My daughter is an August 27 baby. That means she could go to kindergarten in August 2015 if she wanted, by 72 hours. There is NOTHING more I would love than giving myself a $640 a month pay raise by ditching daycare in May but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I look at my daughter and instinctively know she is just NOT ready. Not matter how much my checkbook is ready to put her on that bus.
We made the decision, we are delaying kindergarten for a year.
The decision is not cut and dried, and there is no “magic date” that determines a child’s success or failure in kindergarten. If this issue is a source of confusion for you — you may want to consider these factors in your decision making process.
Kindergarten is not what it used to be
The curriculum, demands and competencies required for kindergarten have changed dramatically since we were in school. I have fond memories of playing outside, writing my name, learning my letters and mastering the art of butchering paper with too-dull-to-cut-air scissors, especially for my disadvantaged left-handed classmates. Now, kids are reading sight words, adding and subtracting and immersing themselves in all aspects of literacy. In no way am I implying that immersing yourself in books and learning is a bad thing, but I think my daughter would not handle the demands of spelling tests, sight word assessments and Lexia requirements at the age of 4. I think she will be much more emotionally ready to handle those pressures (and yes, it is pressure and the kids feel it) with another year of preschool under her belt.
My daughter comes from a “hard place”
My daughter is adopted from South Korea and has experienced the loss of her birth family and two foster families before joining our family at the age of 2. She was already talking Korean babble (which is VERY different than traditional Korean as I learned the hard way) and it took her awhile to recover from the shock and trauma to her system, leaving her unsure in new settings. I am hoping that the additional year in her pre-school will allow her to build her confidence, resiliency and social skills needed to be successful in kindergarten. If your child comes from a “hard place” as well (this could include medical issues, parental illness, prematurity or a child of neglect, abuse or trauma) you may want to consider waiting as well.
It’s not going to hurt her
Delaying kindergarten one year will have no negative effects on her. In fact, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development has published various studies and have pointed to the fact that delayed entry is preferred over retention and that younger students have less knowledge in math and reading than their older counterparts. We do run the risk that she may be bored after doing preschool twice, but I think when the risk outweighs the benefits we are more comfortable with her being “bored” than “overwhelmed.”
All children are different, and some young students with summer birthdays may be ready to spread their wings and fly. You know your child best. Trust your mother’s intuition. I shared several factors that were important to us when making the decision, but every family is different. Weigh the pros and cons that matter the most in your situation and make the best decision for your child.
Did you send your summer baby or have them sit out a year? Would you do anything differently?