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This question plagues many parents. There’s a lot of pressure on moms and dads to get their children into kindergarten as soon as possible. People often fear that their child will be somehow left behind academically, or get a stigma about being one of the older students in their grade, or for reasons of pride parents sometimes want their kid to dive straight into academic excellence at the age of five.

When it comes down to it, age is not an adequate indication that any child is ready for kindergarten. The only question to ask yourself is this:

Knowing my child, what kind of environment will help him/her flourish in the coming year and nurture their excitement about school & learning?

Consider the following.

What are my child’s energy and attention levels like? 

  • High-energy children (often boys) have a more difficult time sitting and focusing for more than a couple of minutes without the balance of rigorous physical play. If this is part of the kindergarten program, excellent!

What are my child’s language & fine motor skills like?

  • It’s generally expected that children in kindergarten communicate their needs and ideas, and participate in conversations. Does your child know the alphabet and recognize some letters and numbers? Do they draw, cut with scissors and know how to write their name?

What kind of enthusiasm does my child have for learning?

  • Kids who enjoy exploring and discovering new things tend to have an easier time adjusting to the kindergarten curriculum. Asking questions, listening and persevering even when a task is difficult are good indications of readiness.

How independent is my child?

  • Kindergarteners are expected to take responsibility for personal belongings and to care for school materials. Giving kids responsibility at home will help prepare them for a group learning environment.

What are my child’s social-emotional skills like?

  • Children ready for kindergarten should be able to express their emotions appropriately (ie, talking/crying when upset instead of becoming violent). Of course there is much yet to learn, however it’s a great sign when a child can play cooperatively with other children, take turns and share.

Half-day K (instead of full-day K) is another option to keep in mind. My advice? Talk to your child’s preschool teacher, find out what the flow of each day will be like and what expectations the kindergarten teachers will have, and consider the factors mentioned above.

Trust yourself. No one knows your child better than you. At the end of the day, you’re the best one to decide what will help your child flourish in the coming year.

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Should My Child Start Kindergarten Next Year?”

  1. Felicity says:

    These are great pointers, Mo! Being able to express themselves without getting violent is definitely a good indicator I never would have thought of. I think we will send both of our boys when they are closer to 6 than 5. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mo says:

      Thanks for your comment Felicity! I’m glad you found the article useful, how old are your boys now? Having another year to develop social-emotional skills goes a long way to preparing children for the new demands that kindergarten places on them. I’ve never met a parent who regretted their decision to wait :)

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