Staying Home An Extra Year?
In the state of Maryland you can no longer start kindergarten if you do not turn 5 years old before September 1st. That means any child born in September, October, November or December will not start kindergarten until they are nearly six years old.
I understand the need to ensure that children are capable of attending and succeeding in school, but the September 1st date seems as arbitrary as any other. By that rule a child born September 1st is ready for kindergarten but a child born September 2nd has to wait a whole extra year before attending.
There are procedures for early admittance to kindergarten, but a child must be born between September 1st and October 15th to take advantage of that option. Our son falls just shy of that date range, so early admittance wouldn’t even be an option for us. The state makes it very clear that any child falling outside of that date range will not be permitted to take the test.
I had no idea that the school system had changed the rules. (I guess I was living under a rock.) I am blessed to have my son and it is not the end of the world that he has to wait another year to start school, but it does mean I will have to stay home for an extra year with him or place him into daycare. Who knows what will happen five years from now, so I’m not going to project that far into the future, but a whole extra year of daycare costs or time out of the workforce amounts to quite a lot. (Of course, if we have another child I may well stay out of the workforce for an extra year anyway.)
I was surprised to learn that a lot of other states have created similar rules. The belief is that all day kindergarten is much harder on children. The rigors of learning to sit at a desk all day require an older, more mature student. When I started school kindergarten was only half day and we had students in our class who were born anywhere from January to December.
I wonder why the new rule was created. Did they really find that children born after September 1st were falling that much father behind their peers? Did that four month difference for a child born in December make him or her incapable of keeping up? If all day kindergarten is so rigorous does it not make you think that we should return to a half-day schedule?
I’m interested to hear from anyone who has a child born in the last quarter of the year. Does your state have similar rules and if so what was the impact on your child?
My son is only nine months old right now so school is quite a ways off for him. Who knows what the rules will be in five or six years. The good news is that he won’t be the only one held back from starting school. There will be lots of other children born in September, October, November and December waiting out an extra year alongside him.