summer birthday .... is she ready?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2003
summer birthday .... is she ready?
Thu, 08-11-2005 - 9:39am

Morning everyone....this is my first post on this site and I'm hoping for some help regarding my little girl... we just started kindergarten this week and it's been really hard (on her and me)...Let me give you a little background on us... she turned 5 mid-June ... she attended a preschool five days a week last year (9 - 12) and loved it... her preschool also has another program offered to children with summer birthdays (like my daughter) and might benefit from another year to grow and mature ... Her teacherr did recommend it for her because of social/confidence reasons. Although very smart, she is very shy and uncomfortable with strangers, new situations, asking for help, etc... Her teacher (who I loved) said even by year end ... she hardly spoke to her.. I admit ... we have probably babied her too much... you see we have two other daughters (17 and 14) and our 5 year old was an unexpected surprise... she is used to being with me and other older people... we haven't had as much time and experience as I would have liked to play with lots of children her age... just keeping up with the older ones and there activities ... has been really hard... she does have two really close friends and she plays nicely with them.... we never really pushed her into activities ... we tried ballet .... she went two or three times but cried and never wanted to participate or stay.... my husband said not to push her... so we never really pushed her...anyways.. this "stepping stones" program is geared to summer birthdays (mostly little boys attend) and the teacher is great supposedly on working with confidence, responsibility, etc... Everyone that has ever put their children there have raved about it. Granted most are parents of little boys.. I really was planning on just putting her in this program all summer, for two reasons: 1) we have school choice in our area... and we got our fourth choice school for her and I wasn't happy with that and 2) teacher recommendations. I felt like I really didn't have much choice... I even applied at a private school. They didn't have any openings ( knew that)but I thought maybe there would be changes/openings at the start of the school year... plus they would evaluate her for me and then I would have another opinion ... anyways their kindergarten teacher after evaluating her .... also thought maybe another year might be beneficial (starting late).... course, they suggested their pre-K 4 program because they had openings in it and not in kindergarten.... All summer I have gone back and forth on whether she is ready or not... In a way ... I looked at all the obstacles and signs (fourth choice, teacher rec, etc...) as an answer for me to delay kindergarten... but... I just wasn't sure... still am not... I want to do what's the very best for my little girl... you see ... my two oldest are also summer birthdays and we started them at 5 (we have Sept. 1 cutoff in florida) and they did "okay" ... just both always were shy and never really leaders... I can really tell which kids are the oldest in class.... Anyways] I started her reluctantly this week at kindergarten (public) just to see how she would do... (The stepping stones program doesn't start until after Labor Day.... so I had some play time)... the school we have her in was of course the fourth choice school so that was another concern of mine in sending her ... are we going to be happy there ....over the summer I had pretty much decided to hold her back .. put her in stepping stones and try again with school choice next year (hopefully I would get my first choice)... She's been doing okay this week... the first day ... she wouldn't let me leave and the asst. principal eventually had to intervene and pry her away... she did okay ... the next day my husband just had to take her... we are on day four and she is doing okay ....(I guess) but is asking each night to not go tommorrow... that she wants to go to the stepping stones program (I guess because of comfort of going to that school last year (she went to the four year old program). For the past two days.... she has been crying at the end of the day... worried that she has to ride the bus home.... I would love to be in the classroom to observe her... whether she is participating or not... but I know that is not the answer because of her clinginess.... My husband and I decided to take it day by day for this week and then evaluate ... did I do wrong by starting her???? Has anyone kept their child (especially girls I'm interested in) back a year and had any regrets??? Is there any negatives to retaining a child and ultimately being the very oldest in their grade? Another dilemma is this: Is this the school I want to be at for her elementary years? If not .. then I would probably apply for a transfer through choice next year (first grade) and its harder to get in to first grade because all the kindergartners move up... basically.... you have better chances getting in to your first choice school in kindergarten... plus the school I would apply for is within proximity to my home(we get preference)... Last year I applied for a school (magnet school) that was not within proximity... thus why I got my fourth choice.... I know I'm rambling ... that's how I feel inside... not knowing how to make this descision... I am just hoping for insight as to others experiences... advice .... things to consider ... from you moms... help me please!!!!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-13-2005
Thu, 08-11-2005 - 2:37pm
Bless your heart. The thought of them crying and having to be pried away can certainly ruin your day. I know that from experience! My son started first grade last week but his bday is in January. However, a dear friend of mine has twin girls that have birthdays in July. They were in the same kindy room last year. My son went to first grade and my friend held her girls back for pre-1st. She cried and prayed about it all summer wondering which was the best for her babies. The teachers and counselors recommended pre-1st for maturity reasons definetly not for educational reasons. The girls are very smart, but shy and small because they are twins with late birthdays. She decided to do pre-1st but wondered what the girls would say about the other kids moving to a new school and them just going to a new room. The girls didn't miss a beat though.....they are the "leaders" of the school. She is still wondering if she made the right decision. Well, I said all of that to say you are not alone. We all want the best for our children. Just talk to your husband and evaluate....and pray and pray....the answer will come. Remember, being a parent is the hardest job in the world!!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2004
Fri, 08-12-2005 - 8:11pm

HI Rina and welcome to the board.

I have a child who is also one of the youngest in his classroom. When he entered Kindergarten he was still 4 and didn't turn 5 until the end of September. I had many of the same concerns you had and I can totally relate to seeing your child cry because they do not want to go to school. For me, I had to take into consideration whether or not I thought my child was "ready" socially and academically" to enter K.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sat, 08-13-2005 - 10:47am
I actually am a kindergarten teacher and although I don't know your daughter, from your post it sounds like you would be happier if she waited. I have never met a parent who wishes they hadn't held them out, but always are glad they waited. I personally am waiting with my second son-he has a May 17th birthday and is way more ready academically than his brother was. His behavior tells another story and while I am not sure that another year will fix that but I do not want to set him up for failure and have him in time out all year. Another year will not hurt him, but can only work to his advantage in the long run. I think the stepping stones program sounds great and if she needs another year of comfort at a school she knows, she will be that much more ready and confident when she heads to kindergarten and you will get another year of prepping her and yourself to make the transition. Good Luck!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sat, 08-13-2005 - 12:04pm

My only issue here is that I think schools need to be more sensitive to the age, rather than making kids conform to standards that don't match the required age. If a school says the students cut off date is say 5 by October 1, then they better have the curriculum/expectations in line with a child who turns 5 Sept 31. In my opinion, May and June should definitely be with their peers in school. Then suddenly when more and more parents are holding their kids out to give them the edge, you have 7 yo's in with 5 yo's in Kindergarten and a very typical 5yo will be considered behind. Then at the tail end of this all we'll have 19/20 yo's in high school with 13 & 14 yo's.

I'm not saying your child should or shouldn't wait. In md the cutoff date when my kids entered was december 31, so may and june birthdays were smack in the middle. They could theoretically be a year and a half older than their classmates.