My daughter will be five and a half in September 2008. That girl's starting kindergarten next year—and I have no doubt that she'll be ready.
My son, Sam, who is now three and a half, has one of those September birthdays. He could start kindergarten the year after his sister in 2009 when he's about to turn five. Or he could wait a year until he's nearly six.
What am I going to do?
He's redshirting—an easy decision.
Sam is petite (10th percentile) and he was slow to walk (first steps at 17 months) and talk (his speech is still unclear at times and I've witnessed older children mocking him at the park). By starting him late, I hope to shield him from social and emotional hurt. My husband, who was also a late bloomer, tells a sad tale about some bullies dumping him into a trash can at recess.
It's not this easy for everyone to determine when to send their children to kindergarten. What if you have a precocious "September birthday" child who's tall for her age? I've talked to many parents who are on the fence, and I understand why. In California, a child is eligible to enter kindergarten at age four as long as she is turning five by December 1. (Different rules may apply at private schools.) But a parent can choose to start a child late—and those with kids who were born between August and December often do.
If you're grappling with the birthday cutoff dilemma, you might want to check out an article, "When should a kid start kindergarten?", that recently ran in The New York Times.
And please share any thoughts or knowledge you have on this topic.