Delaying Kindergarten? Would You?

Stephany - posted on 09/13/2010 ( 45 moms have responded )

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38993761/ns/...
"As schools start back into session around the country, some parents of young children face a difficult question: Send their little ones to kindergarten as soon as they become age-eligible, or hold them back in hopes that an additional year of maturity will give them an academic boost?
This voluntary kindergarten delay, dubbed "redshirting" after the practice of benching college athletes for a season to prolong their eligibility, is a source of much national and personal debate. As kindergarten programs have become more rigorous, redshirting proponents argue, kids need to be older to handle the curriculum. For children whose birthdays fall just before the kindergarten age cut-off date, redshirting bumps them from one of the youngest in the class to one of the oldest. It's a tempting prospect for parents who don't want their child to be the least mature in the room (or the smallest in gym class)."........

I know someone who delayed her oldest son because she didn't feel he was mature enough or socially comfortable enough for kindergarten. Then, because she didn't want her kids to question why they weren't 4 years apart in school (they're 4 years apart in age), she also chose to delay her second child. I know that some people test their kids in early. It all seems odd to me. In my opinion, kids go to kindergarten when they're 5- period.
How do you ladies feel? Would you redshirt your kid?

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[deleted account]

@Sara I don't know if I'd say our education system is great. But I don't know any other so its hard to compare. Lots of people complain here about it, but then, some people would complain regardless. There's just no pleasing some people! LOL

I'm sure things have changed since I was at school, and my daughter is still a baby so I haven't experienced it through her yet, BUT, yes, you start school on your 5th birthday (usually). The school years are from February to December. It's a bit complicated in that you can start school on your 5th birthday but depending on when you're born, you're either a Year 0 or a Year 1. So if you're born after 31 July (say August 1) you can start on August 1 but be classed Year 0. You will still be in with the Year 1 children learning the same stuff( who were born before 31 July) but the difference is, in February when the school year starts again, that child would 'stay behind' and be in Year 1 ('again'), where as all the other Year 1s would become Year 2.
Re your 'staying with the same teacher' comment, I don't think that's true. A class will have the same teacher for the whole year but will get a new teacher the next year. The class won't even necessarily stay the same, depending on the number of children at the school. The teachers do split themselves into Lower and Upper primary so it is feasible that a class could have the same teacher two years in a row. Also, and this may have changed, similar 'years' can be lumped together. For example, when I was in Year 5 and 6, the class was made up of a mix of year 5 and 6 children. I'm not sure why or how they allocated the children to the classes. It was the same at Intermediate. You didn't have a class solely of year 7 and a class solely of year 8, they were mixed. I guess it helps cater for the 'advanced' year 7s and the 'behind' year 8s?

They're also introduced 'unit standards', but it is so fiddly and confusing. Simply, at high school (and possibly beforehand, I'm not sure), every skill is given a unit standard, ie 'Can add 2 numbers together' and then you get a big list of all the specific skills you can do. It's tied in with some tertiary (University, technical colleges etc) courses too. So it's (supposedly) good for trade or skill based employers because they can see exactly what a person has achieved. And I guess it means you don't have to complete your schooling all the way to the end of year 13 without having something to show for it. When I was at school you could sit for qualification in year 11, year 12 and year 13 but now you can have a form of 'qualifications' even if you leave beforehand.

Sorry, that was a bit long winded. Does that help?

[deleted account]

I tend to lean towards your point of view Cassie (I'm also a teacher by the way, or used to be anyway!). No harm can be done by waiting, but lots of harm can come of starting too soon. If you study a little childhood development you see most kids can't understand the abstract until around age 7. A lot of reading and especially mathematical concepts are pretty abstract. So forcing a younger child into an environment where they are graded on their understanding of the abstract can be frustrating and counter-productive.

But two points I want to make:
1. Your child's curriculum may be well suited for their age group so they are doing just fine. I plan to really study the pre-k and kindergarten curriculum before I make up my mind when my daughter will start school.
2. This group is made up of intelligent women so it stands to reason that your children are intelligent. I'm sure starting early hasn't negatively affected your children, but it hurts children that don't come from families made up intelligent, educationally minded people.

Jennifer, this is how it works in the US:
Age 3-4 - Pre-school is not mandatory but most kids go.
Age 5 - Kindergarten is not mandatory in many states, but most kids go, and all public schools offer a kindergarten program.
Age6 - 10 - Elementary school, grades 1-5
Age 11-13 - Middle school or Junior High, grades 6-8
Age 14-18 - High School or Senior High, grades 9-12
Then on to college or university. I think it's funny that grades 11-12 are called college in Australia. I'm going to have to remember to say "university" when talking about college from now on. =)

[deleted account]

It does depend on the individual child. We talked about this a lot when I was training to be an Early Childhood Teacher. Boys especially are not always ready to start school when they're five. They do benefit from staying in a more informal, play based system, where they're not expected to sit still and concentrate for long periods of time. Here in NZ you can start school at 5 but don't have to be there til 6. I think for some children it would be of benefit to gain that extra year or even 6 months of maturity and concentration span before they start formal schooling. In delaying the start it could make the difference between the child enjoying school and seeing education and learning in a positive way versus pushing them before they're ready, making them feel like failures and making education and learning into something negative.

Kate CP - posted on 09/13/2010

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You have to do what's right for you and your child. For some that means holding them back. It can't be the same for all kids because all kids just aren't the same.

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Jane - posted on 09/16/2010

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I don't think holding back a kid is a good idea. Here in Colorado, the cutoff is September 15th. My daughter, a late July baby was one of the youngest in her class...and also one of the smartest. She wasn't as mature though but she managed just fine. My son, who's a mid-November baby is one of the olddest in his class. One of his closest friends JUST turned 16 at the beginning of September making him 10 months younger than my son and they're in the same grade. I do see where there is a definite maturaity difference but again, they manage just fine.

I agree...start school when it's time. I don't think it gives a kid a leg up at all...and in some cases, might cause issues for the kid being so much older than their classmates that they are thought of as NOT as smart because why are they so much older? They must have been left back.

Celeste - posted on 09/16/2010

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"Personally, I can see myself holding them back from first grade, but holding them back from Kindergarten seems a bit much, unless the child has a significant issue. I wonder if the parents are having a hard time letting go. I would have put my daughter in JK at age 3 if I could have. She was born ready!"



No, having a hard time letting go is not the issue at all. As I mentioned previously, in hindsight, I wish I would've kept my daughter another year. I was just SO ready for her to go to school. She struggled. Kindergarten in our district has high expectations. I was *shocked*. Making the decision to hold her back in Kindergarten was HARD. I *hated* making that decision. I *hated* seeing her stay behind while her other classmates moved on. But, now that she's in 2nd grade, I can see that I made the right decision.

Alison - posted on 09/16/2010

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Personally, I can see myself holding them back from first grade, but holding them back from Kindergarten seems a bit much, unless the child has a significant issue. I wonder if the parents are having a hard time letting go. I would have put my daughter in JK at age 3 if I could have. She was born ready!

Quianna - posted on 09/16/2010

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As most of you have already said- I think it truly does depend on the child. But you have to really know your child and not under- or over- estimate their abilities. If your child just is not ready then holding them back one year won't be so bad- but make sure you're preparing them during that year! Because if you don't it's not like time is just going to make your child academically, socially, and emotionally prepared if you're not doing your part as well. I'm actually on the other side of this issue, as my daugter's bday is Nov 8th and misses the aug 31 cut off in my state- but she's been in daycare/ and an early preschool program since just before her 2nd birthday. She picked up on vocabulary very early and has always enjoyed the interaction. Now that she wont even be able to start public school until 3 mos before her 6th bday is a drag because that's 2 extra years of paying for school but we'll do it because she LOVES it. I felt so bad when she saw some kids starting preschool (3-4) and she said, "mommy i have to go to school now so i can do my homework with my friends!" I truly think it should be up to the parents to decide when their kids can start school, or at least allow the child to be interviewed/tested to determine that rather than a cut off date!

[deleted account]

Thank you, Anika. I remember talking about your system in a reading methods class, so maybe your reading education is amazing. It is hard to compare something when you haven't experienced what else is out there.

Leah - posted on 09/15/2010

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I think it really depends on the kid. My 3 1/2 year old is so ready for school this year, but she isn't old enough yet, so she'll have to wait until next year :(. But thats just because she is like a sponge, she learns so fast and is so eager and she is really really sociable. But I am starting her in daycare 3X a week starting in October just to satisfy her craving for child on child interaction. But if my son turns out to be shy and unenthusiatic about school when he reaches that age, because he is a November baby, I wouldn't mind holding him back. Like I said it depends on the kid.

[deleted account]

Anika, when I was studying at university (!) we learned a little about New Zealand's educational system. It's supposedly very good. From what I remember, kids start on their 5th birthday whenever that falls, not in August or September. Then the student stays with that teacher until the teacher determines he or she is ready to move on. Is that true, or am I making stuff up...lol. Also, do kids do that in every grade? Education is a passion of mine, so tell me all you can think of!

Sherri - posted on 09/15/2010

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I didn't write that Jodi I copied and pasted for the NH truancy laws because I honestly didn't know either.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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I was just curious Sherri :) I have no idea what goes on here, as I've never had to deal with this issue, I just know what the law is. I don't expect to have an issue either. But I never say never about anything :)

Sherri - posted on 09/15/2010

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We have truancy officers that will show up at your house.
Whose responsibility is it to get my child to school?

The adult a child lives with is responsible for making sure that child goes to school. So if your child lives with you, this means you! If you don't make sure your child attends school regularly, you may be brought to court on a civil violation. The school must follow certain procedures first. If after several meetings with the school you still can not get your child to attend you may be forced to actually attend school with your child. The courts can also fine the parents and force them to do community service

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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The drop out age here is 17 (just raised from 15 recently), but they CAN drop out and do an apprenticeship.

I am curious (as it is only new here), how do they enforce the drop out age. I mean, if your drop out age is 17 or 18, and your 16 year old refuses to go to school or get a job, what is the punishment and who do they punish?

[deleted account]

In New Zealand, no education is mandatory before age 6, but most children start primary school on their 5th birthday. Before then there is a huge range of Early Childhood options which I think most families take advantage of. We do have a plan in place at the moment to make at least 80% of teachers in Early Childhood centres trained though. So for example, I work with under 3s but I am a trained teacher and my qualification is at the same level as a Primary and Secondary teacher ( I say this because we just had a 'Nursery trained' UK reliever and her qualification wasn't considered up to the same level as ours). But I ramble on....

From 5 years but mandatory 6-10 years old - Primary school Yr 0-6
11-12 years old - Intermediate school Yr 7-8 (though to be more confusing, some Primary and Intermediates are combined)
13-18 years old - Secondary school which can be called High School or College, just to be even more confusing!
And you can leave school legally at 16 years (but you can apply for an exemption at 14) and can stay legally til the end of the year in which you turn 19 or 21 if special needs.

Sherri - posted on 09/15/2010

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They just raised the drop out rate to age 18 yrs here. So no child under the age of 18 can drop out here. However, I think that is still different for each and every state in the US.

[deleted account]

Thanks Sara for the info!

Here in the UK it works like this:
Age 3-4 - Nursery not mandatory but most kids go.
Age 4-11 - Primary School (includes Infants 4-7 and juniors 7-11)
11-16 - Secondary School
16-18 - College or Sixth Form
18+ - University

Mandatory education finishes on the pupils 16th birthday so if they want to leave before doing their GCSE exams they are legally allowed to.

Sherri - posted on 09/15/2010

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I agree Cassie our Kindergartners have to have mastered at least 100 reading words in order to move on to first grade plus our math program also is hugely intense.

Celeste - posted on 09/15/2010

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There are some districts that test your child before Kindergarten. Our district doesn't. In my district, they have kindergarten orientation AFTER school has started. And again, I wish they would have something before school starts to tell parents what's expected. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I had no idea how high the expectations were for Kindergarten.

[deleted account]

Here (I'm in Ontario) kids start junior kindergarten when they're 4 (the cut of date is Dec.31 of the school year so some kids are 3 when they start) and they're trying to implement all day programs for JK and SK instead of the half-day programs that exist (some schools have this option, some don't). I think it's too much too soon. My guy is a January baby so he'll be close to 5 when he starts school, something I'm thankful for and I definately will be opting out of the full day program.

Yes, if I didn't think my son was ready I would redshirt him.

Sherri - posted on 09/15/2010

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Nursery is 3-4yr olds, Kindergarten is 5yr olds but usually still only half days, then 1st when they start full days, 2nd, 3rd etc.



Elementary 1-5

Junior high 6-8

High School 9-12

Jocelyn - posted on 09/15/2010

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In Alberta:
Preschool (not mandatory): 3-4 yrs old
Kindergarten: 5 years
Grades 1-6: ages 6 to 11
Junior High, grades 7-9: ages 12-14
High School, grades 10-12: ages 15-18

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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Sara, I am not sure if it is the same in all states. That is the set up in my state, but as far as I am aware, it is different elsewhere. When I was at high school in a different state, we all went to "high school" Years 7-12. That state now calls it "secondary college". It boggles the mind sometimes. I just wish they had a uniform curriculum across the country to be honest....

My brother live in WA, and when his kids were young, they started real school at Year One, and so on. No compulsory kindergarten. it does make it difficult for those who move interstate (in fact he had some issues and it is only because his son was in a gifted program that he ended up being able to follow through with the same age group). It may have changed since then, but it drives me nuts having each state different. And we don't have nearly as many states as you guys do!!!

Cassie - posted on 09/15/2010

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I think I lean a bit more towards holding my girls back until they are closer to six. I don't know if I will even be allowed to do that with Emma since she will turn 5 in June and school starts in late August; Kiera should be fine in that aspect.

I believe there is so much pressure put on such young children in kindergarten. They are expected to do so much that is truly not developmentally appropriate for children their age. In working in an elementary school (and working specifically with kindergartners and their reading last year), I believe that in most cases, it is in the child's best interest to wait as long as possible to start kindergarten. While many children do "fine" when started as an early 5 year old, they would do so much better had they waited a year to start. Developmentally, children will usually learn to read between the ages of 6 and 7 but our kindergartners are expected to read and put into intensive reading programs when they can't.

Some kids truly are reading for kindergarten as a young 5 year old but I think most kids would benefit from holding off a year.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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Just to add, a lot of people with children my daughter's age hold their children back another year. But honestly, she was ready (you know when they are ready) and I don't think it would have been beneficial for her. And here we are 3/4 of the way through her first school year, and I am confident it was absolutely the right decision.

Jodi - posted on 09/15/2010

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In Australia, it varies a bit by state, but where I live, the kids do 2 full days or 3 half days of pre-school when they are 3-4 (depends on when their birthday falls). This is not compulsory, but I am all for it. It is really only learning through play, and my kids had a great time. Following that, age 4-5, the kids begin Kindergarten, which is essentially a transition year into school. It is full time, but is not compulsory until a child is 6. My daughter was 2 months shy of 5 when she started, and because of the cut off date, she is the second youngest child in her year. Most children are already 5 when they start.

Following Kindergarten, we have Year 1-6 in that school, then they move to high school in Year 7-10 and College for Year 11 & 12, which is when they sit their exams for University.

And here I am already lamenting Year 7, as I sit helping my son with his homework while reading this at 9:30pm.....not looking forward to the next 5 years.....

[deleted account]

Can someone just clear this up for a confused person from the UK lol? What is kindergarten - nursery or school? Here in the UK children can go to nursery the school term after they turn 3 years old but that's not compulsory and they start school usually the school year in which they will turn 5 years old so they start when they are 4 years old. This is compulsory. IMO I think nursery is beneficial to a child's learning and social skills and Logan will be going as soon as he's old enough.

Jenny - posted on 09/15/2010

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My daughter's birthday is late December so she started at 4 and is generally the youngest in her class. It has not affected her in the least. She is a top notch student and well liked by her classmates. She is in grade 3 now has always enjoyed school.



My son's birthday is in January so he will be one of the oldest in his class. He's only 2.5 years now but I'm curious to see the differences between the two when he attends. He will also be attending full day Kindergaten which was instituted just this year in my area.



If Grace's birthday was just after the New Year I would have really tried to get in her in school anyways, she was way ready. Jacob is showing the same signs so far.

Shannon - posted on 09/14/2010

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I believe the should start kindergarten as soon as they are allowed.My school district did not want my daughter to start at 5 because she had learning disabilities. I fought it and she was able to start at five. If they have issues with maturity and social issues the sooner you start them in school the sooner they will get over them.

Rosie - posted on 09/14/2010

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i would only if i felt my child wasn't ready academically. me being a very non social person, i just don't believe that waiting any longer would benefit a child. at least it wouldn't of me, no matter what social situation you put me in that will never change.

i don't have a problem with starting school at age 5. my second child just started kindergarten, and he loves it. i feel it's done wonders for him. perhaps it could be that his teacher is absolfriginlutely amazing, but none the less, he enjoys it and is thriving, :)

Sarah - posted on 09/14/2010

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Ugh- I'm on the opposite side of this one. Zoe's b-day is in September and so she will turn 5 right after Kindergarten starts. I'm kinda irritated about it, not only do I think that she will be ready at 4 like all other kids, but it's also an extra year of daycare we have to pay for! I think the parent shoudl be allowed to decide when their child is ready- make it a range, not a set number, ya know?

Jocelyn - posted on 09/14/2010

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I am planning on holding Conner back. Aside from being a January baby, he has some issues, and sees three different therapists (speech, ot, and educational behaviorist). Even before we knew of his issues, I was always planning to hold him back. I would much rather put him in kindergarten at 5.5-6years than 4.5-5years. (in part to the maturity levels of boys lol)

Celeste - posted on 09/14/2010

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I'm another one who believes that it depends on the child. If I had to do it over again, I would've waited another year to send my daughter to Kindergarten.

She turned 5 in August and school started 2 weeks later. She had a HARD time, emotionally, socially and academically. She had such a rough time that we made the choice to have her do Kinder again. I am SO glad that we held her back because she's doing very well now in 2nd grade.

Kindergarten is just very different then when I was in school. I was just SHOCKED how different it is!

Sherri - posted on 09/14/2010

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That sounds awesome Anitka I wish they did that here. However, here because Kindergarten is public you are mandated to send your kids if they are 5 before Sept. 30th.

Sherri - posted on 09/13/2010

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It isn't an option here it is against the law if they are eligible and you don't send them. If they feel they are young they will just hold them back and they will do a second year of Kindergarten.



My son just made the cut off by 2 wks our cut off is Sept 30th. I wish I had held him back in 1st but I didn't because all his teachers insisted he was more than ready and he was testing ahead in all areas. He did great until 6th grade when the rug came out from under him and now he is struggling just to be able to keep up and is a yr younger than ever kid in his grade. He just started 7th grade and is only 11yrs old.

Jodi - posted on 09/13/2010

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My step son was held back a year from kindergarten. We felt he wasn't ready. Maturity-wise, he was (and still is) quite young for his age. At the time, he still had a few minor issues with his speech, he was still having bathroom accidents, didn't listen well, and various other little things which were really indicators that he wasn't ready. He was almost 6 when he started. He is now 11 (in Year 5), and we can still see that it was absolutely the right decision.



I believe it is dependent on the individual child. My daughter started kindergarten this year about 2 months before she turned 5, and she is doing fantastically. She is socially quite mature, and she is well and truly amongst the top of her class now with her reading, writing, drawing, and other aspects of her learning.



In Australia, school is not compulsory until a child is 6, and I think parents should exercise this if they feel their child isn't ready. Readiness is not about academics either.

Krista - posted on 09/13/2010

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I just looked on our school board's website, and according to it, children begin public school at 5 years old in grade primary. Children must be 5 years old by December 31 of the school year to be eligible.



So that means that Sam will have JUST turned 5 when he starts Primary (he's an August baby). I can live with that, and I'm sure he'll be ready to go by that point, as his daycare provider is great about helping teach the kids their alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc, and I'll also be putting him in French preschool three mornings a week once he turns 3.

[deleted account]

It depends on what the kids needs. There has been research that suggests kids who start school later and have more free play time while young, do better in the long run. (We discussed it on the other debate board). I most likely won't be starting my kid in school until she's four and that will probably be a half day or part time program. She'll go to kindergarten when she's 5 unless she needs the extra year in pre-school. But, like Krista said, I wouldn't do it to give her a leg up over other kids. I'm just not into the competitiveness.

[deleted account]

If my son continues his development at this rate, he will just go in when he is eligible... If I feel that emotionally he can't do it then I MAY consider holding back but I doubt it.

[deleted account]

My daughter is 5 & totally ready for school. She goes full days & LOVES it. No way would I have waited.

Krista - posted on 09/13/2010

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I could see redshirting your kid if you knew that emotionally, he just wasn't ready yet for kindergarten. But, to do it to try to give him a leg-up on the other kids? No, I don't really see the value in that.

[deleted account]

My girls were 4.5 when they started K. Technically they were classed as JrK because of their age, but they went on to 1st grade after that year. My friend's son (October born) did one year being called JrK and one year being called K (same classes, doing the same things, just called different).



My son (March born) will start K when he's 5. If he's not ready for first, he'll repeat K... I don't see that happening now, but then... he IS only 2.5 right now, so who knows...



My brother is 3 years older than I am, but we were only 2 grades apart. He did K, then a K-1 split class, and then 1st. He's October born and I'm November.



Did I answer the question or just ramble a lot? ;)

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