Oldest Or Youngest In The Class- Which Is Better?

Eleanor - posted on 12/14/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )




Hi everyone :)

My daughter was born in early December 2008, and she is starting prep in 2014!

With the system they have (aka the cutoff date), she will be not the oldest and not the youngest in her class. I was wondering whether you think it is better to be the oldest, or the youngest? Like, what advantages are in each option?

Oh, and when were your children born and what year did/will they start prep? What pro's and con's have you seen from being the oldest or the youngest?


Eleanor x


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Ev - posted on 12/15/2013




I will use myself and my sister as examples here.

I was born in the month of July and when I turned 5 years old it was about two months until the school year started. I did well and never repeated a grade while growing up. I was also the youngest in my class and when I graduated high school I was still 17 years old and had a month to go until I turned 18.

My sister was also the youngest in her kindergarten class. She was born in August and it would be a few weeks until school started up when she turned five. She on the other hand read things backwards, wrote backwards, when right to left instead of left to right, and had a few other issues. In first grade, the problems continued and finally at the end of year our parents wanted to go through first grade again with her but the school insisted she go on to stay with her peers. During the summer things changed and we moved out of state. Our parents then decided to enroll her into the first grad again and she did go to school there repeating as my parents wanted. Not only was she improving because of the choice, she excelled. She graduated high school as one of the oldest in her class.

My own kids started kindergarten being almost six years old. The cut off dates have backed up quite a lot since I was in school. Plus the months my kids were born in kind of made the difference too. When you are born betweeen January and March, you are most times 5.5 years old when you start kindergarten. And this was what happened to both of my kids. My daughter did well in school and had no problems. She was not the oldest nor the youngest but somewhere in the middle. My son was also in the middle of his peers in age but he had another set of problems on top of being immature too. With help he has come a long way and you would never know he had those troubles unless someone told you. I could see the difference was in their maturity levels that made the difference in my girl and boy. But then me and my sister were girls and the differences were similar to my two kids.

Angela - posted on 12/15/2013




Girls tend to achieve more academically and also they're more mature. I totally agree with this.

Eleanor - posted on 12/14/2013




Thats true, it does depend on the child. And I do believe girls mature faster than boys. My friend has twins, a boy and a girl, and they are now 15. But they were born in August, and at that time, the cut off dates were different. So, they were some of the youngest kids, and her daughter was always more mature then her brother. This continued for about 4 years, when I think he caught up to her. People didn't think they were twins, because of the difference in maturity!

Thanks x

Jodi - posted on 12/14/2013




It depends on the child. My daughter is one of the youngest in her class, and copes quite fine, both academically and socially. Her birthday was 6 weeks before the cut-off. She is achieving at her year level. She was born March 2005, and started school in February 2010.

My step-son, on the other hand, was not ready at that age, and we held him back another year. Socially he was still struggling, he was emotionally a very immature child and he was also undergoing speech therapy at the time. He is now 14 years old and excelling at school. That was the best decision for HIM.

My son, he went to school on time and was neither the oldest nor youngest, and at 16, he is doing well.

I don't believe it is whether they are oldest or youngest that makes the biggest difference, but I do believe that boys mature later than girls, and girls are usually more ready for school at a younger age than boys - research tends to back this up. Even as a high school teacher myself, I can see this.

Angela - posted on 12/14/2013




I'm British. In England, the academic year runs from the beginning of September until the end of August of the following year. So the oldest kids in a year will have their birthdays in early September.

The youngest kids will have their birthdays in late August.

This means there's almost a full year between the oldest and youngest kids in the same year group. I've heard of siblings from the same family who are quite close in age and are in the same year group at school.

When children are quite young, the advantage is in being one of the oldest in the year group. After 2 or 3 years in the school system, the advantages are in being amongst the youngest. Because the child who is the oldest in his/her class will invariably have more expected of him or her - in terms of academic achievement, sporting success, behaviour / conduct etc .... Not every kid can deliver on this.

The youngest in the class / year group however, is not necessarily going to be the weakest scholar, just because every other child is older than them. They might personally feel it's a drag to be younger than all their classmates and moreover their birthday is always in the school holidays. But there's less pressure overall.

It also means that should it come to the worse and they get dropped a year (e.g. having to repeat a year - which can happen to ANY child - regardless of whereabouts on the academic year calendar their birthday falls!) - it's much easier and they're very close in age to the next group of kids they're alongside in the classroom.

But in the early years the advantages are definitely for the older children.

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