When to start?

Question for all the teachers out there. My son is 4 and technically start kindergarten in the fall I just dont know if I should start him this year or wait? Does anybody have suggestions as what to look for to know if he would be ready or not? Thank you in advanced.


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105 Responses

  1. In the UK they start at 3-4 and the kids do just fine. Why we have to wait so long is beyond me.

  2. If you feel your child is emotionally ready for kindergarten put him in there is also pre kindergarten in some schools so that could be a good option as well

  3. We started our older two kids at 4, and although they are doing well in school, I really regret not waiting that extra year. The maturity levels make a big difference. Lesson learned for our youngest, we are waiting until she is 5 to start.

  4. Both my kids started early and if I could go back and wait a year I would !!!!

  5. Put your son in daycare and see how he reacts around the kids to socialize him

  6. Start him/her later. End of discussion.

  7. Liz Sharma Liz Sharma says:

    They can do two years of K

  8. Wait!
    Your child will have a head start on social development and if you are in a position to stay home with him/her even better!
    I kept my son the extra year.. he’s a Christmas baby! And he has always been a superstar student!

  9. My boy is Jan 3 so he’s early he’s now in first year university and has a plan forward. No problems with school. He even found it easier to get out of stuff like the parties cause of age. On the other side he was 17 when he started university so it was harder for him. All his friends wanted to go out for drinks and he couldn’t.

  10. My son started Cogito at 4. I should have waited until he was older. Now he’s the youngest in his class by a year or two. Especially for boys they just want to play at that age. Listen to your gut feeling.

  11. I waited with my daughter because the teacher on the first day said she was not ready due to “speech” issues. When we enrolled her the following year at a different school we found out she was to old to qualify for necessary services she could have accessed if she would have attended the previous year.Just know your child and be aware of the age related programs you may need to access have certain time constraints.

  12. So my son who is now 25 started school at age kindergarten. He was always the youngest in his class. He had trouble in math and some other subjects till grade 4 or 5. We were told by one teacher that he would never be a leader only a follower and he would fall into bad crowds because he started school early. None of this happened. He did have some trouble learning till about grade 4 but then everything changed and learning was easier for him. He had great friends and never had any trouble with school after that. Now that he’s a man he’s joined the military and he’s smart, funny, loving, caring..just one of the best people I know. Would I have changed anything? Maybe.. it may have been easier for him if he were a little older but I’m not sure he would be the same person he is today

  13. Corina Doyle Corina Doyle says:

    You can always do two years of K but you’ll have to put your foot down to have them retained for the second year…parents can insist but most are told it’s not allowed

  14. I waited with my daughter , and when we went to the school the principal insisted she was to old. She was 5 – turning six in December…. She skipped kindergarten and it’s been a struggle.

  15. Studies have proven that the best age to start a child in kindergarten is five years old. Not only does it help academically but it also helps them socially

  16. Friends with boys have found that starting them a bit later is the better choice. It used to be age five, or four if the child would turn five by Feb 28, but some families are finding it better to wait until their son is six or going to be soon turning six, for the extra maturity and ability to handle the school setting.

  17. Just a thought.. if your questioning whether or not your little one is ready for kinder or not, maybe try a preschool next year…

  18. I would wait. Not just for right now, but also later when he’s a teenager, if he’s the youngest in his class it makes peer pressure harder.

  19. I would wait… I started my son early and I wish I would have waited one more year.

  20. Irene Bakker Irene Bakker says:

    She was in 100 voices at age 4 1/2 not grade one

  21. Each child is different. I have two sons who were born in January. One was ready for kindergarten when he was four and the other we held back until he was 5 because he was not ready for the world of academia. Also it is too early in the year to decide. Children can change a lot in just a few months. You can always sign him up once registration opens and then make your final decision in August before school starts.

  22. Irene Bakker Irene Bakker says:

    Terry Calder I don’t think so my kid is a fast learner and she is ahead no matter what grade trust me

  23. Terry Calder Terry Calder says:

    Irene Bakker she’s only in grade 4. She could have problems on the higher grades because she will be younger than the other students! I was one that started grade 1 at 4 1/2 years old!

  24. Go by his birth date.

    If you put him in when hes 5 he’ll be more mature and wont struggle to keep up.

    If they’re put in too early they struggle, its a domino effect. They continue to struggle and actually get turned off learning.

    I held my kid back. It was easier for him. Hes now working on his Masters.

  25. Irene Bakker Irene Bakker says:

    Terry Calder not a chance she’s ahead of the class

  26. Terry Calder Terry Calder says:

    Irene Bakker she may find it difficult in the higher grades!

  27. Kyrie Herman Kyrie Herman says:

    Wait i think the research shows that it doesn’t make a huge difference in their elementary years but it starts to make a big impact when they get into junior high.

  28. My son a Dec baby started late – he is far advanced in his class. My daughter turned 5 in Oct of kindergarten so started early she struggles for grade level but when I compared the ages and things my son accomplished at the exact same age (a grade lower due to the starts) they are exacly the same for learning age makes such a difference i have no regrets on my son being started later and would have done the same for my daughter. They have 12 years plus in school no need to rush it

  29. I started my daughter early and waited to start my son. For many reasons I would wait.

  30. My daughter is a January baby and we started her at 5, it was the best decision we made. There is no harm in starting them later but countless studies have shown that 4 year olds are just not ready for kinder. Alberta teachers are lobbying to move the cut off date from Feb 28 to Dec 31 for these reasons. He might be ready now but can experience issues later on. There are lots of pre-school options for 4 year olds, have him attend one for a year and he will be that much more ahead. My cousin graduated and went to McGill University at 17! I could not imagine a minor moving across the country and living on her own. They’re only little once, enjoy it !

  31. I would wait. Speaking from experience, I regret putting my daughter in at that age. She turned 5 in November of her school year.
    She struggled her whole school life. 4 is to young.

  32. Antonia Evy Antonia Evy says:

    There is no best answer. I have a boy who started when he was 4 and he is doing great. Has been taking French immersion and have no regrets. But at the end the best answer will come from you as your child. I loved having my boys home but chooses to send him early and he is enjoying it and doing amazing in school

  33. My son started kindergarten at age 4. He didn’t turn 5 until December. Best thing for him! He didn’t fall behind and is excelling. Each child is different though maturity wise so you need to gauge this.

  34. Erica Wilson Erica Wilson says:

    Erin Campbell exactly…as someone who was still 17 more than halfway into into their first year of university I strongly recommended waiting. We didn’t think twice about waiting for our daughter (who has a February birthday).

  35. Natalie A Chesser I did both of my sons a great favor by starting them in grade 1 at 6. I am thankful every day that I waited. My eldest has several LDs and he’s thriving

  36. Usually it is beneficial to wait however every child is different. Some have the skills, maturity and focus. Some schools will give a list and some have no expectations. It is school and there are joys.

    Pre-k is a good option too.

  37. There is more to the story than grades and intelligence and IQ points. Social issues come up a lot with boys that start school too young. I recommend the book BOYS ADRIFT to anyone who isn’t sure

  38. My son would have absolutely drowned if he had started early. Every single educator I’ve spoken with says we made the absolute best decision by waiting.
    And it isn’t all about “today”, think about the future…. being 17 when all your peers are 18-19 might not be the best. starting post secondary at 17 also might not be the best. Lots of factors to consider

  39. Joan Warren Joan Warren says:

    I would wait from my experience, your not doung him any favours by sending him earlier. Wish someone had if told me.

  40. Why not try pre k? Gets them started getting used to going to school and social interaction. Gives them a jump start for kindergarten curriculum.

  41. I guess you have to ask yourself, if he’d better off being the youngest in the class, or the oldest. I personally, preferred my daughters being older. Just the maturity thing.

  42. Wait if possible. Backed up by research like this:

  43. You’re not doing your kid any favours at all by waiting you’re actually holding them back

  44. First of all I taught preschool for many yrs! I have 4 kids 3 being boys! Waiting is not good advice. If there are any learning delays the teacher will catch. Better to catch them earlier. My son extremely benefitted doing kindergarten twice. Teacher also caught some things we resolved before he was able to go to grade one like eye surgery …. just one important example….. so

  45. Mine went early! And has a 98% average in grade 9! Depends on the kid.

  46. Alyssa Pupp Alyssa Pupp says:

    I waited with my January and Feburary kids! There are kids a year younger then them in their classes. They dont seem to make friends as well.

  47. Doesn’t kindergarten start at 5 in Alberta?

  48. Natalie A Chesser ifnyou don’t have kids or aren’t an educator, sit down

  49. Natalie A Chesser i speak from experience as a mother of three. It isn’t bad advice. 4 years olds do not belong in school, especially boys. Google it and you’ll see that I’m not wrong.

  50. Erin Campbell worst advice ever

  51. WAIT!!!!!!! Definitely wait!!!

  52. I would wait. I’d rather my kids be the oldest in their class than the youngest (and possibly a bit behind). That being said every child is different.

  53. Wait. I was put in too soon and was bullied

  54. From my experience waiting was more beneficial. I didn’t wait with my first, but did with my second and the difference was huge.

  55. I think the March 1 cut off date is ridiculous. I was used to a cut off date of 5 by September 1 to start kindergarten, so we waited. All the kids in my moms’ group with January and February birthdays waited, too. No regrets.

    As someone else said, it’s most noticeable as they get older and are among the youngest in their class.

    Another teacher told me “Do you want her to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond?”

  56. FYI my youngest started kindergarten at age 4. He wasn’t ready mature wise to adapt to grade one so he went back to kindergarten. He’s in grade 3 now doing fantastic!

  57. Your his mom. You know if he is ready. I waited for the same reason. When I went to oreregister my child to start after his 5th birthday I was guilted by the school for not having him start sooner. I agreed to start him immediately and deeply regret the decision to follow their advice. It was not a good experience for my child either.

  58. Why wait? He’s of age. If he’s not ready to move in to grade 1 by the end he’ll just repeat it, which gives him an advantage. So why wait

    • Natalie A Chesser a lot of schools make it very difficult to repeat kindergarten

    • Gina Belle Gina Belle says:

      also, friendships are made in kindergarten and your friends moving on without you would be difficult too

    • Erin Julien Erin Julien says:

      Natalie A Chesser my son repeated grade 1 and it was actually way better than having him repeat kinder!

    • Gina Belle better in kindergarten as it’s early. They don’t allow kids to repeat cuz you want them to. The teacher needs to feel it’s a need. They would rather they repeated kindergarten then to struggle through elementary….. I also have one of those because he wasn’t held back when he should have been. Better safe then sorry. Friends are minor in kindergarten…. didn’t even phase my son…. he met new ones and still kept some others ……

    • Erin how do you know? He may not have had to repeat grade 1 had he repeated kindergarten …..

    • My son repeated kindergarten…. he’s in grade 3 doin fab

    • Laura J Paquette my son went to grade 1 before he repeated kindergarten. Teacher said nope after the first week and he went back to kindergarten ….. he didn’t just repeat it he tried grade 1 first

    • Natalie A Chesser repeating in a lot of divisions is not an ideal option socially.

    • Cassie Murdoch that’s why it’s best in kindergarten. It’s not ideal for the child to struggle either….. pick your battles wisely

    • Cassie Murdoch also they are less likely to hold a child back in higher grades etc….

    • Natalie A Chesser most schools don’t hold back kids anymore. Also they have to be 5 or turn 5 by March 1 of the year they started

    • Natalie A Chesser it’s actually better for children to be five when they go into kindergarten. Waiting is better then repeating. It’s also not as easy of a teacher to repeat a student no matter what grade they are in. A lot of it has to do with academics and not socially to be held back. So while a student may be average in academic they may not be socially ready to move into grade one but not much can be done. If they start showing signs of being lower socially past grade one then students can’t be held back and it starts to affect students academically and socially. If the parent can wait till the child turns five they should.

    • Merissa Stemkowski a lot of the time you don’t know until your child is in kindergarten. What the parent thinks isn’t always right. Btw kindergarten isn’t even mandatory so really they don’t even need to go….. so repeating kindergarten vs grade 1 is very much different. A child who repeats kindergarten gets extra advantage to the rest of the kids. They’ve already done it, they have more understanding etc. While your child is waiting to be 5 let’s say, what skills are they gaining? What advantage do they have except being home for another yr. they’re not. The parent waits cuz they’re not ready to let go. You’re not doing your child any favours by waiting.

    • In my case putting my son in kindergarten was a better move because he’s learned so much, he will repeat kindergarten again next year because he has speech delays and adhd so they feel another year will be great but had I not put him in school he’d be at daycare not really learning anything where right now he’s learning little by little each day. He is 4 turning 5 in a couple weeks

    • Gordana Dordic exactly awesome!

    • Natalie A Chesser actually parents wait because studies have proven over and over again that it’s more beneficial for students to enter kindergarten at 5. As someone who has just been in a classroom for 3 months. I can tell the difference between the students who waited and the students who started at 4 in grade two. Students who started at five were a lot more confident and mature than the students who started at 4. While yes the odd 4 year old succeeds, majority succeed starting at 5. Actually the parents who do wait ARE doing their children favours by giving them time to mature and be developmentally ready to enter kindergarten

    • Merissa Stemkowski
      Well if you wanna waste time with your kid go ahead

    • Merissa Stemkowski it is up to the parent, in my sons case putting him in at 4 was the best thing I could do for him. He’s learned structure and routine and socialization on a wider scale then daycare. He will be repeating next year to benefit him even more

  59. Depends on your kiddo…do they already know letters, colours, sounds, etc? Are they expressing interest in reading books?
    Can they keep their hands off of other kids?
    If you don’t know this I would suggest taking him to some story times at libraries, swimming lessons, etc.
    I can teach your kid all the academics but if they are too interested in stirring up stuff they affect everyone’s learning.
    It depends on birth order too, if he is younger with an older sibling in school, sometimes kids want to emulate.

  60. The cut off is 5 by March 1, but from seeing my nieces who are Dec 24 and March 1… I’d say if they turn 5 by the end of December they are good to go. My March 1 niece seemed lost and still behind a bit in grade 2.

    One teacher mentioned that is doesn’t show much in elementary but when they get to JR High and High School the maturity levels and what not show a lot.

  61. I would wait if i was unsure if he could handle it. I agree with Sherri Kobes. No harm, and easier to grasp things when he’s a bit older. Unless you think he’s ready, but i doubt it if your asking on here.

  62. Cindy Mason Cindy Mason says:

    You are the best one to make that decision, you know your child best. I started my son early and it worked out great for him but it isn’t for all children.

  63. Sherri Kobes Sherri Kobes says:

    Only you can decide and each child is different.
    I held my son back and he started kindergarten at 6. He wasn’t ready before that. His sister was ready at 4 but due to her birthday had to staet at 5. Both of them are currently top of their class.
    Things to look for is:
    1. Stress level when away from you
    2. Interest in academic items reading, writing, colouring
    3. Attention span and ability to focus on tasks. (Following directions 1 step vs 2 step)
    4. Do they talk about school with excitement or complete fear?

  64. When is his birthday? My daughters birthday is right at the kindergarten cut off and I held her back a year. So she started when she was already 5, she seems to be one of the older ones in her class, we have went to lots of 4 turning 5 year old parties. But she seems to be more mature. Her speech is better, her grasp of concepts is much better as well. I am so glad that we held her back. My daughter probably would have been fine going in as a 4 year old but I am so glad we waited the year.

  65. Donna Cote Donna Cote says:

    I honestly feel kids are sent to school too soon. Even five is early!

  66. Kyrie Herman Kyrie Herman says:

    If you can wait then wait. There is a lot of research out there saying that that year makes a huge difference.

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