Is 6 too old to start Kindergarten?? - FamilyEducation
Is 6 too old to start Kindergarten??
06/19/2007 at 20:37 PM

Hi.  I hope someone has some advice for us.  Our daugher turned 5 on June 4th and is currently in a pre-kindergarten preschool class.  I had always just assumed she would go on to kindergarten in the fall (we live in CA and the cutoff is December).  Her teacher, however, recommends a *bonus* year of preschool for her due to her young-mindedness.  She says that our daughter could use a little more confidence and independence.  She scored high to average on her kindergarten readiness assessment in January.  We just don't know what to do.  If we don't send her this fall she will be 19 by the time she graduates high school.  If we do send her this fall and she isn't ready I will feel awful.  Help!

As a  kindergarten teacher, I feel strongly about not sending young children who are not ready to school.  It is easier to give them the "gift of time" now than have a struggling child later in school. However, every child is different and you know your child best.  Since your cut-off is so late, she won't be the youngest, but actually will be middle of the pack.

I have 2 summer babies and gave each of them an extra year before starting school.  It was helpful to each of them.

Good luck with your decision!


I am a teacher and have two children of my own. Although I value the information my children's teachers give me, I realize that I know my child better than they do.  If your child's assessments show that she is ready for the next level, why not send her on?  Often children will mature over the summer months and be ready in the fall for the next grade.  Weigh everything and follow your gut!


I would talk to your daughter about it too, and see what she thinks. Having her in on the decision may help her deal with the outcome either way. Good luck with this, it's a tough call. 


I was the third youngest in my class - born one day before the cutoff, and two other girls were born on the day of the cutoff. One of them was our salutatorian. Many of the top 10% of our class were younger members of the class..and the ones who didn't have/go to drinking parties, etc.

My middle and youngest sons were born in August and September, respectively. When my middle son went to kindergarten, the cutoff was still September 30. He was absolutely ready, but had ADHD. The school said I should 'give him the gift of time' and put him in their "Primary Kindergarten" class. I disagreed. Academically, he was advanced. Yes, he had hyperactivity/impulse control issues. But there will ALWAYS be a youngest, an oldest, a least mature, a most mature, a first to get the license and a last to get the license, a first to have a cracking voice or boobs and a last to have a cracking voice or boobs. Trying to pigeonhole kids to all be at the same 'maturity level' is crazy, in my opinion. The teacher who did have him that year (regular, not primary) said I made the right decision. He would have been bored to tears (either his, mine, or his primary kindergarten teacher's!) in primary kindergarten.

My youngest son was born September 22, after the cutoff was changed to August 1. He, too, was academically quite ready. Maturity, not bad either. Heck..he was a five year old boy, for Pete's sake. Boys never mature anyway (lol). I wanted to homeschool him for kindergarten for a couple of reasons. One was to keep him occupied. He was so bored with preschool level material it was ridiculous. Another was because he loved learning and exploring. Finally, there was my 'ulterior motive.' Our elementary has a teacher who 'loops' with her classes. She has them for first grade, then goes into second grade with them. Then they go on to third, and she loops back to first for a new group. I wanted that teacher - she's awesome! My middle son had her. Anyway..I called the superintendent and asked him if my son would be allowed into first grade the following year providing he was assessed as ready for first grade, regardless of not being 6 by August 1 of his first grade year and not having 'attended' kindergarten. He agreed. In March of 'kindergarten year' my 5 year old was assessed, and I was told he scored at the level of a first grader at the middle of the year. He was in that wonderful teacher's class this past year for first grade. Four weeks into school, when progress report came out his said that most 1st graders at that point ar reading at level 4-6. He was at level 24. His math skills are also way up there. I asked his teacher what she thought about my decision (he DID have some goofing off issues, so I wanted to see what she thought). She looked at me and shook her head with a grin. "You could have left him and sent him to kindergarten this year. THEY would have already sent him on up to me in first grade. He is so past kindergarten levels!" Near the end of the year, my 6.5 year old first grader was reading at the level of a third grader in the 8th month of school.


Moral of the know your child. If she's ready to learn it, let her learn it. If not, don't send her. Don't rely on someone who spent an hour (give or take) with her to tell you something that is contrary to what you, who have spent the last 5+ years with your child, know.

Now, where are the steps? I need to get down off my soapbox. ;-)


When my first son was born, we lived in a state that did not allow kids to start kindergarten until they were 6. He wasn't going to be 6 until November, so he had to start a whole year later than his cousins in the next state. Then we moved to a state where they could start earlier, so he was older than most of the other kids when he started first grade. But, in his case, it worked out very well.  The extra year of maturity really paid off in many ways, especially when he went to middle school and high school. His maturity (and extra height) gave him a lot of confidence.

My younger son started in the state you can start earlier...and he was born at the end of May, so he has always been one of the younger and shorter students in his classes. But, he is a very high achiever (more so than his older brother who is much more laid back) that it hasn't been a problem.

Moral of the story. Either way, it will work out. But, if she starts early and the kindergarten teacher suggests that that was a mistake, please listen if that teacher has years of experience. They know what they are talking about. I have a friend who is a kindergarten teacher and she has some horror stories of stubborn parents who won't listen and the problems the child has later, so it is important.


No... I had the same thoughts about my daughter last year. Turns out everyone in her class was 6 and in less than 2 months all of them will be 7!