Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

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Almost every research study on the age of entry to school concludes that the youngest children in kindergarten classes usually do not do as well as the oldest children. There is disagreement about how long the effects of being youngest last. Many researchers feel that by third grade the differences due to age disappear. On the other hand, other researchers found that some slight academic difficulties continue throughout the elementary years. Each child, however is different, and just because statistics seem to support older children doing better in kindergarten, many younger children are extremely successful in school.

When children are ready for kindergarten, their first encounter with school is likely to lead to future success in school. Children who are only marginally ready may or may not be able to catch up with their readier classmates before the start of first grade.

The issue for you is readiness more than age. You may find it helpful to consult with your child’s preschool teacher, pediatrician and others who know the child well in order to evaluate his readiness. It is also a good idea to look at your school district’s kindergarten readiness checklist. Some of the developmental skills a child needs before entering kindergarten include the ability to sit still and pay attention for short periods of time, speak understandably, manage bathroom needs, follow directions and be able to share with others.

In the end, your own opinion is the most important, because you are the one who knows your child best. If you have very strong doubts about your child’s readiness for a particular kindergarten program, the child probably is not ready.