Kindergarten: To Go Or Not To Go

Mar 31

This question is a huge issue for both families and schools. Every year as I meet with my future Kindergarten students and their parents at least one family will tell me they are concerned about whether or not their child is truly ready to come to school. And then they ask “What do you think?” This is not an easy question to answer. In fact there really isn’t one great answer to give. It all boils down to what everyone involved in the child’s education can agree on. That being said, here are a few suggestions I have that I hope will help you with your decision on whether or not to send your child to Kindergarten this year.

First and most importantly follow your instincts on this subject. You know your child better than anyone else. You know if they can handle social situations, being away from you for the day while having to show lots of independence and continue to grow that independence throughout the year and how they learn. If you feel your child is well rounded socially, can handle the new CCSS curriculums and the rigor that comes with them and your child is excited to come to school, please send them.

If you are questioning if you should send your child or not, than your instincts are telling you something. Here are some suggestions we give to parents. 1). Hang in there you still have 5 months until Kindergarten starts. Try out different social situations while working with your child to help them grow a little more independence. 2.) Consider holding your child one more year before you send them to kindergarten. I have met many parents who regretted sending their children too early; I have never met one who regretted keeping their child at home for one more year. 3.) Consider doing a year in preschool, if your child has not previously been involved in a preschool program. Or do another year if they are currently enrolled in preschool. 4.) Ask if your school has a red shirt program. Red shirt programs allow your child to do Kindergarten twice. Giving them that extra year before they jump into first grade. 5.) Keep your child home for one more year. My own grandson stayed out a year and will be starting this fall. It turned out to be a wonderful gift to him to do preschool again this year. 6.) Talk to the kindergarten teacher before school starts. If they feel your child is not ready for the kindergarten experience find out why and how you can help. Remember these teachers have a lot of experience with children that have both succeeded and not succeeded. They are trying to help your child have a great kindergarten year and it’s not a personal jab at you if your child needs more time to get ready for school. They are there to help your child have the best first year in school experience ever, glean their knowledge and use it to help you make your decision.

The most important thing is to remember once you make up your mind, stick to your decision. It is a great choice. What your friends kids or preschool kids you know do is of no concern to your child’s education and whether you made the right choice or not. You are your child’s best advocate. If you are choosing to send your child to school this coming fall, I hope they will have a wonderful year. If you are choosing to keep them home one more year I hope you enjoy your extra time with your little one at home.


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