Nothing creates more angst, anger and defensiveness in parents than the discussion regarding the enrollment of late fall/winter birthday children in kindergarten.
Just to let you know dear readers, I am vehemently against a four year old in kindergarten. These children are generally socially, cognitively, physically and intellectually at a disadvantage if starting kindergarten at this time. These children are youngest in their classes. Their brain development is at least 12-18 months behind other children who’s parents have opted to defer their child’s entry into kindergarten.
These youngest children are four for over half the school year. Expectations for listening, printing, reading and understanding concepts of the curriculum are for a five year old brain. These children function not at the top of the class but rather in the middle or lower part of the class.
I want parents to look ahead to their child’s future. Junior high is hard enough for age appropriate students. These children are 11 years old in grade 7 for over half the year. And at the age of 13, these children must decide their high school courses! They will be in grade 12 at the age of 16. Somehow their marks must be high enough to open doors to their future. But they are competing with all those other students who have led the way simply by virtue of that extra year of brain growth their parents gave them back before kindergarten.
So I beg parents to think long and hard. Yes daycare is expensive and preschool is also a pain to get to. But it is 10 months of sacrifice. The benefits of deferring entry so that your child is amongst the eldest has far reaching results. Eldest in class has the advantage of more confidence in withstanding negative peer group pressure. These children are able to quickly grasp concepts, are physically able to coordinate their bodies to participate in sports activities and their brains have had that time to develop. This results in a happier, more confident child eager to tackle all aspects of education.
In 29 years of teaching preschoolers, I have yet to meet a parent that regretted that extra year. I have heard plenty of parents of junior high children who regretted not giving their child that extra year.