Did this alter the course of my life?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by oldstudent, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Oct 29, 2008

    As I approach another one of those dreadful Halloween birthdays, I am once again left to ponder what might have been if I had started Kindergarten one year later.

    I was born with what was described as "a highly unusual case" in reference to a learning disability that hampered me from the first day of Kindergarten to the last day in my teachers' Ed program. I struggled with learning as well as in sports.

    I was greatly affected in vocational programs and in the teachers' Ed program due to always being next to distracting adult students( pen tapping and clicking, gum popping, table shaking, etc.)

    I can't help but think, however, whether much, if not most of my problems would have been avoided if only the cutoff date for Kindergartners to start school had been September 2 instead of December 2.

    The Kindergarten years are crucial to brain development. Therefore, being a year younger than many of my classmates in these developmental years might have created a synergistic double whammy that was too much to overcome.

    I would therefore like to get some opinions from experienced teachers on whether or not they have noticed a strong correlation between the age of a child and their overall school performance.
    Are the struggling students more likely to be the younger ones?
    Do you agree the cutoff should be brough back to September 2?.

    I truly believe that starting school one year later would have minimized instead of exacerbated my learning disability, thus making me more successful today.
     
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  3. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 29, 2008

    I really believe it is based on each and every child. I was a young kindergartner because I just made the cutoff by days.

    I was in a good position however because my mother prepared me for school, she read with me, helped me write, and so forth. I think it depends on the maturity of each child and their personal needs.

    From my teacher standpoint I see many of my kindergartners that are still babies and really do need that extra year of maturing before coming into school. Then again people specifically move into my district for kindergarten (think babysitters ):mad:

    But, parents do have the option of holding a child back and that's what a few parents did this year with their children. Ultimately I think it has to do with the personality, the knowledge, and the maturity of the child, all those factors should come into play.
     
  4. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Oct 29, 2008

    I tend to agree.

    There are some students who are prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally, at an early age. There is no point holding these children back.
    I am curious to know, however, what percent of four year olds nationwide meet the above criteria so they can compete with the five year olds?
    Have such studies been done?

    If a child is "average", I think that waiting a year can give them that added maturity and confidence when they relate to other students; confidence that can last a lifetime.
     
  5. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Oct 29, 2008

    From my own experience - My birthday is September 20th and I started kindergarten when I was four years old. I was more on the quiet/reserved side. However, I have always done well in my studies.

    Our son was born on December 20th, so he was well past the cutoff date for kindergarten. He was almost six years old when he started kindergarten. The only "complaint" that I ever heard from his teachers was that he was too quiet. He did exceedingly well in his studies - eventually graduating high school with a 4.2 GPA, eighth in a class of about 300.

    I think that that extra time at home (and in preschool) benefitted him to be ready for school.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 29, 2008

    I've never seen any point in "shoulda, coulda, woulda." Your life has turned out as it has turned out. Perhaps, had you started a year later, you would have gotten in with a bad crowd or missed meeting the love of your life. No one knows.

    In any event, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! :)
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 29, 2008

    Doesn't that simply bring the level of "average" up, making it harder for the next kid to adapt?

    If we agree that the cutoff date is September 1, or June 1, or whatever, that sets the level of "average" for that class. If we change the date, and grant some kids added maturity, then the level of the class rises.

    But if too many people circumvent the system, the kids who should have been "average" (because they're developmentallly exactly where they should be) are left behind. They're younger and less mature than their classmates.

    It's the same effect that cheating would have on a standardized test: it pushes the median upward.

    Why can't we just say that we'll all play by the rules we've agreed upon, and see how things sort out?
     
  8. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Oct 29, 2008

    I started K at 4 years old, with a December birthday. I was always fine as far as academics; however, I don't think I was socially ready for it.
     
  9. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Here in Illinois, Kindergarten isn't required. There are many states that require schools to offer kindergarten but students are not required to attend kindergarten in all of those states. There are only 12 states where kindergarten attendance is a requirement.
    Parents could opt to keep their children home until 1st grade in all those states where it is not required.
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I do think the cut off should be september, but, I agree with alice in that there's no point in shoulda, coulda, woulda. It is what it is.
     
  11. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Oct 29, 2008

    Who knows about your specific life. Maybe if you had waited you would have had a bad teacher or a really good teacher, or a different peer group. In general, I think it is probably better to wait if a child is on the edge of the cut-off unless it is obvious that they are ready socially and academically to start kindergarten. This is dependant on a number of factors: parental involvement, access to/quality of preschool, exposure to print (and life experiences), exposure to peer groups, and many more that I haven't though of.

    The flip side is that many parents in my area who are pushing their kids to start kindergarten ASAP are already operating with limited resources anyway that give their child disadvantages starting school. They frequently work jobs with longer hours or work multiple jobs (resulting in less time spent with children), they have limited resources to continue paying for full day care if they can avoid it, limited financial resources may cause them to use sub-par daycare/preschools, less parental education may not give them the resources to help their child learn in the early years, less access to quality health care. All of these factors may have been contributing factors to a student's success.
     
  12. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Oct 29, 2008

    Waiting a year is still "playing by the rules" unless there is a date at which students are required to begin school.
    I do not know whether such a date exists, but if it does not, I believe it should be considered.

    As long as no rules are broken, it is only common sense to want one's child to be able to have every advantage possible. Therefore, if given the choice, I believe it is more wise to start children in school at age five, unless they show signs of high cognitive AND social skills.

    Having a potential 15 month gap between the oldest and youngest students does not seem fair, yet that was the case with me, and many other children today. Therefore, if this is " playing by the rules" ,than I believe the rules should be modified.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 30, 2008

    OK, perhaps I phrased that poorly.

    But say, for the sake of argument, the cutoff date is June 1. And that every parent whose child is near June 1st pushes the child back a year.

    Then effect the new date becomes July 1st. It just changes the average age of the class. The gap between those July 1st and the older June 1st kids is still there; it's just a DIFFERENT gap.

    And if the July 1st parents realize it, they'll just keep their kids back a year, and the effective deadline becomes August 1st. We still have the 11 month gap between the August 1st kids and the older July 1st kids.
     
  14. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    I don't really understand why it wouldn't be 'fair'. I think it should just be based on every child. Does it really matter if there is a big age gap?
     
  15. scienceteach82

    scienceteach82 Cohort

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    Oct 30, 2008

    I was 4 when I started Kindergarten...I never had trouble with my work. I was shy/quiet...which is the opposite of what my start sign (Libra) says I should be...the life of the party...hahahahaaha
    I have a very loving, and supportive family. My mom was a SAHM for most of my childhood. I was lucky to have her around to help me.
    My bf's kid is 4...and I honestly can't see how she would "pass" kindergarten...maybe I was just raised differently. She is very social, but can't focus for the life of her. She has gotten good at writing upside down A's...lol...it's cute.
    My brother went to pre-school (I didn't)...kindergarten...pre-first...then first (all in louisiana)....
    He is now in a doctorate program for physical therapy...and he is younger than me...I am very jealous...lol
    All that development looks to have helped him tremendously.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I don't teach elementary. But from what I've read on these boards, it does seem to make a difference. Even the OP mentioned a 14 month age gap as being a problem.

    I just seem to read more and more often that parents of kids close to the cutoff want to hold their kids back a year. And it seems to me that SOMEONE has to be the youngest in the class. My sister was, (December 30 birthday, January 1 cutoff) and it was no big deal; she's now a CPA.

    But if some people abide by the cutoff and others don't that's the cause for the more-than-12-month gap in ages. If everyone sticks to the cutoff, there should be no more than 12 months between any 2 kids in the grade.
     
  17. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    The thing is that parents are given the option to stick to the cut off or not. Our parents can fill out a form saying they want to be excused from abiding by the cut off date. As long as there's a choice, there will be gaps. Those gaps will affect some and not others.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Most years, I end up with an almost two-year span with kids in my classes. Many times there are kids who have been retained, or moved from another country, along with kids who started K early or skipped K or 1st. My most mature, most intelligent student this year is the youngest in the group. The oldest students I have this year are the weakest. I think the important factor is the individual child's adjustment to the placement in school, emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
     
  19. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    It's funny you mention that about your sister, my best girlfriend had a late cutoff birthday...She was born October 30th. She graduated from college and we were both at 21 and she's now an accountant and just took her CPA exam and I'm a second year teacher at 23 :haha:

    I can understand that at some points there must be difficulty involved with a huge range but what it really comes down to is that you're going to have classes full of low and high students. Like previously mentioned many of times it's the youngest that are the highest in the class.
     
  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Oct 31, 2008

    I teach second grade.

    I have seven year olds, eight year olds, and a ten year old. I don't think holding a child back a year is going to make a difference in keeping the children's ages within a certain range. Some kid will transfer in from somewhere that is out of that range anyway, which is what happened with my ten year old kid.

    FYI You can't tell the kid is ten. He is one of the most immature kids in the class.
     
  21. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

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    Oct 31, 2008

    Happy Halloween Birthday!

    :bdaysong:
     
  22. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    My point exactly.

    With logical cutoffs imposed, there would be a 12 month gap between the oldest and youngest child. This is unavoidable since there are 12 months in a year.

    Some children will be luckier than others depending on their birthdays, since at such a young age, a 12 month gap is significant in all facets of maturity.
    However, since there only seems to be a defined cutoff at the young end, then we are exacerbating an inherently unfair system by allowing this gap to be wider.
    Kindergarten is such a vital age in developing motor skills, social skills, and cognitive skills, that I believe a logical cutoff would be five years old. Since most schools start around Sept. 2, this date makes sense.
    The fact that so many parents hold back children with Sept 2through Dec 2 birthdays is strong evidence that many other folks think four is too young.

    When I was in school, a little more than half of the students with a similar birthday were a year or more older than me.
     
  23. Ms.Jasztal

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    Nov 1, 2008

    I was born in May. I was developmentally delayed in sports- majorly. I had no coordination whatsoever, though I was defined as a "brilliant child". I read on a second grade level in kindergarten, but I had major problems making friends, being accepted, and with performing arts. In the first grade show, after everyone jumped for some move in a Christmas song, I jumped! I have it on tape. Then even in high school, I couldn't skip. My teacher tormented me for it, and then she yelled at me when I wasn't with the others for some dance in the musical (Li'l Abner).

    I would have been furious in general if I had been skipped a year for intelligence or left back a year because of the issues I had. Easily, either could have happened. Both were discussed (I went to a first grade classroom for reading in kindergarten), but you know what... I turned out succeeding beyond some people's expectations.

    It probably would have changed my entire life. I could have made different friends... I could have chosen a different path if people hadn't believed in me as much... a different college... not met my best friend. I especially would not have wound up in the classroom I am in now because the timing was right for that one interview.
     
  24. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    That sounds like a lot to me, also, especially in kindergarten.

    Now my classroom this year has a pretty large gap between the oldest and youngest, starting with...

    December 1997
    February 1998
    August 1998
    Four in September 1998
    Two in November 1998
    One in December 1998
    Two in January 1999
    One in March 1999
    Two in April 1999
    One in May 1999
    One in June 1999
    Two in July 1999

    A 19-month gap is pretty large.
     
  25. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I have one that turned 7 a few weeks ago and one that turned 5 in June.
     
  26. Sagette

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    I think it all depends on the individual. I was a November 26th birthday and the cut off was Dec. 1st. I was really immature, but my mother who was a SAHM didn't really do much for my development because she didn't know any better. When they asked at the kindergarten screening if I knew how to hold scissors, my mother replied "Oh, I never let them play with scissors" :lol: So when I went to kindergarten the first time, I cried all day :) The second go round was much better. However, having repeated kindergarten was a stigma that I carried with me for the rest of my time at that school.
     
  27. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Nov 4, 2008

    In my case, my family moved during the summer so I attended a different school in first grade. Therefore, no one would have known that I had ever been in Kindergarten.
    I would have gotten a fresh start as one of the oldest students, and probably neutralizing somewhat my rare learning disability.
     

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