Does anyone know if there is anything that can be done to get a 4 year old into Kindergarten, who misses the California cut-off date by 2 days (Dec 2 vs Dec 4), short of paying for private school? Help please! He is highly intelligent and clever and already reading books. He can read, recite and write his ABC's and knows numbers to 20. Also knows numbers to 10 in Spanish as well as many other Spanish words and phrases. He is currently enrolled in a Pre-K class, but his teacher (who has been teaching for 26 years and used to be a Kindergarten teacher) has explained that he is more than ready. I can't get anyone at the district office to even discuss this or offer any options other than making him wait a full year before beginning Kindergarten. He already knows a majority of the things that Kindergartners know. Waiting an additional year to begin will put him in a class with kids younger than him and where he already knows the material. This will be detrimental to him. Thanks for any help or suggestions.
This must be so frustrating for you! As I understand it, school districts are very reluctant to admit students beyond the birthday cut-off date because it quickly becomes a slippery slope. If the school admits your son, but does not admit a child who has a birthday on December 5th (other child may be ready), they must contend with the protests from the other parent. Thus, they typically stick with the hard and fast cut-off date to limit the gray area.
Of course, that rationale does not improve your situation any or make this any easier. Assuming that your son is developmentally ready in other areas of growth (see here for a sample readiness quiz: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Readiness_Indicators/), you may consider requesting that your son be registered for kindergarten once he turns five. The California Department of Education website reveals that some districts (in rare instances) will admit a student once they turn five. Thus, he would miss the first few months of school, but he could remain in preschool for that period and hit the ground running on December 4th. For more on this, please see: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderinfo.asp.
To help make your case, you might consider taking a letter of recommendation from his preschool teacher, a completed kindergarten readiness quiz, and submit that your son be evaluated for readiness. Perhaps, this will soften their stance and provide the space you need for them to consider him for kindergarten (at least on his birth date).
L. Compian, Ph.D.
I just put my 5 year old in kindergarten because he would have been 4 years and 2 weeks at the start of the school year. He was also smart and ready in many ways academically (he speaks 3 languages). However, at least one study (in Germany, I believe) found that kids who enter one year later (at 5 instead of 4) only take a few weeks to catch up (pass?) to the kids who started one year earlier. Conclusion? Academics at 4 are irrelevant! With all due respect to K teachers, it seems that one of their most important functions for society is that of childcare while parents give up the privilege of being with their child to go to work.
We chose not to do that and do not regret it. The extra year with mum was worth it!
Also, as a principal, I can tell you that the most important readiness factor is not academic preparation but maturity, and I have had many mothers tell me great things about their child, only to find out that while the child was bright, they were of normal maturity and in fact had to learn things like sharing, fine motor skills, concentration and character. They had good verbal abilities but were not all round geniuses by any manner of means.
In 20 years time (and probably even sooner) it will make no difference whether your child went to kindergarten at 4, 5 or never!
My advice? If your child is not already enrolled somewhere don't bother! Save yourself the money and enjoy the few short years we get with our most precious legacy - our children. He will get plenty of years of formal education and will probably benefit more emotionally by having one extra year at home with you! (Do of course keep up with a range of activities that will stimulate his personal growth though!)