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#1 of 13 Old 11-01-2002, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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... is 6 here in NYC. Hard&fast rule, it seems.

Is this everywhere? Are there some 5yo kids in 1st grade?

Has anyone started there kids earlier, and does it seem to be good/bad?

Since DH has really started to push away from homeschooling, it seems that's not going to happen, so I may as well get used to the school idea (past the pre-school they're in now, anyway). But I'm disturbed by the age thing.

DS is 4 and is already reading, and is starting to write. And he's in a pre-K class. So he starts kindergarten almost a year from now, 9/2003. And I keep hearing that they expect children to start reading by the end of kindergarten.

So if he's that far ahead ... well, wouldn't it make sense to have him in 1st grade next year? Even if he'll only be 5.5, instead of 6.5?

Anybody with any experience in this neck of the woods, I'd love to hear it ...

- Amy
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#2 of 13 Old 11-01-2002, 01:45 PM
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Check with your local district. The laws are different all around the country. Usually there is no exceptions to the cut off dates. Here they must be 6 by Sept 1 (or august31, I can't remember). I have heard that in other states the cut off is much later in the yr. Some schools are still using Dec 31 as the cut off.
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#3 of 13 Old 11-01-2002, 06:27 PM
 
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The cut off here is Dec 1st. What is your son's birthday? I think that the question is more their emotional/social readiness at this age.
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#4 of 13 Old 11-01-2002, 07:31 PM
 
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I worry about this too. Dd is only two but knew all her letters by 18 months and recognises several words. She is developing phonetic awareness really early. It's all round, she knows things like colours and shapes too, and her language is way ahead of the norm for her age.

Unfortunately she is a Sept birthday so would be the oldest in Kindergarten here. I worry about what would happen if she continues to develop like this - I dont want her accelerated, especially if she isn't ready socially and emotionally, but her skills are so far ahead of her peers that it just compounds the problems of being the oldest in her grade.

I could homeschool but don't really want to. I know children here in the US get accelerated through grades, but does anyone know if there is any flexibiltiy in starting dates - ie would there be a possibility of a child like mine who misses the cut off date by a week, starting school a year earlier? It was Murphy's Law that she wasn't born on time, in which case she'd have made the cut off! (But it wasn't a good enough reason for me to agree to be induced. )
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#5 of 13 Old 11-01-2002, 07:45 PM
 
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Amy,

I think it totally depends on the philosophy of the school. If the school is a "typical" NYC Public School, I would let him progress with children his own age (put him in Kindergarten).

If you will be sending him to a private or charter school with a good teacher to child ratio. And, the philosophy of the school is based on social/emotional development (Bank Street oriented program) as well, then I would trust that they would meet the needs of your son. And, I would put him in 1st grade.

Just my 2 cents,
Laura
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#6 of 13 Old 11-01-2002, 07:51 PM
 
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I have a September son, who is now in the 1st grade and the oldest in his grade. I also considered moving him ahead since he only missed the cut off date by 12 days. Boy am I glad I didn't. He absolutely excels at school, both in academics and social skills. He is 'the leader'. Other kids often want to work with him on projects, and look to him for guidance. I ABSOLUTELY believe in keeping your child in the age appropriate grade. I am lucky in that my kids go to a Montessori school, so they are allowed to work at their own level. My first grader already does 4 digit addition and subraction with carry over and borrowing (dynamic math in Montessori terms).

I would go ahead and keep at grade level unless you find that your child is bored and really needs more challenging work at school. Then, and only then, would I consider moving up a grade. But most of the time that's not even necessary. Many schools do have accelerated programs so that children can stay in their age approp. grade and still be challenged academically.
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#7 of 13 Old 11-03-2002, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses, much to think about, ladies.

laurajean, ... I didn't know that with private schools it was variable, the age thing. I thought it was a state law, six was the age, just with different cut-offs. Then again, not sure where I heard that from, so it's assuredly wrong. :

mommy22, you really hit on a biggie there. DS is undersized and will probably stay that way, and we've already worried about it ... you know how size is a bigger issue with boys than girls ... so perhaps the age can overcome the size thing. Very interesting point ...

- Amy
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#8 of 13 Old 11-03-2002, 10:55 AM
 
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Amy,

I honestly do not know the law (and, I am a New York State Certified Teacher - lol). I do know that when I went to public school, plenty of children in my class were skipped a grade.

My response related more to if there is an option (which there may be)... think about the philosophy of the school first... Can you put him in an accelerated program? I was reading at the age of 4. So, my parents put me in an accelerated program. Thank goodness for that! I was with a group of children who were like me in more ways than one.

Some schools may want your child to start in kindergarten and once they assess his skills, they will skip him...

Good luck,
~Laura
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#9 of 13 Old 11-03-2002, 11:07 AM
 
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amyrpk -- my understanding is that if you want to hold him back a year, that is fine. In some areas it is popular to do that. But if you want to skip a child ahead a year - -then you have to subject him to all kinds of tests, and he has to score in the top 10% in order to be allowed.

Or son turned 6 the first week of school this year. He is attending a small private school and we chose to put him in first grade this year. At a public school, we would have *had* to go with Kindergarten, which might have been best in ps. But his school is very easy going about such things -- and there are 2 grades in each classroom, so there is always a large range of ability among the children.

Even as the youngest in his class, ds is leading the kids in academics so far this year. We are really glad we made this choice because I really think Kindergarten would have bored/frustrated him.

His school goes through 8th grade, and one thing we have considered is keeping in the 7th-8th grade classroom for 3 years, so that he doesn't start highschool as the youngest in his class.
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#10 of 13 Old 11-04-2002, 02:36 PM
 
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It's not really about acedemic readiness yet, it's about maturity that comes with age. And there isn't really anyway to test for maturity.
-Heather

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#11 of 13 Old 11-07-2002, 06:30 PM
 
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In Washington state (the only place I have any knowledge of) a child must be 5 by August 31st to start kindergarten so 6 by that same date to start 1st grade. From what I have seen, they are pretty strict to it. If you want to "test in" with a child who misses the cutoff by just a little (I think no more than a month will they even consider), there is a six part test and the child must pass all six parts.
I have a youngest in class dd (summer birthday). Even though she was very aclimated to the school idea (did wonderfully in two years of preschool) and was advanced academically, kindergarten was a little challenging emotionally - she got tired and frustrated easily. No one was more surprised than me! This year 1st grade is such a breeze. I would not sign up for youngest in class if her birthday had not fallen that way.
Grammy was a preschool teacher for 20 years and thinks they should change the cutoff to June 1st so you don't get those "just turned five" kids. It can be hard for them. It is not an academic thing at all - more a maturity level which someone else mentioned is hard to determine until they are in that exact situation.
I would suggest looking into multi-age schools in your district. They are free programs of the public schools. I had not heard of ours even though I lived in this town for 10 years before dd was old enough for kindergarten. That way, he can "be" in kindergarten but work ahead if that is where he is in whatever area.
Also, you mentioned he is on the small side. Another reason to go ahead and let him be a kindergartner. If you get a good program, they will challenge him. Being the oldest in a class is never a detriment IMO.
Good luck with your decision and congrats on having such a bright kid! A lot of us MDCers seem to have them too!
Kirsten
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#12 of 13 Old 11-08-2002, 12:41 AM
 
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My daughter is in Grade Three, and I have to say that I agree with all the posts that say that maturity is more important than academics when it comes to choosing what grade to put your child into. There is an awful lot more to school than just reading, so I wouldn't base your decision on just that criterion.
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#13 of 13 Old 11-08-2002, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After months and months of aggravating over this issue, you all have totally convinced me. Particularly because of his size, it seems very sensible to let him stay his age and stay with his age for school.

If he's going to be advanced, he will be, no matter where he is. And if not ...

Thank you for stating it plainly, ladies.

- Amy
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