Friday, April 04, 2014
Ready for kindergarten?
Different districts have extremely different cut-offs for kindergarten. If we still lived in New York City, my 4-year-old would be starting kindergarten next fall, and he wouldn’t even be among the youngest in his class. He’s got a late September birthday, and the NYC cut-off is December 31. But out here in my suburban PA district, the cut-off is September 1. Of course, kindergarten here isn’t exactly a huge step from nursery school. It’s only a half-day program. Because of that, most of the preschools in the area also offer kindergarten options. The school he’s been attending has a full-day kindergarten program that accepts slightly younger students. So he’ll be doing that this coming year, and then we’ll see what we do. It’s hard to know how children will develop. But I’m not sure that repeating kindergarten will seem like a particularly great idea in another year. Which means I may have to find a private 1st grade that will accept him, or create a case that he is ready for 1st grade work in the public school. I have some hope -- one of the children in my older son’s first grade class turns out to have a September birthday. But it probably won’t be easy. What makes this all interesting for me is that many parents have told me how fortunate we are that his birthday is in September -- because he’ll always be one of the oldest kids in the class. I guess for sports that might be good but for gifted kids being the oldest can just make you feel even more bored. It’s also interesting to me that if he’d been born a few weeks earlier (before September 1st which, given how much past his due date he arrived, totally could have happened), and I elected to keep him back, that would have been OK. Parents are given much latitude to hold their children back. They aren’t given as much latitude to accelerate their children. What age were your children when they started kindergarten? Does your district allow early enrollment? What has convinced your school that it would be OK?