Starting kindergarten at age 5 vs 6

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  1. Schools in our area are gearing up for kindergarten registration. The cutoff date for enrollment is the child must be 5 by Sept 30. There is a growing trend to hold those with summer birthdays back a year, especially boys, which also can be known as "redshirting."

    I'd love to hear experiences from parents who have been through this before. If your child was close to cutoff dates, did you choose to send or hold back? Happy with your decision? Any regrets?
  2. I have 2 kids (one on the way!) and I am also a teacher. Where I live it is full day kindergarten and students have to be 5 by December 31 so there are a lot of kids in there who are 4 years old for the first few months of school. All of my friends' kids who were 4 when they started have done great. My children had both just turned 5 when they started. They loved it and were very successful. Personally, I would not hold my child back until they were 6.
  3. It's really hard to say I suppose it depends on the child. My oldest was turning 5 two weeks after the cutoff date of Sep 1st. We saw that she was ready for school so we took her to a private Kindergarten and she did wonderful. She then enrolled in public 1st grade with no issues at all.
    Our second daughter is the youngest in her class. Where we are now the cutoff date is Dec31 and she was born Dec 27. She did great as well and is having no issues whatsoever as a first grader this year. I have no regrets at all!
  4. My daughter started pre k at age 3 and we had a pilot program at our school so it was full day everyday and then kindergarten she was 4 because she has an early birthday. She did fine I actually find that she adjusted well to the structure of her days. Some days she was tired but overall she did really well
  5. I think for the most part most summer birthday/Sept birthday kids should be fine to start at 5, and not wait. There are probably a few exceptions out there, but for the most part kids know a good amount at the preschool ages to get them a good start in kindergarten. One of the girls in my son's pre-k class won't turn 5 until September, but there would be no reason for her to be held back...she is learning the same things as the other kids in the class that are 5/turning 5 right now. And she is probably far ahead of those kids that haven't been going to preschool, etc.

    I was a August birthday, and I started at 5, and other than always feeling like my birthday was later than everyone, I always felt the same age/fit in with the age group.
  6. A child development specialist told me to consider that starting a child in kindergarten a year later has a big impact to their life as they hit puberty. The oldest child in the class will start their physical changes much earlier than their classmates which can be very awkward and embarrassing for the child.
  7. We are halfway through kindy now. DD's birthday is July 30th, so not close to cut-off but a summer baby. She is doing great, socially and academically.

    I have three friends whose kids are late September (cut-off was October 1st last year). Two enrolled their kids (one is a girl, and the other is a boy), and both are doing great. Initially the boy was having a hard time adjusting; he also had issues for adjusting to preschool. Not sure if it's an age issue. One friend held her daughter back because she is very timid and quiet, and she is really glad that she held her back. She said that her daughter is getting socially more mature and coming out of her shell. It was a social maturity issue, not academically.

    It really depends on the kid, and whether it is beneficial to hold him/her back.
  8. Thanks for the replies. I am having such a hard time making the decision. We will know a little more after DD's kindergarten screening is completed. I had full intentions of sending her as she is in her 3rd year of preschool. Academically, she is on target. I do worry a little about her social/emotional development. She is our first child and can be quite sensitive at times. When discussing kindergarten readiness with a few other parents, many bring up "the gift of time" and wanting their kids to have that extra self confidence that comes with being an older child in the classroom.

    I saw her teacher for a bit today and she said that DD will do "just fine" in kindergarten but could also "benefit from the extra year." It seems that they really want the parents to make the final call which is understandable, but difficult when trying to make such a big decision.
  9. In the UK, children start their first academic school year mostly aged 4 (their birthdays can be anywhere from 1 September to 31 August). There is no parental choice here. As I teach that year group then you see a wide range of maturity and ability, often regardless of their age, but more so what they are exposed to and whether there are siblings. Some will wander in on their first day as though they have been at school all their lives and others (even now, some 7 months after starting) still cry when their parents drop them off (although it's generally soon forgotten once they've found their friends).

    Personally I was always the youngest in my year group being a very end August birthday but it didn't hold me back in terms of academics or friendship circles. Our eldest child, however, will be one of the eldest in his year group when he starts school.

    Around Christmas time, 4 months into the school year, our shyest children started coming out of themselves and joining in more readily in large group work. Some children definitely take longer to adjust than others and need more adult support.

    It's not something I've ever really considered given how the system works over here but you raise interesting points so I don't think I'd worry too much academically speaking.

    Another posted commented about puberty - I assume that once you have decided whether your child starts school aged 5 or 6 then they move on in academic years regardless of age?
  10. Yes. Once children enter school, they progress through the grades regardless of their age. So if a child is "held back" a year before entering kindergarten, s/he will be one year old than his/her peers in 1st grade, 2nd grade, etc.
  11. I think it depends on the kid. My DD was an October birthday so there was no choice but I wouldn't have wanted her to start earlier. She wasn't mature enough. I wish they would have had full day kindergarten when she did start because academically, she was ready for way more than she got in that stupid half day kindergarten. I think if I opted to enroll the 5 year old boy, I might find a half day kindergarten, but again, it depends on the maturity level of THAT kid.

  12. Where we live everyone holds their summer babies for another yr. that's definitely what we'd do to try to give an advantage. My DH was July, his mom held him & for him it was very good. His mom was a teacher.
  13. My DS has a summer birthday in August. I could have held him back and waited until he was 6, but he had been to a preschool program for two years prior and I didn't feel that program had much more to offer him. He was socialized, academically doing well and was ready to move on. Additionally, the friends he had in the pre-K class were moving on, and it would have been difficult for him to start a year later and see his former friends a year ahead of him.

    He is currently in 6th grade, and aside from some disorganization (which his older brother, who did not have a summer birthday, also suffered from), he is doing quite well. He has been successful both academically and socially.

    What I will say is that in my experience, first children tend to be be higher achievers and are often ready for more challenges earlier. Unquestionably, some of it depends on the personality of the child, but overall I would say that first children tend to be ready for school earlier than others.
  14. Depends on the child. I was 4 (December birthday) when I started and many times I felt socially behind my classmates. I wish I'd held our son back (he has a late November birthday) as he had the same problems (social; he was fine academically). You'd think I'd have learned from my own experience but apparently I didn't.
  15. I agree that it depends on the child. I think what is "normal" for your school can play a factor as well. I think early on, waiting can benefit kids that aren't as socially advanced as others or have a hard time sitting still. If you don't wait, they all tend to catch up with one another after a few years anyhow. But then again in high school it becomes a little more obvious again when you have kids 1+ yrs older than yours.

    My DD has a spring birthday and has always been tall/big for her age and was ready. My boys have a summer birthday, that combined w/ them being twins and having a dynamic of playing more w/ one another than other kids made me decide to wait a year until they were 6. Best decision ever.