Early entrance to kindergarten

Today we had a visitor.  It’s a common occurrence in my classroom, only today, our visitor was four years old.  We’ll call him Charley.  Charley’s dad brought him to school so that I could watch him play in my room for an hour, and evaluate whether or not he will be okay to enter kindergarten in the fall, even though he won’t be five by the cutoff date.

It’s a new system, instituted last year, that works better than the old system.  The old system was that parents begged the principal, and the principal said yes or no depending on their gut, or their mood.  It was very inconsistent and unfair, so the early childhood department came up with a procedure that all schools are supposed to follow. 

So now, in the spring, I have small visitors who come and work in my room with my students, and I observe them and fill out an observation form.  If they get enough points, they pass, and they can come to K in the fall.

I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I’m glad that the early childhood dept. got involved, and that they came up with a consistent procedure.  On the other hand, I think it is still a bit too lenient.  I think many of the parents who want their child to get early admittance to K are really thinking about the full-day aspect, and not having to pay for daycare in the afternoon (if their kids are instead sent to a pre-K classroom like mine).

Also, it’s a grade skip.  Starting kindergarten a full year before you’re supposed to is a grade skip, and I think it should only be for the kids who are clearly advanced academically, socially, and emotionally.  Besides, don’t a lot of experts say that boys tend to mature more slowly at that age, and shouldn’t be pushed ahead?

Hoagie’s Gifted page has a bunch of articles on the topic, as does this article from the ERIC Clearinghouse.

Charley did fine.  He was quite reserved, but he separated from his dad readily, and did respond when spoken to.  He followed directions, paid attention to what was going on around him, and followed our routines.  He had fun playing in sand, and even got along with our Miss L. — that is, until she hit him and had to leave the sand table.  I talked to his dad, who said that they just moved here from another state, where the cutoff is different, and where, had he stayed, he’d be going to kindergarten in the fall automatically.  Also, he knows his letters and sounds and is starting to learn how to read.

I’d be interested in hearing what other people think.


40 thoughts on “Early entrance to kindergarten

  1. Here are my thoughts starting with personal experiences:

    ~I was 4 when I started kindergarten (turned 5 in October). I was “smart” enough to handle it, size wise I fit in, but physically (fine and gross motor) I lagged behind consistently from my peers and I also lagged socially. I was always in the top reading groups and put in advanced classes throughout my school career. I celebrate that now, but when you’re growing it’s emotionally difficult to deal with the physical differences and social difficulties.

    ~My daughter turned 5 only 6 weeks before kindergarten and she knew only 4 letters (the ones in her name, LOL) and maybe 5 numbers. (Doesn’t sound great, since I’m a teacher, but the stinker didn’t want to learn from ME.) However socially, emotionally and physically she was ready. We sent her. She has done beautifully and is quite successful academically, socially and physically.

    ~My mother-in-law kept both my husband and his brother (both October birthdays) out of school until they were 5 turning 6. She swears it was the best thing for both of them.

    ~I wish my son had been a summer birthday, so we could have kept him out of school for another year. Academically he’s fine. Socially and physically it is difficult for him. (He’s a late spring birthday.)

    These are all things that I relate to parents of preschoolers when they have a summer birthday child (cut off date where I am in the midwest is 5 by Sept. 1st for K entrance). Then I take the teacher stand point.

    ~Can the child sit for group time?
    ~Can the child have sustained attention at an activity? Especially a sit-down activity, since our district requires a lot of seat work in K.
    ~How is the child’s social/emotional behavior?
    ~Are the gross and fine motor skills developed?
    ~Can the child follow rules and routine?

    Then we look at the academic abilities. In our district they like to see at least 10 alphabet letters known, numbers 1-10, the child can write their name (uppercase 1st letter, lower case rest), can identify shapes and colors, understands print concepts, identifies some sounds that letters make, one to one correspondance counting to at least 5, and how their cutting and writing skills are developed.

    However, talking to Kindergarten teachers that I know, they have told me the most important thing isn’t the academic knowledge, but it is the classroom behavior that makes a difference in how a child learns.

    Those are my thoughts… Aren’t you glad you asked? LOL Sorry for the Loooooong comment. 🙂

  2. Oh, one more thing…

    I have a hard time with it when parents want their child to go to kindergarten to save on day care or because they snagged a spot in that exclusive school that they want their child to attend.

    It is a personal decision for the parents, and I sincerely hope they take it seriously.

    It’s sad that children are forced to grow up so quickly.

    Okay, seriously. I’m done talking now.

    Mrs. V

  3. Why are we trying to get our babies out of the house so fast? I just don’t understand it. I wanted to be home with my children. I wasn’t a teacher at the time but I taught my children to listen, say their ABC’s and to count. Why do we think children have to be educated so young? Why aren’t we letting them be babies? No wonder children are having so many problems.

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful replies. Mrs. V., it was interesting to hear the experiences of you and your family. My older son had a fall birthday, and would have been ready to start a bit early, but we decided to follow common wisdom and not “push” him ahead. By the following year when he got to go to K, he was reading Magic Treehouse books at the rate of one a day. He turned 6 soon after, and was the oldest child in class all year. He was also bored out of his mind. The following year he skipped a grade, and since then he has been at the right grade level. The whole thing is so hard to figure out, as each child is different.

    Mystery Teacher, are you saying that kids shouldn’t go to preschool? You’re wonderful to have stayed home with your children and taught them what they need to know, and that is why they did well in school — they were well-prepared in their early years. Some parents want to be home with their children, but can’t afford it. Others have their children at home with them, but don’t prepare them for school, perhaps because they just don’t know how.

    It isn’t that children should all go to preschool. It’s that all children have the right to enter kindergarten ready to be successful. Whether that comes from parents who do what you did, private preschools, daycare, or public school programs like mine, it is important that we give all kids a chance. Your children had a chance because you made the choices you did. Children in poverty deserve a chance, too. When my students come to me, they learn to share, take turns, listen to stories, solve problems, and follow directions. They also learn their ABC’s and counting.

    When they start kindergarten in the fall, it is my sincere hope that they will be on equal footing with children like yours.

  5. Pingback: Instructify » Blog Archive » Carnival of Education #171

  6. Like you said, it’s different for each child. My instinct is, if you have to ask then it’s probably better to wait. I usually tell parents to wait if asked because almost all of the ones that ask want their kid to be ready but know they probably aren’t. What’s the rush?

  7. That’s a hard one. Our experience was this–my daughter was a week over the K cutoff date. She was small and very, very reserved but had gone to two years of preschool with absolutely no issues. She was not particularly thrilled with preschool however and really just tolerated it. She was reading little books on her own and that is what she spent most of her time doing. When I asked to have her placed in K so she would not be bored by yet another year in preschool, I was told the deadline was absolute and no exceptions were made. So we dutifully sent her back to her part time preschool for some social interaction and spent the year reading and visiting parks and museums.
    A year later when it was time to enter Kindergarten, she tested reading at the seventh grade level and now consumed chapter books a day as well as a variety of encyclopedias and non fiction books. The school had no accomodation for a child who now did not fit so well into kindergarten. The gifted program was the only option and that was 30 minutes pull out a week starting in third grade. I ended up homeschooling to avoid having a child burn out of school in Kindergarten, which is what I was afraid would happen. We may revisit the school issue again in a few years. I don’t know honestly what the answer for K entrance is, other than it needs to be on an individual basis, in my opinion.——

    • I agree with you whole heartily that it needs to be evaluated on a case by case situation. Children are note carbon copies and should be given the opportunities of a good education no matter what their age is. My daughter is 4 and will be starting kindergarten. She will turn 5 on Feb 1st of her kindergarten year. She scored in the top 2 percent of all incoming children and she is a year behind in age. It would be detrimental to her to wait another year in pre-school only to be so far ahead the following year. I am a stay at home mom and do not need to push her to go to school. She is comfortable around older children and is mature for her age. The rest of the stuff will catch up.

      • Thanks for reading my bog, Lisa. I’m glad to have you here. And it does sound, indeed, like your daughter is ready to go early. We should be able to judge it on a case-by-case basis, and have some flexibility.

  8. The district should have a policy for a ‘cut-off’ date for the Early Entrance visitors. Our district only tests children that will turn 5 by November 1st. Furthermore, kindergartners or pre-kindergartners can often look ready for school, but what we are talking about is making a decision that is very long-term. We are putting children in an environment where they will be the youngest learner and the youngest peer of their cohort for the rest of their educational years. Our decision rides highly on the shoulders of our school psychologist who does some assessing and looks at the children’s verbal, non-verbal, etc. skills. We can’t predict how a child will do just by a kindergarten visit. We can make a more accurate prediction by looking at their cognitive abilities and then determining what is the best route for these children. My montra is: It is better to ‘thrive’ than to survive. Keep these young children with their same age group. I am a veteran teacher and have seen this as the best result 99% of the time. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Renae,

    I agree but disagree. A child capable of working 3-4 years above their age will not “thive” with their age like peers. They won’t share the same interest not in kindergarten not in 5th grade. I think the difference may be between those who want their kids to get into school and those parents of highly to profoundly gifted kids who don’t want to send them – but in school systems without self contained gifted program – have no other real choice (excluding home schooling).

  10. Thomas, I have to agree with you. Some kids really are that gifted, and they really are ready to skip ahead a grade or two. A few kids are even ready to skip ahead 3 or 4 years. In our rush to ridicule all the parents who insist their children are gifted by pointing out that they can’t ALL be gifted, we forget that some kids really are.

    And our school systems, by and large, aren’t ready to deal with them.

  11. Hi. My son will be 2 on September 8. I wanted to enroll him next year in PreK3 at a private school where my 4 year old son is now attending PK4. However, I’m told the cut off is September 1st and he can’t attend for 2 more years. I have stayed home since the birth of my first son so it isn’t a matter of saving on daycare. Instead, I want him to spend some time in a place with other children (besides our home and our outings) that is stimulating. We chose to put our first son in Montessori parttime at age 2 and now want our second son to start somewhere parttime because I feel that they are isolated with just me at home — everyone seems to work and put their kids in daycare. I have found the daycare programs in our area, including Montessori where my first son attended, to be less than exciting. My first son could count and recognize numbers over 100 just after his 2nd birthhday and could read before his 3rd. His math and reading skills are definitely above grade level although some skills, like writing and coloring, are on track. I’m not thrilled with what is available to him academically in PK4, but it is a great place for social stimulation. I was hoping that my second son could get the same next year. He can recognize 12 shapes, count to 6, knows most of his colors and can sing the alphabet song badly : ). I’m not pushing either one of my sons to achieve or anything; we just incorporate these concepts into our day and make them fun. So, I want the same as they go to school. I don’t want to put my younger son in daycare when he could be in a more stimulating PK program. But, I don’t want to push him into something where he won’t have confidence or will feel behind either (which I can’t image happening, but others seem to think it’s a given for the younger kids). BTW, unlike my older son, my younger is independent and outgoing, always trying to do big boy things (to be like his brother) and is 95% for height and weight (a big boy!). He seems totally on track for PK3 next year and thus, kindergarten when he is just turning 5. I’d love to hear other people’s personal experiences and advice. Thanks.

  12. I feel these children are being unnecessarily rushed. All that information isn’t so hard to learn when they are ready. Are they getting the opportunity to bond with peers and other adults who genuinely like, and respect them? Are they having big blocks of time to play outside making mud pies, and having adventures? These are the experiences that make better people, not how young you were when you read!

  13. Cato, you’re right. However, as the mother of a very advanced kindergartner, I know that kindergarten can be painful for gifted kids. My son was so bored he was tense and anxious all year. When he arrived in 1st his teachers bumped him up to 2nd within a month, and as soon as he had challenging, interesting work, he relaxed and was really happy.

    Gifted kids should be allowed to enter kindergarten early. Everyone else should take their sweet time. As you said, there’s no rush.

  14. My daughter turns 5 November 7. The school district in which she will attend school says that any child with a birthdate between Aug 31 and Dec 31 can take an Early Entrance to Kindergarten exam. This exam covers both lower case and upper case letters as well as the numbers 1-20. It also covers social behavior, cognitive skills and developmental skills. My concern with this exam is that under the guidelines, if a child turns 5 before the cutoff dates they automatically get into kindergarten. How many 5 year olds know everything that they expect an older 4 year old to know from this exam? There are several children in the neighborhood that we live in that will be attending Kindergarten that can’t even write their names. My daughter is capable of not only writing her name, but her address and phone number as well. I feel like the fact that 4 yr olds have to take a test to get into kindergarten isn’t fair. I feel that all kids going into Kindergarten should have to take some kind of entrance exam to find out if they’re ready. It would cut back on the amount of kids in the school system and I’m sure cut back on the amount of kids falling behind and needing to be kept back. The law says that you don’t have to have your child registered for school until they reach age 6. Why not let the kids that are ready for school start school and have the children that aren’t ready, wait?

    • That’s an interesting perspective. In your district, do lots of people try to get their kids in early? I find overall that the trend is toward keeping kids out of kindergarten for another year — “redshirting” them.

      The main thing about four year olds going to kindergarten is that they need to be exceptionally ready. I think that only the really gifted four year olds should get into K early — and that most of the kids whose parents want them to get early entrance to K aren’t really gifted, and that it would not be a good thing for them. For those kids who are exceptional, early entrance to K needs to be an available option.

      At my school I find that lots of parents want early entrance to K — to save money on daycare. Kindergarten should never be equated with babysitting!

  15. I would like to share my situation. We have a 4 year old daughter and her b-day falls in November. We moved from MI to PA and my daughter was ready to start K in Michigan where the cutoff date is in December. However, when we moved here she was not even allowed to take the early entrance exam because of her late b-day. We contacted a private catholic school and our daughter was screened there for Kindergarten. Additionally a school psychologist performed some tests and gave us her opinion. It turns out our daughter tested reading at the 7th grade level in one test type and in the 9th grade in another test. Comprehension falls around the third grade. She writes stories (print and computer), sings, plays the violin and has quite an imagination. We debated whether to send her to K or not. Finally, we decided to send her to Kindergarten and we registered her for the school year which starts Sept 1. I am a little concerned our little one will be bored out of her mind in her K group but she is only four years old and the kids are a lot older. I hope this is a positive experience for her.

    I welcome any comments at darythompson@hotmail.com

  16. I was a September birthday, so not particularly young for the year, but I was in the youngest quartile for people who were in the proper year. I was essentially a regular kid, except I was notably young for my age in certain areas, even when compared with other people born late in the year.

    There was another boy in my grade from 2nd grade on who was a full year older than me in actual years, and much more than that in development years. By middle school, while I would have liked to continue to play with my toys, this kid was a full term teenager.

    In early high school, I heard one of the pretty girls in the class tell another one of the pretty girls that this person was going to get their driver’s license. I was astonished – I still felt and acted years younger than I was, preferred the company of younger kids and was not ready for the faux-adult trappings of teenage life, which was fine, because I was still 14 at the time.

    I believe that the presence of this guy in my grade caused me damage because it lowered my self-esteem. I now realize that it wasn’t his fault, but nevertheless the age difference between myself and many of the other kids in the class was magnified because they were pushing to keep up with him, while I could not have hoped to keep up with them, even if they just acted 14. I suffered academically and socially, and fell even further behind my peers.

    My younger brother, a December birthday, was held back. He had the opposite problem – a foot taller than everyone else, much more advanced socially, and by high school was getting arrested with kids three or four years older than he.

    At any rate, we both always tested well – 12th grade reading level in 6th grade, 99th percentile on whatever standardized test they were using back then. I’m not a genius, and I’m not bragging, I’m just making a point. The possibility that your kid might read early or knows more letters or can identify shapes while other kids are still eating sand at the beach should not be a factor in deciding whether to advance them a grade. My experience tells me that putting your child in the grade that most closely matches their social age will be a far greater determinant of their success and happiness than whether they are ‘smarter’ than the other kids.

    Some people feel that their child is ‘bored’ in class. That may be true – school can be boring. But childhood and teenage life is filled with out-sized horrors and pleasures. A teenager is not likely to be bored when he or she is surrounded by age-appropriate peers.

    Don’t buy the yarn that school is so easy that your kid is getting bad grades. Unless they are getting straight A’s, that is by definition not true. The material might be easy, but they probably are struggling in another area that’s just as important to education and life as learning the subject matter, whether it is keeping organized, getting along with others, brushing your teeth, or what-have-you.

    I, for one, would have far better memories of those years if that guy had been in his proper social grade, and I in mine.

  17. I know it is not ideal to push to have a child in kindergarten early, especially if one of the considerations is financial, but that is in fact one of the reasons I’ve started to consider it. My son will turn five the first week of October, he’s currently in his second year of preschool and in daycare full time. I’m a divorced single parent with a college degree making $32k gross, taking home $24k, and spending $12k on daycare and preschool this year. Leaving a thousand a month to cover, rent, food, student loans, gas, car maintenance, clothes, insurance, medical bills, and things like Christmas presents etc…

    My ex-husband is not safe to be around so we have security concerns, and I have sole responsibility for my son. His current daycare is a compromise, it is not really a very good fit but it is safe, and allows him to stay in preschool even though I can’t drive him to and from school. It’s also less expensive than any other daycare option, at around $4 an hour. Child support has stopped coming so it’s a rock and a hard place. I know I can not afford to give him what is truely best for him, which is a year of 5 day a week half day preschool. We don’t have any extra’s left in our budget to cut. I already work full time, and take any overtime I can.

    We are fortunate enough to have very low rent in one of the best school districts in the country, in a very affluent suburb. The public school here is top notch.

    My son is a true extrovert, he is very friendly and loves being in large groups of kids, pretty bright, pretty much a normal happy kid. He loves school, but daycare isn’t so hot.

    I don’t know how to afford to take care of him and pay $12k/year for daycare and preschool. It looks like my only financially viable options are to either take him out of preschool and leave him in a sub-par daycare for 50 hours a week, or try to get him into a kindergarten class a little bit early.

    I am not opposed to him spending two years in kindergarten. There is a chance we may be moving next summer anyway, so repeating it wouldn’t be as noticeable by his peers. I fear that the alternatives to putting him in Kindergarten early are far worse than what he may experience being the youngest for a year or so.

    I think he can handle kindergarten, but I don’t want him to be the youngest in his class for the duration his education.

    Are there other options I’m not seeing? My son knows all his letters and letter sounds, can read individual letters and a few words, he can read numbers up to 100, loves music, he enjoys school, is very social has a lot of friends.

    I’m open to ideas! So far an extra year of kindergarten is the only thing I can think of that means we wouldn’t have to live basically in poverty for another year.

    • You are in a tough spot, indeed. I guess I would try to get him in early, and be completely open to doing kindergarten again if necessary. But are there other options? Putting him in K early is risky. He could find it really stressful. Does your suburb offer preK? Is there a public preK option anywhere around where you live? I would pursue it a little farther if you can, to see what other things you can do. Hang in there — it sounds like you are doing the right things for your child, and all by yourself, which is really difficult. Good for you — and hang in there!

  18. Hello
    I have been teaching in early education for over 33 years with 23 of those years in Kindergarten. The observing of children as a test for readiness for Kindergarten is interesting. Are these children that you have taught all year and know, or do they just make an appointment and spend an hour trying to fit in and act like the rest of the kids? I am totally against children coming to school early…whether by a day, a few days or a few weeks. Parents always assume that their child is ready to come to Kindergarten, but they must keep in mind that this young child will be the youngest in the classroom for the next 12 years. This means that in middle school when life decisions become more challenging this young child will still be young, and in high school when others are driving and dating, still will be young. I was 4 in September and did fine, but way back then the cut off date was April of Kindergarten!! so I was on the older end of the class. I don’t know what the big rush is for parents, they really should look into all that is expected of these children through the years and realize that having an older more mature child in the long run will really benefit not only the child but the parents as well. It disappoints me that school systems will even entertain the thoughts of ‘testing’ or observing these young children to see if it will work..I write a blog for Kindergarten parents that readers of this blog might enjoy: http://kindergartenteacherclaire.wordpress.com/

    • Claire, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have to say, I do think it should be possible for children to go to kindergarten early — if they are clearly gifted. Early kindergarten and grade-skipping are both underutilized tools in meeting the needs of gifted students, even though they have been shown to work. My son skipped 1st grade and is now in 7th. It has worked beautifully for him — if he were in 6th grade now, he’d be bored out of his mind. Children who are merely bright, or have birthdays on the borderline, shouldn’t necessarily be promoted to early K. I do think that my school district ignores this. They’ve got a plan for early entrance, but I think it’s actually a little too easy, and they haven’t stated that early entrance is for really gifted children, not the average bright kid.

      • you are right, there are plenty of children out there who can make it even though they are on the younger side, but the majority of children cannot and would benefit from waiting. i agree that early entrance could be better fine tuned to screen for that exceptional child, but I am still in favor of allowing for an older age and maturity as the school years go on.

  19. We are in the midwest and are planning on having our son evaluated for early entrance. The statistics the district gave me are daunting – 1 child per year in the district – so I suspect he may not make the cut (all I can hope is that he ends up right where he should be). His birthday is Sept. 8 and the cutoff is Sept. 1.

    In talking with the school, it sounds similar to the original posting – the principal was very open about having him evaluated. The psychologist, on the other hand, seemed to want to make sure I was aware that it was likely he would not be accepted, and that the school’s decision on that was final. He will be evaluated by the psychologist (full blown intelligence test and an academic indicators exam) as well as undergo observation during class time. We are planning to tell him that this is just the natural step in figuring out kindergarten (like everyone does it).

    While I can’t help feeling like I’m judged a neurotic mom (and I probably am – neurotic, that is), the truth is that he wants to go to school very badly, seems academically ready, and is incredibly social. At 3 he was doing 100 piece puzzles by himself and continues to do them (in less than 10 minutes) now at 4. His best friend is 7. My goal in sending him is to make sure I don’t take away the “best” opportunity for him (by not even looking into early entrance). If it’s determined that he would be better served by going the following year, then that is what’s best for him. But I’m not looking to get out of daycare expense, and not looking to push him into not being a carefree kid.

    I add our situation only to add to the list of people that indicate each child is different and to encourage parents to seek out the best for their child (even if it involves the daunting evaluation of early entrance). Our son may be accepted (and we may decide he’s not ready) or he may not be accepted (and we may/may not send him to preschool), but we won’t know without the vital information that the evaluation will provide us. And information, knowledge – only helps us and our children grow, and can only lead to better informed decisions….

    • Ally–I am in your situation exactly. My daughter turns 5 the first week in Oct–school cutoff is Aug 31. She is reading at a 2nd grade level, and knows numbers to past 100, as well as adding and subtracting with manipulatives/pictures. She can ride a 2 wheeler, hop, gallop, catch a ball, draw, write (legibly), and cut with scissors. She plays with all older children–her 6 yo brother who is in K this year and some neighbors (a K, a 1st, and a 2nd grader). ALL of her playmates from this year are going to K in the fall. She socially does well with all of them. She is outgoing and not afraid to leave me (her PreK teachers LOVED her in their class this year).

      So we are going ahead with early entrance evaluations, done by a private psychologist and submitted to the school. We just don’t want to have her miss an opportunity to be appropriately challanged if that is where she would do best. Our son has a Feb birthday and entered K at 5.5, reading at a 3rd grade level, adding and subtracting multiple digits, telling time, doing fractions and starting to figure out multiplication. He is BORED stiff and does not like school because he “already knows this”. Its a hard decision to send them, knowing they will be younger, but for truly gifted kids, there isn’t much of another option.

      • Oh, and the evaluations here are only allowed for children with birthdays between Sept 1 and Oct 31, so our daughter fits the early entrance age requirements but our son was way too young to do it.

      • Holly and Alli, thanks for your posts. It is really tough all around for parents and schools to figure out who should enter kindergarten early. It’s true that most districts have a knee-jerk reaction to parents’ requests: they usually just say “no” and close their minds about the topic. However, sometimes, parents are wrong. Just think how many parents there are out there insisting that their child be admitted early because they are so bright…..It’s a big number. Way bigger than the actual amount of children for whom this would be a good thing.

        Entering K early is a grade skip, basically. (Your child is missing a year of preschool.) It is the right thing to do for children who are truly gifted, not just the ones who are confident and social and smart. If your child gets in early, think carefully about whether or not to do it. You could always wait a year and see about having your child grade-skipped after starting school, if it still seems like the right thing to do.

        But you know your children best, and should advocate for them the way you think is best. Good luck.

  20. my son will turn 5 on dec 23rd and i read these comments and i dont believe that most people try to send their kids to kindergarten to not pay for childcare first off most school districts have a pre k program. but anyway my sons teacher thought he should take the test but i found out only 1% of the children make the cut

    • what is the rush! I have taught Kdg. for 24 years and believe me you do not want to send a child who will be 4 years old for the first 4 months of school. Kindergarten has changed dramatically since you or I went and so much is asked of these young children, not to mention the mountains of assessments that he will have to address. Many children that I taught had waited the extra year and came to me as 6 year olds….which would be an enormous maturity difference between your young 4 year old and his classmates who are 6.

  21. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and suggestions about the subject Early Enterance into Kindergarten. I have an almost 7 year old daughter who has a May 2nd birthday and is in first grade. She excells in all areas of school, is a quick learner, very advanced reader, social butterfly and is a Green Brown belt in karate. She loves school and I would not skip her a grade, although I’ve been asked to test her, I supplement her learning at home so she is in no way bored.

    My son, born September 12th 2006, misses our state deadline of turning 5 by 12 days. He is everything his sister is academically and socially and is also a quick learner. My daughter has been studying karate for almost 4 years and my son recently began studying 4 months ago. (Incidentally, our dojo does not think it’s cute to promote younger children…they must know their required elements and also have the knowledge of how to apply those said requirements. We study at USSD) The senseis are amazed with his learning abilities and say he is on track to also be a very young advanced belt like his sister. My son has taken two years of formal preschool, with the teacher commenting the other month, “I don’t know how to teach him anymore.” He reads Level 2 books with ease, actually loves reading, counts to over 100 every time he’s tested, gets along with all the students in his class, has no problem articulating his thoughts and feelings, and knows everything a graduating kindergartener should know.

    I became interested in skipping him into kindergarten early when he was only 2 1/2 years old. I knew he was well above his peers socially and mentally at that tender age. His two preschool teachers confirmed my thoughts and when I asked my boy, at 3, if he wanted to learn to read he said yes. I had a meeting with the principal of our elementary school about my daughter, as I was concerned she might be bored with her advanced reading skills when it came time to learn reading, as compared to children who had had no formal schooling before kindergarten. The principal assured me the teachers were great at recognizing advanced children and sure enough, while the whole class was learning their basic ABCs, my daughter was sent to first grade classes to read. At that meeting, I also inquired about my son, who was only 2 1/2, and I know my children are different people, but my thought to the principal was that if my son was as advanced as my daughter is, how would I go about getting him an early entereance into kindergarten? She replied it was very rare for the school district to allow early enterance into kindergarten, but if I felt he was ready when the time was right, the school district had certain testing requirements.

    Well, after volunteering every week in my daughter’s K class, hearing feedback from his preschool teachers and observing him with his peers, who are 3-7 months older than he, I could see that my boy was still very advanced for his age. I contacted the school in January and was referred to the special resources center. They had two questionairres for me: one was a parental evaluation and one was a teacher evaluation, which they scored and he was right where an entering K should be. He was scheduled for an IQ test, which he scored a 125 on but which I learned could be higher, since the testers are not used to testing advanced children. Since he did so well on the IQ test he was invited to take an academic test. We go in tomorrow for the results of that test and for the final result of his early enterance…but from preliminary feedback from his academic test he did very well and will be granted an early admission.

    I have only two children and I have been so lucky to stay at home with them, supplementing their learning. I am not in any way needing to push my son into K for financial reasons and struggle with selfish reasons of holding him back because he IS my baby, but I honestly feel he would not enjoy school were he in another year of preschool. People have a harder time with advanced boys because boys generally mature slower than girls and say a younger boy is an easier target in later years because he is developmentally young…won’t be driving when his friends are, puberty will be at a later grade level, team sports, etc. 1. I have a very strict stance on teenage driving, which my children are already learning. 2. The puberty issue is probably the biggest, but we all develop differently, it’s not a certain switch that is turned on as soon as you hit a certain age, rather puberty is very dependant on weight, which is why more girls are developing early because they are heavier than girls from 20 years ago. 3. He loves playing team sports and has had no issues in two years, plus I feel karate will give him a big confidence booster.

    I’m sorry to write such a long letter, I’m excited for tomorrow and am going to take a paper to jot down the professionals opinions of my son. I will update this tomorrow. I’m just a mommy who wants the best for her son.

  22. Pingback: is early entrance to kindergarten a good idea? « Elbows, knees, dreams

  23. I have two children who’s birthdays fall after our school districts cut off date and I think that it should be up to the parents on whether or not to let their child go that year or not into kindergarten. My reasons are that because my sons birthday is 3 weeks after the cut off he has to be held back while his peers enter kindergarden a year ahead of him when in truth he was almost 2 weeks over due and really is not but a week shy of the cut off. The problem is that children who have mental disabilities are passed on to further grades in their education and are many times not ready or able to do what the other children in their grade can do but they are passed. So the issue is my son in order to go kindergarten with his peers is he would have to pass a gifted child test and be able to read…which by the way most kinders can’t not fully do by the end of kindergarten. I am a stay at home mom since my husband and children’s father passed away so i am not for him going to school now because I am trying to get some form of free daycare. Another thing is my son and daugther will be 18 most of their senior year and I will not be able to make them attend school since they will be adults. So in turn my son is going to be in headstart again this year with kids who may have just turned 3 which I feel is holding him back. I don’t think the school district should have the right to hinder any one child’s education. The cut off should be the end of the year. Plain and simple. I would rather my children have to repeat kindergarten if at the end of the year they were not performing as well as 90% of the children in their class than to be held back because of their birthdays.

    • That really is a hard one. My son was in the same position, and at the end of kindergarten, he had only a month of 1st grade before he was grade skipped. Perhaps the same will happen for your son?
      Hang in there, it sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate. You sound like a wonderful mother.

  24. An update to my previous post: my son scored exceptionally well in his tests. He scored 99.9 in the Woodcock Johnson tests in all but three areas and scored 120 IQ, which I think should be more like 122 or 123, as I’ve read that testers who are used to testing children who are below grade level don’t know how to test advanced students, therefor their IQ scores should probably be a few points higher. The two testers, the principal and my husband and I all agreed he should be given admittance to kindergarten, starting in the 2011-12 school year. The school district denied him. All because of 11 days. With no other recourse available, I enrolled him in Montessouri, where he will take morning classes only from 8:30 to 11:30 Monday through Friday. The plan is to test him into first grade at the public school where his big sister is for the 2012-13 school year. I was very astonished at the lack of avenues for advanced children and, in contrast, the amount of help given to children who are behind grade level. He’s very excited to finally start kindergarten at Montessouri in two days. Keep you updated! (By the way, I chose Montessouri over other schools because they are ability based and don’t adhere to the same dates the school district does.)

  25. Pingback: Carnival of Education #171: Career Fair - Instructify

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