Late to the Game?

Hmm.  I didn’t know I needed to think about this stuff right now, but here goes:  At what age does my son need to start Kindergarten?  He’s 10 months old, and some parents have been asking me about schools since he was born.  It does seem a bit early to be thinking about it.  When I was in school, the question of when you began school fell mostly to when in the year you were born – in my son’s case, September, which makes starting school when he is five or six a toss-up.  But interestingly enough, the debate has grown more facets since I was in school.

There’s a trend toward having students delay their start to Kindergarten to be sure they are better prepared to enter the school system (see this article from the Los Angeles Times).  This of course means that there are more kids enrolled in preschool and pre-preschool so that they can develop the skills and maturity they need to succeed in a school system.  Yikes.  By my calculations, that means my son should have been in school 4 months ago to be on track.  There is no way he can carry a backpack yet.

I’m only partly kidding – it’s incredibly sad to consider how many children, due to a variety of factors, are ill-prepared to begin their first day in Kindergarten.  These factors can range from environmental to health-driven and right smack dab in the middle of cognitive abilities, all of which are interrelated.

Elementary teachers and parents – what do you think?  Is this a trend, or a long range issue?  Are you “holding back” your child to start school a year later?  Do you agree with this trend?


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3 Responses to Late to the Game?

  1. In CA it takes an act of Congress to retain a child. If children are in need of another year to develop skills, mature, etc. in that state, it has to be decided/diagnosed/determined early.

  2. Tom Butler says:

    Also in California, and not mentioned in the LA Times article, the entry age for Kindergarten in public schools is being moved back each year. This year, a child must be 5 on or before December 1 in order to enroll in Kindergarten. Next year (2012) this cutoff date is November 1; October 1 in 2013, and September 1 in 2014. This would seem to indicate a need for children to be older when entering Kindergarten. On the other hand, it may be a legislative reaction to the current parental practice of red-shirting (holding children back a year to give them a perceived advantage – often in sports).

    I suggest that readiness, especially emotionally and socially, is more important than age for Kindergarten entry.

  3. Tom Butler says:

    And here is the other end of the spectrum – why keep students in school when they’re ready to graduate? Arizona is implementing the “Move on When Ready” initiative that allows students to graduate from high school when they’re ready for college.

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