When should your child start Kindergarten? A lot of people say it depends on how mature the child is. Others think it depends on the size of the child, especially if they want them to play sports. Some parents just can’t afford preschool or daycare and feel Kindergarten is their only option. My oldest son has a December birthday, so it was a pretty easy decision for me. He’s currently in 7th grade and has continued testing well above average and is gifted in Math and Science. So I feel that being 5 3/4 was a good age for him to start. My daughter and youngest son both have July birthdays. My daughter attended preschool and was mature and “smart” enough to start Kindergarten at a very young age 5, but did I want her to be the youngest in her class? I did lots of research and took a lot into consideration. My husband is 6’2” and I’m 5’8”, so height was an issue for me, but it wasn’t enough to base my whole decision on. I talked to different teachers from different schools and all of them thought it was better to give a child the advantage, also known as “the Gift of time.” I also did lots of reading on different testing they do on younger/older kids and the older kids were almost always a step ahead while the younger kids were trying to catch up. I got feedback from parents who told me they wished they’d waited. Some even held their children back in later grades or told me their kids have needed tutors to keep up. I was informed that gaps in achievement have many causes, but a major one in any kindergarten room is age.
Almost all kindergarten classrooms have children with birthdays that span 12 months. But because some parents are giving their kids more time, kids are now up to 15 months older than the youngest, a difference in age of 25 percent. A P.E teacher shared his thoughts on the Presidential Fitness Test stating that the older kids tend to be more confident, have better form, while many of the smaller kids can barely run straight. A teacher also stated that, she used to encourage parents to send their children to kindergarten as soon as they were eligible, but she is now a strong proponent of older kindergarteners, after teaching children with birthdays who just make the cutoff. She said, “Every year I have two or three young ones in that August-to-October range, and they just struggle a little. Kids have a better chance of being at the top of their class, are more likely be leaders, have better chances of succeeding at sports. Readiness is a relative issue. It’s really natural as a teacher to gravitate toward the kids who are easy to teach, especially when there’s academic pressure and the younger kids are rolling around the floor and sticking pencils in their ears.”
I decided to wait with my daughter, Brooklynn. She just turned 8 and started 2nd grade. She is well above average both academically and physically. I’ve also decided to start my youngest when he’s 6 as well. I understand all kids are different and this is truly a personal opinion. I also know parents with younger kids whom are doing well. I just wanted to share my story, because I know it’s a decision every parent has to make.
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