Kindergarten Now or Wait a Year?

June 10, 2015

It’s a common theme in the lives of parents of 4-6 year old children. To wait or not to wait to enter kindergarten. Even 4 year olds can enter kindergarten in many states as long as they turn 5 by October 1. Historically the main deciding criteria has been whether or not the child seems academically ready to enter kindergarten. There are many very smart 4 year olds and young 5 year olds who know their ABC’s, can count to 50 or higher, can write their names, are learning their phonics and more. There’s not a lot of early childhood education programs that can truly challenge a child that is academically capable of starting kindergarten, so parents often make the decision to send their young one off to the big race. There are also economic reasons to send your child into public school early, as the monthly costs of daycare and preschool are anywhere from $500 to well over $1000 for 5 days a week care. A lot of money can be saved when a child finally starts public school.

But there is another factor worth considering. Your child’s emotional and social skillset. And not just where they are right now, as you might have a child who seems very mature on top of being academically ready. What people often fail to deliberate on, is the other end of the school experience. Graduation from high school and the move into secondary higher education. Where there might not be as much of a discernable difference between the maturity level of a 4 and 5 year old, there is often a HUGE difference in maturity level between a 17 year old and an 18 year old.

At what age do you want to send your child out into the world as an adult? Will that extra year of experience and maturity serve them better at the other end? Personally I think giving your child an extra year will never hinder them and will only give them an advantage throughout their grade school, middle school and high school careers and especially into college. Pushing a young child into public school because they seem ready might have consequences you don’t see for another 13 years.


As the current Owner & Executive Director of 2 preschool centers, Genevieve has over 20 years experience in early childhood education as well as almost a decade of work in the fields of sustainability and green business. Genevieve has always carried an eco-conscious approach to life and shares those imperative philosophies with the children she teaches. She continues her work with Origins Education, combining her passion for children, her expertise in early childhood education and her knowledge of the principles of sustainability and the new economy movement. Origins Education’s goal is help foster a generation of young people committed to enhancing the health and wealth of their own communities and ecosystems, to nurture a sense of caring for the Earth and all its inhabitants and to support a lifestyle grounded in an Earth and human-centered ethic.

Genevieve King