Early Acceptance Into Kindergarten – Why?

Parents of children that miss the cutoff date for entering Kindergarten and are too young to attend Kindergarten often think of, and find, ways to have the school system admit their young child.  In my school system the cutoff date for entering Kindergarten is that the child must be 5 years old by September 30.  No questions! However, if the parent chooses to send their child to another location that has an accredited Kindergarten program (i.e. Montessori or a Kindergarten program offered at a daycare center) then our school system accepts their ‘young’ child into first grade the following year.  I don’t really get what the hurry is.  I also often read about parents who have their child tested to see if they can be admitted early to Kindergarten based on academic knowledge alone.  Well any Kindergarten teacher will tell you that you can’t test emotional maturity and no matter how bright the child is academically, he/she usually cannot keep up socially with children who are much older than they are. Not to mention organizational skills, following directions, ability to stay on task, brining home assigned homework, etc. (not just in Kindergarten, but in 3rd grade, 8th, 10th and any grade for that matter!)  Also parents, if you are thinking about working your magic to find a way to have your child enter Kindergarten and be the youngest child there, PLEASE think twice about that.  Not only will your child be the youngest child in Kindergarten, but he/she will remain the youngest in middle school and on into high school when you really want him/her to be the oldest of the group.  Even when young children show leadership qualities outside of school, when surrounded by older children these young leaders, quickly become followers, and not always following the right path. If your child is born near your school system’s cutoff date, please give your child the gift of time, and wait one more year before entering Kindergarten. You will be thanking yourself for the next 16 years of school!

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4 Comments

Filed under Kindergarten, Parents

4 responses to “Early Acceptance Into Kindergarten – Why?

  1. Also, Malcom Gladwell explores this issue in his book Outliers. In an interview he says “Outliers opens, for example, by examining why a hugely disproportionate number of professional hockey and soccer players are born in January, February and March.”

    I didn’t read the book, but I think, from what I have heard, that he talks to the fact that older kids have an advantage from the start.

  2. Maureen Larrazabal

    Oh, so true!!! Everyone told me that my daughter, born late August, was more than ready for Kindergarten. Preschool teachers, mother in law, friends….and maybe she was but it didn’t matter. All I could imagine was my 17 year old heading off to college! I have yet to regret it and more than once been thankful that I went with my gut.

    I’m just glad I only have 2 children so I wouldn’t have to be so disappointed when my 3rd child didn’t get the BEST Kindergarten teacher ever – love this blog!!

  3. My daughter missed the cut-off (also Sept. 30) by one day last year and we seriously considered sending her to a private kindergarten so that she could be in first grade this year. The only reason we didn’t do that was because we brought home our third child from China last September and we wanted to take our daughter with us. And, I was concerned about then sending her to school while the new child (in her mind, sometimes, her replacement) was at home with me and her sister.

    I actually started kindergarten at age 4. I turned five in late December. I was always almost a full year younger than my classmates and never had any problems. I was student council president, valedictorian, Ivy League college, etc. Never any social problems, but I definitely grew up faster than I would have if I’d waited another year to start school. I loved that I was always “ahead” of my same age peers, finishing college first, starting grad school early, etc. Because of that, I was really upset that my daughter was missing the cut-off by one day. I did not want her to be the oldest in the class, as I felt she was missing out on valuable learning time when she was clearly ready for it. In my mind, being the youngest in class was a big advantage. But, probably, I would have been the same person whether I’d started school a year later or not. And, so will she.

    I think it’s totally a child specific question. But, I’m no longer upset about her being the oldest in the class. In the grand scheme of things, does one year really matter? No. Does it matter if she graduates from college at 22 vs. 21. No. What’s the rush? It just means I get to keep her with me for another year!

    Also, I had to giggle at the commenter who said she didn’t want to send her 17-year-old off to college. I think my mother is still trying to recover from that, 20 years later! lol

    This is a really great blog. I’m so glad I found it.

  4. kindergartenteacherclaire

    I too was a 4 year old in Kindergarten, made it through school with honors and a master’s degree, however, in today’s fast paced world of higher Kindergarten requirements and expectations than we ever had and we are always asking more, more more of the children, one more year of growing time is certainly helpful! thanks for taking the time to write.

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