School Enrollment Decisions
Q: My son has a late September birthday and I have been going back and forth about whether I should send him to Kindergarten or hold it off for another year. What should I do?
A: My first son was born in October of 1974. When it was time for him to go to school my husband and I never thought anything of it and sent him off to school only to find out is was too much for him. His Kindergarten teacher told us he was too young and just wanted to be home still playing with trucks, but she wanted us to let him move forward anyway. In first grade he struggled; then in second grade it was us who pretty much demanded that he stay back and repeat second grade. The teacher was amazing and told my son he would repeat second grade with her and be her assistant. He moved forward from there and did well. He never was an all A student, but he did well and graduated from high school and Central Michigan University.
When our second son, who was born in September of 1978, was ready to start school the district we lived in had Gesell Screening for young fives. They told us he was more than ready to go to Kindergarten, but knowing what we knew with our first son we told them no way; he was going to Pre-Kindergarten. They really tried to talk us into letting him go to Kindergarten. I am so glad we sent him to Pre-K. He also was not an all A student, but much better than his brother and was much more confident.
I always tell parents “give them the gift of time.” If they do really well and are in top in their class, isn’t that great!
A: I can tell you that my daughter has attended school full time (6 hours, M-F) since shortly after her 4th birthday. I think it’s important not to waste these beautiful little minds in situations of being under-challenged. The first 6 or 7 years of life are such a critical window for language and math acquisition. That said, only you can assess your child’s emotional and cognitive readiness for school.