We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
AMEN!!!!! What a breath of fresh air - thank you!
I am a Kindergarten teacher and I do believe in starting children later and I don't believe that because of improving test scores - that's a whole other issue. In my classroom this year I have several children that have just turned 6 and those that have just turned 5 - 3 since school started on August 31st, one who turned 5 the day school started. Those that are a year older are so much farther ahead socially, emotionally and academically. For me as a teacher, the social/emotional aspect is absolutely huge at the beginning of the year. I look at that piece of the pie waaaaaay more than I do academics during our first trimester of assessing. Most often, those children that are just turning 5 when school starts, also come from families that don't have any idea that they should have waited another year and usually haven't done a whole lot with their child to prepare them for school - reading stories, drawing, coloring, learning to write their name, playing games, simply conversing with them to increase their language/vocabulary, etc. Children that are older are much better able to problem solve with their peers when conflicts arise, have a longer attention span and in general are much better able to handle the "rigors" of Kindergarten. Sure there are a lot of young 5's that academically are very smart, advanced, etc., but they absolutely fall apart when it comes to knowing how to interact appropriately with their peers, especially when conflicts arise. As a mom and as a teacher, I would much rather have an older, emotionally secure "average" child than a young, immature "gifted or advanced" child that cries at least sign of a conflict or just simply doesn't know how to go about engaging with other children because developmentally, they're not there yet. You also need to think about your daughter starting at a young 5 or a late 4 - when she gets to high school, do you want your almost 14 year daughter around 14-15-16 year old boys? I sure wouldn't!
It is ridiculous that the age is a factor. It should be based on consideration of their abilities to participate at the level of their peers based on academic, social, and other developmental factors. THE FACT IS - THE AGE REQUIREMENT IN THE US IS ONLY BASED ON $$$$! In most other countries (mind you which are moving ahead of the US globally with no wonder) begin public education much younger, and expect much more of their children. My daughter who is relocating to the US from Spain, along with another little boy relocating from Germany are both bi-lingual, reading and writing ("pre-writing"...phonetically without proper spelling, but knowing all letters, how to form the letters, and how to sound out a word) and know numbers beyond the "xteen" count. My daughter is also telling time on the hour and half hour marks of a clock. YET, she is not able to enter Kindergarten in the US because she misses the Sept 31 date cutoff by two weeks.
Fortunately we've found some wonderful people who are helping us walk through the battery of tests she must undergo in order to be classified as "gifted" (my child is smart, but she is not what I would classify as gifted - she has simply had educational OPPORTUNITIES that the US is not giving to young children!). The reason for the age is 1)if you review legislation on this issue, many states are now trying to push the date FURTHER back b/c based on test scores, which indicate that early grade children score higher when at an older age...test scores = $$$$$ from federal funding for the school; and 2) with the near bankruptcy of most school districts these days the longer they can hold off enrollment of a child, that is fewer children in the system at that given point in time, which again = $$.
I am an American, with a US education. I always believed in the fallacy that we are the greatest country with the best education system. The fact is, there is a reason exchange students float through school here - they are better educated. Now having lived abroad and seeing the difference in my child's educational opportunities abroad compared to what was awaiting for her here, I am saddened and disgusted with the fleecing of our nation and the failure of our education system for our children.
Sherrie - I know exactly how you are feeling. My daughter makes the TX cutoff of Sept. 1 by 2 days. Just like your daughter, she is academically ready and I have been told so by her preschool teachers for a couple of years. I think they at first couldn't understand why I was so set on giving her another year to develop. Just like you do, I have major concerns about her coordination, social and emotional maturity, and her confidence, now and much more so in the adolescent years. I too have looked for research and found nothing, and it seems every educator I ask, specifically seasoned kindergarten teachers have varying opinions on the issues. Anyone with any input or experience in these types of situations, (specifically with girls).....your comments would be greatly appreciated!!
My daughter will not turn 5 until August and will turn 6 just 3-4 days after starting Kindergarten. She is just now turning three and has already attended a learning center for a year. She will be in preschool for two or three if they won't let her attend kindergarten at age 5 and I believe she will be so bored in kindergarten by the time she finally gets there. She is my third child so she is already above average for her age having other siblings to learn from. Speaking full sentences clearly, knowing her alphabet, numbers to twenty and colors. Already coloring within the lines and cutting things out with scissors.
I think it should be the parents choice when there child is ready, after all, they know their child better than anyone else.
I'm glad to read these comments as I too have a child who is near the cut off. Her birthday is 2 weeks before the cut off which in our District (northern Alberta) is March 1. This means kids can start K if they are 4 1/2. After agonizing debate, we put her in K last year, and she had a successful year. The problem is she is the youngest by a year of many, most of the students, as the parents tend to keep the younger ones back a year. This creates an artificial cut off of end of December instead. She is also in French immersion, and there is a streaming that happens. Kids who struggle in any way are streamed over the first grades into English instead. So the remaining kids in her class are extremely strong. So, she met and exceeded the curriculum expectations for K, is beginning to read in both languages, knows her numbers to 70 in French and 200 hundred in English. She got along with the kids. Do I send her along for the rest of her school life as the youngest by far? There is a difference a year makes, so she is different from the older girls in the class. Will this haunt her through adolescent years? I wish she'd either had brilliance or incapacity as her trademarks, because the decision would be easier. Having skipped Grade 3 myself, with no problems whatsoever, I'm leaning toward sending her on. But I'm feeling pressure to play it safe and have her do another year of K and be the same age as the other kids. Sort of. Oldest though. I most wish there was flexibility, a way to change kids through the year into a different class if it wasn't working for them where they were. And I wish learning wasn't so age related - why can't kids just learn and hang out with multi-age as we adults do? And I wish if there are age cut offs they were concrete, instead of parents being able to hold their kids back thus norming against my girl. Lots of frustration. Thanks for the thoughts.
My simple opinion on the subject above is that age is not necessarily a function of a child's performance when in school. An early-starting child can even perform better academically in school than his/her late-starting counterpart. I submit that it is the way the family of individual child trains such child that will actually help such child in his/her cognitive ability and academic performances when in school.
These are exactly the issues that I am thinking about - my daughter has an Aug. birthday and makes the cutoff by 2 weeks. Last year her verbal skills tested on par w/ a 6 1/2 year old - she is quite bright and I always assumed we would send her. After talking w/ parents of some middle school students, esp. girls, we think we are going to hold her - I think this will help w/ self confidence, give her time to further develop physical coordination (not her greatest strength, and hopefully be more mature and able to handle the pressure of middle and high school. I do worry about her being challenged in school, but I think this might be an issue no matter when we send her. For now, the montessori school she will be in through her kindergarten year allows her to learn and work at her own pace, but I know we will need to find a way to supplement first grade curriculum so she is not bored. I'm interested in seeing any emperical research on these issues if you know of any.
Good luck to you with your daughter!
My daughter is 5 with an August birthday and makes the Kansas cutoff by 18 days. She is definitely ready for kindergarten academically, however my concern is 1) physical coordination (getting better but still probably more on par with a 4-year old than a 5 year old) and more importantly, I am concerned about social issues and confidence in the early adolescent years. I'm curious, has anyone seen any research around those types of issues?
The cutoff date in my city is Aug 31st for both private and public school. My twin girls will be 4 years old Sept 4th. I'm looking ahead to next year and quite discouraged. Yes, I understand there needs to be a firm cutoff date, but my girls are already over 3 and 1/2 feet tall. They are in a Pre-K class at their day care and either taller than or as tall as the other kids. Everyone "thinks" they are 5 or 6!! Moreover, they are very verbal, know their letters and can count to 20, do basic addition and subtraction, and being twins, they know to share and take turns - that's been the story of their life. I would expect by next year (and I'm willing to have them independently tested but the school district says NO) they would be ready for kindergarten. So if the school district makes them stay back a year, starting kindergarten at 6, what will that be like for GIRLS to always be a head and 1/2 taller than everyone in their classroom. I'm six feet tall and by 7th grade was taller than most of my teachers. No one considers the emotional impact down the road when these kids are in high school. Moreover, school came easy to me. With little to no effect I got A's and was always in accelerated classes. My girls are quick to process and learn. Sometimes we think they are too smart (yes, I know, don't all parents wear rose-colored glasses), but holding them back a year just tells me they will be bored and unchallenged, and add to that the physical difference and this will not be good. Age is so arbitrary. There needs to be individual assessment.