Should He Repeat Kindergarten?

My son is five years old and has been in a kindergarten class in a private Montessori school since he was four. We felt that he was academically ready for this and he has done well this year. The intention was to have him repeat kindergarten. His teachers think that he has matured socially. Academically, he is ready for first grade. He can sound out the alphabet, can read almost any three letter word and can do simple additions and subtractions.

Is it a good idea to scout around for a private school that would accept an "older" five-year-old in first grade (if such schools exist) or should I just have him repeat kindergarten? Physically, he is slightly built and looks smaller than the six-year-olds with whom he attended kindergarten this year.


It is almost always a good thing to hold a child back in kindergarten if his birthday is late in the school year. Children often develop faster intellectually than they do emotionally or socially. If your son is slightly built and just coming into his own socially, it is a good idea to have him repeat the grade. It is a very good thing to be among the oldest in a grade, particularly around adolescence, when kids deal with so many rapid physical changes.

But you need to make sure that his teachers give him advanced work, so he will continue to learn. There is no reason, for example, that a kindergarten teacher cannot continue to work with him on his reading. So, while I think that you probably should have your son repeat kindergarten, you should find out what his teachers are willing to do for him. If they feel that they can give him the intellectual stimulation he needs, then holding him back is your best bet.

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