How Do You Know When It's Time For Kindergarten?

   By drodriguez  Jun 13, 2011

As preschool graduations are winding down, many parents are struggling with a big decision: when is it the right time to send a child to kindergarten?

The New York Times Room for Debate recently facilitated a discussion on this issue, publishing opinions from an early education experts, teachers, and anthropologists.

Early education expert Hermine Marshall argues, "In deciding when a child enters school, age is not the critical factor. Current research indicates that readiness requires appropriate stimulation and guidance."

Beth Graue, a former kindergarten teacher and professor of early childhood education belives the decision should hinge on the type of kindergarten class the child is entering. "Readiness is also relative to the curriculum -- children have to be ready for something," says Graue.  

Jerlean Daniel, a child care center director, says that socioeconomic factors are largely responsible for determining a child’s readiness for school.

Tell us what you think - is it age, envirionment, social skills, or curriculum?

How did you decide when your kids were ready for school?

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mkieran by mkieran | Palo Alto, CA
Jun 14, 2011

My son is four, and intellectually ready for kindergarden, but not socially ready. But I guess the whole idea is to help him acquire those social skills.

MoWalker by MoWalker | Talent, OR
Jun 14, 2011

I teach full-day kindergarten and our students must be 5 by a certain time. We think students are most ready if they are able to follow 1-step directions, use the restroom independently, and get through the day without an extended nap. Our teachers believe a child's development is much more of an indicator than age.

mwhardy by mwhardy | SAN DIEGO, CA
Jun 14, 2011

In our school district, it seems like both educators and fellow parents encourage parents (of particulary boys, summer birthdays) to wait a year. As the parent of a daughter, I'm not super excited that my daughter will likely be in classes with boys 12-18 months older than her in high school!

didama by didama | MAPLEWOOD, NJ
Jun 13, 2011

In our school district its based on age.

moo77hb by moo77hb | Kingsley, IA
Jun 13, 2011

I think it is a bit of everything! My son is starting this fall, and I think he is ready-but I am not:)