Friday, March 07, 2008

Where Did My Baby Go????

A couple days ago I did something that I have been looking forward to doing for months, and yet it was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I registered my daughter for kindergarten.

Thankfully our district is very techno-savvy and the whole process was done online. I even scheduled the appointment in May for us to meet with them and get more information.

It’s hard for me to imagine my little girl going to school, and being there all by herself. It’s hard for me to imagine her being separated from her brother during the day. It’s hard for me to realize that she’s getting so big.

Our school district has 2 ½ day kindergarten…they go 2 full days and one ½ day. It has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m just thankful that we live in one of the best school districts in Columbus and don’t have to deal with the “where to send her” like so many people all over the country have to worry about.

She will be one of the youngest in her class. So many people constantly ask us if we’re going to send her this year. I’ve known since the days she was born that she would go to school at age five, let alone the fact that she’s more than ready right now. Most people that know me know that I’m a very strong advocator of sending kids to school when they’re five, regardless of when they turn five (of course it has to be before the cut-off). I was one of the youngest kids in my class and I wouldn’t change a thing. Sure I drove last and was one of the last to be able to go to the bars in college, but I also got to start my life at 21. This let me get married, and then have my first baby at 23 because I had already been working for 2 years.

Now I know that some say their kids aren’t ready, and I know there are circumstances out there where that is the case. But I always look at my sister. When she started school she spent more time with the secretaries and principal because she wasn’t adjusting very well her first year. But she pressed on, and my parents never dreamed of taking her out and holding her back. And now? She’s the youngest doctor in her class. She has a full-year advantage over the kids that were held back a year. That makes a lot of difference when you are in school until you’re 25 and then have to do your residency until you’re 30. When you’re talking about having babies and that type of thing, years mean a whole lot more the older you get.

I believe that the cut-off is there for a reason. Our school district has determined that if you are five before September 30th, you can go to kindergarten. So why have we as parents started making our own cut-offs? My nephew, who is in the same boat as my daughter (but he’s one year older), actually has 7 year-olds in his kindergarten class. Can you imagine??? So there are 5 year-olds and 7 year-olds in the same class together.

This is in no way meant to push anyone or make anyone feel badly for what they decide to do with their kids. I just know that I’ve been there, and I’m so thankful that my parents sent me even though I was “young.” Sometimes it helps to hear the other side of it.


Julie said...

Our cut off is Sept. 30 as well but we choose to hold Abby back because her birthday is right at the end of the cut off period. It's very typical for parents in our district to hold back with Aug. & Sept birthdays. For us it has worked well - she was ready intellectually but needed another year to mature socially. Kindergarten has been good for her this year and I would say half the class turned 6 in the first 3 - 4 months of school. Maybe the school arranged classes that way? Anyhow, I agree though, it's a personal decision and everyone has to do what works for them and their kid.

a happier girl said...

I'm a September 3rd baby and I'm glad my mother insisted on getting me into kindergarten despite the September 1st cutoff date in our area. I'm doing the same thing for my October 2nd baby too. What is the haps with a 7 year old in first grade!?! That's crazy.

Sherry said...

I know waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when, and yes there was kindergarten, I started at 4, turned 5 Oct 1st, but I don't know if there was any such thing as a cut off date.
Yep I was one of the youngest throughout but like you I didn't feel any pressure, any difference . I think if I was "older" it would have been harder.
Now days I feel there are way too many decisions left up to the parents and you know, why? If you are 5 it's time to start school, plain and simple.
It's got to be them most difficult registration you have ever had to fill out huh? Your baby girl in school, :( but :) at the same time.
Sounds like she is going into a fantastic school also, that's a huge plus for all of you!!!!
Hang in mommmy she will always be your "little girl" no matter what grade she is in. I have all my "girls" convince even at 85 the will still be~~~ ( they finish my sentence with ) Grandma's little girl!!!

Christy said...

I was actually shocked to read about the strict Sept 1st cut off some seem to have to deal with! In our city the cut off is march 1st (or may 31st), but nonetheless there is alway a big mix of 4 & 5 year olds with the odd student who will turn 6 near the end of the school year. I can't imagine 7 year olds in a kindergarten class!

Anonymous said...

My nephew will is 5 and not in kindergarten. But, he missed the cutoff. In the end, it works better. He's ready smart-wise, but wasn't ready maturity wise.

I had something else to say, but was distracted (probably by something shiny) and now I've lost it.



Rachel said...

Kaylie's b-day is after our cutoff here so she started Kindergarten when she was 2 months from turning 6.

She's starting Kindergarten! WOW! I bet she is going to LOVE it! It may take some getting used to, but you will both adjust to the change pretty quickly!

Amy W said...

I am confused, do they only go 2.5 days a week to kindergarten?

Ashley makes the cutoff of Oct 1, but because of year round schools, she may start before she turns five....

Edie said...

I completely agree with you. When I was that age, my mother started me at 4. I turned 5 in January of my kindergarten year. She started me in private school so they didn't have to worry about the cutoff, just the readiness. I was more than ready. I think Hayden was ready at four too for kindergarten, but none of the schools around here accept kids before the cutoff, even the private schools. So, now i'm scared she's going to be bored in kindergarten. I guess we'll see.

I can't believe she's old enough to go to kindergarten. Where has the time gone?