Let’s begin this debate.

February 11, 2008

Since we’ve all been sick. I brought Fa to the doctor last week.

Her pediatrician examined her and asked me if I was trying to get her into kindergarten a year early.

You see, the cut off date for entering kindergarten in our town is December 1st. Fa’s birthday is 19 days after that. So, she has to wait another year. Which means she will be older than most of her classmates.

It didn’t bother me much until her pediatrician suggested I rally to get her in early. She thinks she’s more than ready and will be bored in preschool for another whole year. It all sounds so nice, and I’m absolutely sure she’s ready when it comes to learning skills and development…but what if she’s not really ready emotionally?

She took all this time to come into herself and finally get comfortable in her world. And as most of you know, it was a difficult process for her and a painful one for me. What if pushing her into something bigger too soon makes her digress? Scares her?

I also thought she wasn’t ready for preschool and she totally rocked that out.

I’m torn.

As a teacher, I know the benefits of school and entering when you are ready. I know she will thrive and grow and learn exponentially. I know she’s socially comfortable at last and I know that she will be bored if she’s not pushed.

As a mother, I don’t know if MY daughter is emotionally ready. (I don’t know if I’M emotionally ready.) And I see how much she loves school right now, I don’t want to discourage her. I also know that if she’s pushed too hard, she frustrates and GIVES UP easily.

Plus, I put her in this preschool specifically so she could experience school in a positive atmosphere and enter kindergarten with children she knows, kids she has become friends with and friends she is comfortable around.

I would be taking that away if I got her into kindergarten this September.

I read Chelle’s post about how difficult it is to let go of our children and the choices we make as parents that are best for us all. And I wonder if following my gut just may be the best thing here.

My gut says, leave her be. Let her experience preschool as it was designated by school district. There’s a cut off date for a reason.

But my brain says, push her…she’ll do it. She always succeeds in every new task she tries…since birth. She’s phenomenal, she’ll thrive.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?



  1. I say trust your gut. It’s right more often than your head. At least in my case. So what if she’s a bit older than her classmates? I don’t think it’s really noticed all that much in younger years. At least I never noticed it. My birthday is in December and when I got to be a Sr. in high school, it was cool that I was 18 before most of my friends.

  2. I started school early myself, and I loved it. But my own kids? They were mentally ready … not emotionally ready.

    I’m glad I let them start on time. The cutoff date here is Sept 1. Their birthdays are in March & May, so they are still some of the youngest in their classes.

    Go with your gut. Sorry I’m not more help.

  3. Wow, that’s a late cut off date. Here, you have to be five by Sept 2nd.

    I don’t know how things are where you are, but here, I feel they push the kids too much at too young an age. Homework four nights a week in first grade? Gesh. I think we’re erasing too much of those early carefree childhood days.

    As Fa’s mom, I trust you to know the right decision. Listen to your gut and not some doctor who sees Fa all of 15 minutes only a few times a year.

  4. Go with your gut. That’s what I would do.

  5. I say go with your gut. You know her best.

  6. i wish i had the magic answer. my second is a week before the cutoff and i plan on holding her back (at least that is what i think now). However, if she seems ready and i felt she would be bored in preschool I would probably send her. I think i would seek the advice from her teachers as well. Honestly, no matter what you do, she will be fine, it will not be the biggest mistake and cause major problems. talk to her teachers, maybe talk to the kindergarten teachers as well and get their take, i would say do the research and see what you feel after that. good luck

  7. i’ll agree with the gut-goers here.

    don’t let a few minutes with a pediatrician stop the process you already have started.

    just for the record, i pushed a child ahead (november birthday) because i thought he would be bored in preschool another year. i have regretted it ever since (he’s 24). no lie.

  8. And your pediatrician is qualified to answer this after spending how much time with her?? Seriously.

    No one knows better than you whether or not your child is ready. Trust your instinct.

  9. hmm my initial response is OMG follow your gut keep her forever! haha! We cannot keep them forever, soooo the geek, in me thinks oh wow, she is ready for school and she can rock their world.

    One is in school for a very very long time in one’s life. Being little and carefree only lasts so long. Will she really be bored? Or will you challenge her outside the box if needed?

  10. I’d leave her be. You and she need to savor the pre-school years for just one more.

  11. The cutoff date in Utah is Aug 30, so your cutoff sounds REALLY late! Because the cutoff is so late and because your gut already seems to feel like you should let her be, I would trust your gut.

    That said, you may reconsider and decide to go with it! Only you can really know. If she were a boy, I would say definitely wait for another year. But girls are different. You know her best– you’ll know what to do!

  12. Go with your gut.

    I had to struggle with my son concerning when to put him into pre-k. The rule is that the child has to be 4 by dec. 31st. And when he was 4, he wasn’t ready. We held him a year, and it was the best thing we’ve done! Being an October baby, he is one of the older in his class, and that is good for him. He is thriving!

    My first daughter had no choice. She turned 4 in January, so she started pre-k a few months before she turned 5. It has worked well for her as well.

    And now it comes to my baby. She turned 3 in September, meaning she turns 4 this coming September. And at this point, she isn’t ready. She still struggles with potty training. Her language skills are not super, and I can’t see her thriving in a class with 17 other little ones. Perhaps she’ll be ready come summer time, but pre-registration for siblings was TODAY. And TODAY she isn’t ready. I’m sure the school will take our money and our child if she IS ready come August.

    And no, I’m not ready to see my baby go off to pre-k. I really had to set that aside and really consider everything. Sweetpea is still a young 3. And not ready for that kind of structured environment.

    So my point. You already know what to do. You live with Fa everyday, and you know what is best. And rushing something just because you can doesn’t mean that it’s the best answer.


  13. In our house we don’t call it holding them back…we call it the gift of extra time!

    I agree with everyone who said that you spend enough time in school…life is short. Keep her home and give her the extra time to be a kid!

    If you need to find something extra for her to do find a good Pre-K program. It is alot more like kindergarten than a regular pre-school class is!

    I sent my daughter to school when “they” said she could go. Her birthday is no where near the cut off so I didn’t question it. But now I do. Academically she does well but socially and even in the way she interacts with teachers she is not very mature!

    We gave the boy monster the gift of extra time and I will never regret it. He is already so much different than he was at the beginning of school!!

  14. I would go with your gut, that’s a late cut off date anyway. Here you have to be 5 by October 15th, or you can’t enter. So…she would still be 4 for half the school year. I would leave her with her peers right now.

  15. Go with your gut. No one knows your child better then you. Trust that instinct.

  16. Wow. I would go with your gut. We have the option to put Princess into Kinder next year (she’ll be 5 in Nov) but I’m not going to do that to her.
    Although I think she could handle it, I was always the youngest in my class and I would have preferred to have started later and been older.
    We will start both kids in kinder when they are 5 going on 6. I think especially for Monkey, it will make a difference. Depending where you are located, there are such great GT programs now, I think that they’ll be fine.
    Go with your gut honey. You’re the momma and only you know. Don’t think like a teacher, think like mom.

  17. I don’t have a lot to offer… Go with your gut. You know Fa better than anyone.

  18. ooh how I feel your quandry I will be in the same dilemna in a year with the G. I agree with the rest of the readers go with your gut if you can she will be happier…

  19. oops I meant to say if you think she will be happier

  20. I don’t think there’s any doubt that she could do it – but I think I would do the exact same thing that you’re doing now.

  21. I would leave her be. My brother was one of those who was put in early because of a bday near the cutoff. He struggled his entire school career. He was littler, younger and immature. Follow your gut, Momma.

  22. A mother’s instinct is always right.

    Know what I mean?

  23. If you are confused, then trust that little voice inside you…but remember one thing…this IS kindergarten not the Army….

    If she tries, and it is too much for her, it isn’t like her life will be over…you can always take her out and try again next year…

    I am sure you will do the right thing….whatever that ends up being…

  24. I would go with your gut. Princess (She’s Jan baby) is one of the oldest in her class and I am glad that I kept her out till then.

  25. If it were me . . . I’d hold her back. I think being the oldest is better than being the youngest. If you’re worried about her being bored, there are other things that could happen. She could go into a higher reading level or whatever it is you think she excels at.

    Also, even though she may be mentally ready and emotionally ready now, she may not later on. For instance, being the youngest in her class, she’ll probably be the most innocent when shes pre-pubescent. But the other kids may start getting into “relationships” and exploring their adolescense.

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