Think About Down The Line Not Just Kindergarten
Will you be as happy with your decision, whichever way you lean, when your child enters older grades? I admit, I didn’t love the thought of my daughter being a youngin’ in, say, fifth grade with redshirted boys who are a year older, or sending my 17-year-old baby off to college.
On the flip side, there could have been some downsides to holding her back: After talking to a couple of parents of teens, I wasn’t crazy about the thought of her getting a driver’s license at the beginning of junior year of high school, a potential distraction during a crucial academic year for college.
What Age Should Your Child Start Kindergarten
Many parents question what is the right age for kindergarten, but the answer isnt as simple as a single number. Several factors go into kindergarten readiness, but you shouldnt decide to enter your child into kindergarten lightly, since it may be crucial to your childs future academic and career success.
Kindergarten And Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement And Reporting
Districts are required to notify parents or legal guardians if their 5-year old 5K student is absent without an acceptable or legal excuse following the same procedures as other students for truancy and habitual truancy. Beyond notice, truancy enforcement steps are controlled by local board polices .
The statute does not specifically address whether truancy enforcement procedures would apply. Districts may attempt to enforce truancy provisions, and the courts would determine whether those provisions apply. Local Truancy Committees may make recommendations on truancy enforcement for 5-year-olds.
State law, Wis. Stat. Sec. 118.14, states no child may be admitted to the first grade unless he or she is 6 years old, on or before September 1 of the year he or she proposes to enter school. However, school board policy may permit exceptions. Under Wis. Stat. Sec. 120.12 school boards must prescribe procedures, conditions and standards for early admission to first grade.
Also Check: The Wonder Years Preschool Staten Island
How Do You Know Your Child Is Ready For Kindergarten
There are a few critical factors in determining if your child is ready for kindergarten.
- Following directions: Kindergarten readiness entails following rules. The ability to pay attention to instructions, understand them, and carry them out is essential for starting school.
- Language skills: A good measure of whether your child is ready to begin kindergarten is if they can speak in complete sentences. It also helps if they can identify the sounds that form words and recognize rhymes.
- Social and emotional skills: Kindergarten requires social and emotional preparedness. If your child begins to show interest in playing with friends, cooperating with them, and solving problems without hitting or harming others, that could be a sign they are socially ready to start school.
- Mathematics: While your child doesnt need to be a math genius when they enter kindergarten, it helps if they know at least the numbers one through 10 and can identify what those quantities mean, rather than reciting a memorized list.
- Identify common shapes: Circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles are some common shapes kids should be able to identify before entering kindergarten.
- Do things by themselves: Kids should have a specific level of independence before entering school, both for their sake and their instructors. Dressing themselves and using the bathroom with minimal help are essential skills for kids entering kindergarten.
What Time Does Kindergarten Start And End
Again, it varies from school to school. While some schools and districts offer full-day programs that mirror a more typical school day , others offer a half-day program with either morning or afternoon options, or both.
Kristen Foster, a mom of two in Parker, Colorado, says that sending her children to a full-day kindergarten was an easy decision for her family. Full-day programs offered more social opportunities for children in that they would have recess and lunch together, Foster explains. We valued our children getting to play and socialize with their peers, and full day offered a curriculum with art, PE and music. We thought our children would love to be exposed to these classes.
Don’t Miss: Is Kindergarten Mandatory In Nj
What Else Should Parents Consider Before Starting Their Child In Kindergarten
When children have the emotional, physical, and cognitive skills in place, Mannis says theyre more likely to absorb and participate with success and enthusiasm.
But when they dont have the requisite underpinnings, Mannis says there is a mismatch between where the child is and the expectations of the school.
Some kindergarten programs remain more a continuation of early childhood ones, which are more play and exploration-based, while other kindergartens mark the start of formal education, Mannis explains.
So its critical that parents understand the culture and approach of the school theyre considering as they ask themselves, Is my child ready?
Nowadays, Mannis says, we know so much more about how kids grow, learn, and thrive. The more parents think about their childs temperament, learning profile, and context of the school and community, the more they can make well-considered decisions for their children, she says.
For example, if a child is slower to warm up in temperament and doesnt have well-developed language skills, Mannis says it may be challenging for them to adapt to a structured, pre-academic kindergarten.
Rather than a structured kindergarten class that comes with an expectation that they will develop phonics skills and manage workbooks, they may need more floor time and open-ended art projects, Mannis says.
Final Thoughts On This New Beginning
In many ways, kindergarten is a new experience for both kids and parents and there can be anxiety for all those involved. One of the tips that I received as a parent was to give your child the space and the freedom to talk about their feelings whether they are nervous or happy or just dont know what they feel, suggests Susie Lyons, a longtime educator in both elementary and middle schools and a Manalapan, New Jersey mom of a recent kindergarten graduate. But its also important not to create anxiety around a situation.
That means preparing kids for the first day without projecting grown-up fears. And remember, kindergarten should be joyous and fun.
Let kids learn to love school and learning because they have a long road ahead, Soriano says of this age group. Its the age of discovery. Anything you can do to support that is the most important thing. Communicate with your childs teacher. Develop a relationship. Be open to feedback both positive and constructive about your child. Youre on the same team.
Jessica Zuckerman, a Port Washington, New York mom of two and current middle school assistant principal, wants exactly that for her soon-to-be-kindergartener: I believe that kindergarten is a stepping stone for your entire academic career. Learning should be fun and I believe fun is so incredibly important for kids.
Is Your Child Ready For Kindergarten
This piece originally appeared in Education Next in the Summer 2017 issue.
In his 2008 blockbuster, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes the case that a persons age relative to his or her cohort is a key predictor of success. That is, the older you are in relation to your peers, the more likely you are to perform at an elite level in sports, to excel in school, and even to attend college. We see this principle applied in college athletics when coaches redshirt freshman athletes, allowing them to practice with the team but not play in official games. Redshirting gives younger athletes an additional year to develop skills and extends their playing eligibility, since colleges allow these freshmen five years to attend and compete.
On the other end of the student age spectrum, many parents of preschoolers have bought into this concept, choosing to delay their childs entry into kindergarten for a yeara practice known as academic redshirting. Their justifications parallel those of college coaches: these parents believe that their children need that extra year to develop the necessary skills and maturity to succeed in kindergarten. A redshirted child is a year older at kindergarten entry and thus becomes one of the oldest in his class and remains so throughout his school years, enjoying the presumed advantages of age.
Does Redshirting Make A Difference
Short term, the results for redshirted kindergartners are promising. According to the 2010-2011 NCES data, redshirted children scored slightly higher on reading and math scores both at the beginning and end of the year compared to kids who started kindergarten at 5 or younger. However, the difference is slight, and there is not yet any data on the long-term effects.
Painters work, on the other hand, is based on a longitudinal study that looked at academic and social outcomes of delayed kindergarten entry over the course of about 20 years. He followed children starting at age 4 or 5 through age 25 or 26. Incredibly, he found no academic or social benefit to redshirting In fact, he found a small benefit to being younger in terms of slightly higher college attendance rates. But is Painters information, which is necessarily old , on target? Theres other research out there from here and abroad that finds older kids do slightly better than younger kids while theyre in school, Painter says. We need to keep a close eye on it.
Overall, research on has found mostly unfavorable results for being older than your grade-level peers, including academic achievement that disappears in later grades and an increase in social and behavioral problems in adolescence, when being older can create problems. But much of this data is old, and, in many cases, linked to studies on grade retention, which is likely more of a social stigma for a child than starting kindergarten later.
You May Like: Kindergarten For 5 Year Olds
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
While Wis. Stat. Sec. 121.02, requires all Wisconsin school districts to offer five-year-old kindergarten , school districts have the option of offering four-year-old kindergarten . If they offer 4K, they must make it available to all age-eligible 4-year-olds. The following questions and answers are designed to provide information to parents and school districts about kindergarten admission policies and practices for both 4K and 5K.
State law, Wis. Stat. Sec. , specifies that children are eligible for kindergarten based on their age. To be eligible for 4-year-old kindergarten, a child must be 4 on or by September 1 of the school year. To be eligible for 5-year-old kindergarten, a child must be 5 on or by September 1 of the school year.
No. The new law, Act 41, does not require parents to enroll their 5-year-old children in 5-year-old kindergarten. However, Act 41 does prohibit a school board from enrolling a child in first grade unless the child has completed 5-year-old kindergarten or has received an exemption.
What Does Redshirting Kindergarten Mean
Redshirting is becoming an accepted practice among parents who are worried about their childs readiness for kindergarten. The term redshirt originated in college sports to describe athletes who practice with the team, but do not compete. So, redshirting kindergarten means parents delay entering their child into kindergarten, usually for a year or more.
Generally, parents hold their children back because they dont believe they are socially, emotionally, or cognitively ready for kindergarten and parents also think the decision will help their child academically. Redshirting can be a wise choice if parents connect their children with other forms of learning to prepare them for kindergarten, including preschool programming and online learning.
Don’t Miss: Under The Sea Preschool Books
What Age Does A Child Start Middle School
Middle school in Colorado typically begins when a student is eleven or twelve years old. The definition of middle school can be a bit blurry some consider it to be grade six through eighth, while other schools may also include the fifth grade as well.
The Vanguard School covers every aspect of elementary school education, with children beginning enrollment in kindergarten and going through sixth grade. From there, students enter junior high for grades seventh and eighth.
And What Is Transitional Kindergarten Or Tk
Some states now offer what is known as transitional kindergarten , a fairly new program first established by the state of California for children whose birthdays fall close to the cutoff date although it will eventually serve all 4-year-olds in the state. TK is generally part of the public school system and offers almost 5-year-olds a year to bridge the gap between preschool and kindergarten.
Read Also: Armor Of God Preschool Lesson
What Your Child Learns
Kindergarten programs are delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher. They’re designed to improve your childs development in:
- social skills, like how to play with other children in a calm, sharing and rewarding way
- self-awareness and respect for others
- emotional skills, for example understanding their feelings
- language, literacy and numeracy skills, such as reading stories and counting objects
- joy of learning and group activities, such as talking, drawing and making things together with other children their own age
- ability to make new friends
- exposure to new ideas and concepts.
Kindergarten also gives families:
- opportunities to meet other families and make community connections
- access to support for children with special needs
- access to other community services.
What If Your Childs Birthday Falls Just After The Kindergarten Enrollment Cutoff Date
For many parents, the enrollment cutoff date presents a challenge. While their child may technically be eligible to enter kindergarten, parents may not feel like their kid is ready especially if their classmates would be almost a year older. The stark disparity in ages among kindergarteners can significantly impact classroom dynamics, with older students starting to read and write while younger ones might be further behind.
You May Like: Is Kindergarten Mandatory In Michigan
What Age Do Kids Start School
- Category: Classical Education
Generally, children start school in kindergarten which begins at age five, but many children attend preschool long before that. Preschool generally starts when children reach three years of age but some children are ready for school sooner than others are.
In Colorado, for instance, a child is not required to attend kindergarten. Students are required to start school by their sixth birthday. However, children who are considered highly advanced or gifted are allowed early access to kindergarten, even before the age of four.
At The Vanguard School, children may join at age five in kindergarten.
Requirements For Early Entrance Into Kindergarten
- The comprehensive evaluation for early entrance into kindergarten must:
- Use valid and reliable instrumentation
- Be aligned with state kindergarten expectations
- Include a parent report and teacher observations of the child’s knowledge, skills and abilities
Why One Schools Program Might Look Different From The Next
There are obvious inequities in the U.S. education system that often put marginalized and low-income students at a disadvantage early on. For example, in schools where a high percentage of children have had access to pre-K programs, OConnor says, the kindergarten year, especially at the beginning, is going to look a little different potentially because you already have kids coming in with pre-academic and school-readiness skills. And even if students have access to pre-K, TK or other publicly funded early education opportunities, it is often the quality of those programs that matters for students, especially in the long run.
Of course, there are students with varying skill levels in allclassrooms. We prepare for every student to come in as a blank slate, notes Shur. A student can come in knowing very little, and it is the teachers job to help that student grow academically, socially and emotionally.
Constrained And Unconstrained Skills
OConnor agrees that a well-rounded early education blends the acquisition of all of these skills but says that these skills are more recently being categorized into what are called constrained and unconstrained skills.
- Constrained skills: These are things that have a ceiling, like the alphabet or counting to 100, she explains.
- Unconstrained skills: According to OConnor, these include higher order thinking skills, problem-solving skills and even social-emotional skills that often make it easier for children to learn certain constrained skills. She adds, You want children to be able to learn these skills together.
Read Also: Preschool Learning Activities 3 Year Olds
Remember Every Child And Family Are Unique
State regulations aside, your child’s mere age doesn’t need to be the sole qualifier for whether he or she should begin kindergarten or wait another year.
“What you will need to assess is something a bit deeper and harder to ascertain,” explains Dr. Elizabeth Matheis, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist. “You want to honestly think about your child’s social-emotional growth,” she says. “The expectation is that by the time a child is ready to begin kindergarten, he should be able to express his feelings in words as opposed to yelling, grabbing, crying, or throwing himself on the ground.”
Here are a few questions Matheis recommends answering honestly to help you to begin to make your decision on when to start kindergarten:
- Does he get along with other classmates? Can he sit still for a few minutes?
- Can he ask for help?
- Can he write his name?
- Does he know the alphabet?
- Can he recognize letters in isolation?
- Does he know any of the sounds that letters make?
- How high can he count?
- Does he speak correctly most of the time?
- Is his vocabulary adequate for his age?
In the end, you and your partner need to be comfortable in your decision based on your child’s level of social, emotional and cognitive readiness. Starting early has its pros and cons, as does waiting a year.