Day 150- Should boys start kindergarten at age 6?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

My son is supposed to start kindergarten in the fall (he turns 5 in June), but I’m starting to wonder if it would be better for him to spend age 5  in a Montessori type school rather than a traditional kindergarten. And then start traditional K at age 6? Or perhaps continue him on to first grade, I don’t know. He is a very smart boy and I have absolutely no concerns about his intelligence or his abilities to sit, listen or play well with other children.

What makes me think about this is his readiness to write.  His hand is like a claw and he is just now barely starting to draw things. He does not color whatsoever. His manual dexterity just isn’t anything like either Francesca’s or even Natalie’s. He’s pretty lazy when asked to do any sit down work. And I don’t think it’s because he has a lazy personality (well, maybe a little) but I also think that developmentally he’s not ready to be doing sit down work that involves a bunch of writing. He can’t cut with scissors at all.

He can count well, and he’s learning to sound out short words a little bit. But is he really ready for traditional school? It almost seems like he needs more time to grow developmentally.

For Francesca, having school assignments that involve a lot of writing and coloring activities is just fine. For him, I believe it will only frustrate him and I think his work will be perpetually sloppy.

Emotionally I think he will have a bit of a harder time transitioning to school although with time, I think he would be ok.

And perhaps in 6 months he will have developed enough so that starting school will be just fine.

But for now I’m hemming…and hawing…

Have a wonderful day!

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12 Comments

Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff

12 responses to “Day 150- Should boys start kindergarten at age 6?

  1. If you’re remotely on the fence on this one, I really wanted to encourage you to let him wait. The more I home school my kids (I have 5, the oldest is 12), the more I see that waiting is sometimes really the best answer. But also want to give you following link to an excellent blog post about this very topic. It’s not my blog but is a good post:

    http://susanlemons.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-truth-about-early-formal-academics-revisited-with-lots-of-new-research-links/

  2. bethinthecity

    Our school gives a test for kindergarten readiness. Based on the results they may encourage the parents to wait a year. I love this approach, and it sounds much like what you are doing. One of my friends had their son go through a transitional year. He didn’t “repeat” the grade, but was with a group of other kids who were in need of an extra year of school to develop. I have never heard someone regret their decision to give an extra year!

  3. I would also encourage you to wait. 6yr old boys rarely have the fine motor skills required for writing/coloring/cutting, etc. Plus, if it’s not something that interests them, they will resist (sloppiness, whining) and that just makes it more work and more stress for everyone involved.

  4. San

    If I had a Montessori school on my doorstep I would send my son to it!! We are home edding because of Benedict’s complex medical needs but in my heart I feel that boys in particular would benefit from more concrete/hands on form of teaching in the early kindergarten years.

    hugs to you San x

  5. jen

    My vote (as one with an autistic and developmentally delayed kid) is to wait and put him in a Montessori-type school. It would give him another year to develop and I think he would do better in kindergarten with that year,

  6. Ellen

    My twins attend kindergarten at a Montessori charter school and there are a lot of hand strengthening activities that you can do at home. For example, get several different types of tweezers and colorful craft poofs and have your son move the poofs from one bowl to another using the tweezers. My son thought that this was great fun and it really strengthened his hand for writing. Playdough also strengthens hands and is fun for the kids.

  7. Deb

    Wait. If you are even thinking about it, it probably means you should wait. You’re giving him the “gift of time”. I was a late November baby, the youngest in my class, the last to get my driver’s license, and frankly, a lot less mature than many of my classmates. I was bright, my parent’s were teachers, and while I could do it academically, it really caught up to me socially in junior high. I think it is interesting that the people I keep up with from high school were all a year behind me in school.

    For my own kids, all late fall babies, I kept them home for that extra year. They are all very self-confident young people today.

    Give him the gift of time. I don’t think you’ll regret it, but if you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder, “what if?”

  8. KJ

    Definitely wait. Traditional schools are really not designed for the way boys learn (on the move a LOT) I have 2 boys with June birthdays. One is 3 and one is 9. We decided to homeschool kindergarten with my oldest because I sorta couldn’t mess it up since we didn’t think he was ready for K anyways. If it went well he could move along to 1st grade. If I bombed then no biggie, he’d start K the next fall. We are still homeschooling, but if I had to put him in traditional school again, I’d put him a year back (as if he’d started K at age 6) because while he *can* do the work, he’s not developmentally (even at age 9) ready for the responsibility or tedious handwriting work required at what would be his grade level. (although I think this will level out by say, middle school?) My next boy I am probably going to send to a preschool because of some social issues he has and then evaluate traditional vs homeschool for him the next year. Also – some private schools offer a “before-K” year that’s designed for young 5’s. Its more work than preschool, but not as demanding as Kindergarten. Something to look into if your budget allows.

  9. Donna L.

    HI there,

    I know you will make the right decision for your little guy!
    My Mom, who was a Kindergarten teacher for over 20 years, always encouraged parents to give their sons who had many of the same characteristics and learning styles an extra year.

  10. My experience with my 7 year old son has been very similar to what you’re describing. He’s very bright, but manual dexterity and even reading have been slower than his sisters. We discovered some vision issues and by addressing those he’s improved a lot. But, I do think traditional school would have been a nightmare for him!! He’s just now coming around, and this seems to be pretty common (just among my friends – nothing scientific…). I’m a homeschooler, but I think a Montessori approach would also be a good option! I’m sure you’ll make the best decision for your family. Best wishes!!

  11. Rachelle

    Wait! and homeschool is a wonderful option. This is our 8th year. I pulled my oldest son out of school after 3rd grade. He struggled with mild dyslexia. He has gained over and above anything the school system could do for him (I also taught in the public school system).
    My youngest has always been homeschooled.
    But if it isn’t for you, I’d wait. when your 30 years old no one ever asks you what age you were when you started kindergarten. :O)
    Best of luck.

  12. Just because you choose Montessori Kindergarten for him at 5 doesn’t mean you have to then put him in traditional at age 6. I know some parents who followed that plan, but then failed to realize how much their child learned in Montesorri and the fact that they were ready for first grade at age 6 despite “not” being in Kindergarten the year before.

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