If My Child is Old Enough to Start School, Is there Any Reason to Wait?
Parents want their children to be successful in school. Teachers do too! However, not all children are ready for the same thing at the same time. While birth date determines when a child can legally start school, it does not guarantee that he or she is ready for the demands of today’s Kindergarten, or that the particular Kindergarten setting is ready to meet the needs of your child.
Consider the fact that in a typical Kindergarten classroom, there will be a wide mix of birth dates, including a child born one day after the cutoff date, turning six in Kindergarten and thus one whole year older than a child who was born on the cutoff date or the day before. Factor in developmental rates and differences, and some children may differ by two years in terms of their developmental level.
While we do not suggest that waiting a year is the best solution for all young children, and we recognize that this simply is not an option for many families, particularly those without access to quality preschool settings, it may be a viable option for some children and in some schools. In certain cases, waiting a year may “level out the playing field” so that development can catch up with chronological age, or age and development can catch up with the school’s expectations.
Being “ready for school” requires so much more than academic knowledge, and being aware of the school or program’s developmental expectations is key in understanding whether or not your child is ready for that Kindergarten classroom. Regardless of the setting, social, emotional, and physical readiness are equally, if not more important, than achievement skills.7
Developmentally young children may have not yet acquired the fine motor skills necessary for writing, the attention span to remain seated and focused, or the social skills necessary to interact in the structured environment of the classroom. Before deciding whether or not to enroll your child in Kindergarten, it is important to understand what will be expected of your child and to know how he or she will meet those expectations.
If my child is old enough to start school, is there reason to wait? You Are Here
Reprinted with permission of the Gesell Institute. Copyright © 2010, Gesell Institute of Human Development. All Rights Reserved.
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