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Aug 28

Starting kindergarten later

There is a growing trend towards starting kindergarten later, sometimes at the age of 6 or later. Most parents who hold their children back at home, do so because they think their child is not ready for kindergarten. In their opinion, their child will be stronger (socially and emotionally) and smarter if they wait longer.

A recent study examined the academic results of students who started kindergarten later. Of course older children were performing better than younger students at first, but eventually they had similar academic test scores throughout elementary and middle school. So their ‘advantage’ over younger children had worn out by the time they were in grade 8.

As a result, by the time these late kindergarten students have finished their academic paths, they start working a year later. Also, parents have an extra year of childcare costs if they delay entry into kindergarten.

In my opinion, children should attend kindergarten as early as possible. The possitive effect that older classmates give them (setting higher standards, getting help from older students) is too valuable.

I wonder what your opinions are about starting kindergarten early or late!

8 comments

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  1. Michelle

    My two nephews are the same age and one started school early and the other a year later. The nephew that started early was a very sooky child and has since leapt ahead in leaps and bounds in terms of his social and emotional development. The other nephew who stayed home an extra year has struggled since starting school in terms of his social and emotional development.

    As heartbreaking as it was watching this tiny little person crying and not wanting to go to school (early) the decision was clearly the best one.

  2. Crystal

    Both of my boys started a 1/2 day of school when they were 3 yrs. old. But did not move into Kinder until they were 6, the teacher said they were not ready to move on. They have struggled the entire time! Because the school system labeled them as learning disabled because they didn’t do things as fast as the others, so I’m assuming the pre-school teacher didn’t do such a fantastic job. They were pigeon holed into resource/special ed classes the whole time they were in public school. I now homeschool both of them, and have been able to teach my 12 yr old how to multiply and divide in 2 months, something the public school hadn’t even began teaching him. There are some fantastic public schools out there, I went to a great one, it just so happens the public school here is not that great 🙁

  3. Rachel

    My son is 5 yrs. old (turned 5 in August) and I decided to enter him into a Junior Kindergarten program instead of Kindergarten. We decided prior to having kids that we wanted to send our children to private school. Most of the private schools in our area are full day kindergarten programs while public school is still a half day program. The private school curriculum we found was also much more rigorous than the public school curriculum. By rigorous, I don’t mean a lot of homework. Rather, a challenging, in class curriculum.
    So because of this, we thought it would be best to let him wait a year before kindergarten. His preschool teacher had suggested that he was ready for public school kindergarten but not for private school kindergarten. Also, socially he could have used another year.
    All this to say, each child is different and each circumstance and school is different. There are no set rules. Some boys can sit through a whole day at school when they are 5 and others cannot.
    Also, here is a note worth saying: Most of the teachers I spoke with, know or are friends with all say that the kids who enter kindergarten at an older 5 or 6 often end up becoming the leaders of their classes.

  4. Lynn

    If there is no advantage in starting early or later than let them start later. Parents need to teach their children proper behaviour and life skills before they arrive at my kindergarten door. I have had more floor peed on too many times and too many tears shed because children are not ready to be at school. I am their teacher not their parent. I am tired of being a baby sitter. Parents need to do their own homework.

  5. Lynn

    If there is no advantage in starting early or later than let them start later. Parents need to teach their children proper behaviour and life skills before they arrive at my kindergarten door. I have had more floors peed on too many times and too many tears shed because children are not ready to be at school. I am their teacher not their parent. I am tired of being a baby sitter. Parents need to do their own homework.

  6. Jessica

    I totally agree that parents need to teach their own kids, that’s why I am a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, there are less and less stay at home parents teaching their kids. They are usually in non structured daycares or at babysitters during that year they could be in school instead of learning those crucial social and developmental skills they get in a good class. I however do not agree that kids should go to school later. My oldest struggled a bit during her first couple months of her first year (paying attention, missing mom, and yes, peeing her pants, but that’s what a change of clothes are for.) but once she got used to her suroundings she did amazing! And I think it all boils down to the right teacher. I adore her teacher (same one for j/k and s/k) and am amazed everyday my child comes home and shows me what she learned. Yes, all kids learn at their own pace, but a patient understanding teacher helps tremendously! My youngest is only 3 but because of the amazing progress of my oldest and that rubbing off on my youngest, I would say she would have been ready this year for school. Unfortunately she can’t until she is at least 4. There is no way I would wait until either one of these girls was 6 to start school! And yes, the older ones would be leaders in their class if they started a year later since they would be bigger and a whole year older developed. Even without the aid of a teacher or parent a child will develop from their surroundings, just not at a quicker structured pace. My daughter has a couple classmates who are older and yes, they are more of the leaders in class. At such a young age, a couple months different in age does make a huge difference.

    For me, I will continue placing my children in school at the younger 4 to 5 years. I guess it just comes down to the fact I like their teacher and she does an amazing job with the kids in her class! I hope she has the same type of caring, patient, understanding teacher for every year she is in school! 🙂

  7. Athena

    In my opinion holding out a year to start Kindergarten shouldn’t be done with a “giving them an edge over the competition” mentality. A child should start when THEY are ready. Kindergarten isn’t an Olympic event.

    This article states “In my opinion, children should attend kindergarten as early as possible. The possitive effect that older classmates give them (setting higher standards, getting help from older students) is too valuable.” There is a flaw to this reasoning. If all the children are sent to Kindergarten as early as possible, who will be the older childern? Who will be setting the high standards and helping the younger classmates? For this proposed dynamic to work there has to be a mix of older and younger children.

    when it comes to determining readiness, I vote for looking at learning benchmarks such as letter and number recognition, ability to write or trace name, social aptitude, and if they can make it through the day without a nap and not fall to pieces over a broken crayon.

  8. Cathy

    There is a wonderful developmental assessment called the Gesell that has been around for decades. Gesell suggests that, everything else being equal, children succeed if they have a DEVELOPMENTAL age of 5 when starting K. (Developmental and chronological age don’t always match.) Most K teachers have one or two students in each class each year who: just want to “play”, can’t focus or attend for long, have fine-motor delays with writing and cutting, “bother” the other children. That is not mis-behavior, but young behavior. 4’s are “wilder” in behavior, 5’s are more steady and 4 1/2 changes between those. I suggest many of the problems in the educational system could be solved simply by making sure children are ready for K. (Pre-K programs would be wonderful for those children not quite ready.) Unfortunately, we don’t have those offered by our public systems in the US for the most part. Faced with the choice between a too-young child staying home in an environment with no reading and counting happening, or coming to my K classroom, I say they should come and learn unless they are so young and disruptive that the rest of the class suffers. (25 children to 1 teacher)

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