I sent my 4 year old to full-day kindergarten and I don’t regret it.
Okay, so he’s really 4 and three-quarters, but he’s still only 4. In Connecticut (for now), the cut-off date for school is December 31st. My youngest, Dylan, turns 5 years old the last week of November. There are many parents here who have kids with autumn birthdays and who go through the debate about sending their child to kindergarten too early. Vivian’s post mirrored a lot of what we thought about in sending our 4 year old into full-day kindergarten.
We chatted with friends about the options. We received a lot of comments about how hard it may be for a kid to go through school being 6-12 months younger than most of his/her colleagues. And really, EVERYONE has an opinion on whether or not you should send your kid to kindergarten.
What we heard was:
- Full-day kindergarten is too long for a kid who’s not even 5 yet
- You don’t want him to be the littlest in the class all through school
- He won’t get his driver’s license with all of his friends
- He’ll be in a college environment when he’s still only 17
- He will be behind in sports
- The maturity in K-3 will be too hard on him
OMG. The stress of making a decision that could ruin your child’s education career forever! But, we also had another side of the coin: (a) he could always repeat Kindergarten and (b) he really, really appeared ready in all respects.
We really thought he was ready.
- Dylan had been in the city-sponsored pre-school for 2 years (he started when he was not even 3 years old) and he excelled there.
- Since he had been in the preschool for 2 years, he couldn’t go a 3rd year, so…where else could we send him if we didn’t send him to kindergarten?
- His preschool teacher (of 2 years) said he’s “definitely” ready for kindergarten.
- Dylan’s grandmother (the former school psychologist-now-superintendent) said he’s “definitely” ready.
- We felt that he was definitely ready emotionally, socially and educationally.
- Dylan felt that he was definitely ready.
Full-day kindergarten is definitely a long day for a kid who’s not even 5 years old. I agree. And we are hitting some bumps in the road here and there with our winding down routine at night here and there. But he loves it.
Our pediatrician, who we absolutely love, was gently suggesting waiting until next year. When Dylan went in for a strep test last week, she seemed a little disappointed that we sent him. During the conversation, my wife used the word “weird”. Without skipping a beat, Dylan looked up and said, “Momma, you mean ‘peculiar’, right?” The doc just looked and him, back at my wife and said, “well, maybe he is ready.”
I haven’t had his parent-teacher conference yet but at open house this week, I had a few seconds to just face-to-face ask his teacher if he was doing okay. She glowed when she said “he’s doing fantastic! He absolutely is right in the thick of things, catching on and he will be just fine. (Total disclosure: She did have one negative thing she said is that he’s very sensitive and hard on himself when he makes a mistake – that’s definitely something I see as well.)
He is really enjoying school and I do think we made the right decision right now, for him. I am happy he’s started his journey and hope he enjoys it as much as I think he will going forward.