young kindergarteners

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by MOM1TEACHER2, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. MOM1TEACHER2

    MOM1TEACHER2 Rookie

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    Would like everyone's opinion about young 5's starting kindergarten. The more I teach preschool, to more I am convinced that the cut off date should be June. Give me your experience.
    I will share more as I read your opinions.
    thanks
     
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  3. Ms.T

    Ms.T Comrade

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    I can't remember the name of it but I just read an interesting article in The New York Times about young vs. older kindergartners and parents electing to hold them back so they'll have a leg up. It was called "When should a kid start kindergarten?" and it talked about this policy of 'redshirting.'
     
  4. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    My daughter turned 5 on her first day of kindergarten. She was born on August 30, and the cutoff date for us is September 1. She is the youngest in her class, and my husband and I went back and forth about whether or not to keep her in pre-K for another year. If she had been a boy, it wouldn't have been a question - she would have waited another year (I can pick the young boys out in about 10 minutes by the time they get to seventh grade). I relied on the advice of her pre-K teacher who assured me that she was more than ready for kindergarten. Frankly, I wasn't worried about her keeping up academically; I was concerned about her social-emotional development. We DEFINITELY made the right decision for our child. She blossomed this past year in kindergarten, and can't wait to go to first grade.
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I think it depends on the child. My mother held me back because I had an Oct birthday, she also held my brother back because his birthday is August 29th. We both needed it.

    I also know of program at a local school that screens the young children July to Oct. birthdays. If they aren't as advanced they go into this program for two years.
     
  6. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Yes, it depends on the child, but...I had five 4-year-olds at the beginning of my Kinder class last year. All but one had problems in every area, including both academic and maturity issues (lots of behavior issues). Four of them were boys. Of the five, I recommended two for retention--they still could not identify all the alphabet and/or sounds at the end of the year, and obviously, were still at pre-emergent levels for reading. One parent refused to let her son be retained. There still is a stigma attached to retention, but parents need to realize it will be worse to have a son or daughter who struggles all the way through because they were moved before they were ready.

    California's cut-off is the first week of December (I've forgotten the actual date), and three of these students had birthdays in October and November; one of them was actually November 27! I would like to see the date bumped to at least early August, since schools around here begin in mid-August. On the other hand, my own kids were November 18 (boy) and October 12 (girl); they both started at 4. But there is also a difference in what children are exposed to at home and community--our kids were very involved with church activities, Sunday School, etc., and I believe that helped in their social development. Kids who have no preschool or other outlet before Kindergarten, and who possibly are learning English as a second language, have a much more difficult time making the transition.
     
  7. MOM1TEACHER2

    MOM1TEACHER2 Rookie

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    Parents must remember school is more than kindergarten. Here in our area what was taught in first grade is now in kindergarten. I do have two children both 9.29 birthdays, five years apart, our cut off date is Oct 1. Both would have done fine. Especially my oldest daughter who knew what was required of her to enter kindergarten. But, I wanted to make sure she had the self esteem she would need as she got older. The pressure of middle school, and now high school. Neither one of my children have struggled in school, they have good self esteem and the maturity to handle to stress of home work, plus sports, plus other demands that are on them. Kids are taking college classes in high school and high school classes in jr. high. It is not the same as when we were in school!
    I am more concern about the self esteem and the maturity it takes to get through school now days.
    In the 7 years I have taught preschool I have not had one child who was a young 5 who could not have benefited from a extra year of preschool(no they do not get bored, if the teacher is doing her job)
    I had 7 students this year that I had last year, who were from May to October Birthdays. The parents decided to give them the extra year to mature and grow. Not one of them regressed or had discipline problems. 2 of the seven last year did, but the year gave them time to mature socially, and able to handle the conflicts that came up in class. 2 last year would sit and at least try to write their name, this year they were all writing first last and middle names because they wanted two. One came out of his shell this year so much you almost can't keep him quiet now!
    But I know with confidence that they are so ready for kindergarten and will be able to learn so much more.
    I tell my kids, if you think I made a mistake, you can always graduate early.
    I even had a parent who was told by a principal, when she was thinking of sending her August son to school. Well, if he doesn't do well he can repeat kindergarten! What kind of downer would that be for him?
    Of the parents I have had,who gave their chld the time, not one has come back to say they made a mistake.
     
  8. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    I say "hold 'em back". My friend's son was 5 July 30 and my nephew was 5 August 15, they have both struggled since day one.

    Life is too competitive and it gets meore so each year. I want to see children begin school with every possible advantage and waiting until a child is the oldest in their class instead of pushing them when they are youngest is an advantage.

    I think lots of parents make the decision based on the ability to escape from the daycare bill. For some parents, that is a reality, too bad the kids really pay the bill in the end. And truly, I am not judjing those parents... my heart breaks for many.
     
  9. srh

    srh Devotee

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    That's a great point about day care, Mrs. Rhinochunks! I forgot about that...it was obvious to me that the two students I recommended for retention were in that situation. In fact, I met with one during the first week of school about her son (the one who will be in K again)...she told me she'd rather have him in the classroom than at home. She worked outside the home--I'm not sure who would have cared for him. It's too bad, though; I know for a fact finances were not their issue. But on the up side, he hopefully will be ready this time around having already had a "sneak preview!"
     
  10. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Hawaii starts the kinders earlier than Washington state does. I had two first graders who didn't turn 6 until after school started. The boy was very immature and I actually recommended retention.

    I held my son back when he was starting kinder. Glad I did because he is now top of his class and he's physically smaller than his age peers.
     
  11. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Our distrcit is proposing a cutoff of June 30. So the oldest in the class would be July 1st and the youngest June 30th. I am all for it as it keeps the age differences to 12 months vs the 16 months you may have.

    Consider this: If your child is born say Aug 15th, there are several other children who would be in his/her class that are currently 12-16 months older and walking, talking, etc while your child is learning to nurse! But gap to fill by 4-5 years. Yes, hold them!

    I also think of it as giving them another year as a child vs putting them into adulthood that they will have for 60 plus years! Yes hold them!

    A good teacher will not allow they to become bored. I'd rather risk boredom over frustration anyday.
     
  12. Mrs.Rhinochunks

    Mrs.Rhinochunks Companion

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    YES!!!
     
  13. MOM1TEACHER2

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    AMEN!
     
  14. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    In Europe, kids begin learning their alphabet when they are six, yet our 4-year-old PreK students are learning their letters and are pretty much expected to know both letters and sounds when they enter Kindergarten at age 5.

    European students consistently trounce American children in just about every knowledge area, yet they start their "formal" learning much later than our children do.

    Hmmm - is there a message there for all the politicos and educators who have their heads stuck up their NCLBs?

    Lest you think I am wrong about when Europeans start teaching the alphabet, here is a link to a Norwegian educational website (thank you to hescollin!) that specifically mentions that this letter-shape learning game is for 6-year-olds.

    http://www.orgdot.com/abc/

    Their 6-year-olds are learning letter shapes. OUR 6-year-olds are expected to be decoding and reading 35-60 wpm and up.

    So - if you want to know whether to hold your kids back - take it from a K teacher - YES, YES, YES! With the expectations such as they are (developmentally inappropriate,) it can mean the difference between whether your child's educational career starts with success or --- frustration.
     
  15. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I agree about being able to pick them out of a crowd! I have had some 9's in fifth grade that are SO immature! Two that didn't turn ten until the end of the school year! They were so not ready for middle school emotionally (but could I hold them back, no it was too late)
     
  16. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    "Our distrcit is proposing a cutoff of June 30. So the oldest in the class would be July 1st and the youngest June 30th. I am all for it as it keeps the age differences to 12 months vs the 16 months you may have."

    Not to debate the whole red-shirting thing, but what happens when you move the cutoff is that parents with children born close to the new cut-off start holding THEM back. So, you always, always have that 16 month, or more, gap. That's exactly what happened here. We used to have a 12/31 cutoff, and it was moved to 8/31 three years ago. Before, most kids with Nov and Dec birthdays would be held out of school an extra year....NOW, kids with June, July and August birthdays are waiting out a year. In our kindergarten this year, there were four kids that turned SEVEN in April (out of three classes)!

    Kim
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  18. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    OH, I'm so happy to see this thread!!! I know of a child that has a late November bday & the parents are going back & forth about preschool & Kindergarten for that matter. The dad had a late Dec. bday & started when he was 4 & the mom has a bday close to dad's but started when she was 5. I keep giving them my advice as a "teacher". I will have to print this & show them!!

    I agree with you I think the year back doesn't hurt the young 5s!!!
    Here in MI I have heard rumbles of the K cut off date being Sept 1....Emma have you heard this???
     
  19. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Every year at my school we have SEVERAL 4 yr olds starting Kindergarten. You can really tell it in their maturity level--even up into later grades. However last year we had an EXTREME case where a very immature 4 yr old came in. He was the cutest little thing because he looked like a heavy toddler. Our principal approached the parent saying that he wasn't ready and she'd probably do better to pull him out and put him back in Headstart but she wouldn't do it. The Headstart he had been going to was a half day program and she needed him gone the full day. Can you believe that?! How selfish!

    At the end of the year he knew how to read but not much else. Maybe next year will be better.
     
  20. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Now, here's my opinion on "redshirting." I wasn't going to post it, because it's unpopular among other teachers, but I couldn't resist. I think that, in almost every case, kids should go to school within the normal time frame for their district. Keeping a child out an extra year just so that they can have an edge over their classmates, whether that edge is academic, athletic, or social, is just wrong, in my opinion. It sets the child up for a competitive atmosphere even before he/she starts school!!

    There are certainly children who aren't mature enough to handle the rigors of a kindergarten classroom, and, by all means, those children should wait a year to enroll. That is what I think of when I hear other teachers talk about the "gift of time." However, I don't think it should be all about a birthdate. I don't think teachers or parents should look at a child with a birthday close to whatever cutoff that districts uses and automatically assume that he/she (usually he) needs another year before entering K. And, too often, that is exactly what happens. I think that a parent (or teacher) needs to consider each child carefully, consider his/her strengths, weaknesses and personality traits, and make decisions based on those considerations.

    In some cases, kids with delays (social, academic, motor) have real issues that won't be addressed until that child gets to school. Keeping them out for an extra year isn't helpful in those cases - it only delays interventions.

    Off my soapbox...
    Kim
     
  21. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    When I taught KDG I saw students who were young that did better than older classmates. It really depends on the child. Our district doesn't offer any alternative enrichment programs for our Kindies, so going to kdg is better than doing a 3rd year in our preschool.
     
  22. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    The boy I used to nanny (the Danny from my name ;) ) misses the kinder cutoff this year by 2 days. His parents always thought that that was a good thing- they could keep their last baby home for an extra year. However, he really is ready for school. His big brothers go to private school, and the teacher and principal are letting Danny start kinder this year. The classes are multi-grade, so if he isn't ready for first next year, it's not really a big deal. He'll just stay in that class 4 years instead of 3. Or maybe catch up later on as he matures.

    I've also worked with kids that really needed that extra year of preK to mature.
    It just depends on what is best for the child and the family
     
  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    My husband has a September birthday, and his mom sent him to kindergarten at 5. They ended up keeping him there a second year because he was very small and immature for his age. He never did really "catch up". In fact, he was held back again in 6th grade, which put him close to 20 when he graduated.

    As for me, I skipped kindergarten. My parents started me in first grade at age 5. I was mature for my age, both physically and emotionally, so it didn't matter for me. that much. I always kept up fine, and nobody guessed I was the youngest in the class. I went to college just a few months after turning 17, but I didn't have any trouble except I wasn't able to have my phone and cable service turned on without being 18. LOL
     
  24. eydie

    eydie Companion

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    My daughter is 4 and will start kindergarten this year. Her birthday is Aug. 29...cut off is Sept.30th. She did PreK and mastered letters sounds and basic sight words. Over the summer we have been reading preprimer books from my classroom collection and from the library. She is good natured and well behaved. I can't imagine not letting her go on to Kinder. I really think it depends on the child.

    I know from teaching many years of first grade that there are some with those late birthdays that had no business in my classroom. They just weren't developmentally ready to be readers. most of those were boys. It all depends on the child. JMHO
     
  25. JEL

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    I wish I could find the study I used when making this decision for my son who turns 12 August 29th just before he starts 6th grade. It was a long term study addressing the question of summer birthdays and a school start date. It concluded that the cutoff should preclude summer birthdays (never mind fall!).

    In a nutshell, they found that the majority of summer birthday students performed below their potential. For example, the gifted students generally performed at a level comparable to their average but older classmates, and overall the youngest did not become social and academic leaders one would expect from their capabilities.

    It was a "no-brainer" for us to hold our son, as he was timid and clingy. It never was a question of academic capability (I don't know why so many people think that is the issue). It was the problem of both social and academic readiness. The socially insecure or immature child has such a difficult time reaching maximum potential, despite maximum talent. It was the best decision we could have made. By the end of 5th grade this year, he is so ready to move to middle school. There is nothing shy, clingy, or timid about him now. :rolleyes:

    Despite schools teaching academics younger, the ages at which children naturally develop skills have not changed. I remember when my January birthday daughter still reversed letters and was well behind her more academically prepared classmates in first grade. I hadn't wanted to pressure her unnecessarily, free spirit that she was, so she went to Montessori pre-K and K, and modified Montessori for 1-2.

    When I researched her "issues" compared to her peers, I discovered the range of skills was completely normal for 7 year olds, and by 4th or 5th grade we should see things even out. She was one of the last to read and write well among her friends of ambitious parents, but in public high school she is a self motivated, high honors accelerated student and varsity athlete. (Her best area is Language Arts, too funny.)

    She wasn't ready to become a serious academic when others insisted children do so. Numerous parents who felt sorry for us in the beginning meet her now as a teenager and can't believe it's the same kid. I'm so grateful we didn't push too hard too soon. Many of the young superstars we knew flatly refused to continue at the early level of intensity, and are mediocre high school students.
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I was the youngest person in my Kindergarten class, having turned five just before the start of the school year. I was totally ready for it, mostly due to the fact that I had spent 2 years in preschool. By the time I entered Kindergarten, I knew the months and days, could read, and could write basic things like my name.

    I wish there were some sort of Kindergarten readiness assessment which parents could do before deciding whether to enroll their kids in school. Is there such a thing?
     
  27. srh

    srh Devotee

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    My school did something new this year--Kinder readiness assessments for the upcoming school year in March. They were very telling. Some parents used the experience to decide NOT to enroll quite yet. On the other hand, some realized there were still five months to go before the new school year and went ahead and enrolled with "wishful thinking." We are a public charter school with a waiting list, so it makes for really tough decision time when the deadlines for registration and enrollment are close.

    I think that any school worth its salt would assist parents in this way if only they asked. Although we cannot tell parents their children are "not ready," it is helpful for them to know the expectations of a student at whatever grade level. Our school web site has enough information per classroom page that parents could probably do some of their own assessing to check for readiness...
     
  28. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    I have parents who want to push their children forward when they are not ready. I tell them that it is better to be the top of one class than the bottom of another and that I want what is best for their child. They are the number one priority (I admit, I do lay the guilt trip on them!). Ask a parent who held their child back whether they regret it and they will say it was the best thing for their child, then ask a parent who sent their child and now regret it.

    In my daughter's class, a mother held her son back, not because he wasn't ready, but because she wanted him to be top of the class! I'd never heard of that reason before.

    I also have a friend who has triplets (2 girls, 1 boy). They were born close to the cut-off date and I believe the boy was not ready for formal schooling. However, they wanted them all to go as it would have been hectic scheduling all the drop offs and pick ups. He hasn't been doing very well.
     
  29. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    "In my daughter's class, a mother held her son back, not because he wasn't ready, but because she wanted him to be top of the class! I'd never heard of that reason before."

    Oh, I've heard that one before! I've also heard that they want their kids to be bigger as high schoolers (because they'd be a year older than same-grade peers), and they'd be more athletic and more competetive sports-wise - and more apt to get sports scholarships to colleges. I've heard that they'd rather have the kids drive earlier in their high school career so that the parents don't have to carpool back and forth for various sports/activities practices. I've also heard that the mom doesn't want the kid to go to school yet because they'll miss them at home too much, especially if it's the last child in the family.

    I think these are the things that make me so much against "red-shirting." These parents aren't acting in the best interest of the cihld, not considering what the child needs. Now, clearly, those kids who are socially immature or lack confidence...they need extra time to develop, and making that choice indicates that the parents are in tune with the kids' needs. I'm in total support of that.

    Kim
     
  30. srh

    srh Devotee

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    I actually tried this tactic this year...the one parent just wouldn't buy it. The principal even told her he had retained his son and they were so happy they had! She was so stuck on "self esteem" issues of being bigger (he's average-sized) and singled out as a retention student. He is going to be struggling from day one next year, and I suspect he will be held back in the next two years. It would have been so much easier and less traumatic doing that in Kindergarten.
     

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