Written by Doctor G

What is Kindergarten FOR?

Name-That-Kindergartner (1)My son is turning 5 in the fall, and we’re getting a lot of conflicting advice about kindergarten. Do we send him, and have him be maybe the youngest in his class? Or keep him in preschool even though he did a pre-k program this year and he’s going to be bored? He already knows all his letters and numbers and is doing basic math and reading. We really feel like he’s ready but teachers and friends are cautioning us. Help!

Joni, in CT

It’s spring, and while a young man’s fancy may turn to thoughts of love, parents of 4 year olds are thinking about kindergarten!

Joni, I would be willing to bet that your little guy is ready for the academic “rigors” of kindergarten. However, that doesn’t mean he should go! Consider, please, three issues.

  1. Being one of the youngest is often not an academic issue. The maturity and development that teachers are looking for are rarely about letters and numbers. They are hoping for children who are ready to wait, to accept correction, to handle frustration without melting down spectacularly, kids who have some resilience!
  2. The struggle a child may experience from being youngest can take a few years to be apparent. It is much easier to give a 4-almost-5 year old something interesting to do for a year while he waits for kindergarten, than to tell a fourth grader, “Hey, we think you’d do a lot better if you were held back a year.”
  3. Lastly, and most importantly, consider this. He may be ready to go kindergarten while he is still four. Will you be ready to send him away to college when he is only 17?

Despite these reasons to wait, you are the expert in your child! If you feel that he is best served trying kindergarten this coming fall, then pursue your options. Do ask the opinion of some educators you trust. Then go with your gut, and remember – you can change course at the end of this year if you feel like he needs a different path.

What IS kindergarten for? Learning, for sure. But, even though there is a lot of academic learning in K classrooms these days, character development is really the specialty of these amazing teachers.

For what it’s worth, I failed kindergarten! That’s right – based on (if my mother is to be believed) the fact that I could not skip or hop, my gross motor skills were “not up to par and so we recommend that Deborah try kindergarten again next year.” My parents refused, and I was advanced to first grade. I still can’t jump rope!

So, to explain the pic at the top – I’m honored to be a part of an amazing group of bloggers and we wanted to bring you a kindergarten laugh and chance to win some money!

It’s very simple – just match the picture (with the assigned alphabet) to the blogger whose blog is listed below. What’s in it for you? Other than some fun (and it’s fun, promise), you can win an awesome $300 Amazon gift card. You can also get to know some of the bloggers listed here, if you don’t already. I read their stuff and you won’t be sorry! I’ll give you a hint for mine, my hairstyle hasn’t really changed! You can have a laugh at our expenses. Don’t worry, we did. Now, go forth and play!

Enter your answers on this form.

Participating bloggers, in alphabetical order:

Angela of Angela Amman

Angie of Angie Kinghorn

Deborah of Ask Doctor G (you’re already here, don’t forget to guess who I am!)

Robin of Farewell Stranger

Poppy of Funny or Snot

Leigh Ann of Genie in a Blog

Greta of Gfunkified

Jennifer of Jennifer P. Williams

Tonya of Letters for Lucas

Kiran of Masala Chica

Laura of Mommy Miracles

Natalie of Mommy of a Monster (and Twins)

Brittany of Mommy Words

Jessica of My Time as Mom

Kimberly of Reflections of Now

Tracy of Sellabit Mum

Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life

Sarah of The Sunday Spill

Galit of These Little Waves

Kristin of Two Cannoli

Arnebya of What Now and Why

Kristin of What She Said

Alison of Writing, Wishing

Terms and conditions apply:
You must be 18 years or older to enter.
This contest is only open to residents of USA and Canada.
This contest is open from March 11 – 15, 2013 (closes at 9pm Eastern).
Visit the link above, where you will be able to enter your guess for each blogger pictured. (All information will be kept private.)
The person to correctly match all the faces with their blog will win a $300 Amazon gift card. The two other closest guesses will each win one $80 Amazon gift card.
This is not a sponsored post. Prizes are paid for out of the participating bloggers’ own pockets.
You CAN enter more than once!
Winners will be announced week of March 18.
If more than one person correctly matches all the faces with their blogs, we will randomly pick a winner via random.org.
If no one guesses all the faces correctly, the winner will be the person who made the most correct guesses.

“Name That Kindergartner” was inspired by the “Name That DIY Blogger” contest, over at My Blessed Life

From Stress to Resilience In Five Minutes? YES!

Get the Dr. G’s Stress to Resilience kickstart guide and in five minutes discover how to transform stress into resilience. Weather it’s your business, your kids, or you, do stress better!

44 thoughts on “What is Kindergarten FOR?”

    1. Robin, thank you! I am loving this very first link-up (for me) and to see the amazing variety of what so many women remember from kindergarten.

  1. This advice is SO apt for me because my son is born on December 29, and our school years start in January, which means we either enroll him with kids born in his year (then he’ll be the youngest), or hold him back one year (he’ll be the oldest). At 3, he’s already well-advanced for his age with the numbers, letters, shapes etc, but he most definitely is NOT as well-equipped as some other kids in things like taking turns, sharing etc. So having this perspective really helps.

    Love doing this with you and all the other ladies!

    1. Alison, I’m glad this came to you at a helpful time. We have a child who missed the deadline by just a bit, and one that was ahead by only a week as well. It IS dependent on the child, but it’s pretty fun to be one of the oldest!

  2. I love the advice you give here. I’ll be facing those same questions in a few years when my summer baby needs to start school.

    Love doing this with you!!

    1. Kimberly, it is a decision that feels momentous in the moment, glad you will have the perspective of a couple of kindergartners under your belt before then!

  3. This is really great advice. James has an April birthday so he starts this fall, and even though he has been in daycare/preschool since he was three months old, I question if he is ready or would benefit from waiting. But of course then I think, the waiting is probably only better for me. LOL

  4. Such good advice. I always thought that if I had a kid born late in the year, I’d hold them back to give them as much of an advantage as I could give them. So far though, my kids are March and April babies.

    1. We have four boys, May, August, September and October. So we get to see what two “young” and two “old” look like at school.

  5. I wish I had known you when we were going through this with Sophia. I must have bored my readers but oh my she missed the cut off by just a few days and she was more than ready physically and mentally at 4 and that year when her friends went and she didn’t was awful. She still wishes she was in 1st grade and not kindergarten. Her math skills are at a 2nd or 3rd grade level. Her best friends are both in 2nd grade. I wish I had someone tell me to go with what I knew was right and not back down when the school said there were too many older kids that year. Great post! So glad to be doing this with you!

    1. It is hard to watch our kids suffer because of an arbitrary rule. But take heart, she has learned to make new friends, and to handle some adversity. Which I’m really big on for kids!

  6. I love that the contest came with such good advice. Kids in France start public school at age 3, or even age 2(!) if your birthday falls before Dec 31. My son started at age 2 and was still pooping his pants, which was hugely frustrating for the teachers (and somewhat embarrassing for me). But he eventually came out of it. The good news is, Kindergarten in France has a three-year equivalent – Petit Section, Moyenne and Grande – so he is getting plenty of chances to catch up.

    Now, if we can just get him to stop writing his name backwards (starting with the last letter and working his way towards the first, each individual letter also backwards …)

    1. That way of writing is incredibly creative, and may very well be developmentally normal. What do his teachers say?

      1. Really? I was sure it was a sign of dyslexia. He has also written his name normally (or there might have been backwards letters, but the order of the letters was correct from first to last). But his teachers haven’t said anything, and I think it’s because they don’t officially start working on writing names until Grande Section. And pick-up time is chaotic with several classes seated in one big room.

        1. What looks like dyslexia in preschool isn’t always dyslexia. Ask one of the teachers you like to check it out and give you their feeling?

  7. It’s so hard to not be conflicted when your child is getting ready to start school, and there are so many factors to consider. Great advice, Dr. G!

  8. Great advice, Doctor G. So many questions and concerns are raised about when to start your kids in school these days, that this could not be more timely!

    Glad to be part of this with you!

  9. My kids are Jan/Feb birthdays, so we don’t have this issue, but I have several friends struggling with it right now. I agree, as a former middle school teacher, that many of the issues that come from being the youngest manifest themselves later in school. That’s just my personal experience though!

    1. I see it with my son’s fifth grade class for sure. Though certainly I know lower school teachers who swear they can group kids’ birthdays after just spending one day in a classroom!

  10. This is always such a topic. My friend — a former kinder teacher herself — is a little devastated that her twin girls have an August birthday, meaning that they won’t go to kindergarten when my girls do. It’s a bummer, but she can attest first hand what it’s like when kids go too early. The being said, the church where my girls go to preschool also has a Kindergarten Readiness Program specifically for kids with summer birthdays, so maybe that would be an option.

    I can’t believe you failed kindergarten! It obviously didn’t stop you from being awesome and successfull!

  11. My son will be the youngest in his kindergarten class, I’m sure. He’s in pre-K3 right now and was technically 2 when he started (he turned 3 2 weeks into school.) It was a necessity with us just because of the daycare from hell but I’m hoping he’ll continue to thrive. My oldest daughter was one of the youngest in her K class (and still is younger than most of her peers, in 7th grade.) She was socially ready. I’m not so sure about the boy but he’s got more than a year to get there.

    It amazes me how easily it was suggested that children be held back a grade (when we were younger.) I guess, though, it irks me when kids who “clearly” aren’t ready are moved forward too.

    1. This seems like the kind of decision that is so much easier to make with hindsight, doesn’t it? I’m so glad your daughter is having a good experience.

  12. Fantastic advice! My son is 3 1/2 and knows the alphabet already, but upper and lower case, and is starting to write the letters of his name. However, his birthday is September 4 – and in Texas, that means he won’t start kindergarten until he is almost 6. But I’m OK with that, because some of my best friends’ birthdays are in the fall, and they are the oldest in the class and did the best in the class! Thanks for that, Dr. G.

    1. Kristin, it is so normal to worry that we are somehow holding our kids back if we don’t get them started in programs early and help them excel. My mom (a lifelong school teacher) always said, “If you’re good at math, you’ll be good at it next year too. Work on the stuff you’re not so good at.”

Comments are closed.


How Can I Help?

A Little Bit About Dr. G

A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
Scroll to Top

A Newsletter All About Resilience

Sign up below to join Dr. G’s newsletter and discover how to ‘Do Stress Better’ and tap into the resilience that already exists inside of you.

Ask Dr. G Your Question

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Book Dr. G

Let Dr. G know you’re interested in having her speak. If you’d like to send her a message click here.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

After pressing submit your forms will be sent to Dr. G and her team. You can expect a response within 1 business day.

Media Inquiry Form

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Insights to Transform Your Stress Into Your Resilience​

Please let us know where to send the Stress to Resilience guide and we’ll send it quick!