His Almost Graduation Day

Jasper’s will turn 5 in August, which is after the cutoff date for public school Kindergarten so everyone has been very surprised that we have decided to keep him back in Pre-K one more year.  Now in Waldorf school (where I HOPE he will go next year??) the cutoff is much later and they routinely hold children back depending on if they show signs of readiness that have nothing to do with birth date so it’ seems natural to me.  But I’ve gotten many raised eyebrows about it that I feel like explaining.

Mostly it’s that he tends to be a bit shy – I don’t want him also having the additional “handicap” of being one of the youngest boys in his class.

This hold back/ vs send early is actually something that we experienced in our family growing up as my sister and I are both early fall birthdays and  I was not held back but she was.  As a result, I was always one of the youngest in my class and she the oldest.

Now I didn’t struggle per se, but I was VERY conscious of age.. like I would think people wouldn’t want to be friends with me if they knew I was one of the youngest. For some reason it seemed like a  huge stigma to me.

My sister on the other hand was such a leader in her class.. a total queen bee!   So I’ve always known that if I had a choice, I’d rather give Jasper the confidence advantage that comes with age.

The problem with this decision is that nearly ALL the kids that have been his close friends in school (some since they were infants!) are now moving on, leaving him with just two of his close friends left in a classroom that now has some kids that are almost 2 years younger than him.

I could have had him switch schools to do his final year of Pre-K at the Waldorf school, but honestly I just am not quite ready to tackle early school day closings, multiple holidays, summers off, having him in a different school than his sisters and all the logistical gymnastics it would take for him to switch. So he’ll be doing one more year at his current daycare Pre-K where he will be the oldest child. Fingers crossed I don’t regret my decision!

So that’s the rather long preamble to the fact that last night was “graduation day” for almost all of friends.. many of whom are younger than Jasper!

Here is his crew of great friends, only two will remain next year:

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And here is their whole class with some of the younger children as well:

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Just as we were about to leave, I saw Jasper’s longtime crush (let’s call her “G”) looking very sad.  I asked her mom what was wrong and she said that she was sad to be leaving Jasper. There is a whole long backstory here about G and Jasper, but lest just say he really worked for her affection! So it was so sweet to hear she’d be missing him too. When I asked her if she’d like a picture with him before she left she readily agreed:

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It was hard for me to take these images because the twins were also there, but I’m SO glad I was able to capture these memories for Jasper (and ok, his overly sentimental mama!) of the early strong friendships that he made in daycare.

So Happy graduation to Jasper’s dear friends.. we will BOTH miss you terribly!

 

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Dee says:

Ariana
we sent our oldest DD who is 4.5 to GreenMeadow since last fall. They did offer after school program which was great as I needed the time until 5:30 to be able to pick her up. So there are options to go full day with them. And fortunately the parents are running a coop camp which works out almost the same or less as the day care.
Hopefully we will see Jasper next year! Good luckj
-dee

ariana says:

Thank you guys so much for sharing your experiences! I’m not too worried that I’m doing the wrong thing for him as far as not sending him to kindergarten, I just sometimes second guess having him stay at the same pre-school for another year. Just don’t want him to feel bored or like he’s outgrown it. On the other hand, we love the center so much that it’s like a second family, so at least we know he’ll be loved and nurtured if nothing else :)

GiGi says:

My boy missed the cut off by 1 month and I was SO GLAD! Academically, he was ready for Kinder and all when the rest of his preschool class graduated, but socially I am SO RELIEVED that he had the extra year to mature.

He has done so well since starting “real” school. He’ll be headed to 6th grade this fall and he is a confident young student ready to take on the world (though maybe not 6th grade girls). :+)

No one knows Jasper better than his family. I am confident this will be the right course for him.

Fiona says:

Hi.

I think, if you feel this way, you’re doing the right thing. We live in Germany. My daughter won’t begin school until she is almost 7. They start in their 6th year. With my daughter born in November, I could request she go early, but I am perfectly happy with holding her back to be one of the oldest in her year. It has many advantages for the child.

It’s a hard decision though, and it’s a shame so many eyebrows were raised because of it…..but that’s motherhood!

x

jbhat says:

I will have to be deciding this next year. My 8/19 little one will turn 4 this summer. So after her preschool graduation next summer, she’d be a young 5 year old in kindergarten too, just like Jasper would have been if you were starting him this autumn. My little one is all sorts of bright and confident and I’m sure she’d be fine….but for me, it’s not just about whether she will be the youngest in her kindergarten class. What about later? Will I be comfortable with her being the youngest junior or senior in her class someday? Or one of the oldest for that matter? I too think it’s a tough choice to have to make, and I’m not sure what we’ll do. Hopefully the roughly $1K per month that preschool costs won’t be the only thing that influences our decision when the time comes….but wow, it’ll be nice to have that monthly bill stop. : )

jbhat

ariana says:

Thanks ladies, good to know I’m not the only one struggling with this!! :)

Ava says:

Oh, Ari — it’s such a hard decision to make, but trust your gut.
We’re right there with you — we decided to defer kinder for another year. I’m feeling good with this decision for now, because I think that age is just ONE element to decide if your child is Kinder-ready.

DebZorn says:

My youngest granchild will be five in August, too. Though she is anything but shy, she is the youngest of four, and can really hold her own. However, she is really tiny. She’s not yet 30 pounds and at least 3 to 4 inches shorter than the other kids in her class. Her parents decided to wait on kindergarten so that she, too, would be one of the oldest, in her class. And it will allow her a growth spurt or two, though I doubt she will ever be tall and lanky like her sister. I’m sure you’ve made the right decision for Jasper.

anne laney says:

I have been thinking about red-shirting Ashton too. He doesn’t seem as mature as he should be or really have that readiness to learn. He’s 4.5years right now so he should be in Kinder next Fall but I guess we have a year to see if he catches up or not. cute class and what a sweet situation with the G.

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