When to start school?

Becky - posted on 01/05/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )




This isn't a debate so much as a looking for advice post.
Cole is currently 2 1/2 and Jeff and I are already arguing over when he is going to start kindergarten! The reason it came up tonight was because I was telling Jeff that if we were going to send him to preschool next year, I had to get him registered soon. Anyway, Cole's birthday is Feb. 14, and our cut-off for starting school here is March 1, which I think is ridiculously late. I don't want to send Cole to school until he is 5, Jeff wants to send him at 4. He wants Cole to have the jump on his peers in graduating and getting out into the working world. I don't want him to be the youngest (and likely smallest) kid in his class. I also don't want to send him to school when he's not ready and have him struggle and be behind all through school. (Because stupid school system here won't hold them back anymore. They pass them, ready or not.) Everything I hear or read says, especially with boys, wait. But my stubborn husband thinks I know nothing... ugh!
What would you do? Do any of you have kids with mid-year birthdays? When did/will you send them school? (by school, I mean kindergarten)


Jodi - posted on 01/05/2011




Personally, I think you are better off erring on the side of caution and give it the extra year, especially with boys. Starting early is no gaurantee that he will have a jump on his peers, and in fact, if he isn't ready, will actually do more harm than good.

We kept my step-son back (he was a late birthday) because he so obviously was NOT ready for school (and it wasn't academic, it was emotional maturity), and it was the best decision we ever made. He is now going into Year 6 and doing really well, and his emotional maturity really did equate to that of the kids he is going through school with now.

Socially, boys are often not as confident as girls, and they do tend to be a little less mature in a school environment. I know someone who put their son into school (his birthday was close to the cut off date) and he struggled. After 3 months, they removed him from school and reenrolled him for this year just gone. His mum says it is the best thing they did, because he really wasn't emotionally ready for school the year before, and yet now, he is doing really well.

Here in Australia, most people send their children to kindergarten when they are 5. My daughter was 6 weeks shy of turning 5 when she started (she is one of the youngest and smallest, but copes extremely well, and always had all the signs that she would). 4 is very young for them to start school IMO.

Katherine - posted on 01/05/2011




I sent my daughter at 5, 4 is waaaay too young. He should still be in preschool. Even if he's super duper smart, he may lack the social skills and attention span at 4. That was my experience anyways.

Besides you DON"T want to set him up for failure. What's the rush? I would tell him all of this.

Edit to add: Tell your hubby.

Jodi - posted on 01/05/2011




Becky, here is an interesting article for you:


"While there is no right starting age for formal education, parents need to be aware that at age six or seven boys can be six to twelve months less developed than girls. Boy’s cognitive skills, fine motor skills, and social and emotional development often lag behind compared to girls of the same age.

Formal education is not a race and enrolling boys in particular too early can have long lasting effects on their school life. Schools and parents need to accept a more flexible approach to starting school based on children’s development rather than chronological age."

Have your husband read it and discuss the various aspects together :)


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Bonnie - posted on 01/05/2011




I think it totally depends on the child because as I mentioned my son started Junior Kindergarten this year and he just turned 4 in October. He never went to any daycare or anything and was almost always with me. He loves school and has never cried or anything.

Sarah - posted on 01/05/2011




My eldest started school when was she 4. She turned 4 in the July and started in September, so she's one of the youngest.

She was ready to start IMO. She had been going to nursery 4 days a week, so she was used to being in an educational environment. Also, she was already quite advanced with her numbers and letters and even reading and writing, so she was ready to expand her knowledge at school.

On her first day, she was completely fine, didn't cry or anything. She's always one of the top of her class for most things, and I think starting school when she did was a good thing.

I think that if a child is ready at 4, then they should go, if they're not, then keep them back. That's a decision only for the Mum and Dad to decide on though. :)

Jenn - posted on 01/05/2011




We have Junior Kindergarted here, so kids start as early as 3 (you have to be 4 by December 31) - but it isn't required that you send them. I did start my son, but he will be 5 in a couple of weeks. The way my girls birthday falls, they could start when they are only 3 (they would turn 4 on Dec 3), but we'll have to wait and see if they are really ready then. I've heard it is better to wait if you can.

Rosie - posted on 01/05/2011




that's a weird cutoff. i think our is in september. i sent mine to preschool when they were 4, and turned 5 during the school year, then they started kindergarten the next school year when they were 5 and turned 6 during the year.
i think waiting is good. i don't really have a reason why though, lol! i just have never heard of a 4 year old in kindergarten before, that sounds awfully young to me.

[deleted account]

That is a ridiculous cut off age. I would wait.

We did have this dilema w/ our girls (December born) and did send them. They did and are still doing (4th grade) well, but most of the kids w/ birthdays later than September/October ended up doing 2 years of K.... especially boys.

Jocelyn - posted on 01/05/2011




Hold him back for an extra year. For the reasons Jodi already listed lol
My son is born Jan 6, and I'd rather have him be 5-turning-6 during kindergarten, than 4-turning-5. He's turning 4 in a few days (yikes!) and he's in a 4 yr old preschool class, and he will go into the same 4 year old class again next year.

Jenny - posted on 01/05/2011




Our cutoff is Dec. 31st. My daughter was born Dec. 26th and started at 4. We never did preschool first.

My son is 3 weeks into January and we will see if we can get him in at 4 too. Being the youngest in her class has not slowed my daughter down one bit and she has always been at the top of her class. She's in Grade 3 and there have have been no social or other issues. So in my experience it has been good.

Bonnie - posted on 01/05/2011




As much as my heart wanted to wait, we decided to send our older son to Junior Kindergarten. He started this past September so because he was born late October, he was still 3 when he started. He was excited to start school and he really likes it, so I am happy.

Shauna - posted on 01/05/2011




If hes ready at 4 send him! he will thank you when he graduates earlier than others. My parents waited untill i was 6! i was practicly 19 when i graduated!!!! hated it! ... with the many children that are in preschool these days they are learning at a much younger age.

Lacye - posted on 01/05/2011




Becky, where do you live? I know in the state of Mississippi, a child can't start school until they are at least 5 years old. If they are 4 they are put in headstart (aka preschool!).

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