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Dear Teacher

Mar 28, 2012
10:32 AM

Kindergarten Starting Age Affects Kids for Life

If they start sooner, they'll face trials down the road sooner, too. One mom of grown kids shares her experience and encourages parents not to rush.

Kindergarten Starting Age Affects Kids for Life

Parent's comment

My children are in college and college graduates. Since they had summer birthdays, I thought long and hard about when to send them to school. It was a hot topic of discussion with other moms at the time. Over the years, I watched my children and their classmates and how they handled high school – driving, drinking, dating and getting into and staying in college.

The point I would like you to express to parents is that the age that they send their children to school sets the stage for the age they will be when they face all the trials of high school, as well as college. Will they be mature enough for these challenges?

When you are a parent of kindergarten-age children, it is hard to think about them all grown up, but it happens in only 12 years. This is something to think about when deciding to send a very young child to kindergarten.

Our reply

Your letter really says it all. Many young children – not all – need some extra time before starting school. While many schools do have age cutoffs, notes BabyCenter.com, factors like social maturity and size also weigh-in. In fact, it adds, that's prompting more parents today to opt for "academic redshirting" – that is, waiting an extra year even if their young child does meet age requirements (but is close to the border).

Of course, there are pros and cons to holding off. But once children start the educational process, there is no stopping.

We wonder why so many parents want to push their very young children into kindergarten. It often pays dividends to let them enjoy being children longer without the pressure of attending our current more academic kindergartens.

The school experience, at least initially, usually is more successful for older children.

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