In today’s world, you’ve got lots of flavors of K. There’s pre-K, TK and then the big dance – K – as in kindergarten. I didn’t attend any of them – not even kindergarten. I am not sure what was going on with my parents and why they did not send me to kindergarten. My mother says we were in the middle of moving to a new town and a new school district …blah…blah…blah. I’ve tried silencing my inner Judge Judy but it sounds a little lazy to me. Just saying.
One thing’s for sure. Back in 1979, if you were born before the “cut-off” (and your parents got around to enrolling you in kindergarten) then your butt was in the seat. No one was proactively held back from kindergarten due to their birth date. My first year of elementary school happened to be first grade and in my opinion, my lack of kindergarten has not been a hindrance. My husband disagrees. He says it explains a lot.
My daughter is a “summer baby” and turns 5 on July 18 and so we have a decision to make. Back in October, we dutifully completed our kindergarten tours despite the fact that complete strangers cautioned against the idea of sending a summer baby to kindergarten. COMPLETE STRANGERS. “Why would you want her to be the youngest?” “A lot of the boys will be a year older than her.” “You won’t regret it; just hold her back.” “Do you really want to be that parent who realizes in a few years that you should have TK’d her?”
Due to these well-meaning advice givers who seemed to represent only one side of the debate, I became absolutely consumed with the TK question. Do we send her to the big dance? Do we TK her? What is the right decision? I sought advice and insight from many a mother based on the road they had traveled before me.
It’s been 3 months since the kindergarten tours and I’m happy to report that I have calmed down (not nearly as happy as my husband). Our preschool teacher-parent conferences are next week. I know in my heart that this decision is ultimately ours and only ours to make and we look forward to hearing the advice from her preschool teachers, too, whichever way the coin may fall.
Here’s where I need your help. I’m very curious to hear from the groups that are under-represented in this debate, in my opinion. Let’s hear from the moms who held their child back and regretted it. Let’s hear from the moms who sent their summer baby to the big dance and have no regrets. Share your experience, Smarties!
Smarties, don’t forget to vote for your FAVES in our first-ever 2011 CSP Awards!
I have a June baby and didn't send her to TK. She is doing awesome in K!!
My June birthday boy was as ready as a 5 year old should be and has done great in K. I based it on the kid, not the birthday.
love this post, so glad you wrote it. I, too agree, it is all about the child and how they are doing in preschool and please lean on the preschool teachers for their opinion, as they are the ones who see your child daily. My son is an October baby and we did not hold him back. he is unusually tall for his age and has continued to be, so that factored into our decision too, but mainly because his 4 year old teacher said he is ready for K and would be bored in TK. As for me, my mom tried to take me to K, but I cried and clung to her legs so she said I wasn't ready for K, and brought me back to 1st grad the next year! and I think I've been fine ever since. As for my son, he is now in 6th grade, making great grades, and yes, he is by far the youngest in his class because everyone else has held their kids back, but he is doing beautifully. Go with your gut, ask around, and I'm sure you'll make a decision that is right for your child.
Love this! We are walking that path right now!
my June birthday boy is probably the second or third youngest in his first grade class. his preschool teachers thought a pre-K year might be a good idea because his handwriting was poor, but with that being the only issue we didnt feel like holding him back would be helpful for him. he is also very tall for his age, so looking at him with his classmates you'd assume he is one of the older ones. He did fine in kindergarten and is doing even better in first grade, he is reading way above grade level and his handwriting is still sloppy but much improved. if we had held him back, i can only imagine how bored he would have been. i think it is a totally individual decision, and if you can enroll in K and pre-K and then decide during the summer, it would be even better. my son matured so much the summer he turned 5.
Our daughter is a July 21 birthday. We struggled with what to do, and ultimately decided to send her to kindergarten with the agreement that if she needed to repeat then we would do it. She did beautifully and has continued to do well in school. She is not as mature as some of her peers as the youngest and she does have to work hard for every point she earns. Not a bad thing IMO. If I had to do it again, I think that I would follow the same track.
It is so dependent on the child, and no one but you can judge whether your daughter is ready. My nephew was a July birthday, as were my sister, my brother in-law, my husband and I. We all started Kindergarten at 5 and finished high school at 17 going on 18. My sister did not hold him back. He did wonderfully in Kindergarten, and continues to do wonderfully as a 12 year old 7th grader.
Love this post! I just had a baby in early September, and I was so happy when we made it past August 31st so that her birthday didn't fall in that late summer iffy stage!
I have son with a mid June birthday. I did all the private school tours and too was shocked when one automatically said he should go to TK without even looking at him. Well we had him tested and he tested highly gifted and his preschool teacher, psychologist etc all said he needs to go to K and I went back to that one school and they STILL said "well you wouldn't want him to be the youngest would you". It's like they did not care at all about my childs needs. He was being marked solely b/c of his date of birth. What a mistake they are making. I just kind of laughed and leftb/c they obviously have no idea what they are doing.
Great post! This is such a huge debate among moms with summer birthday kids. From what I understand, the benefits of starting later (especially boys) is seen in middle school and beyond. They are more mature then and do better in sports, etc. That was my reason. I felt my son was ready for kindergarten but we gave him another year and so glad we did.
I can't agree more with the previous comment. Many parents forget to look down the road when deciding. I held my may 18th boy back and couldn't be more happy about our decision. He has done so much better in high school socially than his friends that are his age but a year ahead in school. Being the youngest is easy in high school. I'm on the "hold those baby boys back" side!!!
We just made this decision last summer and so far, I'm pleased! I have a daughter with a mid Aug b-day.. she's tall, easy-going, smart and was socially ready. Her preschool teachers said we'd do her an injustice putting her in TK. I went in knowing we can always hold her back if for some reason she starts to fall behind. I too believe it's a case by case basis and boys tend to be the ones that need that extra time in TK. Good Luck!
Our daughter is a mid august birthday and is thriving in elem school. We are from the Midwest and nobody holds kids back there, you start by the date unless there are extreme issues, so that was our mindset before age 4. Then we were asked, like the blogger, if we were sending our daughter, by people that didn't know her. We got caught up in the send/don't send debate but ultimately felt in our guts she was ready, she really wanted to go, and there were no red flags from the preschool teacher.
I (female) have a September birthday, a father (also September) who had to work hard in school since he was the youngest, and a mother who was a teacher who had seen younger chidren struggle. I got held back even though I could read in per-K just on account of my age (near the cutoff, but not past it for our district). I was very tall and appeared freakishly so because I was a year older than everyone else. I hit puberty before everyone else. I was also bored to the point where I don't have the best work habits – I got very used everything coming easy with little work on my part. I have a summer baby (late June) and won't hold her back unless she seems to need it academically. Age doesn't tell the whole story.
we "tk'd" our son (july birthday) and he'll start kindergarten next fall. the question that helped us decide this completely sleep-depriving question was not kindergarten but middle and then high school. we have really enjoyed this TK year and hope that you can find peace with a decision… since there isn't a wrong one. it will all work out! good luck!
and by that "middle and high school" comment i meant, "how would they fare in middle and high school." sorry if there was confusion.
How sad to think that people would hold their children back in order to be better in sports. Ridiculous. Think about how tough of a job it is for teachers to teach kids on so many different levels. Now that we have kids who JUST turned 5 in a class with kids who are almost 7, the job gets even tougher. Sad. And we wonder why our system is failing.
As a former Kindergarten teacher I would agree that it is a case by case basis. Although a child can read or may seem academically ready, that does not always mean he/she is socially ready. I had many children who were academically ready but struggled socially. Preschool and TK programs give students more time to grow socially by allowing them more time to be creative and learn through play. In Kindergarten the state and the county has time requirements for all academic areas and and there isn't as much time to visit and play. It's hard for 5 and 6 year olds to sit for 7 hours a day and "learn." So when thinking about school, don't just think about the academic part of school. It's also important to think about if your child is socially ready.
My son is an August baby. I asked opions of everyone I know about holding or sending. Answers were 50/50. And many said "don't rush", "let him gain confidence". Against my gut feeling I sent him and in hind site regret it. The many preschools in the Charlotte area have great 1/2 day 5 day programs (which my son missed out on). I thought he would be bored half days but I missed so many more adventures with him to discovery place, the parks, etc. They are only young once. Let them be a child.
My son has an early August bday. In our 4yr conference the teachers thought academically he would prob. be fine going on but I felt he was very imature for his age. He still wanted to be that little boy of mine. So for more social and maturity reasons we had him do TK and it was his best year! He wanted to do another yr of it. He is in K now and doing just fine. Reading on a 1st gr. level but he is in my mind where he should be. I too worry more about middle/high school and puberty etc and maturity with issues at that age! It's all about the individual child not what others think. Go with your gut feeling. I'm happy we did TK. If he gets bored there is talent delvelopment in most schools or he can skip a grade if needed (don't see that happening).
I agree that this is an individual decision, based on each child. Children who are held back will not necessarily be football captains, class presidents or academic stars. They may be average students, who just happen to be older. But there may have been very justified developmental reasons for holding the child back. Parents know their children best and I think that the preschool teacher's advice is extremely valuable too. We have made different decisions for each of our children, and everything has worked out great.
I am in the exact same boat! I have a son, mid- August bday, super social, taller than average is the youngest in his pre-school class and doing great, but I have always said that older boys do better. Here I am eating my words a bit as I am so scared he will be bored. I want him challenged, not struggling. AHHHH?? It is so hard. I do think in my gut that he as most BOYS would be more successful in all areas if they are among the older boys. Boys in general mature so much slower than girls. A great book that may help called Outliers- The Story of SuccessSupposedly, it will make everyone think about sending any summer baby on??Would love to know what you guys think about it. I am picking it up this weekend.
How interesting! I thought the whole Pre-K/TK/JR K/ wait a year/push on conundrum I'm dealing with was because my 4 year old MISSES the cut-off for school! She is a December baby, so I have pondered to apply to test her and push her ahead beacause of her developmental abilities or wait until she is GOING ON 6 to start kindergarten. Ultimately, we decided based on excellent advice from two of my best friends. One is a Dec 27th birthday and the youngest by far in our class. The other a December 15th birthday and the oldest. Verdict in: think ahead to the middle school / high school years. The social development / maturity difference is the reason why my "young" friend says, no, no, not the way to go for my December baby. We are TK knowing she may be bored, but knowing for us, this is the right thing to do in thinking about the teen years ahead. Thanks ya'll! Loved reading your thoughts on this…
Great post! We have a December baby so will be going the TK route. We couldn't be more excited about TK for next year.