Have you read this recent article in the New York Times, Delay Kindergarten at your Child’s Peril? I only taught K/1 for two years, but I agree 100%. I had one little student enter Kindergartnen with a November birthday, and she spent the first couple of months losing her hair bows all over the classroom. But that doesn’t mean her brain wasn’t rapidly absorbing all of the content I was teaching. By the end of first grade she was one of the top performers, in a class of very bright children to begin with.
In contrast, I had another sweet, delightful, and wonderful boy enter my Kindergarten classroom who had been redshirted. By the end of first grade he was almost eight. I really, really, really, needed to retain him because he hadn’t mastered the curriculum yet, but I could not in good conscious hold him back. I had to commit the dreaded sin of “social promotion” and pass him up to second grade. He was already the tallest kid the class, and there was no way I could have an eight year old in a K/1 classroom.
The sad thing is, this little boy’s parents had tried to act in their son’s best interest by keeping him home an extra year and entering him into Kindergarten when he was a bit older and more mature. But if they hadn’t done that, he would have entered Kindergarten as a very young five year old whose brain cells were still rapidly forming and a laying down tracks. The NYT articles suggest that earlier entrance to Kindergarten might have actually made this child smarter and more capable. At the very least, he would have ended first grade as a seven year old and I could have retained him. Then he would have received an extra year of school that would have made a big difference.
My own daughter Jenna has a summer birthday. She’ll be a young Kindergartener someday, but that’s fine by me!