To start Kindergarten or Not...

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Our PA daughter will turn 5 July 14, and is set to start Kindergarten this Summer. My hubby wants to hold her back a year to give her time to become more aware about her allergy. My concerns are her being so much older than her classmates, she's super tall as is, she'd be really tall... She's already losing 2 teeth at age 4 1/2! She's super aware of her allergy and what others eat. Just wondering if any of you out there have thought about or done this. Angela [email]sayno2peanuts@aol.com[/email]

On Feb 2, 2005

I personally wouldn't hold her back. If your DD is ready for kindergarten socially and academically, then start her on time. Holding her back because of her allergy won't accomplish much and may end up holding her back in other ways in the long run.

Kindergarten in a flexible, understanding school is actually a great place to become more aware of this allergy. Kids do need to learn to negotiate the world outside of the safety of their own family circle eventually, and if you have a school willing to make accomodations (safe classroom, safe lunchroom or table if your DD is in full-day kindergarten), they can take the first steps into the larger world with guidance and oversight that makes up for their own imperfect awareness of their allergy.

My own DD, even though she has some social and speech problems that make me very scared for her in dealing with her allergy (will she speak up about ingredients? will she alert someone quickly if she's having a reaction?) is actually her own best advocate for the allergy--she remembers the one serious reaction she had before and won't take any chances at this point, so even if she's afraid to ask about ingredients, she will instead refuse foods if she has any concerns. At the kindergarten Halloween party this fall, I was there and had o.k.'ed the class cake (made by a friend whose nephew has a peanut allergy) but even though I gave Claire her piece of cake, she double checked with me to make sure I had verified its safety! So even though I worry, I see signs that she's very aware of her allergy.

Good luck!

Sarah

[This message has been edited by Sarahfran (edited February 02, 2005).]

On Feb 2, 2005

Sarah, Those are kind of my thoughts. I'm thinking down the road, in high school... what the effects will be on her. I am a stay at home mom, and feel if my husband is that concerned, I could go have lunch with my daughter every day if need be. I just wanted to get as many opinions as I could from other PA parents. Thank you, Angela

On Feb 2, 2005

I have to agree with your husband on this one. My son will be five on July 29th and I am holding him back one more year even though his preschool teacher said he would do fine in kindergarten.

He is very good about his allergy, but one more year of learning couldn't hurt.

I have two sisters that were born in July (one on the 28th and one on the 29th - 7 years apart). The older one went to kindergarten at five and struggled for the next 12 years. The younger one went at six and has never struggled. She is also much more outgoing. I realize some of this is just because of who they are as people.

I remember feeling sad for those 'young ones' in my class. They were always the last to do everything. The last to get their licenses, etc...I remember it was a big deal to them.

Ultimately though only you and your husband can decide what is best for you child.

Take Care.

Jaime

On Feb 2, 2005

My DS also has a late birthday and I am beginning to think about this as well. He will be old enough for Kindergarten next year, but I don't know if he will be mature enough. I'm trying not to let the allergy affect my decision. I believe he is smart enough for Kindergarten but don't know if he is ready to sit in a structured environment yet for 8 hours / day.

My DD who is not allergic also has a late birthday. She started Kindergarten at the correct time according to her age. She has always been very mature for her age and I felt she was ready for Kindergarten. She is now in 7th grade and school is still very easy for her. I cannot imagine having held her back an entire year. I think she would have been completely bored.

I know it is a hard decision and one many of us will face. I have a friend who has already decided to hold her child back 1 year because of the allergy. She also has a late birthday.

On Feb 2, 2005

I have a friend-- her son is also a July Birthday -- she found a program that had a Kindergarten 1 and a Kindergarten 2 -- She did not think that he was socially ready for Kindergarten -- but he has been reading since he was 3 ---- of course he is very short, and does not have any food allergies (although he tells everyone that he is allergic to peanuts -- because he is best friends with my son - and has been all of their lives)

They are both half day programs -- and if the teachers saw that he was progressing faster or was fitting in better with the older Kindergarten kids -- than they would get him ready for First grade the second Semester. I'm sure you figured out that this is a private school, with 1 actual kindergarten teacher- for 15 kids -- but other floating teachers that can work with indiviual students.

I also know that girls usually do better than boys in these situations --- good luck with this decision.

On Feb 2, 2005

You actually could have a good point in waiting without the allergy. Kids, especially boys, tend to do better in school if they wait a year. Why not give your child every opportunity to succed?

------------------ Liz, mom to:

B: asthma, bee sting allergy, mild EA's and eczema

M: asthma, peanut & nut, severe EA's and eczema

A: asthma, peanut, nut, fish, penicillin, severe EA's and eczema

On Feb 2, 2005

In my opinion, I would say that it has to depend on the maturity level of your daughter and that it would be a hard judgement call for anyone to make. Also, I would say that it has to do with how willing the school is to be educated and how willing they are to take that education to the kids. I've found that in most instances, children are very supportive...especially at that age. They WANT to help keep a friend safe. But if the teacher doesn't take it seriously and doesn't encourage, it might not be so.

My DD's birthday is July 15 so we were in the same boat as you. We put PA aside and judged whether or not we thought she was ready. Once we made the decision, we then went to the school to make sure they were ready for her. If they weren't, we probably would have held her back. Luckily for us, they were.

On Feb 2, 2005

Here, in Canada, the cut-off date for birthdays is December 31st. My guy's birthday is December 4th. So, he has always been one of the youngest children in his class.

Jess started JK when he was 3-3/4 years old. When I first met with his teacher and she didn't know about "peanut free" classrooms, etc. and told me that he would be sitting beside another child eating pb, I thought, okay, I don't legally have to send him to school until Grade One.

On the 20 minute walk home, I thought about my guy. He was so social and outgoing and we lived in a place that really didn't give us any opportunities for other interaction for him (aside from story hour at the library). I thought, there must be something in place for PA children in the schools, and yes, there was (i.e., the *right* to a peanut free classroom).

I don't regret him starting at that age at all, especially given where we lived and the limited opportunities for any other type of social activity.

Jess was required to wear his Epi-pen straight away and that was never a problem.

Also, as someone else mentioned, I found children at that age, to be absolutely fabulous regarding PA. They just really wanted to protect their buddy. At the end of the school year, I gave them BE A PAL certificates, stickers, and Alexander the Elephant That Couldn't Eat Peanuts colouring books. They were thrilled.

They felt thanked for their efforts. They were also educated at a young age about food allergies (or PA in particular - Jess was the only FA child in the school) and they felt empowered. I could see it!

As children have gotten older (as Jess has), I have found it a bit more difficult, although not that much.

Honestly, for me, aside from my own anxiousness about my baby being gone, JK and SK were two of the most positive years my son has had in school. I'm not saying that everything went perfectly, but my soul, compared to what I deal with now, it was a lot easier.

I really think it did benefit Jess to go.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Feb 2, 2005

Wow, it's so great to get so many points of view from parents in the same boat as me. I spoke with dd's preschool director and her teacher... they both think holding her back would hinder her rather than help her. "She's ready" they kept saying. They said "red shirting" a child has proven to hurt in the long run. It's better to repeat Kindergarten than to keep them in a preschool learning environment. Everyone has their own opinions. Well, I called around the the private schools, and found that North Raleigh Country Day school is PEANUT FREE!!!! k-5 NO PEANUTS EVER... NO NUTS EVER... Downside? It's really expensive... $735/month. I'm going to check out the school today. I could go to lunch with her each day at public school and make sure she's confident in eating around all these kids, and says "no thank you" to any food offerings, or we could try to swing the private school, and be totally safe until she's in 5th grade. I'm so thankful we have a choice, even if we can or can't afford it, it gives me hope maybe more schools will "see the light" and become peanut free. Angela

On Feb 2, 2005

Angela, are you able to have a 504 Plan for your daughter in K? Could it have something about a peanut free classroom or table?

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Feb 2, 2005

What's a 504 plan? I have no clue what it is... Angela

On Feb 2, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by Suzy Q: [b]I believe he is smart enough for Kindergarten but don't know if he is ready to sit in a structured environment yet for 8 hours / day.[/b]

Eight hours? Wow, that's a long school day. Isn't six hours (9 to 3) more the norm? The good thing I found with the full-day kindergarten program my DD started this year (the first year for full day K in this school) is that it's really well designed for the activity level and attention span of kids this age. While it is "structured," the structure revolves around a lot of variety so the kids never stay in the same spot for more than 20 or 25 minutes, and there are only a couple of times in the day when they are expected to sit still and pay attention.

Quote:

Originally posted by Suzy Q: [b]My DD who is not allergic also has a late birthday. She started Kindergarten at the correct time according to her age. She has always been very mature for her age and I felt she was ready for Kindergarten. She is now in 7th grade and school is still very easy for her. I cannot imagine having held her back an entire year. I think she would have been completely bored. [/b]

That's exactly what happened to me--I missed the cutoff for kindergarten by a couple of weeks (January birthday; the cutoff was the end of December) so when I started kindergarten the following year, I was completely bored. In K it wasn't such a problem because the teacher was able to allow me to do my own thing a lot of the time, but in first grade it was a real problem--not only was I bored, but I was becoming a behavior problem because I didn't have to think or work much to keep up with the class, so I caused problems instead. These days they'd probably diagnose me with ADHD or something and ply me with ritalin, but back then they had me skip a grade and it was smooth sailing from then on out. Even though I was almost always the youngest in the class, I always ranked at or near the top of the class and never had behavioral or social problems again. Oddly enough, in high school and then in college there was one other girl younger than me (same girl; we both ended up in the same small college) and she had the same experience. She's now a doctor; I can't claim quite so much professional success!

This is my usual sermon about how you shouldn't pay attention to age for determining when to start school, but rather on the academic and social abilities of the child. If they are ready to start school, start them--putting it off will cause problems. By the same token, if they aren't ready to start, don't force them hoping that the challenge will make them keep up--that'll cause as many problems.

Sarah

On Feb 2, 2005

Angela, I'm Canadian and we don't do 504 Plans here. You need an American to tell you if you're able to have a 504 Plan for K or if it is something that waits until Grade One (I think you can have one for K). Because we don't have them here, I can't really explain what they are properly or how you even get one. I have a written school plan for my son but it is not legally binding like a 504 Plan is. His plan basically has what I require of the school to accommodate (hate that word) my son and his PA (i.e., "peanut free" classroom and actually quite a few other things).

But again, not sure if you can have that for K or not. You need an American to answer and then help you decide if you would want one or not. There are tons of 504 Plans posted under the Schools section of this board, or even if you look at my son's written school plan, it's like a 504 Plan, but not quite the same in that it is not legally binding.

And no need to be embarrassed. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Sarahfran, was it you that posted above me? My sister's birthday is January 7th, so she fell, what 7 days after the cut-off date and I really believe it affected her quite a bit. At one point, they wanted her to skip a grade but my parents wouldn't allow it. She eventually became bored with school, even after attending an alternative school, and dropped out (this was many many years ago).

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Feb 2, 2005

A lot of public schools in our area are going to full-day Kindergarten. Actually it is 7 hours: 8 - 3. This is the first year in our school district.

My son will attend preschool 5 days / week, 3 hours a day next year and this should help us decide if he is ready for a full day the next year. He says he likes school but would rather play and likes to change activities every 5 - 10 minutes. I also believe that part of it is because he is a boy. He is definitely not as mature as my daughter was at this age who could concentrate on 1 activity for quite a long time.

On Feb 2, 2005

I, too, would not hold back a child who is academically and socially ready. We have a September cutoff in our school district, and my second son has a July birthday. At that time the trend in our town seemed to be that many kids with summer birthdays, especially boys, were held back to start kindergarten a year later, as if this would give them some kind of academic advantage. If we had chosen to do so, my son would have fit in physically, because he is quite short for his age. But had we held him back, I know that he would have been bored out of his mind and then become a discipline problem. So I feel that by avoiding the discipline problems associated with boredom and sending my July birthday son to kindergarten at age 5 instead of 6, we did give him a boost academically.

As far as my PA son goes, he was already in kindergarten when his PA developed, and I feel that the challenges we faced in dealing with handling his allergy at school would have been no easier had he been a year older.

FWIW, Debbie

On Feb 2, 2005

Woo Hoo Everyone! The private school that I visited today is totally peanut and nut free!!!!!!! They refuse outside food to be brought in, and the school is Kindergarten-5th grade. So, as long as we can afford it, we can keep her safer until 6th grade. The school is a Nobel school, they are a chain. They have Raleigh Country Day and North Raleigh Country Day. Maybe some of you have these schools in your area, and didn't know they were peanut free, as I didn't until today. We also got a family plan with Nextel... We wanted to send a phone to school with her with my direct connect (walkie talkie number) pre programmed, so if she has an emergency, her teacher can press the button on the side of the phone and it instantly pages me with voice to voice communications. That way they don't need to look up numbers or hunt for a phone. I thought it was a cool idea. Nextel was impressed when we told them why we wanted the 1cent phone for our 4 1/2 yr old... We're just waiting for August now [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Angela

On Feb 2, 2005

here's the website to the peanut/nut free preschool, K-5 school we found in case any of you want to check it out for your area

[url="http://www.nobel-learning.com/campaigns/nobel/1003/index.asp"]http://www.nobel-learning.com/campaigns/nobel/1003/index.asp[/url]

angela

On Feb 2, 2005

Quote:

Originally posted by angelahensley: [b]What's a 504 plan? I have no clue what it is... Angela[/b]

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001477.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001477.html[/url]

This is just a thread related. Maybe others could list some other threads.

General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.

On Feb 3, 2005

You might consider homeschooling for Kindergarten and then sending her to 1st grade. That way she would be home for another year but not behind her age mates. My sons b-day is in October and misses the cutoff here by 6 days. I was concerned he will be the oldest (and biggest, he looks atleast a year older than he is) in the class but it sounds like with alot of boys being held back he will be in the middle.

------------------ Lalow James 3yrs, NKA Ben 2 yrs, PA and MA left

On Feb 3, 2005

Send her. IMO. paula

Related