Hoek asks:

Should my son stay home for another year before starting Kindergarten?

I have a son that is turning 5 in Sept. and just started Kindergarten. The teacher called me in after 4 days and said he is not ready, that all he wants to do is play. She, also, said that if he stays he will have to go to 1st grade next year even if he is not mature enough. I went home and asked everyone I knew what to do. My gut is screaming at me to keep him in school.

I watched my son that weekend and saw a huge change in him. For the first time he asked me to help him with his letters and numbers. This is a boy that would never sit down with me to learn. Now he suddenly wants to.

I live in a very wealthy area even though we are not. I can not afford preschool, but half of the kids in his class can read because their parent could afford it. I do not want him to be left behind and I think he would benefit greatly staying 2 years in kindergarten.

I kind of feel like I am being blackmailed. Please help!
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness
> 60 days ago



Sep 16, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

All children develop and mature at different rates. Some children entering kindergarten may just be turning five, while others may have already turned six. Kindergarten teachers are accustomed to working with different ages, levels of maturity, and ability levels.

Four days may not be enough time to assess how a child is doing in school:  All the children are getting used to a new routine, new faces, and new expectations. For some of these children, it may be their first time in school, which makes for an even bigger adjustment.

It is important that you set up a meeting as soon as possible with the teacher.  Let her know about the changes you have seen in your child and how important you feel it is for him to continue in her class.  If she continues to insist that he is not ready, you may have to involve the principal.  However, it is always better if you can work it out with the teacher first.  

For now, it is important to work with the teacher to make this kindergarten year the best learning experience for your child in order to build that important foundation for later years.

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Additional Answers (2)

kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hi Hoek -  I agree with you that there are a couple of things that feel "fishy" here.  First, I think it's really early in the school year for the teacher to make this kind of judgment about your son.  I think it's very normal for kids to take a couple of weeks to settle in to the rigors of a kindergarten classroom.  In fact, in my son's kindergarten classroom, "play" was a big part of the first couple of weeks!

I also think it's odd that the teacher is telling you that your son will be promoted to first grade whether he's ready or not.  Every school system I know of has standards of achievement that students must meet before being sent to the next grade.  

If I were you I would ask to have a meeting with the teacher and the school principal to talk about your son and his situation.  Try not to accuse the teacher of anything, just explain that you're trying to do what's best for your son and you really want to understand the school's policies around promoting children from kindergarten to first grade.  I would share your recent experience with your son and ask the teacher if she's noticed similar progress in the classroom.

In that conversation, you should also stay open to what the teacher and principal are saying.  They have lots of experience working with kids like your son and they also (hopefully!) have his best interest at heart.  If they truly believe he is not ready for kindergarten, you may want to consider finding another alternative for him.  The last thing you want is for him to spend this year feeling unsuccessful - it could cause him to develop a dislike of school that will last a long time!  Maybe the school can point you to low-cost preschool options that would give your son a chance to mature and develop some more academic skills so he can come back to kindergarten next year ready to go!

Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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MsWilkinson writes:
As an educator I would tell you stick with your gutt feeling.  
I taught Kindergarten for 11 years, and some 5 year-olds are just not as mature as others.  Depending on where you live and the cuttoff date for starting school, he may HAVE to be in school.  
Children learn through play.  So kindergarteners especially WANT to play.  You might help the teacher out and ultimately your son by having a talk about why he is at school.  To learn, there is a time to learn and a time to play.  The fact that he is wanting to sit down with you is a good indicator.
Then go talk to the teacher again.  If you don't like the answers you get from her go to the principal.  
After 4 weeks of school, you still know your son better than the teacher, she may know some things you don't realize ;-) but it has to be a cooperative process for it to work.

Best of luck, stick to your guns Mom!!
Ms. Wilkinson
> 60 days ago

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