Yesterday was my son's birthday. He turned 9. He is in fourth grade. The cut-off day for our school district and our school is September 1. He is a cut-off day baby, as his birthday is September 1. The rules read "must be 5 by Sept 1" for Kindergarten. He meets this requirement, since he TURNED 5 on Sept 1 of his Kindergarten year, even though he had already been in Kindy a few days by then.
Now, our kids attend a private school that has flexible boundaries. It's an awesome independent school for gifted and talented kids, so there are "thin walls" between classrooms as kids accellerate or stay back for more seasoning. Often kids are admitted with a birthdate past the cut-off date but included in that higher grade. The school, together with the parents, makes the decision based on each individual child.
Hear that? The SCHOOL, TOGETHER with the PARENTS, makes the decision based on each individual CHILD.
Sorry to shout, but when you hear about this "redshirting of kindergarteners" for potential advantages later makes me nuts.
When we first moved to this area seven years ago, and people became aware of my son's birthdate, I remember being asked time and again, "You're going to hold him back, right?"
WTF? (Why The Face?)
People would ask it in this way, too, not a simple "are you going to?" but with the presumption that I WOULD hold him back.
My response? "He's TWO YEARS OLD. I think I'll get to know him first before I make any decisions on his behalf."
Needless to say this typically went over like a lead balloon and has led to the social ostracization that I face today.
Honestly, people. What does your child need? Another year of pre-school? More engagement? More interaction with kids performing at their intellectual level? More challenging work? An intellectual peer group?
How about you make the decisions based on what your child is doing, comparing that to the norms for his/her age, and figuring out if he or she is ahead of the curve, in the middle of the curve, or behind the curve?
Thing is, I don't think that many parents today actually know what is typical for a five year old. I can't tell you how many times I've talked about developmental stages, specific skills that are age-dependent (for instance, did you know that whether a stick figure has defined hands/fingers/feet/toes is age-dependent?) and otherwise helped educate a parent about what is normal. Usually I'm the one advocating for the fact that their child has behaviors that are OUTSIDE the norm, advanced beyond their age-peers, advocating for that gifted education, but fundamentally my point is to do what's right for your child.
With how much information about this is available online and in local libraries, there's no excuse. Do your research. Figure it out. I don't see any reason to hold back my high-performing easy-going boy. Actually, if I were to just follow "what people say" about boys in the classroom, I would have been supposed to hold him back. It might have made sense - he was shy, slow to separate, some might even argue clingy (not me, he reminded and reminds me to this day of myself. We're homebodies who want to be close to the people we love, nothing wrong with that.) He might have appeared to an observer to be a child with poor social skills. But his social skills were just fine, he's just a reserved person, he takes a little while to get to know you. This is *normal*! This is actually a useful skill, as I rarely have to worry about my children talking to strangers!
But that first day of school, his eyes shone. He was alight with the discovery of other kids who wanted to play the way he did, who wanted to talk ad nauseum about cars or dinosaurs or boats or play-doh. He loved being at school. His teacher loved having him. What's not to like about a happy kid who loves to learn and is a good listener? (most of the time when he's not absorbed in something Really Fascinating to him.)
And so this week, he was the last in his grade to turn nine, and he's FINE. He's young for his grade, but he's right in the middle of the pack for performance. He's HAPPY. He has incredible friends. He's a good kid. He gets challenged at school. We made the right choice for our child. How about yours?