Opinions on sending child to Kindergarten or Pre-K this year?

JoEllen - posted on 03/28/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son will turn 5 in June and I am really torn whether to send him to Kindergarten in August or keep him back to go to Pre-K. I am struggling with the fact that when you figure it out.....he won't be 16 until the beginning of his Junior year -- definitely would make him the younger of his classmates.. He is a very busy boy - loves preschool and always wants to go play outside with friends. But Preschool teacher said he seems to be a follower. Acts shy when she asks a question, etc. He's NOT like this at home, but don't want to socially set him back by sending him too early. Please share your experiences/knowledge as I'd really like to hear what others considered when trying to make such important decisions...

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Misty - posted on 04/06/2009

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HI JoEllen

Alright I see your dilema.. My son was 4 and turned 5 during kinder. He loves school and is very smart and I would not have changed it.. i am glad that I didn't keep him another year. When faced with your PEERS and not a PARENT children act differenty and that's okay. I don't believe that you can tell if a child is a follower or a leader in PRE K that's for sure. It all depends on how you feel, but i would n't have held my child back!! Younger in the older grades is not always a bad thing, they will get to do more things in life too later on. The way i see it.. even if my child takes a year off after high school to figure out what they want to do, they will still enter collage at the same age as everyone else. They have the opportunity to expierence school to it's fullest. Then again you can always try him and if he doesn' work out in kinders then you can pull him. But it is only a half day in most places, and you never know.. give him a chance to shine! give him the opportunity to show you. Don't start under estimating your children early on... my son has had great success and is currently a 6 year old first grader with top dibbles test in his grade. You never know what children can do until you give them the CHANCE!

Nicole - posted on 03/28/2009

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that is definitely a personal choice and everyone has different views BUT I think you should send him to PreK this year since he is only 5 in June...especially since he is a boy. Think about when he is older and playing sports and running with his buddies. You don't want him to be the smallest and youngest of the group and playing catch up physically and mentally during his jr. high and high school years. Boys mature slower than girls too so you will also have the mental and emotional and social development part of it. None of my children are "summer babies" but if I was making a healthy choice for any of my 4 children on this topic, I would wait and send him to preK this year. They are forced to grow up all too quickly these days to begin with. Hope it all works out for you. God Bless!

Jessica - posted on 04/06/2009

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we have 4 kids with those funny birthdays that allow you to send them this year or next year. we sent 2 early and 2 late....my youngest son was 4 when he started kindergarden and turned 5 in october. we decided by what they were capable of and what was best for each of their personalities. the 2 who started early knew how to write their names, could count to 20, recognized the letters A-Z, could draw a face, tried to color in the lines, enjoyed pier interaction, and could sit still for at least 15 minutes. the 2 who starrted later could not do a fcouple of these. really its a personal choice but this is how we decided. good luck.

Diane - posted on 04/01/2009

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We struggled with the same question with our youngest daughter. The state in which we used to live, in you had to be 5 by July 1. We moved to a neighboring state and the deadline is Oct. 1. By moving, she became eligible a whole year earlier. In the end, we decided to start her in kindergarten and she's doing really well. We had a conference with her teacher a few weeks into school just to see how she was doing and her teacher who's been teaching for many, many years agreed that starting her was the best decision for HER.

If he's in preschool now, talk to his teachers and get their opinions. You could also contact the school where he'd be going and see if they do any kind of testing of basic skills. The school where my kids go tests all incoming kindergartners before school starts. The results won't keep them out of school, but it lets them know if the child needs extra one-on-one or small group help (speech, handwriting, working on letters, etc.) Some kids get pulled out of class so much for extra help that they would have benefited from starting a year later and instead going to a GOOD Pre-K program.

In the end, the decision needs to be based upon what is best for your son -- academically, socially, emotionally. Good Luck!! I know it's a tough decision.

[deleted account]

my son is the youngest in his class. He was not really ready emotionally but accedemically he is near the top of his class. He cried every day last year when his brother went to school and he couldn't so I sent him this year.

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I agree with Nicole, it is a personal choice and only you know your child. If you feel he isn't ready then you are probably right. Being so young I would probably hold him back if it were my situation. I think he may need a little more time being five years old before the pressures of Kindergarten.

Jenna - posted on 04/06/2009

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I am looking at this very same thing with my yongest of three boys. We looked at it when his oldest brother went to school and we started him when he was four when he started Kindergarten and is now 8 in 3rd grade. His teacher at the kindergarten round up told me that he tested well ready for school but that I had to think about the age thing. She told me that by the time he was in third grade I will have my answer as to if I started him to early or not. Well we started him like I said, and he is getting by but struggles with some things and is the youngest in his class. I have my second son who had to start a year later due to his birthday and when he was in Kindergarten his was reading at a first almost second grade leavel and in all the advanced classes. This year he is in first and is still well ahead of where he needs to be. So here comes son number three. He is in preschool now, the 3yr old class. He just turned 3 this past Nov. and should move up to the 4yr old class next year. He knows all his letters, numbers, colors, shapes and everything else a three going on four year old should know. BUT he has a very hard time sitting still, listening to some basic directions, and he just wants to be a boy and play more than sitting and doing preschool work. My husband and I have choosen to keep him in preschool now for the extra year and then start him that year later.

After all that what I am saying to you is, do you want to keep him back now to give him a firmer start to his school years or run the risk of having to hold him back later and then all his friends pass him by and he has to start over in that area.. If you are really unsure then keep him back one year. Let him start school when he is 6. Go with your mom's voice. =)

Amber - posted on 04/06/2009

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wow..you get to choose to send him this year? we don't my daughter will be 5 in july and she will be too old for pre-k..she's been in since she was 2 1/2 though

Heather - posted on 04/03/2009

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my sons birthday is in August, and as long as he reaches his milstones in his Pre-K classes i am sending him to kindergarden. Holding him back isn't going to change his social behavior or his personality. Advancing in grade levels is about academic performance and if your son is ready for the challenge don't hold him back out of fear of being socially akward. The questions i would be asking is why is my son acting so shy towards the teacher when he is outgoing at home? how is her tone? Sometines kids just don't connect with an individual, but as long as he is learning and acheiving he should be jsut fine.



just my opinion. Take with a grain of salt. In the end it is a personnal decision and there is nothing wrong with holdigna a child back if it is necessary.

Amy - posted on 04/02/2009

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My son had a sept birthday and i sent him because i thought he was too smart for the pre k class he could've taken. I was right in sending him, but i've decided to hold him back for another year in kindergarten just to mature. They'll let him do first grade work in the subjects he excells at next year, so i'm very happy w/ our decisions. He's had some behavior probs since he has a hard time sitting still, but academically, he's great.

Jessica - posted on 04/02/2009

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I would advise you to go with your gut on this one. You know your son better than
anyone, and what he is capable of. I had a May daughter, and had no reservations about sending her to Kindergarten, but with my son I was grateful that he had a December birthday and would have to wait until he was closer to six. He was just emotionally not quite ready just after turning five. I would take his preschool teacher's thoughts into account and follow your instincts. Good luck!

Brenda - posted on 04/02/2009

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If he has reached all of his mile stones on time thus far send him to Kindergarten.  If he had some missed milestones  wait  one more year.  My daughters birthday is in Sept. and the cut off was Oct. 1 so I sent her when she was still 4 but she knew all her letters and knew how to count to 10.  She also knew her colors and most of her shapes.  When she started she was actually higher academically than some other kids.  If anything they will hold him in Kindergarten one more year if needed.  I hope this helps you a little in your decision.

Leslie - posted on 04/01/2009

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I completely understand your struggle. My son was actually 4 on the first day of Kindergarten. Our decision ended up mostly being based on finances. I could pay $50 for a year of Kindergarten where he would learn more than he would in preschool OR I could pay $50-$200 a month for preschool. What you are saying about your son sounds very much like my son. I spoke with his Kindergarten teacher at the end of the year and he was doing well so on to 1st he went. Again, I wondered if he would be ok to move on but his 1st grade teacher said he was ready. He is now in 2nd grade and by far the youngest kid in his class. His grades are decent and he acts more mature that some of the older kids in his class. The reason my son was able to start Kindergarten...his birthday August 17th falls before the Sept. 1st cut-off. The first day of school however is typically around August 14th.

Leslie - posted on 04/01/2009

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I completely understand your struggle. My son was actually 4 on the first day of Kindergarten. Our decision ended up mostly being based on finances. I could pay $50 for a year of Kindergarten where he would learn more than he would in preschool OR I could pay $50-$200 a month for preschool. What you are saying about your son sounds very much like my son. I spoke with his Kindergarten teacher at the end of the year and he was doing well so on to 1st he went. Again, I wondered if he would be ok to move on but his 1st grade teacher said he was ready. He is now in 2nd grade and by far the youngest kid in his class. His grades are decent and he acts more mature that some of the older kids in his class. The reason my son was able to start Kindergarten...his birthday August 17th falls before the Sept. 1st cut-off. The first day of school however is typically around August 14th.

Tara - posted on 03/28/2009

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I agree with Nicole. Boys mature more slowly than girls throughout most of their childhoods and because your son has a mid-year birthday, he will be in the middle of the pack anyway, age-wise. If he had a January or February birthday, it might make more sense to push him forward into kindergarten, but from the information you've given, I think another year of preschool would be appropriate.

The school where I teach has a Jr. Kindergarten program. All of the 4 & 5 year olds entering school (our cutoff date is Dec. 31, which I think is crazy!) are tested for basic skills. Writing their names, colors, numbers, alphabet, answering questions appropriately, etc. Based on their score on the test AND their age when entering school, either Kindergarten or Jr. Kindergarten is recommended for each child. The Jr. K classes tend to be made up of kids with late birthdays (July- Dec.) who are only 4 when school starts. These kids haven't had enough time to learn some of the skills the 'older' kids have learned. For example, my son's birthday is Jan. 4. If he had been born 5 days earlier, he would have been eligible for Kindergarten a whole year earlier! He was not mature enough to have entered Kindergarten when he was 4-1/2, so I'm glad I didn't have to make that choice.

Look at it this way: it's better for your son to have another year of preschool in order to mature and grow academically and socially than it is for him to have to repeat Kindergarten because he wasn't ready in the first place. There will be plenty of other kids in his Kindergarten class (2010) who are six years old when they start school; he won't be the only one! It is much better for him to gain the skills he needs now rather than have to repeat a grade once he starts school for real.

Good luck!

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