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Holding kids back in school

scamandrius

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My four year old is the youngest one in his class and his birthdate is right at about the cutoff for when students can enroll.  He would be eligible to go on to kindergarten next year, but, as he is the youngest, I'm very concerned about his emotional maturity and how well he'd handle disappointment and frustration at that level.  And though he has made some great strides this year in many ways, I'm also worried that if I do hold him back, he's going to be so much bigger and taller than the other incoming kids into his class.  He already is taller than most of the other kids now.  I don't know how he'd handle it either way, frankly.  At the same time, my parents have told me often that, if they could do it again, they would have held me back.  I was the youngest in my class and though I did fine academically, on an emotional level, I was clearly behind my classmates.  I don't know if that will necessarily be the case for my kid, but I'm truly conflicted.  His teacher said she was on the fence as to whether he should go on or not and I am too, but if any  of you have any advice on this or have held any of your kids back along with the results that ensued (both good and bad), I'd really like to hear them.  Thanks.
 

rakovsky

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scamandrius said:
My four year old is the youngest one in his class and his birthdate is right at about the cutoff for when students can enroll.  He would be eligible to go on to kindergarten next year, but, as he is the youngest, I'm very concerned about his emotional maturity and how well he'd handle disappointment and frustration at that level.  And though he has made some great strides this year in many ways, I'm also worried that if I do hold him back, he's going to be so much bigger and taller than the other incoming kids into his class.  He already is taller than most of the other kids now.  I don't know how he'd handle it either way, frankly.  At the same time, my parents have told me often that, if they could do it again, they would have held me back.  I was the youngest in my class and though I did fine academically, on an emotional level, I was clearly behind my classmates.  I don't know if that will necessarily be the case for my kid, but I'm truly conflicted.  His teacher said she was on the fence as to whether he should go on or not and I am too, but if any  of you have any advice on this or have held any of your kids back along with the results that ensued (both good and bad), I'd really like to hear them.  Thanks.
I was at a birth date age like your child's per the school year. Some years I was put ahead, other years behind, throughout my school career. I fit in about as well academically and emotionally both places.

But I think it's better to start ahead, looking over my life. I would get in college faster and have a step ahead in life. So my advice is not to hold him back but put him ahead.

Then if things "Go South", you can always hold him behind one year and it won't be as much of a big deal
than if you started him behind and he had to get held back for some reason.

I can give more details by PM to explain my own experience why.
 

Quinault

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The deciding factor should be your child's ability to behave during a school day, which includes emotional maturity. If a child isn't ready, they aren't ready. Pushing a child to do formal lessons earlier often forces the enjoyment of learning out of kids. I personally think the age cutoffs need to be stricter; more like a cutoff of April or March for incoming first graders. I have a July birthday, and started 1st grade when I was 5; I was too young and I was definitely not ready. I think my mother just wanted to have me out of the house. This resulted in my teachers being extremely annoyed to downright angry at my inability to hold still for lessons in first thru third grade. I was constantly in trouble, and it wasn't enjoyable. I honestly think a lot of the behavioral issues seen in kids today are due to the fact that people think starting formal schooling earlier is automatically always better. I was capable of doing the work, I just wasn't capable of holding still long enough for lessons. By the time I hit high school I was somewhat better adapted, but the damage was already done. Holding a child back a grade is always considered a bad thing, while it is always viewed as a good thing to skip a grade. Start slower, and then advance forward if needed. Intellectual ability isn't as important as emotional maturity. Forcing a child to mature faster emotionally is very damaging.
 

Arachne

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Send him to kindergarten. Then, if at the end of the year he doesn't seem ready to progress into grade school, hold him back. Kindergarten is about learning the first degree of independence from the parents, coexistence with other kids and functioning in an organised environment, none of which will improve if he's simply kept at home.
 

Quinault

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Arachne said:
Send him to kindergarten. Then, if at the end of the year he doesn't seem ready to progress into grade school, hold him back. Kindergarten is about learning the first degree of independence from the parents, coexistence with other kids and functioning in an organised environment, none of which will improve if he's simply kept at home.
My guess is that he is already in a preschool since the OP mentions "class" in his post. I worked at a preschool before having kids. Parents that didn't send their kids onto kindergarten just had their kids remain in preschool another year. It was fairly common to do this with kids born on the edge of the age cutoff, I'd say that the mix was about 50/50 between kids going off to kinder and just staying in preschool. If the preschool is a good one (the one I worked at was NAEYC accredited) staying "back" a year didn't mean a lack of challenge for the child. None of the parents that decided to hold off on kinder regretted it. On the other hand, at least half of the parents that decided to enroll early wished they hadn't (they had younger kids still at the center so we chatted). The ones that didn't regret it were the ones that coached their kids at home literally for years so they would pass the IQ tests and be eligible for enrollment in the expensive private schools.

Also, repeating kinder is considered regression or stagnation in my experience. You are "held back" to repeat kinder because kids generally don't spend a couple years in kinder. Whereas it is pretty normal to do 2 years of preschool.
 

Quinault

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As a teacher (I taught classes and tutored kids thru the Boys and Girls Club for years before having my own children) I really hated seeing kids that started school young only because they were just old enough for first grade (and not because they were ready). The impact continues for the entire academic career, not just that first year. Emotional and social readiness aren't something that comes entirely from practice, it is part of the development of a child and as such it is a spectrum. Practice helps, but it can't create skills that aren't at least in some form already in place. Proper socialization isn't just about speaking with a wide variety of people; it is also about having the ability to know how one should behave. A 2 year old can't comprehend that passing gas is rude, whereas my 3-almost-4 year old understand I don't appreciate it when he farts in my face. :D
 

Arachne

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Quinault said:
Arachne said:
Send him to kindergarten. Then, if at the end of the year he doesn't seem ready to progress into grade school, hold him back. Kindergarten is about learning the first degree of independence from the parents, coexistence with other kids and functioning in an organised environment, none of which will improve if he's simply kept at home.
My guess is that he is already in a preschool since the OP mentions "class" in his post. I worked at a preschool before having kids. Parents that didn't send their kids onto kindergarten just had their kids remain in preschool another year. It was fairly common to do this with kids born on the edge of the age cutoff, I'd say that the mix was about 50/50 between kids going off to kinder and just staying in preschool. If the preschool is a good one (the one I worked at was NAEYC accredited) staying "back" a year didn't mean a lack of challenge for the child. None of the parents that decided to hold off on kinder regretted it. On the other hand, at least half of the parents that decided to enroll early wished they hadn't (they had younger kids still at the center so we chatted). The ones that didn't regret it were the ones that coached their kids at home literally for years so they would pass the IQ tests and be eligible for enrollment in the expensive private schools.

Also, repeating kinder is considered regression or stagnation in my experience. You are "held back" to repeat kinder because kids generally don't spend a couple years in kinder. Whereas it is pretty normal to do 2 years of preschool.
There's a difference between preschool and kindergarten? You lot sure are weird.
 

CarolS

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For kindergardeners, a few extra months of life can really make a difference.  We started our daughter early. I didn't want her to coast through school and be lazy and also knew that by middle-school she might be one of the tallest females. The cutoff was August 1, but we appealed for special admission at the public school, her birthday is mid-September. For the first few years, she was self-conscious at being the youngest in her grade.  It took till about 5th grade till she really caught up with her classmates, even though she is very hardworking and intelligent.  In elementary school, if we had held her back, she would have undoubtedly been eligible for extra enrichment for the gifted kids, but she missed that as the youngest in her grade.  By high school, all her friends were dating and driving before her. 

You will have to decide based on knowing your child.  Some benefits of starting early might be learning to work hard and be humble.  Drawbacks to early start could be frustration with learning and inablility to connect well with peers. An extra year also helps the child to compete better with sports.
 

Quinault

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Arachne said:
Quinault said:
Arachne said:
Send him to kindergarten. Then, if at the end of the year he doesn't seem ready to progress into grade school, hold him back. Kindergarten is about learning the first degree of independence from the parents, coexistence with other kids and functioning in an organised environment, none of which will improve if he's simply kept at home.
My guess is that he is already in a preschool since the OP mentions "class" in his post. I worked at a preschool before having kids. Parents that didn't send their kids onto kindergarten just had their kids remain in preschool another year. It was fairly common to do this with kids born on the edge of the age cutoff, I'd say that the mix was about 50/50 between kids going off to kinder and just staying in preschool. If the preschool is a good one (the one I worked at was NAEYC accredited) staying "back" a year didn't mean a lack of challenge for the child. None of the parents that decided to hold off on kinder regretted it. On the other hand, at least half of the parents that decided to enroll early wished they hadn't (they had younger kids still at the center so we chatted). The ones that didn't regret it were the ones that coached their kids at home literally for years so they would pass the IQ tests and be eligible for enrollment in the expensive private schools.

Also, repeating kinder is considered regression or stagnation in my experience. You are "held back" to repeat kinder because kids generally don't spend a couple years in kinder. Whereas it is pretty normal to do 2 years of preschool.
There's a difference between preschool and kindergarten? You lot sure are weird.
Yes, kids typically start preschool around age 2-3 and then move on to kindergarten around age 5. Pre-school is the new kindergarten, and kinder is the new first grade. This is a contributing factor in our decision to homeschool our kids. For some reason the educational system is under the delusion that if we start rigorous educational requirements early it will result in academic excellence. I know from experience as a child, teacher, and parent how this standard is killing the joy of learning. In many schools a child is required to know how to read *before* entering first grade, and required to know all their letters/numbers *before* entering kinder.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/01/19/kindergarten-the-new-first-grade-its-actually-worse-than-that/?utm_term=.e0951dc499a1

  Five- and 6-year-old kids now spend hours in their seats doing academic work, often with little or  no recess or physical education, or  arts, music and science.  These kids are tested ad nauseam and expected to be able to do things by the time they leave kindergarten that some, perhaps even many, are not developmentally prepared to do.

............

As for kindergarten, it could be argued that in some ways, it is the new third grade. How? It used to be that kids were given time to academically grow at their own speed without being declared failures by first and certainly second grade if they couldn’t read. Kids intellectually develop at different rates, and one of the most damaging aspects of the “earlier is not only better but necessary” philosophy is that this natural process is no longer respected.

A report released in 2015 titled “Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose” showed that there is no evidence to support a widespread belief in the United States that children must read in prekindergarten or kindergarten to become strong readers and achieve academic success. And Katz wrote in her “Lively Minds” report that “earlier is better” is not supported in neurological research. What the research does suggest, she wrote, is that “preschool programs are best when they focus on social, emotional and intellectual goals rather than narrow academic goals” and provide “early experiences that provoke self-regulation, initiative and …sustained synchronous interaction in which the child is interactive with others in some continuous process, rather than a mere passive recipient of isolated bits of information for stimulation.”

It was long said that kids learn to read through third grade, at which point they start to read to learn; research has shown that to be a myth, as many kids do both — learn to read and read to learn read to learn and learn to read —  when they are very young. But kids no longer have time to develop in their own time or in the ways that they learn best. Thus, calling kindergarten — or even preschool — the new first grade is minimizing the real problem.
 

Arachne

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Meh. Over here, kids start state-subsidised preschool at 3, get sorted into school at 4 with reception class, which is essentially preschool inside the primary school frame (full day, uniform, etc), and start graded classes at 5, cutoff being 1 September. In Greece, it's infant school at 4-5 for one year, then primary school at 5-6 (cutoff is 1 April). Anything before then is daycare, and completely academic-free. In my understanding, infant school, preschool and kindergarten are interchangeable. In any and all of them, kids are encouraged to learn to recognise letters and numbers, but not really pushed (and in the British system, I suspect generally not pushed hard enough even later).
 

Agabus

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Go with your gut. If you're concerned now, hold him back while he's young enough to not care.

No one begrudges an extra year of pre-K, especially if you don't emphasize to them that you're holding them back, but having to do first or second grade twice is a little tougher.
 
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