Holding one twin back in kindergarten

I have five-year-old old twin boys. They both have some speech and language problems and are in different classes in kindergarten. A teacher has told me that she wants to hold one of the twins back in kindergarten. I don't think it would be a good idea to keep just one back. I wouldn't do this at a higher grade, but would it hurt to have them both repeat kindergarten?

Question:

The decision to retain a child is always complicated. Will the extra year truly be beneficial? Will the child struggle if he is passed on to the next grade level? Are there other interventions that might be equally effective? It is a decision that needs to be weighed very carefully.

Your situation is complicated further by the fact that you have twins. I can understand your hesitation to pass one child on to first grade while the other repeats kindergarten. However, I think it is important to also consider the impact on the child who may be unnecessarily held back.

Communication with your children's teachers is going to help you make the best decision. Since you have already talked with one of them about retention, you may want to talk to the other one, too. Find out from the teacher just where your child is at both socially and academically. Perhaps retention would be beneficial for him, too.

Retention can be ineffective for some children. Younger, less mature children, can benefit from an extra year in kindergarten, but older, more mature children will not flourish if they stay behind their peers. Because your children have some special speech and language needs, you may want to discuss the possibility of retention with their speech and language therapist. They may need an additional year of kindergarten to further develop their communication skills.

The final decision rests with you. Gather as much information as you can about your sons' academic, social and emotional progress this year. Visit a first grade classroom to see what is required of those children. Talk to other parents of children who have been retained. Use these resources, as well as your own instincts, to make the most appropriate decision about your children's educational placement for the next school year.

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