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#1 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I scanned through a couple of pages and only saw questions about whether children should be held back for a year, so sorry if this has already been asked and answered.

 

My son's birthday is two weeks *after* the cutoff date for our school district. However, the district has a provision for 4.5 year olds to enter kindy early if they jump through a series of testing hoops, and my mother-in-law (who teaches gifted elem. and is national board certified) thinks we should. I am conflicted.

 

On the one hand, he essentially taught himself to read before he turned four, and is very bright and loves his (play-based) preschool. He'd love to go to school every day and it would be nice to not spend $$$ every month for preK tuition. I certainly don't want him to be bored in school - he loves learning and school now, I'm afraid of that souring if he's made to wait while other kids catch up.

 

On the other hand, his emotional maturity is average for his age and some of his motor skills are average or a smidge below. He loves his preschool and could go another year (since he is one of the oldest in his class, they have another year waiting for them before most go to Kindy). I'm afraid of his souring on school if he's pushed too hard, too fast.

 

Ideas? Personal experiences? Anything? I'm really floundering here . . .

 

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#2 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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I've seen posts where the child "waited" a year for K and ended up skipping to 1st grade instead -- though whether this is possible depends on your state/district/school.


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#3 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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Normal kindergarten might not be a good fit, if the school accommodates gifted though, go ahead and embrace it. Your son is probably *already* at 1st grade level at least for my school district. My son is about a year ahead and I'm going ahead and pulling him out (some other major conflict too but also they're too busy getting most of the kids caught up). In general I'm all for letting them play and lead the pace til age 6 or 7 but it depends on personality, my oldest thrives when kept busy, lots of interaction, lots of structure, and some challenges. More laid back kids you can just let them play.

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#4 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 11:43 AM
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We started my son in kindergarten at 4.5. The cut-off here is 5 by Oct. 1 and he turned 5 in December. He's in 1st grade now and so far, it has been wonderful. He is still advanced academically, and he fits in perfectly. I'd say he is emotionally/socially mature for his age, and has always been ahead in motor skills. His teacher said he gets along great with all of his classmates and is very kind and caring. It is obvious to me (and his teachers thus far) that this is the right placement for him, despite being 5 in a class where half the kids are already 7 (and the other half will be soon). 

 

I would ask your son's preschool teacher what s/he thinks. If everyone agrees he is ready for K and he gets through the testing, I think it is a good choice for some kids. 

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#5 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 12:22 PM
 
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"Pushing" a child is expecting them to achieve at levels or putting them in an environment they aren't developmentally ready for. What your considering isn't "pushing" if it's where he needs to be based on his own development. If I were you, I'd start jumping through those hoops just to see how he does. You don't HAVE to accept early enrollment even if he qualifies. In fact, you have until the 1st day of school do decide whether he's going or not. Set-up early enrollment as an option, let him finish his preschool year, give him the summer to grow and then decide then if you want to accept the early position or wait a year. If you send him and it doesn't work... pull him. If at the end of the K year, he's not ready for 1st, he can do a second year of kindie... some do. If you really feel he's not ready for kindie, you can keep him in preschool and explore going straight to 1st grade (though I'd make sure he was in a preschool with a little more structure and that does some handwriting work just to prepare him.) Nothing is in stone and kids are quite adaptable if their parents stay positive.

 

Both my kids are young for grade. My eldest was moved to 1st grade from kindergarten after winter break. She was too far ahead academically and while her K teacher had felt she was "average" in maturity for K, by the end of 1st grade, that teacher was telling us  DD was her most reliable and responsible child and a natural leader. As a high school sophomore, she continues to thrive. It's true, we didn't seek early enrollment for her but it was a different situation... DD hadn't been to preschool, we were expecting a new baby and frankly, we were distracted. While we knew she was bright and advanced, we didn't know how bright she actually was. She was several months from the cut-off and it didn't really occur to us to seek early enrollment. My DS started on schedule but our district has a Dec. 1st cut-off which DS makes by a month. He is always the youngest due to birthday and high red-shirting practices in our area but it's served him well. He's in middle school and still doing well. Both my kids have needed additional academic accommodation but it's been much easier to get from the higher grade.

 

Some will depend on the expectations of your kindergartens. Our are very high level. Kids routinely start able to read and doing early math. It would be worth looking into what the typical kindergarten class in your area really looks like.

 

 


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#6 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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I should have pushed harder to get DS into kindergarten last year. (The answer was NO because he was in speech therapy, discharged two weeks after school started last year.)  Now we've got a kindergartener going half days and the school is trying to figure out how to teach him reading at a second grade level (not too bad so far because there's another kid in the room so they make a reading "group") and math at a ill-defined grade level, but well above 3-4 grade level. The school is still in triage mode, getting IEPs into place for kids obviously struggling with disabilities.  My kid's needs cannot be their first priority.  The upshot is that we still don't even have a grade level for his math at the end of the first quarter.

 

Had we started last year, the fit would have been easier to make, not being so far out of level.  If he were in 1st grade right now, we'd still have problems, but he'd have peers in reading, and at least the length of the school day is the same for 1st and 4th graders.  He'd also have a year of handwriting under his belt.

 

Age 4 is a big year.  Don't take the behavior of a kid who just turned 4 and project his immaturity through to kindergarten.  Spend some time this year focusing on those skills to help make the schooling fit better.

 

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#7 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post
 

The school is still in triage mode, getting IEPs into place for kids obviously struggling with disabilities.  My kid's needs cannot be their first priority.  The upshot is that we still don't even have a grade level for his math at the end of the first quarter.

 

Had we started last year, the fit would have been easier to make, not being so far out of level.  If he were in 1st grade right now, we'd still have problems, but he'd have peers in reading, and at least the length of the school day is the same for 1st and 4th graders.  He'd also have a year of handwriting under his belt.


You could make the argument for him to make the move now; a child working above grade level is still entitled to have their educational needs met shrug.gif.

 

 

Parent's Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted

 


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#8 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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No gifted IEPs in this state, but yup, I'm very aware of the accelation process in the state and district. I've got advocacy experience from DD, and we're in the process of getting specific math achievement and IQ testing done. Given the very real logistical issues, the process will take at least another 2-3 months. Math adjustment may start as early as tomorrow.

For the OP, the above is a major headache. It will involve making transitions in teachers and will likely cause us to lose our sitter because we'd cut her hours, so at the same time we make that change, he'll lose his sitter and have to adjust to another. I would have prefered to do kindy last year instead.
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#9 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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My mom was held back one year (school started one month before her birthday) and she only speaks positively of her experiences. Back in those days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the walk to school would have been too long for the child her age. (Post-war Europe, no school buses.) Now, my mom was a brain, *but* she also kicked ass in the motor skills department. So with the extra year, she had an advantage of sorts.

 

I started school three weeks before my birthday, and my mom often mentioned that she wished she held me back one year. I got her brain, but I was way behind in motor skills. That didn't prevent me from doing amazingly intense sporty stuff later, but I was older and I worked hard on it. Academics-wise, I could read at three and started writing soon after. My mom said there was no concern about "being bored in school" - first, if there were time to get bored, I'd be bored anyway, and second, school often worked on different skills. I also was a quiet, mellow child who did not mind that some school stuff was repetitive tasks that just needed to be done.

 

I think that if my kids are like me, I'd hold them back. If they are like my mom... maybe they'd go their year. But not earlier. I'd identify the weakest link and count from there - if the brain is ahead, it will always be ahead, no matter what. It will just go further and further anyway. But if the body is behind, it's hard to fix. If both are fine for that age, great! No problem.

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#10 of 21 Old 10-27-2011, 09:59 PM
 
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If you want to PM me, we have an early reader here who is now in 2nd grade.  She reads at a 7th grade level, though comprehension is closer to grade level.  I can tell you what we do, etc. if it would help.  The short answer to your question is no, I wouldn't push to have him in school.

 

Jenn

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#11 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 12:02 AM
 
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This is entirely anecdotal, but I come from a family with four kids. Three of us started school on time and were grade-skipped early in elementary school. The fourth, based on her siblings' track-records and her just-missed-the-cutoff birthdate, started Kindergarten a year early. Guess which one struggles with self-confidence? Guess which one worried about her academic abilities? Guess which one felt socially insecure throughout her elementary school years? Yup, the one who started school just a little younger than her classmates, who was towards the lower end for social competence and emotional readiness, due simply to being the youngest child during her very first year of school. Of course personality and other factors probably play into it too -- and she did very well overall in school. But my theory is that she missed having a foundational kindergarten year filled with more-than-readiness and a sense of easy mastery ... of not just of academics, which weren't a problem for her, but of social and behavioral expectations, of separation from home, working to task, adapting to school routines, peer-related social issues. She coped fine, but she missed out on the ease and confidence the rest of us got during that crucial first year. 

 

Now I'm raising my own family of four very bright kids and I've taken that anecdotal lesson to heart. My kids have so far all ended up grade-skipped but they didn't start their schooling early. In fact we held them out of school and unschooled, in order to start schooling late -- after their confidence and self-concept had developed and they were able to advocate for themselves in an academic environment that was clearly not designed for children as advanced as they were/are.

 

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#12 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 05:23 AM
 
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I will give our story, but with the idea that it totally depends on the child. If the option is open, I would explore it- but not commit until later this summer.

 

 

 

My girls just started 1st after never doing K. They were 5 and turned 6 in Oct. It was not a 'skip' exactly, but we moved from a state with a Sept firm cut off for K (so they could not attend K last year no exception) to moving to a state that has a Dec 1st cut-off. Red-shirting is not common, but does happen. There are 22 kids in the class and when class started  4 or 5  were already age 7, most are 6, and then 4 of them were still 5 (two being my girls).

 

We were really really worried to not have done K, but the screener (we had them screened upon registration to help decide which grade) said there is no way they could meet their needs in K. I am in a state that does not do GT IEPs.

 

It has been a great choice. My girls are at the top reading group that is reading at 3rd grade level with three other peers ( the 5 of them are from all the 1st grade classes). Writing is differentiated across the board for all students and my only complaint is that math is lock-step so far and one of my DD is restless. 

 

Both my DDs also have special needs (one physical on a 504 and the other social/gross motor and working toward a 504). The school has been fabulous in making sure their needs are met.

 

 

I would do the eval, see if she qualifies. Then visit the classrooms- see what it would entail. A lot will depend on the culture of the school, the dynamics of the classrooms (do they blend classes? group by ability?), and your own child.

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#13 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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I've read the OP a few times, and I'm not certain how this is the "opposite of redshirting". That would be starting a child a year or more early. He's only 2 weeks from the cut-off date, so that's not exactly accelerating by a significant amount. Cut-off dates vary by a fair amount, so in some districts he might be within the cut-off age by months and this concern probably wouldn't arise at all. 

 

He's academically advanced, his emotional maturity is average and his motor skills are, mostly, average. It sounds like he's done well in preK and adjusting to a school environment isn't a concern (separation anxiety, social issues etc.) He wants to attend school. I understand that he is happy in his current preK situation and that may be a very good reason to keep him there, but otherwise I'm not sure I understand the hesitation to start him in kindergarten if he is at or above the norm for his age. Inevitably, some kids in the class are going to be at the average, yk? 

 

If he's happy at preK and that environment is a good situation for him, then you should feel comfortable leaving him there for another year. If you've visited the kindergarten class and think that it won't be a good situation for him, then that's also a good reason to leave him in preK. I think however that I've missed something about why you think it would be pushing him to start kindergarten, unless you are in an area with a lot of redshirting and many of his classmates will be significantly older. 

 

 

 

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#14 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

I've read the OP a few times, and I'm not certain how this is the "opposite of redshirting". That would be starting a child a year or more early. He's only 2 weeks from the cut-off date, so that's not exactly accelerating by a significant amount. 


If a child was born just two weeks before the cutoff date, and would have been the youngest in his KG class, holding him back a year would be redshirting. He's only 2 weeks from the other side of the cut-off date, two weeks from being too young for Kindy ... and exactly the sort of situation in which redshirting is very likely to be considered. I'd call it the opposite of redshirting.

 

The OP is talking about starting her child a full year early. He would start at age almost-5 rather than at almost-6, which is when his birthdate would "officially" have him eligible to start.

 

Miranda

 


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#15 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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I took it that the OP didn't know what to call it. 

 

"Early Entry Kindergarten" is what it's called here, though other places call it an acceleration, just like any other grade skip.

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#16 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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I just see the opposite of redshirting as significant acceleration and this doesn't seem like it. If he had been born a few days earlier within the cut-off, it wouldn't be viewed that way, unless you employ a strict binary perspective (yes/no, redshirt/opposite of redshirt).  Admittedly I tend to avoid the binary, particularly with children and their development, and not everyone does. Presumably, there will be children who are just on the other side of the cut-off date, only a couple of weeks older, and I wouldn't say that they had done the opposite of redshirting. If the OP suggested promoting him to 1st grade, based on his early academic abilities, that would seem like the opposite to me.  

 

In any event, terminology aside, there's still a decision. Based on the information provided, he wants to go to kindergarten and objectively, he seems like a good candidate. There don't seem to be typical red flags - emotional immaturity, motor skill delays, separation anxiety, poor social skills, difficulty with cooperating or sharing, inattention, inability to follow directions, slow toilet learning..... The OP hasn't mentioned any of these concerns. It doesn't seem like starting kindy would be "pushing" him, which I thought is the concern. Perhaps there is more to the picture and some or all of these issues do exist here. 

 

Another year in preK, now as the oldest child, may find him bored and restless and looking for new challenges OR he may enjoy spending another year in a play-based preschool setting and benefit from developing more leadership skills etc. I understand that it's a tough decision, if only because he's so close to the cut-off date. 

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#17 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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I liked this article about being young for grade and some of the advantages of that situation - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-delay-your-kindergartners-start.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general


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#18 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

I just see the opposite of redshirting as significant acceleration and this doesn't seem like it.


I see where you are coming from. There is quite a bit of difference between placing a child in a class where they are 2 weeks younger than they should be and waiting to send a child who is close to a year older than they should be. I don't think the OP was wrong in her idea that it is the opposite of redshirting but I also agree with you that we aren't talking about extremes here.

 

Our district actually has a program for these kids now who really need more than preschool but aren't old enough for kindergarten. They call it EAK (early admission kindergarten.) Basically, those that miss the cut-off by up to 3 months can start in a special kindergarten class in January (they don't accept redshirted kids though.) The following fall, they go to regular kindergarten though I know at least one who was able to go straight to 1st grade because they had shown they were more than ready. It's actually quite popular.


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#19 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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What about going through the evaluation process and then deciding?  I think fine motor skills are a big deal. It's not just about whether the child will be messier (and possibly more frustrated) in K, but the amount and difficult of writing that will be required through out their school years -- being expected to write in full paragraphs, being able to copy math problems out rather than using a workbook, etc. will all come sooner. A lot of writing is required in traditional education, usually in ALL subjects. And every year more is required than was the year before.  Struggling with it could impact how a child feels about learning and about how *smart* they perceive themselves.

 

However, as a parent, our judgment of where our kids lie compared to the *norm* is often skewed. His fine motor skills might be pretty typical for a kid his age, or they might be further off than a "smidgen" below.   I'd want someone with a lot of experience with kids going into K to help sort that out. I'd do the eval process, but not with a hope of specific outcome. Rather to pick someone else's brain about what really makes sense for the kid.
 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

There is quite a bit of difference between placing a child in a class where they are 2 weeks younger than they should be and waiting to send a child who is close to a year older than they should be.


but redshirting where I live is mostly kids with summer birthdays. My DD with a May birthday is one of the very youngest in her grade, because no one wants their child to be youngest. People with kids a couple of weeks off hold then back, then people with a kids a month off, and then 2 months, so now, having a kid with a May birthday start is starting really young *where I live.*  I don't think it's ideal for children to be either the oldest or the youngest, so parents whose kids fall right on the line have a tough call. If the parent lived in my city, my answer would be "dear god no, they'll be way, way way younger than their classmates." But she's someplace else.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 21 Old 10-28-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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I would go for it.  I think holding the back does more harm than good in a lot of cases.  My daughter's birthday is November 9 so she is almost always the youngest in her class (cutoff is December 31).  She is currently in grade 4 and still 8 years old.  We haven't had any issues at all.  It sounds like your son is educationally ready and being held back may cause him to be bored in school.  My daughter is gifted and doing enrichment in almost everything (basically anything there is enrichment available for) and I can't imagine how much more bored she would be if we'd held her back.


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#21 of 21 Old 10-30-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 


but redshirting where I live is mostly kids with summer birthdays. My DD with a May birthday is one of the very youngest in her grade, because no one wants their child to be youngest. People with kids a couple of weeks off hold then back, then people with a kids a month off, and then 2 months, so now, having a kid with a May birthday start is starting really young *where I live.*  I don't think it's ideal for children to be either the oldest or the youngest, so parents whose kids fall right on the line have a tough call. If the parent lived in my city, my answer would be "dear god no, they'll be way, way way younger than their classmates." But she's someplace else.

 


I wondered about this. Since the OP lives in a school district with a policy and a process for early entry for children near the cut-off date, it's possible that it's typical for a fair number of children to be on the younger side - at or below the cut-off date. With such a process in place, maybe a lot of parents take advantage of it - as opposed to a district where parents have to fight for early entry or there is a lot of red-shirting. The existence of a formal policy suggests that the district recognizes that cut-off dates are arbitrary and don't really address the individual development of a child. It also suggests that the kindergarten teachers may have experience with younger children in their classes. That's actually encouraging, compared to districts that don't recognize that early start is appropriate for some children.

 

That's all speculation though. The best strategy is to visit the kindergarten class, observe what is expected of the students and discuss with the teachers their perspective on children who start a little early.

 

Another thought - OP, if your ds had arrived a couple of weeks early, you would have a different decision. Would you think he's a good candidate for red-shirting or would you just accept the cut-off date and send him to kindy? If you would be inclined to red-shirt, then maybe your instincts are telling you that he should spend another year in pre-school. Good luck with the decision. 

 

 

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