When I was growing up, staying in one's class or trying to accelerate seem to norm. Since I was born in the early part of the year, my mom tried, unsuccessfully to accelerate me into an earlier kindergarten class when I was 4 -1/2. In high school, I only remember two classmates that were born in the year prior to my birth date. Holding back was the exception, not the norm.
Until now, my spouse and I have been hedging our bets. We've paid deposits to register our daughter for both pre-school and full day kindergarten. Based on differing schedules, she could start full day kindergarten and drop back two weeks later for the start of pre-school, if needed. Although we've covered all our bases, it will cost us a $200 to $325 to keep both options open until the start of school. (Our kindergarten choice is in a public school, but the full day option carries an additional cost.)
At this point, I'm leaning towards sending her to kindergarten, while my spouse is leaning towards holding her back. Here are the pros and cons as we see it:
|Starting Kindergarten this Year|
|Age||She makes the cutoff age for starting this year||She may be the youngest by up to 1-1/2 years|
|Sports||She will compete regularly at a higher skill level||She will be behind in physical development|
|Mental Capability||She will be challenged, which will enable her to learn more||She won't be able to keep up, which will continue to get worse each succeeding grade level|
|Maturity||She will mature faster||She will feel deficient to her peers and will be behind as she gets older|
|Friends||Her current friends will be starting kindergarten||Some of her friends have already been held back|
While our daughter sometimes surprises us with her mental capability, she doesn't often want to take on a challenge she thinks is hard. However, when pushed a little or with help from us, she will develop the skill. In some cases, she seems to suddenly acquire the skill, even if we haven't seen an progress for a few weeks.
On the physical side, there is risk she may be behind for awhile. I can see a significant difference from her peers and even between now and a few months ago. On the social side, she does seem a little behind those who would be attending kindergarten this year, but ahead of those attending the following year.
The decision is a choice between the benefit of accelerating her learning and the psychological risk of going too fast, especially since there will be a number of children that are already held back. The importance of this decision is that it will affect her for many years into the future.
Although we checked with her pre-school teach earlier this year, she recommended waiting before making the final decision. Today, we are having a parent/teacher conference day and will check again. In addition, we will have her screened by the kindergarten teacher next week.
With all this data, we can probably decide within the next week. The safe choice appears to be holding her back. However, I think we will still keep our options open until school starts :-)
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This is not financial or education advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
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