Oldest or Youngest in kindergarten

Amy - posted on 02/20/2009 ( 28 moms have responded )

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My 4 yr old will be turning 5 one week before the cut off to enter kindergarten. Any advice on whether I should hold him back a year or have him start at the age of 4? I have been getting mixed reactions. His preschool teacher says I will know in my heart whether he is emotionally ready, but I am really on the fence.

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Christine - posted on 03/05/2009

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As a kindergarten teacher myself, I would hold him back. My son missed the cut off by one day. I'm so glad I didn't push for it b/c most kids in his class were all turning 6 in late fall and early winter. He would have been the baby in the class, and I didn't want that. You want your son to have an edge in school. I would always tell parents to give your child the "gift of time." It's the whole package (social, emotional, academic) that makes them ready, not just if they will turn 5 by the cut off.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Christine :)

Christy - posted on 02/23/2009

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My son is 6 and has a September birthday. When he was 4 his preschool teacher said he was ready for kindergarten so I went ahead and enrolled him. I volunteered in the class and realized he wasn't socializing with very many kids and seemed withdrawn. His teacher and principal (whom I asked to observe him too) both said he was ready to move on to 1st grade. I was on the fence too and although everyone said to move him on, I just felt he wasn't quite ready yet. I held him back another year (he's in his 2nd yr of kindergarten now) and I'm soooo happy I did. Educationally he is way above average and probably closer to a 2nd grade level in many areas, BUT... he has a group of about 5 guys that play together on the swings every day outside, and he absolutely loves school and I have not heard him complain once about it being easy, I only hear that it is FUN. If I had to do it all over again I would have enrolled my son in a kindergarten class through a preschool then waited to put him in the public school. Also, I feel like it was right that I followed my instincts of my child rather than listen to others because I think it was the best course for him. You would rather him be ahead than constantly catching up.

Hope my story helps you a bit! My advice would be to follow your gut, because it's probably right for your child! Good luck!

Sunshine - posted on 02/20/2009

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I was put in school early and I was always emotionaly behind the other kids. I really wish my parents would have waited a year so I wasn't the "baby" in the class. My birthday was 4 days after the cut off, but the cut offs are quite a bit sooner now. I would say that neither decission is the wrong or right decission. There are pros and cons to both. Do you want that extra year for him to learn things? or do you want him in school as soon as possible? Going to  Kindergarten doesn't mean he will learn more or even different thing, you can work with him on the same things they are working on in Kindergarten. Then next year he will be the oldest and smartest in the class.

Paula - posted on 03/06/2009

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i sent my youngest son at 5, his birthday was in june, he knew his abc's and could count to 20, i felt he was ready, well that didn't work out so well, it was a fight everynight to do homework and by the end of the year he wasn't ready to move on to first grade and reading. so we held him back and repeated kindergarten and now as a first grader he is doing well and is emotionally/mentally more prepared since we held him back. take a good look at his maturity level and then decide.



 

Joanne - posted on 02/20/2009

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When is the cut off? Here in CT its Dec 31st. Which I think is too late for the cut off. I spent a lot of time in my older son's classroom during his kindergarten year as well as this year with my youngest. The kids that start at age 4 can really struggle. But you know your child best. If he's really bright and mature then he won't have a problem. But if he's borderline I would wait until next year. It's really hard for the kids because they expect the kids to learn so much now in kindergarten.

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Toni - posted on 03/10/2009

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Hi I am the mom of 3 boys my youngest son's birthday was right at the end of the cutoff and so was my oldest. The thing is it is not the age it is the child. My oldest I let start early and we ended up holding him back because he just didn't have the maturity level 2 understand that he had 2 do the work  not just when he felt like it. However my youngest he did awesome. He just fit right in and is now in the latter end of his 1st grade year and is doing well. I think for me it was easier 2 let my youngest  start early because I realized that with my oldest  it wasn't  the end of the world that we ended up holding him back so if my youngest would have needed 2 b held back I was ready for it but he just got it and we didn't need 2 hold him back.  Ultimately, it's you decision and no one knows your chikd better than you do.  Blessings

Kerry - posted on 03/06/2009

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My youngest is the youngest in his class, and it has not been a problem so far. He is in the first grade. I went through the same thing...should I or shouldn't I. I talked with his preschool teachers, Parents as Teachers, and then him. He wanted to start so bad! I decided to go for it. It was hard for me, but he did pretty well. Had a few days of not wanting to go, screaming and crying when I left him, but it was maybe 2 or 3 times. The teacher was great and really helped. My older son is one of the oldest in his class. Again, it hasn't been a problem. For him, he sometimes wonders why some of his friends are still 10 and he is 11 and in the same grade. Other than that, no problems. It all depends on the child too. My youngest is doing fine socially even being one of the younger kids, my older son needed a little more time socially, so it worked out for both of them. Just pray about it, and go with what you feel deep down. You'll make the right choice!!

Denise - posted on 03/06/2009

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My daughter turned five three days after the cut-off so I had no choice. I believed she was ready and was kind of upset that I didn't have the choice, but now I'm happy about it. I got to keep her home with me and little (she's really become a big kid) for a whole extra year. I wish I could do the same with my 3 yr-old son, but his birthday is too early in the year. Good luck with your choice, I'm sure he will do well whatever you decide!

Lori - posted on 03/05/2009

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My daughter turned 5 the day before she started kindergarten (2 weeks before the September 1 cutoff) and she's done really well. I would have worried about her being bored if she'd waited another year. She's now a 4th grader and doing very well. My son has a November birthday so is one of the oldest in his 1st grade class. He's really smart and does get bored at times but he really matured alot during the summer between 4K and 5K so maybe it was a good thing.



Ultimately, you know your kid best so just do what you feel he can handle. If you let him start at 5 and it doesn't work out for whatever reason, he can always repeat it. (Better now than later). I think that for most kids, it really doesn't make that big of a difference. The agony we put ourselves through to make the "right" decision far outweighs the effect it has on them (in so many areas of their lives). 

Lisa - posted on 03/05/2009

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We don't seem to really have a choice here in Ontario, Canada.....my daughter turned 4 last July and started what we call Junior Kindergarten and they expect them signed up the March before she is doing very well but I was concerned cause she is my baby and as such was still acting like one....didn't like using the potty, sucking her thumb, and not doing things for herself.....some days were a struggle but she is doing fine now if anything I think it helped her "grow up" a bit just because I think at 4 1/2 now she is capable of doing more things for herself just chooses not to....I don't remember having these problems with my oldest daughter when she started but she has a May birthday and I think those extra 2 months gave her a bit of an advantage....I wish we did have some sort of choice though cause I know a lot of parents want to keep their kids in preschool or daycare for the extra year.....instead we get 2 years of every other day free baby sitters....not that that is necessarily a bad thing but I don't know if all the kids are ready to start at 4.

Andrea - posted on 03/04/2009

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I have been wondering about that to my daughter who is 3 right now will turn 5 before the school year stars if I send her right away she would be 17 through her senior year i'm worried that maybe she wont be ready to go that soon. If I dont send her that year they will not let her in preschool here because she would be old enough to go to kindergarten. I guess I still have time to think about it. I have heard some of my friends that were the youngest in the class say that they always felt behind.

Carrie - posted on 02/25/2009

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In CO the cutoff is mid October.  My oldest son's birthday in the end of April and we sent him to kindergarten because he was definately ready academically.  He's now in 4th grade and has always done great academically, but socially is a bit less mature than the other kids.  His brother's birthday is in July and we decided to wait a year before starting school.  He's in first grade now and I'm so glad we waited the extra year.  He's doing great academically and socially.  That extra year really helped him to be ready.



When making the decision to wait, my husband and I thought past the first few years of school.  We thought about what it would be like for him to be the youngest and smallest guy in high school, the last one to get to drive... 



Friends also let us know that schools are a lot less likely to hold a student back and repeat a grade now too.  The school officials are afraid it hurts a kid's self-esteem to stay back when their friends move on.  But what about when they're struggling to keep up.  School gets harder, not easier with time.  They're going to be in school for at least 13 years, let them be a kid for just one more.  (my opinion of course)



Good luck with the decision.

Rebecca - posted on 02/24/2009

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We started our son this year at 4. He had the first birthday of the year. He has some young behaviour and he did struggle for a few weeks. He is still a little slower than the other kids in the class at cutting and hand writing but we are planning on working with him during the summer.



Our initial thoughts were to have him complete 2 years of kindergarten if necessary.



We are now looking to have him go to first grade with the possibility of repeating first grade if necessary. He is in the after school program at school and it is just daycare so he doesn't get enough practice with his hand writing.



His teacher would love for him to do 2 yrs of Kindergarten but I see no reason to spend yet another year focused on art and craft and not enough time spent on learning. Learning disabilities are not diagnosed until 1st or 2nd grade and with less funding, schools will not put extra resources into Kindergarten students unless they have too.



But our most important reason is because he wants to go to first grade. He told me before christmas he wanted to go to first grade when he is 6 and I gently explained there were things he should be able to do to get into first grade. He thought about it for a couple of weeks and he is really starting to take responsibility for getting what he wants.

My brother was 16 when he graduated in Australia and I don't think it made any difference to his success at school.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you will be criticised anyway.

Amber - posted on 02/23/2009

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Quoting Amy:



The cut off here is Dec 1st.  Alot of the schools around here stopped doing the readiness exams because they do them so early that by the time school starts the kids have grown so much that the tests are inaccurate.  His bday is the end of Nov, so he would already be in school a good 3 months before turning 5.  I dont know....he does good in pre school and has mastered or is mastering almost everything, but there are times where he just acts so little still.  Thank you for all the comments though.  They were very helpful and this was my first post on here, so its good to know there are alot of other moms out there willing to help.  Thanks again!!





I just read down, NO I would not start him that soon.  My daughter's bday is Oct. 1, and that is the cut off in KY.  My children also went to a school that is rated #1 in the entire tristate area.  The school they went to did not focus on sports at all.  In fact you never knew who was on the team or even who the cheerleaders were.  They were all about academics.  Always wining all the debates and that is what the school is known for.  We recently moved to GA so they are unfortunatly not at that school anymore.  I truly miss it.  But I know with out a  doubt and all the kindergarten teachers would agree, dont put him through that.  It is so hard on them.  The way her first teacher put it "Let them be a kid one more year, it will do a world of good!"  She was right.  I cannot stress that enough.  I was so hesitant I was thought I was being insulted, but I know now my daughter will always appreciate it.  Maybe you could talk to a teacher at the school.  It might help with the decion making.  I dont know.  I hope this helps.

Amber - posted on 02/23/2009

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OMG!  That was us totally with our youngest, her preschool teacher told us she was ready!  Very smart.  So we started her in kindergarten.  She hated it!  She fell to sleep in class.  Cried every day.  I talked to the teacher and she said that Shelby was smart enough just not mature enough and that is something that simply comes with age.  I feel school is the most important thing my childrens lives.  We felt that Shelby was under so much stress to be just 4 that we were ruining her education career.  So no brainer, we took her out of school and started her this year.  She is 6 now and almost finished with kindergarten.  We continued work books at home and she became on of the top students in her class.  She LOVES school and does not fall asleep or cry!  I dont regreat it one little bit.

Karen - posted on 02/22/2009

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The cut-off date in NJ is Oct 2nd, I believe.  My son's birthday is in Nov.,  he's the youngest in his kindergarten class (private school) and is doing very well.  However, if I put him in public school they would put him back.

Terri - posted on 02/22/2009

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I am trying to make the same sort of decision.  We did not have a DK program at our school (his birthday is August 25) so I put him in Kindergarten with the plan to have him do it again next year with a different teacher.  He has had a great year acedemically and  socially.  I don't know if I should still plan  for a second year of Kindergarten just so he has the advantage of being the oldest or send him on because he is ready.  I change my mind every day!!

[deleted account]

I live in Ontario, Canada and my son is turning 4 on March 3rd. He is already registered for Junior Kindergarten and has been in daycare/preschool since last August. I'm not sure he would have been ready, even with his two younger siblings without that daycare! JK starts this fall and my son is very excited to go, he will be in French Immersion (I know us Canadians eh?) and has already visited 'the big school'. I figure he is just waiting to learn more, he is obsessed with numbers and memorizes how to spell words. ("Mommy, w-a-g-o-n, wagon!") He can write his ABC's and is fully potty trained. I cannot imagine he will have problems.

Some kids are ready earlier than others though, I know many children who have been held back because they simply weren't ready. I know there are many children in Hayden's daycare that are the same age, and will not be attending JK this year. This isn't a bad thing, like your preschool teacher said, you'll know. :)

Then again, my birthday is in November, and the cutoff date has always been Dec. 31st. I started JK when I was 3, turned 4 two months later. Early kids, late kids, it's all the same. The teachers are trained for this, they know how to deal with kids in all situations!

Marie - posted on 02/21/2009

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My 4 yr old will be starting kindergarten when is his 6. The cut-off here in CO is mid Sept. His b day is in Nov. so he will be on the old side. What's worse is that he's in the 97% tile for his height, so not only will he be older, he will also be the tallest!

[deleted account]

If he seems mature enough and listens well I feel you could send him. My oldest is one of the youngest in his class (he's in 5th grade now) and we could have held him back until he was 6 for kinder but decided that he needed more challenge. If he has the skill and the maturity level send him. If you feel that he is not mature enough to sit and listen to the teacher keep him in preK one more year.

Betty - posted on 02/21/2009

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we went ahead and sent our son and he is doing fine. that said, if we had it to do over i do believe we would wait the extra year anyway.

Lee Ann - posted on 02/20/2009

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Definitely depends on the child. Some kids are more mature than others and can handle Kindergarten at an earlier age while others aren't and can not.  Go with your gut - you know your child. If he's not ready, there's no point in starting him and setting him up for failure. But if he is ready, no sense in holding him back either.  Did you preschool teacher give you an ideas on how she felt if you were unsure? Usually they can give some guidance....



 

Michelle - posted on 02/20/2009

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I have my daughter is Kindergarten, here the cut off date is Dec 31st and her b-day is Dec 12th. She is the youngest in her class/grade.  She is doing great, I think it all depends on your child. Her pre K teacher told us she was ready and would likely have very little to no problems at all. I also think that it helps her being the oldest child in the family, she has a younger brother a a few younger cousins.

Amy - posted on 02/20/2009

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The cut off here is Dec 1st.  Alot of the schools around here stopped doing the readiness exams because they do them so early that by the time school starts the kids have grown so much that the tests are inaccurate.  His bday is the end of Nov, so he would already be in school a good 3 months before turning 5.  I dont know....he does good in pre school and has mastered or is mastering almost everything, but there are times where he just acts so little still.  Thank you for all the comments though.  They were very helpful and this was my first post on here, so its good to know there are alot of other moms out there willing to help.  Thanks again!!

Jennifer - posted on 02/20/2009

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I think it really depens on the kid - my daughter was five just before she started kindergarten, and she's at the top of her class in just about everything they've been doing. However, my cousin is in the same situation and was held back in kindergarten to catch up. If you have any doubts about starting him I would suggest waiting; because even if your doubts don't have a basis they're probably right.

Jennifer - posted on 02/20/2009

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I think it really depends on the kid, but generally it's better to be the oldest than the youngest -- gives lots of advantages, physically and developmentally.

[deleted account]

It really depends on your son.  My son's birthday is July 25, but he was already reading in preschool.  There was no way we were holding him back.  He is definitely immature compared to the rest of the class, but we just couldn't see it.  However, there are kids out there who just aren't ready. 



As a teacher myself, I've seen plenty of kids cry their eyes out when they get dropped off that first week.  Most will stop after that.  Those who don't will stop soon enough.  Kindergarten teachers are special people, and they can handle it and help children through the transition. 



Here's a link to one school's Kdg. readiness exam.  Children are not expected to be able to do everything on the exam, but this may give you an idea of what to expect.



http://www.covenanthome.com/kready.htm



Good luck!  I'm sure you'll choose well!



 

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