should I retain my 5 year old child in kindergarten?

Suzie - posted on 04/05/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My daughter's birthday is in July. She turned 5, and started Kindergarten in August of last year. Her teacher has suggested that it might be best to retain her. She is on "the bubble" academically. She could go on; but, she would probably struggle. But, they say that if I retain her she will gain more confidence, will be at the top of the class academically, and will be one of the older kids in class instead of the youngest. She is very intelligent; but, has struggled in math and reading. They are worried that 1st grade would be too much, too fast. They also said that she will do better socially, especially with other girls (peer pressure, bossing, etc.) if she is older. I agree with all that they have said; but, still struggle with knowing if it is the right thing. She is very mature; but, doesn't engage with her peers as much as other kids, and they say she lacks confidence at school. When I think about her always struggling, not being able to drive when her friends can, and graduating when she is 17, I really can see the benefits of her repeating. At the same time, I don't want her to feel bad about herself for having to stay in Kindergarten. She's also become attached to her friends, and has made strong connections (inside and outside of school), that I don't like to break unless I have too. I definitely just want to do what's best for her. Does anyone have experience with this?

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Jennifer - posted on 04/07/2013

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HI! I am new to the group, but I do have some experience. As a teacher, I have seen first hand what happens to children who move on too soon. I have taught grades one through nine over the years and have watched children struggle in reading and math. It is very frustrating for them, and humiliating when they realize (usually in the upper grades) that they are "different". Self-esteem is a common topic that is brought up when considering holding a child back. However, I feel that young children whom are held back adjust much more quickly vs. those held back at a later age.
If it helps, I have a cousin who was held back in kindergarten (was bright like your daughter) and she is now one of the smartest, most well rounded young women I know!
When it comes to our own children, decisions can be extremely difficult. Just go with what feels right to you. You will do the best thing for her, and it will all work out in the end!
Jennifer

Abigail - posted on 04/05/2013

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Hi Suzie,
If your child is really struggling with math/reading and she's barely in kinder. I'd say keep her there another year, and take it as if she's in preschool now. It's best to do it now that she's in kinder than first or second grade where she'll know the difference. If you let her go onto first unprepared she will really struggle and the teacher or you will have no other choice than to have her repeat. You can also work with her during the summer by buying her early reader (1) books and number flash cards. Alphabet Wipe boards where she can practice her writing and such. Read to her and make up math games. Kids at that age are easily entertained with learning games. That'll help her a lot and shell be more prepared and will also boost her confidence and will do so much better next year.

Hope that helps, have a good day and good luck :)

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Sarah - posted on 04/07/2013

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I am an August birthday and so is one of my daughters. My parents did not start me in kindergarten until I was 6 and my husband and I did the same with my daughter. For myself I was a VERY shy child and having that extra year helped....still shy, but it did help. I sometimes did not like being one of the oldest in my class, but do think I would have hated being one of the youngest more. For myself I think it really helped both academically and also maturity wise. I look at the ones that were the older ones in the class verses the younger ones and in our teens you could really see the difference. I am glad my parents did it the way they did.

For my daughter she would have been ready both academically and socially to start school at age 5 yrs. But her nerves get the best of her sometimes and I have really seen that extra year help with that. You can tell her maturity by the comments from her teachers. She also tends to be a leader rather then a follower. Our school system does a really good job at challenging kids academically, so even though she may be advanced in some areas she is still challenged and graded on her growth. I have no regrets for holding her back a year.

Suzie - posted on 04/07/2013

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Thank you to both of you!! They are going to test her again in May, and even again in August. If her scores don't dramatically improve, I think I'm going to hold her back. Jennifer, that is her teacher's biggest point is that she doesn't have much confidence in herself. Homework is such a struggle, too. Lately, I've been thinking that it shouldn't be this hard if she is developmentally ready. Thank you again for all of your insights!

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