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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought it was a universal Waldorf practice for kids to typically not start 1st grade until they were 7 years old. This is the way it was at our previous Waldorf school.

I recently checked with a different Waldorf school, and they put kids into first grade at the age of 6. They also require their "senior" kindergarten children to attend five days per week or not at all (which would mean 4.5 to 5+ year olds).

Just curious as to what your Waldorf school's policies are on these things. Thanks!
 

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I'm in San Diego, looks like you are too? Is that where you were looking? My son goes to WSSD. He's in kindergarten, and just turned 4 in Nov. He's the second-youngest in his class. There are two 5yo girls (I think they are 5) who are in his class 3-day. He's 3-day, and one other boy who turned 4 in spring. The other 12 kids are 5-day. Seems that the age cutoff for 3-day isn't too strict.

There are quite a few 6-year-olds in his kindy class right now. I believe their policy is a minimum age of 6 in (before?) the preceding May for first grade, but that they evaluate each student case by case to determine readiness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yep, San Diego! I was looking into the other school here. So yours starts them at six then as well. I wonder if this is the way it is at most places or just here? Or was I totally off in thinking that Waldorf schools generally want kids to be 7 before they start first grade?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did speak with your school as well, and was told that since my daughter is 5.5 that she would have to do the 5-day program, which is why I then looked at Sanderling. I'm rather surprised by this! I guess I thought our old school's methods were straight Waldorf and therefore fairly standard.
 

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Well, this doesn't necessarily apply to your situation since I am in another country but...

Our school has a pre kinde which is from the age of 3-4, three days a week. Then there is kinde which is from ages 4-6. When children are 4 they can go four or five days (half days really) a week. But when they turn 5 they must attend for five days a week as that is the law here.

Class one starts at age 6, I don't know of any kids that started at age 7 though some are very close.

As for days and times, even when the kids are out of kinde and into the lower school, they may go five days a week but two of those are half days.
 

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Aaaah... First Grade / Class One readiness is a pretty big topic. That said, it seems that we are discussing cut-off dates here, not readiness so much, which does say something. A lot of school seem to do the same thing.

There are several cut-off dates that I have heard of. This site, for example, states that the child 'should have experienced seven Easters on Earth' before entering Class One. So their cut off date seems to fall somewhere in April. (This means the child should have turned six by that time.) Other schools use the end of May, or even of June as a cut-off date.

I have heard of schools who wait until the children are already seven, too, but that seems pretty wrong to me. I'm not sure I can explain why --partly just because it feels so-- but I will try. For a start seven seems pretty late to begin to learn to read (and knit and count and all of that). Secondly, if you wait until 7 to start Class 1, it seems to me that the child is always a little ahead of the curriculum. As children approach 8, they move out of that dreamy, my-teacher-is-the-best-thing-ever mood of Class 1 and into the trickster energy that is best met by fables. You don't want that to happen while they are in Class 1. As they approach 9, they begin to 'wake up' in a whole new way and they are capable of so much more independent work -- this is Class 3 territory, you don't want it happening in Class 2.

And so on and so forth. Of course all this is somewhat subjective, and also relative, as different children do these things at different times. They are, however, also influenced by the state the whole class is in --in fact that class often becomes a being in itself-- and it seems to me that the more older children you have, the faster it is going to move ahead.

But to go back to readiness, I think children generally make the move from kindergarten consciousness to Class One consciousness somewhere between their 6th and 7th birthdays, and so I would consider any child that had turned 6 by September first. That said, it is unlikely that a lot of summer children would be ready, and it is likely that even children born in the spring would not be.

Sometimes I think a lot of this confusion comes from the fact that Steiner, in my translation of the Kingdom of Childhood at least, talks about the seventh year, and people forgetting that the seventh year is the one before the 7th birthday, not the one after it. But, not being able to read German, and never having bothered to check with the original, I may well be wrong on that.
 

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well, what they said to us about the move to first grade is that it is *usually* kids who are 6 on or before the May before school starts, but that the teachers evaluate all children who are around that age, so some may move over a little younger (summer kids who are determined to be ready). And perhaps some borderline kids don't move on, not sure. Ours son is nowhere near there yet, but actually we don't even expect to be here anymore by then, so its just not been a burning subject for us! (I'll be done with school and we're so sick of living hand-to-mouth in the land of sunshine and smiles, people like us are just not valuable here, but thats so OT! The school has been great for our son).

FWIW I do think it could hard at the other end of schooling to be 19 and still in high school.

And yes, the older 5yo and 6yo kids do all go 5 days. Its 8:30-1, so they aren't there for long days. (they can stay longer, but the "normal" day is over at 1PM every day). We also did look at Sanderling. Its a smaller school, with really a focus on early ed, and I do think they are a little more flexible. In either case, if you felt really strongly that your child was not ready for 5 days, the teachers might be more flexible than the official policy states.
 

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At our school the children have to be 6 by May 31 in order to go into first grade in the Fall. dd1 just turned 6 November 25 and she is in her final year of Kindergarten. So, next she will only be 6 when first grade starts, but she will be 7 in November. It is funny because the public school cut off here is December 31 and our admissions co-ordinator told me that that is a big reason for people not choosing our school. Interesting how much of a hurry people seem to be in to have their kids grow up. I want mine to stay little for as long as possible
 

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the school my grandchildren attend...

I'm not really up on the details. My gd started 1st grade aged 6 and then turned 7 in dec.

My gs has a summer birthday, so he'll probably be 7 by the time he is in 1st grade. He is young for his age in many ways, so an extra year of kindergarten seems about right for him.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
My gs has a summer birthday, so he'll probably be 7 by the time he is in 1st grade. He is young for his age in many ways, so an extra year of kindergarten seems about right for him.
Yes, summer birthdays often end up in first grade already 7 years old. My DD turned 7 the July before she started first grade. My class of 3rd graders has 6 children who were already 9 before the first day of school. I find it healthily balanced to have a mix of "older" and "younger."
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by DimitraDaisy View Post

Sometimes I think a lot of this confusion comes from the fact that Steiner, in my translation of the Kingdom of Childhood at least, talks about the seventh year, and people forgetting that the seventh year is the one before the 7th birthday, not the one after it. But, not being able to read German, and never having bothered to check with the original, I may well be wrong on that.
Yes, this is probably where my brain fried!!
 

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At our school, children need to have turned six by May 31st to begin Kindergarten in the Fall.

ETA: The only thing I have heard about age seven in regard to school is the Waldorf tenet to not begin to teach reading until age seven. (There are also lots of developmental shifts that happen at seven, as well).
 
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