Why We’re Delaying Kindergarten

The past few days my Facebook newsfeed has been overloaded with adorable back to school photos. Cute outfits, new backpacks, adorable Pinterest worthy signs, and big smiles. My friends are sending their kids, big and small, to school. Many of these friends are holding back bittersweet tears as they drop their babies off for their first day of Kindergarten. My little boy should be joining them. It’s supposed to be his year. But after many long talks with my husband and weighing the pros and cons, again and again, we have come to the conclusion that an extra year to grow and mature will do my son a world of good. 

Why We're Delaying Kindergarten Raleigh Moms BlogThe crazy thing about all of this is that my son is only 4. He would be starting Kindergarten at 4 with a room full of kids who are 5 and 6.  He has a late birthday, early August, when the school age cut-off is August 31. If he had been born just a few weeks later we wouldn’t of even had to make this decision. 

I’ve heard the arguments about following the suggested ages and sending your kids when they are supposed to go. I understand where these parents and educators are coming from. But as a former elementary school teacher myself, I know what happens in the classroom. I see the struggle that some kids have. If I have the luxury of gifting my son an extra year to mature, develop and be a little boy for one more year, why wouldn’t I? 

Earlier this year, when we were on the fence about what to do, I attended the local school tours. I walked into Kindergarten classrooms and saw large groups of kids sitting on the carpet and listening to the teacher talking to them. There was lots of talking. I read over the class schedules and saw how little time there was for exploration. I came home and I looked at my son for the little boy that he was and got really honest with myself. 

Would he be okay if I sent him to Kindergarten this year? Sure, he’d skate by. Thankfully, he’s not a kid with many behavior issues, he’s very compliant. He’d sit there quietly as long as the teacher asked of him, but would he gain anything from listening to her talk? I know him. He’d be in his head, thinking about Legos or Hot Wheels or snack or whatever else his little boy brain could conjure up. He wouldn’t learn much this year and he’d struggle to keep up. Developmentally, he’s just not ready for that. And honestly, I wonder how many of our kids are. Have you read the studies about how Kindergarten is the new First Grade? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. It’s really eye opening. I worry we are asking too much of our kids too soon. 

So today, instead of snapping a photo on our front steps and dropping him off for his first day of Kindergarten, I packed a snack and a lunch and drove across town to a new preschool. He’s having a blast at a half day of summer camp. My hope is that he’ll make some new friends and get used to the environment before school starts this fall. Instead of Kindergarten, he’ll be attending Transitional Kindergarten at a local preschool. Five, half days a week he’ll work on social skills, literacy and math and be a little boy. When I toured this school, it felt right. It’s just the thing he needs to prepare him for Kindergarten. An extra year to grow and mature. 

9 Responses to Why We’re Delaying Kindergarten

  1. Megan July 13, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    We did the same thing with our son, he’s getting ready to enter 3rd grade this year. I’m so happy with our decision and haven’t regretted it once.

  2. Jennie Futch July 13, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

    Only you know what’s best for your child & you should follow your heart!

  3. Debbie July 17, 2016 at 11:05 pm #

    I totally agree with your decision to give children the time they need before pressuring them into a 13 year jeducation ourney. Their childhoods are so short and their job for the first 5 years is to establish a foundation that will support learning, socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. We chose to send our kids to a 4 days a week1/2 day “Fun Fives” program instead of kindergarten 28 & 26 years ago. I’ve never been sorry. Sure our kids were a little older than their peers, but it didn’t cause any problems for them. The were much more ready the following year to attend kindergarten and never struggled in school. Only you know what is right for your child.

  4. Debbie S. July 20, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    Absolutely agree! My nephew barely met the cut off date for kindergarten and he just entered college last year. I have watched him grow and realize that it would have been better for him to have an extra year to mature socially, academically, and physically. He played football and really shined in his senior year. One more year could have opened up the possibility for better scholarships. Whether your son plays sports or not, you made the right decision.

  5. Mary Starnes July 21, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    HI Jenny! It’s as if I wrote this article myself! I was also a teacher before staying home, have a son who just turned 5, and have discussed this topic with my husband and everyone I could find to also do the same thing. Thanks for your blog! It was reassuring and validating. My exact feelings and thoughts on the subject! You want the education to “take” and work on the children and why waste time if you know lots of the learning may be missed. Plus you dont want their first year of learning to be discouraging at all to them. Can you imagine the problems created from feeling lost or not as advanced as the ones around you? Id rather wait too. We are enrolling ours in his same preschool he went last year but it goes to age 5. Thanks again!

  6. Trisha July 21, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    Your son will be fine. We did the same for our son who has the August 31st birthday and so when he started kindergarten he was 2 weeks shy of his 6th bday (we are in Louisiana so dates are little different) but it was by far the hardest decision at the time and I have absolutely ZERO regrets. He is still very active and enjoys hands-on learning more than just sitting and listening but he will sit and listen when told to do so. He is almost a full year older than some of the kids in his class but when I looked into the future it was the difference in sending a 16yr old(almost 17) to college and an almost 18 yr old I saw it in a whole different light. He will never know the difference.

  7. Morgan July 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    My son is exactly on the cut off date for schools in our area. He is the youngest in his class. I’m glad that our area starts with PreK3. I was a little concerned because my baby was the only 2 year old in the class. But teachers took great time with him. He is a very bright boy so he had no problems learning, he just lacked social skills and had to get used to the environment. If we didn’t have prek and he had to go straight to kindergarten then I would have definitely delayed him.

  8. Trisha Dean July 22, 2016 at 11:15 pm #

    An extra year of childhood. You’ve given your son a gift.

  9. Emily Reader August 19, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    We are doing the same thing with our son this year. He turned 5 yesterday. I think an extra year in preschool will help him before he starts kindergarten. Being a teacher I’ve always felt those late summer birthdays should be held back before going to kindergarten.

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