Kindergarten Conundrum

March 10, 2008 · 11 comments

The time has come for us to sign Matt up for kindergarten for the fall; in fact kindergarten round-up (what are they? cattle?) is on Wednesday. Matt is smart, personable, funny, and fairly independent – I’m pretty sure he’ll do really well in kindergarten. But here’s the thing…

it’s all day. every day. He’s just going to be five in August.

Is he ready for that? I’ve heard that from an academic standpoint that all day kindergarten is the way to go. But emotionally? Socially? Are they really ready at age 5 for that? Is all-day really necessary to his education at this age?

And what’s the alternative? Do a “young-fives” program, which is basically preschool (again) and then put him in kindergarten at age 6? And then he’s a year behind the kids he went to preschool with.

How do I know? Here’s the thing: if you asked me to put him in all-day school today there would be no way that he would be ready for it. From the education aspect, absolutely. I just don’t think he’s ready to be away from me (or his dad or brother or house) all day long, all week long.  But after a summer of growing up, maybe he will be.

And while I know I have a choice, do I really have a choice? [Please don’t say home school. While I admire those who do that, I can’t. Personally. Not because I don’t agree with it, but because I couldn’t do it. He would drive me nuts – he listens to his teacher WAY better than he listens to me!]

So, dear bloggy friends…what do you think? What would/did you do?  How do I know if I’m making the right choice? What if he hates it?

Seriously? All day gone at age 5? I’m not so sure I’m ready for that.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

flutter March 10, 2008 at 8:15 pm

I dunno, I was in kgarten all day at 5, and clearly I am brilliant, so… (HA!!)


jen March 10, 2008 at 11:29 pm

i dont' blame you. but somehow, we manage to adjust, don't we?


jj March 11, 2008 at 3:49 am

As an educator, I see all day kindergarten as the way to go. I have seen the standards that kids this age need to meet before heading into first grade….all day is the only way to truly get through it all. It sounds like you are not ready.. but it is likely Matt iis 🙂 While ultimately you know your child best, from what I have seen (and heard from you), he is ready for the challenge. He will do just fine. For me, there is no question about whether or not to put my kids in all day kindergarten…and my kids are only 2 and a half and 6 months. From an educators standpoint…it is age appropriate (although it sounds scary!). Believe me, your concerns are not unlike many first-time kindergarten parents. You are not alone…


Michelle H March 11, 2008 at 5:28 am

Any chance you can sign him up for the kindergarten program AND get him on the list for early 5's preschool so you have options after summer is over? I'm with the others. He's probably more ready than you, and yet we'll be in the same boat and I KNOW it's going to be a super big lump and gulp in my throat making that decision for my little Rose (as she too will only be 5 end of July next year!!) YIKES.


Patty H March 11, 2008 at 8:09 am

I'll bet he's ready for the most part. As for being away from everyone, that may be difficult at first but remember it's all in how you present it to him. Make it seem scary and he might pull back. Unless he's one of those defiant ones who likes to do the opposite of what you say. Then, of course, you must use your skills of "reverse psychology":) Hannah was in a Montessori preschool at age 3 1/2 and she bucked a little in the beginning. But once she got the hang of being there with her friends and doing new stuff everyday, she was raring to go. She's in 3rd grade now and loves, loves, loves school. I was very much the same way as a child so she might get it from me! Seriously. He'll be fine. It's a step he (and you) must take as part of his development. You have the potential to structure his outlook of school for the rest of his life. Well, at least the rest of his non-hormonal early education-years life! Once he hits middle school you'll probably have to start all over!!!! Don't be skeered (that's "scared" for us country folks!).


Shine March 11, 2008 at 11:15 am

As mommy of an afternoon kindergartner, I would say go with the full day!!! Had it been an option for us to do all day (and not pay for it) I would have done it! Punkin pie loves school and I think would have gotten into the swing of things more quickly had he been there all day, plus the reinforcement of the important things they're learning right now- reading, writing and simple math. It WAS tough to let him go even for the half day every day in the beginning- especially since you're used to them being under your feet all day every day! But seriously, this is really the first major break they make from us and I truly believe that Matt is way more ready for Kindergarten than Punkin pie was! Besides, going the full day opens your day up to easier planning. Right now we have to rush to the gym and rush back in time to eat lunch and get him to school on time. Going all day means you'll be up "early" and have most of the day to do what you need to do. A full day I think will certainly prepare him that much more for what comes in 1st grade! UGH! It will be here before you know it!!


Loralee March 11, 2008 at 6:17 pm

My first born was an August birthday and I started him in Kindergarten. I have regretted it every single year. Personally? I would keep him back . He just was not ready socially and he's still struggling in the sixth grade.


Loralee March 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm

My eldest son has an August birthday and I have regretted starting him at five EVERY YEAR since. He is in 6th grade and still struggles. He just wasn't ready socially. I would keep him back if I had to do it over again.


liv March 11, 2008 at 9:00 pm

hmmm…well, this is from a girl who deliberately wanted a child born in September so that this quandary would escape her! My D is 5.5 now and will begin all day kindergarten one month prior to his 6th birthday. Given his ASD, this is probably the best thing. But, my little brother was a late July baby, and was held back. I have always thought he was better for having had that extra year.


alejna March 12, 2008 at 9:38 am

I don't know yet about these things, since I'm too new to this parenting gig. But I'm curious, how "all day" is all day? How many hours? Some of the half day programs sound too short to me. My 2-year-old daughter is at daycare for 8 hours a day 3 or 4 days a week, and she loves it. But I expect the schedule there is more relaxed than a kindergarten would be.


Tabatha March 14, 2008 at 12:43 am

Well. I held Alexis back at 5 into preschool another year.. BUT Preschool here is from 8-2, regular school (K-12) is 8-3… So, its only 1 hour difference. I held her back because she was not socially or mentally ready for the THINGS kidergarteners do. This year (After her 6th birthday) she started Kindergarten, and is doing WONDERFULLY! Now, I say 6th birthday, but school starts the day after her birthday here! I think he is ready, Mama just isnt ready to let her baby go! Dont worry, we all go through it!


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