Kindergarten Readiness and Borderline Birth Dates
The kindergarten eligibility date does not indicate readiness. It only determines the age group the teachers can expect. The students themselves will determine how the teacher approaches curriculum goals.
What is the kindergarten eligibility date?
Children who will be five years old by December 2nd are eligible to enter kindergarten. Some of these children will enter kindergarten at four years old and turn five within the first couple of months. Parents of these children may have questions regarding their child’s readiness.
What is the standard age range in kindergarten?
San Jose Unified School District enrolls all eligible students into their kindergarten classes; therefore, the average kindergarten class is comprised of a mixture of older fours and fives at the beginning of the school term.
If some parents keep their children back won’t there be students in the class a year ahead of my child?
Students that truly need another year do not enter kindergarten a year ahead of the other students even though they are a year older. They belong where they are academically and socially.
It is holding students back who are ready to move on that brings students into the class that are six months to one year ahead - increasing the classroom age/development span, and adding to the teacher’s burden. Unfortunately, this perpetuates the readiness dilemma, rather than answering it.
My child has a borderline birth date (October/November).
How do I determine if my child should be held back?
You should consider waiting to enroll your child in kindergarten if:
Children who have attended preschool at least one year before kindergarten are usually ready to move on; however, the preschool teachers will advise you if they believe your child would benefit from another year of preschool, or enrollment in a junior kindergarten.
What is junior kindergarten?
Junior kindergarten is not the step between preschool and kindergarten. It is a program designed specifically for students who need more than preschool, and are not yet ready for kindergarten. Most students with borderline birth dates only need a couple of months before wanting more advanced activities. At least six months of junior kindergarten will be kindergarten curriculum. If you enroll them in kindergarten the following year, they will be repeating curriculum and may become bored.
*Special note: some preschools call their pre-k class ‘Junior Kindergarten’. These programs are not the specialty programs we are discussing. They provide no additional benefit to students with borderline birth dates.