Starting Kindergarten Early?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Starting Kindergarten Early?
6
Fri, 11-04-2005 - 1:30pm

Did any of you start any of your children in Kindergarten early?

I probably won't do it, but I am thinking about having my younger daughter tested for early admission next year. She turns five at the end of September and the age cut off for our district is five years old by August 31st.

I would not have done this for my son, who I think could have benefitted from a little more 'growing up' time before Kindergarten, but my daughter is very mature and, I believe, already meets the critera for what they are supposed to know for Kindergarten admission. (She turned four in September.) She recognizes all the letters and knows what sounds they make, and the last time I heard her counting, she made it to 76 before making a goof. She is also recognizing some three letter words, although I haven't really sat down to teach them to her. I think she is mostly picking it up from her first grade brother and just from her Dad and I reading to her. I think she also knows most of her shapes, but I'm not quite sure on that one.

I know this is less important, but physically she seems to fit in with next fall's batch of Kindergarteners as well. She is quite tall - in the 95th percentile for height and is already taller then some of her friends who are slightly older and will be going to Kindergarten next fall. When I see her in her preschool class - she looks like a giantess next to the other three and four year olds who still look so 'baby' to me, whereas my daughter looks very 'little kid,' if you know what I mean.

I can see a lot of good reasons to put her in Kindergarten next fall, but I also see some good reasons to wait. I don't want to push her to grow up too fast and since she is the 'little sister' here at home, it would probably be nice for her to be the oldest in her class at school. I think she would do fine socially, but I am not as sure of that as I am of her academics. She tends to be a 'one-friend' sort of girl and can be shy. She does stand up for herself and is amazingly stubborn when she wants to be.

I thought I would see if any of you had done it with your children and what your experience has been.

Thanks in advance,

Susan

Photobucket
Avatar for nlas99
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 11-04-2005 - 7:04pm

Susan,

I have two girls whose birthdays are late in the year, October 24 and Aug.30. Our school district cutoff date for turning 5 is December 2, so both my girls were "young" kindergartners. Also, both my girls are *very* tall, ;) (My 20 year old is now 5'9")

Both girls were very ready academically for school, as yours sounds like she is.

The only things I would ask myself, in your situation, having had a Kindergartner last year and working in the classroom quite a bit, are: Can she follow directions? Can she work independently for about 15 minutes while the teacher is working with a small group? How does she handle conflict among her peers? Is she ready for homework and good work habits?

These are a few things I thought of to ask yourself before deciding.

Lynn

Lynn
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2003
Mon, 11-07-2005 - 10:53pm

I think it varies per child.


Powered by CGISpy.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 11-08-2005 - 2:07pm

Hi, Susan! =)


I personally kept Tre out a year because school is just too strenuous these days. Trinity is a Feb girl so I think she'll be OK to start but I'll see when the time comes. Basically, ask yourself how she will be doing in school when she is 14 or 15 and involved with other kids, some unsafe situations and school projects that will monopolize her free time. How does she do making choices? Is she self sufficient? Does she strive to learn? Does she enjoy independence? Does she have and maintain

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-29-2004
Thu, 11-10-2005 - 6:54pm

We elected to start our now 11 year old daughter early in K as she has an October birthday. At the end of the year it was apparent to us that she was not ready to proceed into 1st grade although she tested at appropriate levels. After debating the social aspects, we elected to have her repeat Kindergarten. That same week, parents of 2 of her good friends made the same decision. And, another now good friend went on to first grade but then stayed back and repeated first grade with my daughter.

Having gone through it once, we said there was no way we were going to start her younger brother early (also an October birhday), BUT a kindergarten program run in the same district by a well-liked teacher had very few kids (only 10 in the class) so we started him early and were very up front with him, the administration, friends and everyone else that asked, that this was his first year of kindergarten. He then repeated kindergarten at the elementary school we are regularly assigned too.

My suggestion then would be (a) don't do it, or as a fall back (b) start your daughter with the publicly expressed intent that unless she is at the very top of the class in all aspects then she will repeat kindergarten the next year. The only proviso that I would consider adding though is that if she clearly is getting along socially then I might consider having her go on to first grade with the expressed intent of repeating first grade. One of the moms of the other girls who repeated kindergarten with my daughter has always said that in retrospect she thinks that the girls were all fine socially after the first year of kindergarten. In her opinion, which over time I am tending to agree with, is that the girls would have benefited more from the additional year of first grade instruction where the focus is on reading skills rather than socialization.

As the kids get older I see the age difference coming and going. Our oldest son is now in 8th grade and this is a year when the age difference is readily apparent. His best friend since Kindergarten is almost a year younger and has always looked and behaved maturely. We had dinner with his parents last weekend and he is doing the same stupid things (not handing in homework that he has completed, etc. . ) that our son did last year in 7th grade. The other couple we were with who also had an older 8th grade boy said they too went through the same thing in 7th grade. Anecodtal evidence of course, but perhaps not coincidental. Along the same lines we have other friends whose son is also in 8th grade in a neighboring district and born the same week as my son's best friend. This boy is very bright, but clearly is not on the same maturity level as my son and his friend. His parents both agree that it was a mistake to start their son early based on where they sit now. They and their son, who is a good kid but immarture for an 8th grader, are looking at private schools so he could repeat 8th grade with less social stigma.

When we made the decision with our daughter to repeat kindergarten, the long-time principal of her school told us that in her experience no parent had ever regretted holding their child back. You obviously can't know for sure, but school is more than academics, and IMO there are very few benefits in being among the youngest in your class. Ultimately, your daughter will be competing against kids academically, athletically and socially who could be up to a year older than her. That won't ever be easy. I would hazard a guess that if you looked at any almost any competitive list (SAT scores, all state teams, etc. . .) you would find that the "leaders" are disporportionately weighted in favor of the older kids in the grade.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2004
Thu, 11-10-2005 - 9:04pm

You have all made a lot of good points and I very much appreciate your taking the time to tell me about your experiences. I talked to my husband today and while we, of course, don't have to make a decision right away, I think we are both of the mind to leave things as they currently stand and let her be the oldest in her Kindergarten class. In her preschool, they offer a 'focus' group for children which greatly resembles Kindergarten. If we can afford it then I think we just have her do that next fall. Another good friend brought up the point that we can always have her tested for the accelerated programs they offer in school if we think she needs to be challenged more.

Thanks to everyone for all the good 'food for thought.'

Susan (the youngest in my class!)

Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 11-16-2005 - 4:18pm
I'm glad we helped! Good luck! You're a great mom wth lots of insight. I'm sure you'll make the best decision for your family. =)

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


Image hosted by Photobucket.com



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting