Where We Live: What Age Should Children Enter Kindergarten?

Should parents be allowed to decide? Or should the state make the decision?

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Andrea Stillman.
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Cyd Oppenheimer.
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Where We Live: 02-25-2011
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Where We Live: 02-25-2011

Governor Malloy is pushing to increase the minimum age for kindergarten, hoping to close the achievement gap and raise test scores.

The state's plan is simple. To enter kindergarten, a child would need to turn 5 by October first...rather than the current date of January 1. The bill would also keep 7-year-olds out of kindergarten. It means more kids are closer to the same age- something that would make sense for a lot of schools.

But some educational activists say this will cause financial hardships for low-income families, forcing them to pay for an extra year of pre-school.

Universal pre-k could help-but that's unlikely to happen in this terrible budget year. Today we'll explore the proposed legislation - and talk to some of the nations top child development experts about the realities.

Do those few months of development really make a difference? Should 4 year olds be studying alongside 7 year olds?


 


  

Comments

Age to start kindergarten

Age to start kindergarten
I am strongly opposed to changing the law regarding the age at which a child may begin kindergarten because it removes the option for the “younger” children to begin if they are ready. My children would have had to wait a year. They were at the top of their class all throughout grade school and still are as they are about to graduate from high school. Making them wait would have hurt them – as it was, throughout grade school they and other were put in a holding pattern while others caught up. Age was not a factor. Keep the decision with the parents. Fix the problem of social promotions. Do not hold some kids back because others are not ready.

I support the change

I am a working mother of two children. My son has been in preschool for two years and is due to start kindergarten in September. He will be 4 years old.

I am tired of being told "don't send him, you'll regret it". I shrugged it off for years, and now the time to decide is here. Why does the Board of Ed want these kids to go and it seems nobody else does. Parents, teachers, neighbors -- I have not spoken to one person who has told me with confidence to send my son. Instead I hear "Well, it is your decision in the end". Which I interpret as meaning it is my fault if I choose wrongly for him.

I am frustrated and fed up. I don't want to pay for another year of preschool, but I do want to do what is best for my son. The clouded reasoning behind the decision for Connecticut to have a January 1st cut off is a burden to parents, and overall the system.

My daughter is in kindergarten now. Her birthday is August 20th. She is smart and doing well, but frustrated not to have lost teeth, can't tie her shoes, and will not have a sixth birthday this year. I am confident she will adjust, but her brother will enter four months behind her in age, and will have his own set of woes. The kids in my daughters class born in December are mostly ESOL students. To be the youngest and to be disadvantaged by language must have an impact on these young kids. As far as those December kids who excel above and beyond, that is a case to case conversation when it occurs. I am fairly confident the majority of the younger students in Connecticut class are not ready to skip a grade. As for attending three years of preschool, I would have sent him a year later. The financial burden will be absorbed once families can plan and the lines are clear, but right now it seems there is no clear answer why I should send my son in terms of what would be best for him in the long run.

Age to start kindergarten

People who use income status to argue about the appropriate age to start school are missing the point. There are 2 issues: whether a child is ready and then issue of why they are or why they are not ready. If kids are ready to start kindergarten, they should start - regardless of income status. If they are not ready, they should not start. The state of CT may be slightly different from other states, but they have if right. Some kids with "late" birthdays (Oct-Dec) start kindergarten before they turn 5 and some don't - the state now wants to take away the choice. No one will be able convince me that a child who is 4 yrs and 10 months old who has been in a preschool environment or who has been in an enriching family environmnment will benefit from more of the same. Denying these kids an opportunity to move on is wrong.

Middle income

Many people always address high-income vs. lower income families. How does this impact the middle class/income families?

Arbitrary Start Date

How was the cut off date established? Oct. 1st seems arbitrary, why not Nov. 1st? If a child has been in pre-school full-time from 3-4 yrs of age, should they be required to repeat the same preschool curriculum if their birthday falls after the Oct. 1st date? Should a child be "held back" at an early age if they are socially, emotionally and intellectually ready to move to the next level of their educational endeavors?

Age to start kindergarten

I am strongly opposed to changing the law regarding the age at which a child may begin kindergarten because it removes the option for the “younger” children to begin if they are ready. My children would have had to wait a year. They were at the top of their class all throughout grade school and still are as they are about to graduate from high school. Making them wait would have hurt them – as it was, throughout grade school they and other were put in a holding pattern while others caught up. Age was not a factor. Keep the decision with the parents. Fix the problem of social promotions. Do not hold some kids back because others are not ready.