David started preschool over two years ago, just a few weeks after his second birthday (Mary Virginia was barely three months old). Back then he wasn’t potty trained, had no hair, and was barely speaking in sentences. And, he didn’t have an opinion about what he wore so I was able to coordinate his clothes with the color of the month.
He was barely two, but some of his classmates were months away from turning three.
Now he’s in the four-year old class and is cutting and writing and learning letters along side kids who are already five. He’s one of the youngest in his class, but he’s doing great. In fact, he seems to be thriving in every way except that one of his friends routinely gets apple juice as part of his snack, so why can’t he also have apple juice, huh, Mom?
The next step is kindergarten. David will turn five in August, well before the cut-off date, but these days lots of parents “redshirt” their kids — they wait to start kindergarten if their child’s birthday is close to the cut-off. (This WSJ article says some parents even hold kids with April or May birthdays, and now schools are accepting children who have turned 5 as early as the previous February and March.)
And so now Tom and I are trying to decide. What to do, what to do?
Tom and I both had different experiences and — not surprisingly — we have different opinions. We graduated the same year, but Tom is almost a full year older than me; I have an August birthday and he was born 10 months earlier in November. If we were the case study, Tom definitely out-performed me in school. However, whenever I come across a word I don’t know, I don’t have to expend my energy Googling it because I can just ask Tom. And a few times a week Tom has to leave important client meetings because I’m calling again to ask if 1/3 is bigger than 1/4. So, I ask you, who’s the smart one?
September will be here soon, and so we’re talking about it more and more. Should we send him, or wait? In addition to considering David’s personality and individual needs, we’ve read lots of articles and research. We also very much value the opinions of his pediatrician and his teachers, who see him developing socially and intellectually alongside his peers. But even though we’ve had four and a half years to think about this, we’re still in the deciding phase.
Parents who’ve gone before me (and parents who will make the same decision in the coming years), how did you decide?
I’m not necessarily asking what you decided, mostly because everyone I’ve talked to has said the same thing, “We waited, and we’re so glad we did.” Or, “We went ahead with kindergarten, and we’re so glad we did.”
What I want to know is: What are the things you considered? What are the things about school or your child that helped you make that decision?