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Are you happy with your dc being oldest/youngest, or would you choose differently?

  • dc is one of the oldest in his/her class and it's working out great

    Votes: 9 40.9%
  • dc is one of the youngest and it's working out great

    Votes: 10 45.5%
  • dc is one of the oldest, and not so great

    Votes: 2 9.1%
  • dc is one of the youngest, and not so great

    Votes: 3 13.6%

being the oldest/youngest

800 Views 12 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  SunShineSally
I have been absolutely agonizing over the decision of whether to send my 9/2 bday dd to kindergarten this fall. I go back and forth so many times, sometimes within a single hour or day! I've posted about this in Learning at School forum, but I'm hoping for some additional volume with this poll.

My question is, if your dc was near the age cut-off for school, and is either one of the oldest or one of the youngest in his/her class, how is it working out? Happy? Not so much?

Any and all experiences are welcome, I'm like a sponge at this point!


(edited to add: I allowed multiple answers in case you have multiple kiddos that fall near the cut-off)
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Mine are homeschooled, so no experience there, but I was "youngest kid" and don't regret it. My only suggestion (based on my own school experience, not my kids') is to make this decision based exclusively on her academic level (or average academic level) rather than concern for her being the same age as the other kids, which I don't think matters that much. If she tends towards the behind end of school skills, keep her back; if she tends to be ahead or average, I would put her in.
Mine is not ready for school yet, but I have taught preschool for years and my mom has taught kindergarten for years. We discuss this all the time. I think if you are choosing a typical kindergarten it is her emotional/developmental readiness which is most important regardless of chronological age or pre-academic skills. Academics are really being pushed in kindergarten in most public schools. It is no longer a place to be introduced to school in a developmentally appropriate way. This saddens me, but it is very true in the majority of schools.

Is she ready to do many self help tasks independently (using the restroom, taking care of eating/cleaning up)? Does she follow multi-step directions? Ask for help when needed? How does she do in large group settings? Can she sit for periods of time? Listen to stories in a large group?

Just think about her being in a room with many other children and being expected to follow many directions throughout the day and do many things for herself. If she would need lots of adult guidance and attention throughout the day, that is totally fine but she might do best to wait another year to start kindergarten.

If it were me I would wait. Extra time to learn through play and be in a more nurturing environment can't hurt. I don't think the chronological age will make much difference to your child later on.
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Originally Posted by Brigianna View Post
My only suggestion (based on my own school experience, not my kids') is to make this decision based exclusively on her academic level (or average academic level) rather than concern for her being the same age as the other kids, which I don't think matters that much. If she tends towards the behind end of school skills, keep her back; if she tends to be ahead or average, I would put her in.
I agree with this. (both on the level that we plan to HS and that it's from our experiences, not our kids) DH's parents decided to "hold him back" a year b/c of his August bday. He was much happier b/c he was right on with the other kids. I think kids who really love school do so b/c they are not struggling to keep up.
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My first is in preschool. We intentionally put him in with the 2s even though he turned three early in the year (the cut off around here is end Sept and his birthday is end Oct).

Well, I hadn't realized that we could have put him in with a late start the year before. However, even if we had known, he wasn't ready until later that year. I did feel pretty strongly that due to his personalities and abilities, he should be the oldest in the class, so kept him in the twos class.

It is a coop school so I am teacher assistant once a month, so i can see for myself.
It worked out great until about January. Now, he has caught up so much, he is far advanced than the other kids. he kind of sticks out like a sore thumb and I really get the sense that he is being held back a bit by the other kids.However, I think he would be MORE traumatized by moving him mid year. Instead we are putting him in the fours class next year - skipping the threes entirely.

The local kindergarten around here is very very open to parents either holding their kid back a year OR having their child repeat the year. About 40% of the kids repeat. This is a high income/high education area - many of the parents see it as an advantage for their child to be the oldest in the class because they feel they will do better in their schoolwork/socializing.

Just some thoughts.
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My DD is an October baby, and I wish I had kept her out a year more. She was socially mature, but not in any other way. She played catch up all through school, and none of the teachers thought it was their job to help her.

I kept my DS1 out of school an extra year. He is a March baby but he seemed not mature enough when the time came for him to go to school. I listened to my gut feeling, and it was the best thing I did for him.

He is two years older than DS2, but they went to school together instead of having a year between them and they enjoyed each other's company all through school. He needed his younger brother who was a tad more mature when school time came.

I am glad that worked out.
YOu did not say when the cut-off day for the school was. Is it September 30?

Anyway, I do not completely agree that the academic question is less important than the social/emotional side. I have seen some very bored and unstimulated children at home because their parents believed they are not emotionally ready for school. I don't think their parents did their kids a favour by keeping them at home all day for another year.

Also, much of what is perceived to be "social and emotional readiness" is actually just the temperament of the child and will not change. My sister kept her shy and easily overwhelmed son, born in November, back one year. He was just as shy and overwhelmed the following year.

Why don't you give it (and her) a chance in kindergarten and after a good month, if it is not working out, you can just pull her out? She might just love it!
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Actually 2

One born mid-June and one late-July

people sometimes advocate holding summer-born boys back for maturity reasons but we decided not to and it's been great.

I don't know what we would have done with a later birthday though.
Research in the 90s indicated that boys tended to do better when they were older rather than younger. That's generally speaking, much of it relating to what happens once the other kids begin hitting puberty.
We held my son back in first grade (December bday) and I am so glad. He had an easier time in school, was more comfortable and instead of trying to catch up in sports, he excelled. Now I know sports aren't important to every family, but my sons loved sports and I believed it helped get them through school willingly. My brother had a late birthday (November) and my mom started him early. To this day, he regrets it. He says it was too hard always trying to catch up with the skills of the older kids. But I do think it depends on your child - you know her better than anyone.
Girls are usually ready for K much sooner than boys. My ds is repeating first grade this year b/c of maturity issues (well, he also has AS, which the school is FINALLY going to evaluate him for! which may have more to do w/ his "immaturity" but boys ARE much more immature than girls!) He is working at the 3rd grade level in math, reading above 2nd grade level, so it definitely wasn't for academic reasons.

I have friends who sent younger girls to school "early" and they did GREAT! Boys tend to not do as well if they're sent early. In fact, some countries start girls in school at age 5 and boys at age 6! I think that's a great idea generally, although there will always be exceptions to the rule.
My son turned 5 in August but we chose not to send him to kindergarten instead he is in pre-k. Academically he would have been fine in kindie but emotionally he was not ready. He can read, knows basic addition/subtraction, has advanced gross and fine motor skills. But dealing with sharing, circle time, standing in line, structure, etc he just was not there. Watching him throughout this year I am *so* glad we didn't push it. He has come very far in dealing w/ friends, patience, structure, etc. If he had gone to kindie with the expectation that he could easily adapt to that kind of structure it would have been horrible.

There are 18 kids on the class equally split boys and girls. My son is the second oldest boy. Most of the girls were 4 when school started and just started turning 5 now. The majority of the other boys started turning 5 in late fall. Only one boy "Jack" will turn 5 in the summer-he has a late May b-day. The mom and I have become friends and she really regrets sending her son. He is small for his age, quiet and sensitive. She thought having him with older kids would help bring him out of his shell. He has an older brother who is the exact opposite-assertive, gregarious and very social which I think has made it even harder on Jack. At this point she is thinking about pulling him out and having him repeat pre-k next year. It has been really tough on both of them.

So I really think it depends on every child. What is right for one will not be right for the other. What we did is audit some classes before applying so I could see the class dynamic. I talked to the teachers in advance as well as the headmaster. But first and for most I listened to my gut. My opinion (and only mine) was that it would be easier to challenge him if he was bored/advanced than it would be if he was emotionally or academically "behind".
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My sister works in an elementary school she does the K screening and works in both K classes and says that you can really tell the difference in the "young" K's and the "old" K's it in their maturity and the amount they can focus and over all I know if Ds was not bron in April I would have waited as long as possible they have a heads up the "older" ones (most of the time
) I feel it is best to wait just because of what I know from my sister.

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