Kindergarten This Year or Next?

It’s Kindergarten round-up time, and Moms of four and five-year-olds everywhere are contemplating whether or not to send their child to Kindergarten or wait until next year.

I’m writing to you as a mom who has already been through it.

This decision was a really big deal for me, because I was so afraid we would make the wrong decision. So, I thought and thought and talked and talked about it.

It would have been SO much easier if my daughter were born sometime after the cut off date, but noooooo, she was born two weeks before it.

And it would have been SO much easier if my child was immature or not ready academically, but nooooooo that was not the case either.

When people talk about this decision there’s a lot of discussion about academics, maturity and gender. The boys are said to be less mature, and I believe that’s true for some boys. But I have to tell you that one Dad I talked to at a birthday party told me he was holding his son back, in part, for sports. Really? Sports? You want your child to be bigger so he’ll be better than his peers at sports?

I think if that’s your motive, maybe you should just keep that to yourself. In other words, this is the time to lie, Mister. Just say it’s a maturity issue and then stop talking.

My daughter seemed pretty mature to me, but what did I know? She is my first-born, and therefore I had a rather limited frame of reference.

I thought she was ready. Her preschool teacher said she thought she was ready. My husband and other family members thought she was ready.

I was concerned if we waited a year, she would be bored and get into trouble. Also, my daughter is a tad on the bossy side (I can’t imagine why), so I thought being the oldest in her class might exacerbate that issue.

All signs pointed to readiness. But still I worried.

In the end, I sent my four-year old on to kindergarten. A few weeks later she turned five and was the youngest child in her class.

I thought that if I needed to, I could always have her repeat kindergarten. (I realize now how rough that would have been for her, and I am grateful we didn’t have to do that).

Foutunately, she thrived in kindergarten and she has thrived in the first grade as the youngest person in the class.

But, in all the articles I read on this topic and all the moms and dads with whom I spoke there’s one thing that we have experienced that never came up – and that is the influence of other children. Your child will be in school with classmates who have older siblings. Older siblings teach younger siblings things they probably shouldn’t know. And those kids teach them to your kid. This happens no matter what, but it’s something to consider when you have a child that is the youngest in her class. All of those things are probably going to be learned a year earlier if you don’t wait a year.

It doesn’t change my opinion about what we did, but I wrote all this because I wish someone had pointed that out to me when I was thinking this through. And that is definitely in the back of my mind as I think about the years to come.

But for now, I still think sending her to kindergarten when we did was the right decision.

Good luck to you if you are trying to decide. It’s no fun and I feel ya.

One Response to Kindergarten This Year or Next?

  1. Amy March 18, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Great post, H.

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