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Kindergarten Retention

  • 1.  Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 6 days ago
    It's the end of the year and I am seeing a lot of parents asking for advice on either holding their Kindergarten aged children back due to social and emotional immaturity or delaying their entrance into kindergarten due to social and emotional immaturity. When I attempted to find research on this (besides what I believe from working with young children) I was surprised that while it is a common recommendation I was hard pressed to find research on that EXACT reason. So I wanted to know what you guys thought:

    Should children be retained or delayed due to social and emotional immaturity?

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    Temesha (Ms. Tessie) Ragan
    Family Child Care IF Facilitator
    Perfect Start Learning
    Family Child Care Provider
    Edwards, CA
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  • 2.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Temesha,

    I believe that some children truly need to have extra time to become more socially and emotionally mature before going to kindergarten. Many kindergarten teachers would applaud you for doing this. Since the children are in kindergarten, they need to have specific social-emotional skills such as the ability to sit and listen for short periods of time, follow directions, and properly interact with peers. Due to larger classes, kindergarten teachers are often overwhelmed by disruptive behavior caused by children who are not socially and emotionally ready. These children are more at risk for lower self-esteem due to constant time outs, labeling, and visits to the principal's office at such a young age.




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    Jennifer United States
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  • 3.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 5 days ago
    It really depends on the child's age (what month they turn 5) and if they need services that only public school can provide.. However, I often tell parents that if they are going to hold them back due it before they start kindergarten as retention once kids are in school is not beneficial and is actually harmful to kids (there are a few circumstances such as illness) where it is less stigmatizing.


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    Jayne Boulos
    Psychologist
    Cape Eliz ME
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  • 4.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
    Hi Tessie,
    Of course, every child is a unique individual and there are lots of things to consider, however in general, I think retention should be seriously considered.  If social and emotional immaturity are issues, thrusting a child into a larger group with larger adult-to-child ratios and subjecting him/her to higher expectations before they are ready is not good idea.  A child who is shy and socially awkward is better off having a little more life experience under his/her belt, and a little more time for skill-building.  Social and emotional maturity is not a simple thing to master like toilet training, writing his/her name or tying his/her shoes.  A child who socially awkward or who has challenging behaviors is likely to continue struggling with this for a long time. That extra year in a lower pressure environment could make a big difference. In addition to my professional experience, I dealt with this issue with my own daughter.  Her birthday was right at the cut-off, she was tall for her age and she was a precocious reader, but her social skills and confidence were weak.  We decided to hold her back, and to this day she still thanks me.

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    Linda Crisalli
    Kirkland WA
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  • 5.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
    Hi Linda,

    I was held back due to my birthday. My mother wanted me to go to Kindergarten. Due to state cut-off rules, I needed to stay home for a year and went to a co-op preschool instead.

    I wanted to thank you for your sensitive and developmentally supportive answer to Tessie's question. You as a mother knew best about your child's situation and allowed her to grow and mature in a less structured and high stress environment.

    As a teacher myself, I have seen children that would have benefited from another year of preschool, but were moved on entirely too soon based on their "age". They did not have diagnosed social-emotional problems. They just were not ready for a very formal and extremely academic classroom environment and needed to retain better social and peer interaction skills.


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    Jennifer United States
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  • 6.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
    Here is the problem. Parents are really nervous about today's kindergarten. It is not the kindergarten of my son who is now 41. There is so much academic press in today's kindergarten at the expense of social and emotional development that many parents want to provide their children with an extra boost by holding them back. It is more like first grade than what you may recall as kindergarten. Some children really need that extra time to play - the play that should be in the kindergarten but is not except as an add-on at the end of the day in many classrooms.

    My grandson who has some social and emotional issues repeated public school kindergarten. His understanding of why he was repeating it is priceless, "I needed more time to play" - a sad commentary on the state of kindergarten in the United States today.

    We need a loud movement to rethink the direction that kindergarten (and prekindergarten in many schools and centers) have taken. We are turning children off to school and learning by setting up expectations that for most 5 year olds is out of line with their development.

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    Nora Krieger
    Associate Professor Emerita/ Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/ New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park NJ
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  • 7.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
    I think it is so important that a child is socially/emotionally ready for kindergarten. Through my own observation, I have learned that children who aren't ready are usually the ones that have never been in a group setting such as preschool or childcare. As a preschool teacher, I think it is so important to give your child that foundation of preschool. I don't want to say that we are more lax in preschool, but we are really there setting up that foundation for the children to learn and grow as the move forward in their education.

    A couple of things that I ask a parent if they are questioning holding their child back in kindergarten is the obvious, "Why?" and then "What does the teacher think?" If their answer is along the lines of "I just don't think he/she is ready." I really encourage them to talk to the teacher that has had their child. And I also have friends/parents that have children going to school in the Fall and they don't feel like their child is ready, I encourage them to get their child in to a preschool.

    I think as early childhood educators we know how important the first 8 years of life are. We also have to remember that these tiny humans belong to new parents who are seeing and being influenced by all the social media lives around them.


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    Tennille Albertson
    Professional Development Advisor/Preschool Teacher
    Child Care Aware of NW Minnesota
    Moorhead MN
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  • 8.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
    So my other question is:

    Is retention beneficial due to social/Emotional issues if the child is doing very well academically.

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    Temesha (Ms. Tessie) Ragan
    Family Child Care IF Facilitator
    Perfect Start Learning
    Family Child Care Provider
    Edwards, CA
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  • 9.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
    Honestly, I think if they are on track academically, but are struggling social/emotionally then it is okay to have them progress to the next grade level. With that being said, there would be factors to look at to make that decision with a sound mind. What is home life like? Has the child made progress (socially/emotionally) throughout the school year? Is it something that the parents can continue helping the child with throughout the summer?
    I hope this helps!

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    Tennille Albertson
    Professional Development Advisor
    Child Care Aware of NW Minnesota
    Moorhead MN
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  • 10.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 4 days ago
      |   view attached
    Over the years, I've had many discussions with families on the benefits and challenges of "red-shirting" or holding back an otherwise age-appropriate kindergartner. I've attached a research article and this newspaper article also references other academic research.

    I usually recommend that unless the child is receiving outside services that the school district can not/will not provide and the child has a diagnosed delay or disability, it is usually in the best interest of the child to send them to kindergarten. Anecdotally, we all will have experiences of holding back being the "right" or "wrong" decision. The academic research can both be shared with parents and guide the advice we offer. However, parents are the experts on their child and ultimately will need to decide and to provide the support to their child earlier (recognizing they may need more support to develop their social and emotional skills, make and maintain early friendships) or later (recognizing a child may need more academic enrichment in later grades).

    Great discussion!

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    Shannon Nagy
    Executive Director
    Hutch Kids Child Care Center
    Seattle WA
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    Attachment(s)

    pdf
    AERAopen2015.pdf   516K 1 version


  • 11.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 3 days ago
    This is a great discussion and I appreciate the differing perspectives.  I also want to point out another factor that I see in centers when parents are considering what is best for the next year.  Some parents are making the decision based on economics.  For many parents the expense of another year of childcare is a difficult stretch.  I fall on the 'better to stay in Preschool' side of things if a child has difficulty in the social and emotional realms but I also want to be sensitive to the family's financial needs.  Its important for parents to not be made to feel guilty for their choice to move to Kindergarten if they can't afford another year of preschool.  Of course this isn't a factor in free preschool programs, but in my city there are few free options.

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    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
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  • 12.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 3 days ago
    That's exactly what we did with our son. He was immature socially and emotionally but was sight reading at 4. We sent him to Kindergarten, which was against what his preschool teacher recommended. He ended up repeating Kindergarten and is doing great, having just finished 7th grade. I'm glad he isn't going to high school next year. He isn't ready for that. He also has a June birthday, well within the cutoff limits, but still made him young for his class. His school has differentiated their learning for gifted students and he just completed sophomore level geometry as a 7th grader (through an online high school program) and will take Algebra 2 (a high school junior level class) as an 8th grader. He reads at a high school level.

    Those who are socially immature expend most of their brain power trying to keep up with their peers and are not taking in all of the academics.

    Additionally, my kids went to a play-based Kindergarten, but those are getting harder and harder to find. Many children can't (and I'll say shouldn't) deal with the time seated completing worksheets at 5 years old.

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    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
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  • 13.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 3 days ago
    Greetings Tamesha,. I'm a head start preschooler teacher and every year I find myself dealing with this same question.  I'm lucky because I know the teaching styles of all of the kindergarten teachers in my school a d try to match the teachers with the teachers.  Mist of my parents know deep down whether their child is ready for kindergarten.  It is my job to let them know it is ok to let their child stay another year.  I adjust my lesson plan for those older kids so they are cognitively challenged.  I truly believe that as teachers we have to stop just sending children to another environment they aren't ready for simply because the clock says so.  We need to make sure they have the skills to help them succeed.  Take care!

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    Leica Jones
    Teacher
    Head Start
    Rancho Cordova CA
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  • 14.  RE: Kindergarten Retention

    Posted 3 days ago
    Based on my many years of teaching pre-K and K children, as well as having taught first grade, social and emotional maturity does matter because lack of confidence, sense of security, and social competency can affect a child's academic performance down the line when children find social demands overwhelming. Often, they get help in public school only when they meet certain criteria as having need for special accommodations and support. I have had children who did not meet the criteria by a slim margin, so they did not get the support they really needed at that particular moment in their development. Parents had to get support for their child on their own - e.g., private services outside of school. Not everyone is able to have resources to do that. While it is true that parents are the experts of their own child, teachers are the experts of the children as a collective as well as individuals. I also check my thinking and practice to make sure that the focus is on the needs of the child rather than the wants of the grown-ups, i.e., parents/guardians and educators (which includes myself, colleagues, and administrators). Keeping children with their social peer group vs. their academic peer group has often been my philosophy as a teacher of young children, and that seems to make sense for the children, their families, and teachers. One cannot hurry children in their social and emotional growth. As another contributor to this discussion said, some children need to play more. This is certainly true. For these children, they need the resource of time and some social support or "a boost" in their social and emotional development. They may understand specific ideas or concepts at the cognitive level, but may not be emotionally and socially ready to accept and manage the implications of such ideas on their young lives. Helping children develop a more solid sense of self, sense of security and self confidence will ground them as they prepare to face the increasing demands of their social and academic future.

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    Lynne May Lim
    Eliot Pearson Children's School
    Chestnut Hill MA
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