but I can't think of a circumstance in which I'd start a child early.
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#10 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 04:36 AM
 
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I would consider starting a child early if they are academically advanced, socially on target (or ahead) and emotionally on target (or ahead). I'm beginning to think that we probably should have started dd early, because she's in K, reading at a 2nd grade level and bored a lot. But emotionally, she's still so 5.

I wouldn't do it based on height or when I thought my child was going to hit puberty. There is a huge range of height and grade school classes, as well as a huge range of developmental time tables for puberty. I was one of the earliest to go through puberty in my grade school, and I survived.

Our ds is 8, academically far ahead in reading, ahead in math, and in the 95th percentile for height. He'll probably enter puberty early (dh did, I did). Socially and emotionally, though, he's not very advanced. Starting him early would have been a disaster. He's within the range of normal, but on the low side.

If your daughter is academically ahead, I'd consider it. If she's not, then I'd look into a good preschool.

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#11 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm actually really against holding kids back. There are tons of research showing it to be a bad idea.
I'm familiar with the research about holding kids back, but haven't heard it apply to delaying entry, just holding them back once they've started. Are you aware of reserch about delaying entry? But this is a little OT because DS has a long way to go so it's premature to be thinking about him yet.

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#12 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is simply not always true, and highly dependent on the area. Back in 1974 my kindy class was progressive and we did far more than the kindy classes back in our old state. Where we moved it seems to be about the same as it was. (I know that in the quoted text you said "most" but it's easy for that to be skipped over, I'm really not arguing with you!)

DS was born literally 35 hours past the state cutoff, and 3 weeks overdue. He SHOULD have been in Kindy at 5. I thought it. His head start teacher thought it. The district wouldn't budge and we didn't have the money (or a decent private school) to consider alternatives. I may regret that for the rest of my life. Now we've moved and had we been here last year he'd be in 2nd grade not 1st. He's bored to tears. However, the main thing wasn't just if he could do the work academically but what was his maturity level. DD's birthday is 3.5 months before the cutoff. She's one of the youngest in her class, and while she can certainly handle the work, when she gets tired it clearly shows that she lacks a bit of the maturity of the other children. It's not bad, and isn't a constant problem but I do see it. If you think your dd has the maturity to be in kindy and can handle the work, I'd seriously consider sending her.
It sounds like your son really would have benefitted by being started early, being so close to the cutoff. Is there an accelerated or honors program in your district he could be part of later? That might help with his boredom.

It sounds like it would be worth looking into what our K is like here. All I know is most parents are happy with it, but I don't know anything about their approach or how academic it is.

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The school I work in has a number of children who started K a year early, due to a strange loop hole in our local regulations. Maybe 10 kids total in that situation.

I would say that in every single case but one, there's no doubt in my mind that the child would have been better off starting school "on time". It's harder for them to sit still, to make friends, and to feel good about themselves. In contrast, the kids who are at the top end of their age range, even if they are very bright and academically advanced, thrive. They're confident joyful learners who are eager to participate in every aspect of school.

I can think of circumstances in which I might skip a child, but I can't think of a circumstance in which I'd start a child early.
That's very helpful, hearing details about how beign young affects kids. That's what I saw in middle school, too. It might even be more pronounced there (it might also be why I have been taking physical development into account, watching kids too small for the adult desks try to sit in them, and super self conscious children in very adult bodies walk the crowded halls).


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I would consider starting a child early if they are academically advanced, socially on target (or ahead) and emotionally on target (or ahead).
Good list, thank you. I think with the last two she's definitely there, certainly not ready for K yet, but headed in that direction. It's too early to know if she's academically advanced. I'm not even sure what that would mean at the preK age. Reading? Adding, subtracting?

What got me thinking about this is that she missed the preschool cut off and she is definitely ready for preschool. Maybe once she starts next September that will meet her needs and I'll no longer be thinking about when she should start K.

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#13 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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All I have is a few anecdotes.

My twins were born two days before the cutoff, so while we didn't have to fuss with getting approval for early entry to school, we did have to decide if they should start school just as they turned 5 (and be the youngest in the class), or wait until they were just 6.

We opted to start them just as they turned 5. They went to a great preschool, had good social skills, and were academically ready. They were also big for their age, and while it wouldn't have been the decider if they were not ready in other ways, it did play a small part in the decision. DH is 6'4", and they were always big for their age. They ended up being just about the tallest in their grade through 8th grade - if they had been a year older, they would have been behemoths.

During spring conferences in 2nd grade, B's teacher said she didn't realize until a week earlier that B was the youngest in her class - he certainly didn't act like it. And both boys have thrived academically. They would be bored silly if they had started a year later.

Anecdote #2: our neighbors have a son 2 months older than my boys. He was very shy - he wouldn't even talk to me and DH, and he had known us his whole life! His parents left him in preschool another year, so he started K when he was 6. In that year he matured tremendously, and hit the ground running when school started. It was very much the right move for him.

Anecdote #3: Some friends have a dd just like you - missed the cutoff by a couple of weeks. She was bright, social, and VERY ready for kindergarten - but their parents chose not to push for early admission, because they didn't want her to be the youngest girl in her middle school and high school grades. To keep her stimulated as a 5-yr-old, they started her in piano lessons and figure skating.

It's such a tough decision! But no one knows your dd better than you do. I would at least find out what it takes to get admitted early.

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#14 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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I would consider early entry only for a gifted child. Size and coordination have no bearing on that decision for me.

This varies by state, but here is our experience. The state we are in has a really poor track record with dealing with gifted children. Early-entry to K in our district (as in most of our state) is pretty much unheard of, and a bill to spell out concrete policy on early-entry went nowhere. The child psych who evaluated our son last year told us that his suggestion was not to send DS to K because the compulsory age of attendance is 6. If we file the paperwork to homeschool for a year and then put him in the next year, the school will evaluate him as a formerly homeschooled student to determine his appropriate placement, and we would be more likely to get an early or advanced placement that way.

In the end, we are homeschooling for the long-term because I'm not willing to play games and hope that everything works out. I understand that all parents don't have that option, and so our family is committed to working with a group advocating for the educational needs of gifted children.

I know this isn't your situation; I just wanted to share what we were advised by someone who's worked with the educational system (though he's private) on both ends of the spectrum. Early entrance to K just seems like a convoluted bureaucracy from where I sit.

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#15 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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We ran into the same issue when we moved. We had lived in NY where the cutoff is Dec. 1st and DD attended preschool (at a parochial school) there and was told she was ready for kindergarten. Then we moved to DH's new assignment here in Florida and they have a rule that kids must be five by Sept. 1st (DD's birthday is a few weeks too late for this cutoff). There are NO exceptions and NO public preschool with the only parochial or private ones being too far away. We decided to homeschool her and now, at five and a half, she is working on first grade work. We will continue homeschooling for the next few years since the vast majority of states (we don't know where we're moving later this year yet) have a Sept. 1st cutoff for preschool-1st grade. When she's second grade age we will think about school since it will be based on academic merit rather than age.

At the last base we lived at we had a neighbor whose daughter missed the kindergarten cutoff by a few days and had to wait until the week before she turned six to start kindergarten. It only took a few months before her mom pulled her out of a school where her already reading daughter was being made to color 'letter of the week' coloring pages. She was bored and had started acting out and the school, because of the state's age rules, wouldn't move her to first grade where she belonged.
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#16 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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I'm familiar with the research about holding kids back, but haven't heard it apply to delaying entry, just holding them back once they've started. Are you aware of reserch about delaying entry? But this is a little OT because DS has a long way to go so it's premature to be thinking about him yet.
I think the delayed/early entry is a pretty charged topic simply because what's "early" in one district is right on target for another, and the same with "delayed". For example you have 3 different states. Cutoff in state one is July 31. Cutoff in state 2 is October 1. Cutoff in state 3 is December 1. Say the child's birthday is September 10th. If they attended kindy at age 5, in state 1 they'd be "early entry" whereas in states 2 & 3 they'd be on target. Now say that same child starts kindy at age 6. In state 1 they're on target and in states 2 & 3 they're "delayed entry". Simply changing the birthday by as little as 1 week in some states changes if they're considered "ready" or not. It honestly make no sense to me.
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#17 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They ended up being just about the tallest in their grade through 8th grade - if they had been a year older, they would have been behemoths.

During spring conferences in 2nd grade, B's teacher said she didn't realize until a week earlier that B was the youngest in her class - he certainly didn't act like it. And both boys have thrived academically. They would be bored silly if they had started a year later.

Anecdote #3: Some friends have a dd just like you - missed the cutoff by a couple of weeks. She was bright, social, and VERY ready for kindergarten - but their parents chose not to push for early admission, because they didn't want her to be the youngest girl in her middle school and high school grades. To keep her stimulated as a 5-yr-old, they started her in piano lessons and figure skating.
I'm worried she might be bored silly, like you describe, though I love your friend's approach to having that extra year for enrichment and fun.

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I would consider early entry only for a gifted child. Size and coordination have no bearing on that decision for me.
Readiness seems like it is based on a bunch of things, academic readiness along with maturity. I've worked with several students in the past who were gifted but very immature, and school was very tough for them. Schools with gifted programs are really helpful for these kids because they can get the academic challenge without being with older kids and expected to be more mature than they are. Coordination and size might seem like a starnge criteria, and it is probably a secondary criteria to maturity and academic readiness. But kids do need to be able to hold a pencil well enough to write, open their own milk carton, manipulate the scissors, deal with their clothing to toilet independently, etc.. so for me, physical maturity is definitely part of the picture.

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At the last base we lived at we had a neighbor whose daughter missed the kindergarten cutoff by a few days and had to wait until the week before she turned six to start kindergarten. It only took a few months before her mom pulled her out of a school where her already reading daughter was being made to color 'letter of the week' coloring pages. She was bored and had started acting out and the school, because of the state's age rules, wouldn't move her to first grade where she belonged.
I can totally see my DD doing this! But I can also see her thriving as one of the oldest. The more I read responses and think this through, I think DD will need to be both exceptionally mature and academically ready before I'd pursue early entry. Above average in either area isn't enough for me to want to risk some of the issues Momily pointed out.

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I think the delayed/early entry is a pretty charged topic simply because what's "early" in one district is right on target for another, and the same with "delayed". For example you have 3 different states. Cutoff in state one is July 31. Cutoff in state 2 is October 1. Cutoff in state 3 is December 1. Say the child's birthday is September 10th. If they attended kindy at age 5, in state 1 they'd be "early entry" whereas in states 2 & 3 they'd be on target. Now say that same child starts kindy at age 6. In state 1 they're on target and in states 2 & 3 they're "delayed entry". Simply changing the birthday by as little as 1 week in some states changes if they're considered "ready" or not. It honestly make no sense to me.
So maybe that's the solution- move to a place with a Dec. 1st cut off, because she'll make that one! Just kidding, but you are right, the cut offs are totally arbitrary, and my kids who fall a few weeks on either side of the cutoff highlight its arbitrariness.

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#18 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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I think the delayed/early entry is a pretty charged topic simply because what's "early" in one district is right on target for another, and the same with "delayed".
yes. We move a lot and one of my DDs has a fall birthday. We were homeschooling at the time so it didn't matter, but part way through her K year we moved from a place where her birthday was 3 months before the cut off to a place were her birthday was 1 month after the cut off. (At this point she is one of the oldest in her class, which is appropriate for her and in line with the cut off in the state we currently live in).

The work requirements for K vary more from place to place than most grades from what I've seen. In most places it's more like what first grade used to be, but in a few it's more like preschool. This makes a really big difference as well.

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Coordination and size might seem like a starnge criteria, and it is probably a secondary criteria to maturity and academic readiness. But kids do need to be able to hold a pencil well enough to write, open their own milk carton, manipulate the scissors, deal with their clothing to toilet independently, etc.. so for me, physical maturity is definitely part of the picture.
I used to be a co-leader of a GS troop of all homeschoolers. The parents got to declare their child's grade and it was a mess. Fine motor skills are a BIG deal, and many kids who are early readers are *just* age appropriate in motor skills. I watched a little girl gradually feel worse and worse about herself because she couldn't do anything as well as the other kids. She was 4 and doing first grade work at home, but in a group situation it didn't help her a bit. Usually, the leader just did her projects for her while she sat and watched.

Another side of all this is that as kids get older, they expect their rules to be in line with the kids they go to school with. So kids expect to have a cell phone, have facebook account, boyfriend, etc., when their *peers* at school do, not when other kids their age do. In this day and age, I don't know why any parent would want their child to be the youngest when middle school rolls around. This is hard stuff anyway. Why do it with a younger child than you have to?

I think there are a few cases when it works (for kids close to the cutoff who are advanced in all areas), but most of the time starting early or skipping thing is a way to take a bright child and make them feel like they aren't as good at stuff as their "peers" and then make social relationships harder by giving them "baby" rules.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#19 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I would have considered early entrance if that were allowed in my state (MO). My daughter is 18 days after the cut off and was definitely ready.

We ended up homeschooling this year. I had her tested for a magnet gifted school last month and then I turned around and took those gifted scores to my local school. I explained that we were homeschooling and showed them the scores and they will be enrolling her into 1st in the fall rather than K.

I'm glad that it worked out the way it did because I got an extra year with her and she still is getting placed where I believe she belongs in the fall. I can't imagine her as a 6 year old kindergartener. Some people disagree with my decision, but the reality is that I know my kid (and you know your kid) better than anyone else and only you can decide. I've seen lots of opinions on this topic and lots of generalizations, but the research doesn't support that being older is better.
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#20 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 04:59 PM
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We live in a state with a Dec. 1 cut-off.
My oldest son is a January baby, and one of the oldest in his first grade class. He is tall, athletic, and popular and I think being one of the oldest is entirely a good thing for him. He was not even near ready for K at 4.5! We even pulled him out of K (when he started at 5.5) and homeschooled for K. At 6.5 he went to 1st with no problems.

My youngest is a December birthday. We will be doing early K at a private school this fall when he is 4.5. He is both gifted and socially mature. He was reading at a second grade level by his 4th birthday, he writes stories and can do K/1st math. He gets along well with his 7yo brother and his friends, and some of the more mature 4-5 yr. old girls in his preschool class (which he entered early as well, at 2.5). He is able to sit for long periods of time, follow directions, raise his hand, etc. He is bigger than average and has good physical coordination for sports (learned to ride a 2-wheeler at 2.5, skips well, can dribble a soccer ball, etc).

The school he is going to evaluates all applicants in an hour-long, parent-free interview/testing, so he was being compared to children 3-18 mos. older (the state we're moving to has an Oct. 1 cut-off, and red-shirting is not uncommon). I felt that was a fair and objective way to see if he should be in kindergarten this year.
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#21 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another side of all this is that as kids get older, they expect their rules to be in line with the kids they go to school with. So kids expect to have a cell phone, have facebook account, boyfriend, etc., when their *peers* at school do, not when other kids their age do. In this day and age, I don't know why any parent would want their child to be the youngest when middle school rolls around. This is hard stuff anyway. Why do it with a younger child than you have to?
Yes, excellent factor to take into account. Kids grow up way too fast these days, and the pressure to be into age inappropriate (in my opinion) media and technology is intense. On my daughter's third birthday another mother expressed surprise that DD was still into Barney. We had just let her start watching very limited amounts of TV a month earlier; was she supposed to have outgrown Barney by her third birthday?! I'd like to shield my kids from the pressure to be sophisticated as long as possible.

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I'm glad that it worked out the way it did because I got an extra year with her and she still is getting placed where I believe she belongs in the fall. I can't imagine her as a 6 year old kindergartener. Some people disagree with my decision, but the reality is that I know my kid (and you know your kid) better than anyone else and only you can decide. I've seen lots of opinions on this topic and lots of generalizations, but the research doesn't support that being older is better.
Yeah, even though I'm leaning towards entering her at the correct time for our school district, that's what I am facing, a six year old kindergartener. Her birthday is the first week of November.

The value of threads like this is that they really help me clarify my thinking. So thank you everyone- and keep the opinions and experiences coming because I am by no means done thinking about it!

But I've realized through writing this is that my bigger, more immediate issue is that she didn't make the preschool cut off this year. We cannot afford private preschool at the moment, and it is a lottery for the public preschool. So she may not get into any school until two months before her sixth birthday, which just seems too late given how social and inquisitive she is. She's already looking for more stimulation, both academic and social. I have some home school supplies and do what I can, but I cannot imagine two more years of this. Maybe what I need to do is figure out a very inexpensive way of enriching her socially and academically for the next two + years.

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#22 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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CyclingMom we were in MO too where they wouldn't let DS in because he was 35 hrs shy of meeting the age cutoff. However, as we were moving last summer and I was doing a lot of digging on school requirements and comparisons I actually found something in the MO state legislature that states school districts are allowed to make exceptions. I'm not sure if it was in certain areas only or what, but I was pretty steamed because our school was one of them. Yet they told me there was no way. :mad

Onemoment, because the preschools in our former area all followed the official state cutoff, DS couldn't attend preschool until he was 4. At 3 he started begging me to go to preschool, so I basically did a homeschool preschool program with him for about an hour through the day and he loved it. Just something you may want to consider.
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Our DD's are just a couple weeks apart, DD2 was born Oct 23 and my state has a cut off of Oct 1st. She is big for her age but development wise, she is normal. She is also 3 right now so we have a couple years but I already know I am not going to start her early. I was the very youngest in my grade growing up, I made the cut off by 2 weeks, and HATED it in middle/high school. Everyone else was older and got to do so much more then I was allowed to do. Although I did always enjoy finding the oldest guy I could to bring home to my parents....

While it would be nice if DD2 could go early, I do work part time and the whole sitter thing is always interesting, I know that she won't be ready to be in school all day at that point. She could probably go if I wanted her to, DD1 goes to private school and DD2 will go there as well and I know if I asked that she could be the earlier class, but it will still be there that next year!

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#24 of 65 Old 02-19-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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SunshineJ, my recollection is that the districts that border IL and KS (so St Louis and Kansas City areas) are allowed to have a different cut off (I guess to align the states they border). Our district would have been allowed to make exceptions, but I have been told that NO district in St Louis will make exceptions. I suspect the worry is that if they make 1 exception then they open up the door for everyone that wants an exception to start requesting one.

The way we got around the cut off is that different districts have different rules for entry into upper grades. Some allow a child to do a private K eaerly entry and go straight into first, others require the child to do private K and private first and then transfer in to 2nd grade. Fortunately for me, my district is actually willing to consider a child who was homeschooled for K, so that was the route we took. I firmly believe that if I hadn't had high test scores when I approached them that I would have received a somewhat different reception.

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SunshineJ, my recollection is that the districts that border IL and KS (so St Louis and Kansas City areas) are allowed to have a different cut off (I guess to align the states they border). Our district would have been allowed to make exceptions, but I have been told that NO district in St Louis will make exceptions. I suspect the worry is that if they make 1 exception then they open up the door for everyone that wants an exception to start requesting one.

The way we got around the cut off is that different districts have different rules for entry into upper grades. Some allow a child to do a private K eaerly entry and go straight into first, others require the child to do private K and private first and then transfer in to 2nd grade. Fortunately for me, my district is actually willing to consider a child who was homeschooled for K, so that was the route we took. I firmly believe that if I hadn't had high test scores when I approached them that I would have received a somewhat different reception.

Angie
I knew it was something like that - we were in a KC suburb. Where we were, the child had to be 5 by July 31 for kindy AND 6 by July 31 for 1st. If your child was in a private school for 1st when they'd have been in kindy in public, when you transferred in they would test your child and could still put them back in 1st. Because, you know, all kids learn, grow and accelerate at the exact same ages of course, right?
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#26 of 65 Old 02-20-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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We ended up homeschooling this year. I had her tested for a magnet gifted school last month and then I turned around and took those gifted scores to my local school. I explained that we were homeschooling and showed them the scores and they will be enrolling her into 1st in the fall rather than K.
Why aren't you sending her to the gifted magnet school. Wouldn't the magnet school which will not just be giving her more advanced work but also work that is more in depth/complex and where she is with intellectual peers be a better fit than the local school where she can only get the slight advancement of one year?

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#27 of 65 Old 02-20-2010, 12:12 AM
 
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I'm familiar with the research about holding kids back, but haven't heard it apply to delaying entry, just holding them back once they've started. Are you aware of reserch about delaying entry? But this is a little OT because DS has a long way to go so it's premature to be thinking about him yet.
http://www.slate.com/id/2196423
http://journal.naeyc.org/btj/200309/DelayingKEntry.pdf

Searching this forum for "redshirting" will bring up tons of past debates we have had on the subject of delayed kindergarten.

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#28 of 65 Old 02-20-2010, 02:34 AM
 
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My thoughts on starting early:

I have a child who turned 5 in October in a state where the cutoff is Sept. 1
He was starting to read and write last year in preschool, by the end of summer/beginning of this school year, he could read pretty much any child-level book in my house. (Read=both decoding words on a page and answering simple questions to show comprehension. The ability to decode words on a page is pretty useless if you can't also interpret the meaning. I could probably "read" a medical textbook, but with little knowledge of medical terminology, I wouldn't be able to use the info.)

He sounds out words and writes at what I consider to be a solid first-grade level with my past experience working in the schools here. I don't exactly know his reading level, but I would guess it to be well into first grade easily.

I am HAPPY he is not going into K until next year, even though he will be far ahead academically.

Why? Because until recently, we're talking the last six weeks, he was the kid who 'messes things up.' He didn't really know how to enter into a group of kids without disrupting the play that was already happening.
He chose to play alone a lot--puzzles, his writing (which he LOVES). Things like that.

He goes to school on an IEP due to some language delay that has now caught up. Back in Nov. his teacher wrote him the goal of entering a group of kids without disrupting play.
Just two weeks ago, we had conferences--she said that just in the past few weeks, he has started to play so much more with the other kids and she can see those social skills coming into place.

If he was in kindergarten this year, the other kids in the class likely would have been annoyed at this behavior and 'labeled' him. In preschool, he's one of the older kids. The younger kids don't have the same "expectations" the older kindergarten kids would have. AND....he gets to take on that "older kid" role which I think is a huge confidence builder for him. Things like--he's sort of adopted a younger classmate as his little buddy. The child has some obvious special needs and cries quite a bit...my son is the "big friend" who goes to help get him off the bus most days at school, holds his hand and walks with him! I think that is so sweet and it's just not something he'd get to do as the "youngest." (nobody FORCES that on him, certainly if he doesn't want to he doesn't HAVE to, but the teachers will 'remind' him--and I think it's SO GOOD for both the kids--my son gets to learn compassion for this little boy--and the little one seems to really enjoy having a 'buddy.' )

Wow this is a moment where I'm just being overwhelmed with love for my sweet ds1! I know--from past experience in preschool--that not too many kids take on that role of the "big buddy" for the youngest or child with special-needs in their class. I always loved seeing 'that kid' emerge in my preschool class and I am just so HAPPY to be "that kid's" mom now! this is a moment where I really feel I've done something right--I'm the mom of the kid who looks out for the ones who need it the most. r

Anyway back to this post and advanced or delayed kindy!

My thought is keep her back to the year she is supposed to start by the law. It's often impossible (is here) to get the early start anyway, and there are SO MANY WAYS to enrich them and give them social opportunities without spending a lot of money!
I have a dd too who just turned 3 in Jan. She wants to go to school SO BAD like her brother. She is able to sit in the circle and loves to sing songs and all that. We've visited her brother's school and the way she joins in you'd never pick her out as not part of the class.
She can't go till August. That's IF she gets in then, they take 4 year olds first and kids who are still 3 get what's left, according to the date they went on the list and family need. (so a non-english speaking child who came in months after my dd could get in ahead of her, because the kid needs more time in 'school' to learn English for k)

My dd loves library storytime, for free. We go to free playgroups in community centers in town. We *could* sign up for dance or gymnastics I suppose, I haven't priced the lessons out. But I'm sure they are much less expensive than full-on preschool and tons of fun and social interaction.

Plus, kindy here is full-day, that is a LONG LONG day for a young child even when they are the oldest in the class, especially in the beginning.

Let her be little, find some lessons and fun activities. K comes soon enough!

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#29 of 65 Old 02-20-2010, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.slate.com/id/2196423
http://journal.naeyc.org/btj/200309/DelayingKEntry.pdf

Searching this forum for "redshirting" will bring up tons of past debates we have had on the subject of delayed kindergarten.
Thanks for those links. They were very well-written and interesting articles. I didn't see anything in them about children like my son though, with significant motor skill delays (we're not talking just small or immature, he has medical issues and reaches physical milestones very, very late). I imagine a few years from now we'll be faced with sending a kid off to K who cannot yet hold the pencil well enough to write, or button his own coat for recess, or carry the lunch tray, or toilet independently, but who is intellectually and socially astute enough to realize the other kids can do all those things. Any data on whether it's more beneficial to put a child into school at that point with a 504 plan to address his needs, or keep him home (with PT, OT and homeschooling, so still meeting his needs) until his motor skills catch up? You might see a thread about this in a few years when he's getting close to K age!

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#30 of 65 Old 02-20-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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Why aren't you sending her to the gifted magnet school. Wouldn't the magnet school which will not just be giving her more advanced work but also work that is more in depth/complex and where she is with intellectual peers be a better fit than the local school where she can only get the slight advancement of one year?
For 2 reasons: 1) I wanted her to be involved in our local community and have friends down the street to play with, which wouldn't have happened with the magnet since it's 19 miles away and she would be gone 8:15:4:45). 2) She didn't get a slot! There were a lot more qualified applicants than there are spots (2 classes of 20, though there are already kids rising up from the preschool classes filling spaces, leaving the remaining for the people were not eligible to apply to the preschool, which we were not.). We made our decision prior to finding out our status at the school, but either way, our decision would be the same.

In reality, I suspect that being a 1st grader in a regular PS with a gifted pull out will be just as challenging as being a kindergartner in a gifted school. Down the road that may not be true, but at least for the first couple of years when I believe the focus with be on the 3 R's in both places, she will be okay. At this point, I'm glad I have something I'm reasonably happy with for next year. I will start worry about the future when I start to see that this situation is not working out.
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