I’m no stranger to high stakes early entry kindergarten. That’s where I started my teaching career, years and years ago. I had a class full of young children that were academically ready for kindergarten, but I would always think what happens when they’re in high school? When those kid are in friendships, or relationships with kids that are developing sooner or going through puberty than they are? I know it’s a strange thing to think about.
Forward to the present and I have two children with summer birthdays. Yes, they technically make the cut off for their year of kindergarten. But I’m looking ahead, to the even further future of will they be ready in the long term. Not just kindergarten, but high school and college. It isn’t only elementary school I have to consider but the beyond long term effect.
I’ve talked to other teachers, I’ve talked to other moms. I’ve heard simple ideas like ‘do you want them to be the best at soccer in their class, or the worst?’. I heard one mom of a nearly six year old preschooler say, ‘this is an investment in his future’. That one really sunk in.
I get the need or want to have your child start school as early as they can. My children are in full time child care, I get it. We live in a country where early childhood education isn’t subsidized; I really get it. When I think about having to pay for an additional year of preschool for my kids, the 0’s behind the dollar sign makes me want to throw up.
I recently heard more of a focus on the gift of time, allowing children to enjoy an extra year of childhood before they are forced in to high pressure academia. And yes, that’s not kindergarten, but there is no break from kindergarten. Once children are in school it is go go go to the finish line of…graduate school?
College is a heavy focus, but not every child is ready once they graduate and this can be a very expensive, traumatic mistake to make.
If you found your child wasn’t ready for the kindergarten that you had enrolled them in it is much more detrimental for them to repeat kinder than it was for them to wait to start in the first place.
I had gone back and forth for awhile, waiting for my daughter’s development at that age to determine what we would decide but now I think we are comfortably set; we’re waiting on kindergarten.