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To send or to wait??

865 Views 18 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  CarrieMF
I need some help here ladies!
My son will be 5 oct 14th, we are in canada so the kindergarten cut off isnt until Dec.31st. He is already registered, but i really find myself wondering if i should send him or wait until he's older.
Im worried he will be bullied, and that he wont feel capable.
Do any of you know the benefits or downfalls to sending them when there younger versus older??
He is going to preschool 2 hours twice a week right now, he was enjoying it at the beginning but know he says he goes to much and some kids are mean. He's been there since January.
Do you think this is just me not wanting my baby to grow up??
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Hi, I'm in Ontario and when I said that I was going to hold my ds (his birthday is Dec 21) back everyone said that I wouldn't be able to do it. I didn't put him in JK, I waited until SK and enrolled him. They didn't notice that he should have been in Grade one until I told them! The principal freaked out a bit and contacted the board's attorney, but in the end I just had to sign some paper stating that he was not going into grade one as he hadn't had the benefit of kindergarten. I sat calmly throughout the meeting, just sat tight with the knowledge that I could homeschool my son and really, the board is more interested in the money that comes with his enrollment.

My dd (birthday in Sept) is a different personality than ds, so I don't see any reason to hold her back. However if i register her for JK I will be enrolling her 1/2 time. Again a little known fact that that's even an option.

Good luck with your decision!
I recently read this portion of the BC School Act (exciting, I know!). The Act says that K is mandatory and a child who turns 5 by Dec31 must enroll, although this can be delayed one year. So, legally you can do it.

DS is a late September baby and we're putting him into K because we believe he's ready overall.

Have you talked to his preschool teachers? They may be able to provide you with invaluable insight about what they observe in class. You might also speak to the K teacher and get a feel for her/him and discuss expectations, and what this past year has been like in the school. You could also look at the Fraser Institute's site for some info on the school your son would attend. Finally, the Ministry of Education requires accountability statements from each district, and plans for each school. You may be able to find this on your district's site. The plans often cite surveys about bullying in the individual school.

Good luck with your decision making!
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As a former teacher children who go a year later end up being the leaders and those that aren't ready that are put in anyway kind of just follow the pack. Keep him out and let him lead! My ds turns 5 on 10/10 but our cut off is 9/31 and we're keeping him out. Your child will have the advantage of being more able to sit patiently, follow directions, and it should help him adjust to being in school. Of course this is just mho and every child is different. My ds is waiting til next year for K. I hope you find peace in your decision.
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My SIL held my nephew back for a year (in Ontario). He had some speech issues, he tends to be physically smaller than normal and a late November birthday. I talked to her the other day about her decision and this is what she told me (he's in gr 2 right now)
Pros: it gave him time to get the speech issues sorted out, he went in more confident, he is probably better matched developmentally for the academics in the grade he is in than he would have been if he had started on time,
Cons: in sports programs he is a year older than his school peers and so he is less likely to know people he's in sports with (sports is big with his family), he has had some teasing related to being older because kids had assumed he had failed kindegarden, the school was only quasi supportive.

You didn't say why specifically you are worried about the bullying or that he might feel it is too much. What is the school like? Can you choose a 1/2 day program? Is there a private K that works better with your values (Waldorf here has every other day 1/2 day K)

When my ds was in K it was a relatively gentle introduction to school. He had a fabulous teacher. Grade 1 was a different story and we homeschool now.
Good luck with your decision.
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i'm a substitute teacher (just did kindergarten for one week while the teacher was out) and i think that holding back is a good idea. there is a kindergarten kid who was doing first grade work (it's a combo class) but just wasn't as emotionally mature as the other first graders. there wasn't much teasing but he definitely was disruptive during class because of his maturity issues and had this stereotype of the boy that can't sit still, is always talking, etc. and he seemed to live up to the role. the other kids would talk about how he always had to sit at a different table because he couldn't listen, stuff like that. he's actually repeating first grade next year because of the maturity issues.

my ds is october 30th and pretty darn advanced and though i'm sure we're going to homeschool i would hold him back if we were going to public school.

i would second the idea of a half day program if you do decide to enroll, especially if he's having trouble socially. a great book i'm reading is "hold on to your kids why parents need to matter more than peers". it's about schooling and attachment and a lot of it makes sense to me.
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I had to make this decision two years ago, and it is tough. Ultimately, we decided to send my son (Oct. 19 birthday). He is starting 2nd grade next year, and all is well. He is 6 and is the size of an eight year old. He is one of the biggest in his class, fine socially, and academics are a few years above grade level. He would have gone nuts if he were in a K class this year. And he would have needed a different sized desk.
I'd wait. I think if you have any doubts about sending him, it is best to wait. I've never heard anyone regret waiting, but plenty of people regret sending when they had doubts but went ahead anyway.

Here the cutoff is August 31st but I really would like to see it at June 1st.
Wait. I think 4 is too young for a formal program. Waiting is not the same as 'staying back'. There isn't anything wrong with waiting to start formal schooling. In fact, many problems can be avoided.
We're in Alberta and the cutoff here is even more ridiculous. Here, kids can start K if they're turning 5 by March 1st. My February baby could've gone to Kindergarten last year at barely 4.5!

However, we were on the fence, and for the entire summer, I had her registered at both kindergarten and playschool. I finally made my decision in the last week before school started and called the elementary school and told them she wouldn't be attending.

What really got me? The idea of my 4 year old on the playground with 5th and 6th graders. There were other concerns, things like wanting her to be more mature rather than less, and the other big factor of not wanting her to be the youngest in her class, and last one to drive a car, etc. And the fact that she'd graduate HS at just barely 17 and potentially want to move away to a university at 17.5, a time when most people don't make sound decisions. Not that 18.5 year olds do either, but I figure we need all the time together we can get!

Now, she's gearing up for her start of kindergarten and I'm thrilled that we waited. She has matured SO MUCH in the past year. Some of our friends sent their kids, and there haven't been any major catastrophes, but I do wonder if some of their concerns were the result of their children being the younger members of the class.

Kids might be smart and vocal and charming and everything else, but IMO, a 4 year old is still a lot less mature than a 5 year old, in general.

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My dd's birthday and the school cut off date were very similar to the OP's. I sent her. If I thought she was markedly immature or unready, I might have kept her back. But, we'd taught her to read and she knew all her numbers, and has reasonable social skills, so I didn't see the point.

She's one of the younger kids in the class, and she's also on the short side, so there are kids in her class who are a head taller than she is. But somebody is going to be the smallest and the youngest in any class. She's finished first grade and has done beautifully, so I'm glad I sent her.
I think two month doesn't mean anything.
A children have good ability in learning
I think that a lot of small children can benefit from an academic atmosphere. My daughters were both in full day pre-K plus after school program by the time they were four. They both have winter/spring birthdays.

My oldest was reading at age four so she got G & T, three times a week which is a story in itself. She needed to be in school of some sort rather than day care. My youngest was a bit wild and undisciplined. School is a bit like boot camp. Teachers are especially good at getting young kids to mind. Yes, T disliked the first few weeks of preK, but you don't have to like everything that is good for you.

Also as to being the youngest. I have a July 17th birthday. In the days when they tracked classes, that often made me one of the youngest. I was also one of the shortest. Learning where you fit in and then making the most of it is a life lesson. The good thing about being one of the shortest is that if the teachers make the kids march in size order (They still do that in some places), you get to walk near the head of the line.
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I'm not Canadian, but I would suggest holding him back. My brother has a 10/5 birthday and my mother went ahead and enrolled him when he was 4 (almost 5). Over the years she regretted it because he was always smaller than his peers and it did affect his ability to do sports (which he loved)...he was always a little smaller than everyone else. He had his growth spurt late too, so he didn't get up to size with his peers until he was a junior or senior and by then it was too late to do much athletically.

He turned into a big hulking 6'4" man, which would have come in handy as a sophmore/junior (rather than a junior/senior)

He never had social issues though. School was a relief from 4 older sisters and a brother
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Why are you worried he will be bullied in Kindergarten? Is it a school with a bad reputation? I would be more concerned that he wouldn't be academically or socially ready so close to that cut off date. If he starts K early and then fails then he will feel bad if he is left behind all the new friends he makes that year.
My DS1 is just wrapping up his kindergarten year here in B.C. (he is 5 and 1/2) and I have been affirmed often in my decision to have him start "early". I kept him home with me until he was almost 4 and then he started a "four-year-old program" for preschool. It was a parent participation preschool, very gentle in teaching style/approach to learning-basically all play-based learning and no huge expectations.

His year of kindergarten was a natural continuation of that, with lots of play and a learning environment with little pressure or expectation. It was great that his teacher was an Alfie Kohn fan , as am I! Her approach was nurturing, structured just enough, and inspiring! I have no regrets.

As for potential for bullying or the like, the Ks would be outside for "recess" at a time when the bigger kids were not, and thus interaction was avoided. They also let out earlier than the bigger kids. My child was often a *leader* in the class and was recognized for his particular gifts and special areas of knowledge (this was how his teacher taught, allowing every child's strengths to shine). He was the Nature and Gardening expert to name a few! So I disagree with a PP who thought that the younger children would end up "followers". Besides, a great leader is one who knows when to follow!

His teacher feels confident that he will continue to learn creatively in the years to come and certainly sees him as ready for the big Grade 1 in September.

You know your child best though. I remember feeling alot of doubt at the beginning too, so I know where you're at I think.
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Originally Posted by dinade View Post
As a former teacher children who go a year later end up being the leaders and those that aren't ready that are put in anyway kind of just follow the pack.
I agree with this...but only at the younger grades. I taught second graders for 8 years. Within a day or two of observing my new students, I could always tell which children had the "late birthdays." However, two years ago, I became a fourth grade teacher. When children are 9 and 10 years old, the age difference amongst my students is virtually indetectable. The younger students are just as likely, by fourth grade, to be the high academic achievers and the social leaders. As a matter of fact, my two strongest boys this year coincidentally shared the same late birthday of Nov. 27th! They started 4th grade as 8 year olds but excelled in the classroom and on the recess field.
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Thanks so much for all of your reply's, I will defiently read that book!
Im still debating what to do, but he is enrolled.
The school is a good one, and the teacher seems really nice. It's only 2.5 hours a day.
Since he's been going to playschool & says he doesn't want to go/kids are mean, I would look more at whether he was just bored at school.

Here(Alberta, but we're on Saskatchewan education) the age kids start seems to not matter.

Cut off is Dec 31, Tirza's bday is Nov 7 & she's small for her age. She went to playschool for 2 years(the first year was 1 day for 2 hours, the 2nd year was 2 days for 2 hours).

In K she was the smallest kid in her class, but she knew quite a few of the kids in her class(they put all the kids in the same playschool into the same K class)

In Grade 1 she was in a 1/2 split. There were 2 kids in the Grade 1 side who had failed Grade 1. There was 1 kid in the Grade 2 side whose parents purposely held her back. Tirza was 6 & this other girl(whose parents held her back) in her same class was 8. the problems Tirza had in Grade 1 were in gym. Being the smallest in her class there were some kids(especially the older Grade 2's) who were 1 1/2 feet taller than her. She had some intimidation in Gym because of it which is completely understandable & can happen in any class even if all the kids are all the same age. Her academics were average.

In Grade 2 she was in a solely Grade 2 class. The 2 kids who failed Grade 1 were in her class & at least 1 who'd failed Grade 2(the academics here are good, these kids come from families who don't encourage education alot). She didn't have as many gym indimidation issues even though some of these kids are alot taller still. Her academics were average-above average. They start reading by Christmas in Grade 1. By march of Grade 2 she was at a Grade 3 level & was actually marked down(by a TA) because she was supposed to be using aides for reading, but didn't need them. She was chosen to participate in the advanced French program when they ran in.

In Grade 3(just finished). She was in a 3/4 split. Some of the same kids who were in her 1/2 split class were in this class, including the 1 girl whose parents held her back. Tirza is 8 now & this other girl will be 11 in Jan. Zero gym intimidation even though Tirza is still one of the smallest & alot of the kids have at least a foot height on her. Academically in reading in October she was at a Grade 4-5, but her comprehension was at a Grade 9-10. In Math those silly exams they do in Grade 3 aren't required. She did them & excelled enough to move onto the grade 4 sections.

The school here does alot of grade interaction & honestly it cuts down on so much of the bullying. The older kids watch out for the younger ones & help to stop any incidents that may crop up. There is very very little bullying that goes on at all.
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