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3boysmom
3boysmom asks:
Q:

Should my son repeat kindergarten or go on to first grade?

My son started school at age 4.  He didn't turn 5 until August 29, just 2 days befor the cutoff for age.  All through kindergarten we were receiving positive feedback in the social department.  His teacher kept saying how he was a pleasure to have in her class, that he was very friendly and lovable with everyone.  However, she stated that he was womewhat behind in the academics not because he didn't know the material or have potential in learning new things but because he is just so young and immature.  At the end of the year she wanted us to hold him back with her for another year.  Instead, we chose to hire a private tutor for over the summer in hopes that he would do a little growing and continue to learn.  Now, with the begining of school only a week away, and summer school (which at our local school is the last two weeks of summer vacation), the first grade teacher is telling us the same things.  She says that it appears he really knows a lot but that his immaturity issues are getting in the way of what will be a fast paced and academic based curriculum.  She feels that he will not do well due to the need for being redirected quite often.  I don't know what to do.  My husband and I just don't know what the right answer is for him.  We tried to talk with him and explain to him about going back to kindergarten and he is very upset and cries whenever we talk about it.  He was always really shy and has made a couple really good friends, of which he played with all summer.  He doesn't want to "leave" his friends.  And now if we even mention kindergarten he just says he doesn't want to go to school at all unless he gets to go to first grade with his friends.  Does anyone have any advice?
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness
> 60 days ago

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barbrum
barbrum writes:
That he wants to go to first grade is the best motivator there is!  It sounds as if you have explained the situation to him and he knows the score.  I have a daughter in a similar situation.  Her teacher thought she should do kindergarten again.  My daughter became very upset over the whole idea.  I spoke with the principal and we decided to give her a chance at first grade.  I am not convinced that behavior necessarily improves by holding a child back academically.  You have commented that he has friends and does get along socially in his grade.  You also said he is keeping up academically and you are willing to go the extra distance to make sure he doesn't fall behind.  Do what you feel is best for your son.
> 60 days ago

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kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hi 3Boysmom,

That sounds like such a tough situation!  I'm sorry you and your son are having to manage it.  

I think if you're getting exactly the same advice from two teachers who have worked closely with your son it's probably something to seriously consider.  A lot of times when a child is in this position it has a lot to do with his behavior / attitude or with his parents' willingness and/or ability to support him.  Obviously neither of those things are playing a role here....it sounds like your little guy is really trying hard and doing the best he can and that you and your husband are also doing everything you can to help him be successful.  

If he moves on to first grade you could probably get him through it, but you may be creating a situation where he's ALWAYS behind and having to work really hard to keep up.  Think how frustrating it will be for ALL of you if he continues to struggle and be behind his classmates for the rest of his school career.  I think it could have a really negative impact on his attitude and motivation over the years.  And getting held back in a higher grade will be much more traumatic than taking another spin through kindergarten.  Maybe giving him another year in kindergarten will give him a chance to catch up so he's really ready to succeed through school.

Is there any chance that he could repeat kindergarten in a different environment?  Maybe changing to a different teacher at this school or even changing schools?  The one thing I would worry about is that he'll get bored being in the same classroom with the same teacher for another year - and really might see it as a "failure" that he has to do the same thing again.  

I know it's hard to see your son upset at the idea of leaving his friends.  Kids this age hate the idea of change - but they adapt REALLY well to it.  We moved last year and my 5 year old son was really anxious and sad about it but after one trip to the playground in our new town he had new best friends and has never looked back.  I think if you position it right you could get him really excited.  If his main concern is his friends, just make sure he knows he doesn't have to lose them just because he's not in their class.  Promise him you'll make sure to have play dates, invite them to birthday parties etc.  He'll probably be really comforted by knowing he doesn't have to give up his old friends just because they're not in class together.  You could also do some things to help him feel good about doing kindergarten again.  Tell him he's going to be the teacher's special helper, help him think about how good it will feel to be able to do all of his work on time, help him picture a school experience where he's not always being "redirected" but is  actually a super star!

This is a tough decision and the good news is, he's a great kid with two great parents so no matter what you decide he's going to turn out GREAT!

Good luck and please let us know what you decide.

Kat
Education.com Community Team
> 60 days ago

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3boysmom
3boysmom writes:
Thank you to the two of your who responded to my problem.  After much consideration and speaking to a lot of people we have decided to hold him back another year.  The school principal took him aside today and talked with him in the kindergarten classroom to try and make him feel that it was ok and to put a positive spin on it.  When my son returned to the first grade room he told the teacher that he was in his classroom with the principal which is encouraging.  This principal did this same thing with one of his children and could empathize.  Also, speaking with one of my son's friend's moms, she and I are going to plan play dates for the boys so they will still be able to play and remain friends.  Everyone has been very supportive at the school in the decision.  And although it will be tough at first, I really just didn't want to take the chance that he would feel left behind throughout first grade.  We will see if this was the right decision as the year begins and progresses.
> 60 days ago

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sdmooney
sdmooney writes:
Can you please let me know how your son is doing this year after repeating kindergarten.  I am having the same issue and I am afraid his teacher will want to hold my son back.  His pediatrician doesn't like the idea since my son is already 4 feet tall.  He says if we hold him back he will be emotionally damaged.  But he is a young 5, dob 5-5-03, and is already struggleing so much in school.  He says he doesn't like school and that it is hard.
> 60 days ago

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ellopoppit
ellopoppit writes:
I was born on the 31st of August and so I was extremely young for my grade but I am now a lawyer so there
> 60 days ago

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lonamax
lonamax writes:
Hi. I was in the same situation with my son last year. We decided to have him repeat kindergarten. This year, when he went back to school, dispite trying to prepare him for what to expect, he was really disappointed to see his friends from kindergarten in 1st grade.
I am having difficulties with taking him to school in the mornings. He says that he misses me because everything is different.
I am currently going to have meetings with his teacher and counselor to figure out how to ease his transitions.
How is your son doing in school so far? I'm glad to hear that you have a great support system!
> 60 days ago

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