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age debate


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ashleyfilip May 23, 2013


my daughters birthday is Nov 1. so when do I start her in school? just before 5 or 6?
she currently goes to an in home day care with all kids with a minimum of 2 months older, max 2 years older than her... she is already advanced for 18 months bc of this I believe. but I don't want her to struggle or be forced to mature too quickly due to being surrounded by those 8 months older...

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mdorn05 May 26, 2013


Which state do you live? Each state has its own cut-off date.

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zumma1 June 2, 2013


I have worked as a school social worker for almost a quarter of a century. I have worked all grade levels but most of my time has been spent with elementary. The children that are referred to me for academic and social difficulties are almost always the children who are the youngest ones in the class. This is especially true in boys but plenty of girls have those issues. They just aren't socially and emotionally mature enough to keep up with children that are almost a year ahead of them, as Kindergarten has many more expectations for performance that it did even a few years ago. Mandatory age of school attendance is age 6, although some states may let children in to Kindergarten as young a 4, as your daughter would be if she went just before turning 5. I highly recommend delaying the start of school for any child with a 'cusp' birthday. Spending another year in a good day care or preschool allows children to mature and almost always that leads to more success in school. Good luck.

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chickenhawk June 2, 2013


Hi,
I say definitely wait, it's better for the kids to be older then younger then everyone else in their class. I have 2 kids and one is the oldest in their class and one is youngest and the one who struggles is younger.

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lvnvmom June 2, 2013


It is really pretty hard to know at 18 months, you will likely have to get much closer to school age to know. That said, where you live may really affect whether you have any choice in the matter. Many states are moving the cutoff earlier and not giving any options to start earlier. Our state cutoff is Sept 30 and there is no ability to test to see if they can get in earlier, not even the private schools will take them earlier. Some states do allow you to test those who barely miss the cutoff, but it is often a full battery of tests (that you may have to pay for yourself to the tune of hundreds of dollars), and may cover physical/emotional/social issues as well as academics -- so your student could be academically ahead but not able to hop on one foot enough times to pass. Wait until much closer to school age to assess, but then look at lists online of kindergarten readiness and talk to the local kindergarten teachers if you can.
Also, as the others pointed out, the academic requirements are much stiffer now and will be even stricter when the common core standards are fully in effect before your daughter would start school. I work at our school and school library a lot and see the wide variety of ability levels in kindergarten -- both socially/emotionally and especially in reading. Some are really not mature enough to be there, while others could easily be first graders. Studies have shown that the youngest in the class are more likely to be referred for testing for ADHD when it is just immaturity compared to other classmates. Also remember that many of the other students with birthdays near the cutoff will already have been held back, so if you start her early, she may be the youngest by quite a bit.
Also, as you say, if you start them as the youngest, then eventually they will be exposed to what older kids are saying/doing, which personally I do not find to be helpful -- too-mature tv shows, movies and inappropriate language come to mind.
You might want to consider leaving your daughter at an in-home daycare until two years before she starts school and then try a preschool. Depends on the setting, but not sure an extra year of "day care" would be beneficial but a good preschool likely would be, along with you working with her at home, esp on her reading/phonics and handwriting.
But you know your daughter best and will know when she gets closer to school age. My older one has a summer birthday and was very ready to start at barely 5, but my youngest just missed the cut off and will be almost 6, and for her that will likely be perfect.

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scook6 June 2, 2013


I have heard the statement: "there is nothing wrong with giving your child more time". I fully believe in it as well.

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slickem6 June 3, 2013


This should be decided on a case by case basis. My birthday is in January and I started school early. I was a natural leader who performed at the top of my class and graduated with honors. Both of my children were born in late November and I started them early because they were advanced for their ages. My son was reading at age two. My son was an honor student and is now in his junior year of college. My daughter carries a 4.12 GPA and is in the top 10% of her class of a nationally ranked high school for academics. Both of my kids were very active in school beyond academics and I never regretted giving them that head start. My son didnâ??t mature as quickly as my daughter and I attributed that more to him being a boy than his age.



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