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My daughter is 4.5 yrs old and she is studying in kindergarten (KG). Like most kids, she isn't very interested in studying, and we are only able to complete her homework by taking a tough stand. While all the time we are thinking that is normal for all kids.

But sometimes we think she is too young for handling this much school work (when we were her age we only started going to school). Most of her classmates are older, a few are almost one year. We now think about keeping her next year in the same KG (not promote to 1st class) by making a request to the school.

Should we do this, or should we allow her to get on to the next class, even if she gets bad/average grades and hope she will improve next year?

We are in the India/New Delhi region.

As for talking with her teacher, We meet at PTM at intervals. Her teacher always talk positively and tell us she is doing satisfactory, if not good. Sometimes her teacher mention some issues like less attention in class, but still the teacher believes that she should be with other students too, and tells us to do more work with her and study/home work at home.

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    Have you talked with her teacher to see how well she is doing in class? Is she doing as well as most students, hopefully above the average, not below. – Reed Rawlings Nov 20 '15 at 15:48
  • @ReedRawlings, see my update in question. – kuldeep.kamboj Nov 20 '15 at 16:22
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    Its not clear why your child is younger. Is it just that she is at the young end of the year-group? This can indeed be a big problem: if a class goes from 4 years to 5 years old then thats a 25% difference in age, which is pretty big. Like putting 12 year olds and 15 year olds in the same class. – Paul Johnson Nov 22 '15 at 16:52
  • @PaulJohnson, Yes this is the scenario. As I described in comment to Joe. She is exactly 4 when admitted to KG, which is 4-5+ yr group. No idea about 25% as we saw this as normal case (after all some younger ones always present in class ). Teachers also suppoted her for atleast not the worst learner i think. – kuldeep.kamboj Nov 24 '15 at 5:05
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You say that the other children are mostly older, up to a year older. I assume that means that your daughter is basically a year ahead of where children normally are, right?

Both from personal experience and from some studies on the matter, I would recommend that in most cases, even very smart or gifted children see benefits from going to school at the normal pace, not ahead. Not every child is the same, but if your daughter is not ahead of the other kids in her grade right now, it sounds like she might be better off waiting and getting into the class when she's of a like age to the other children in it.

The disadvantages to starting early are that even if she keeps up academically, she will be less physically and emotionally developed than her classmates. This means she'll be less able to keep up in sports (because she's younger and smaller), but also less able to keep up in the social world (because she's less emotionally developed). For some children this may not be a particular problem - my four year old is heightwise equivalent to a five year old anyway, so he'd probably keep up fine physically - but from my experience (starting a grade early) it can be difficult being the shortest child in the class, and not understanding why it's hard to make friends.

Research does support advancing very gifted children, particularly if they're in an environment with other very gifted children. Johns Hopkins recommends skipping children with measured IQ of 130+, for example; that seems reasonable to me. It does require the strong support of the parents, the school, and the child, and should only be done if the child feels comfortable in the higher grade.

On the opposite side, many educators believe it's never a good idea because it makes it harder for the child emotionally and physically, in particular hitting middle school and high school early during the difficult time of adolescence.

Overall, I would recommend having a discussion with your child's teachers, and finding out what they think; and perhaps getting some input from others in your life who may have had similar situations and know your daughter well enough to form opinions themselves. My personal feelings are to avoid skipping grades most of the time, due to my own experience; but as each child is different, you should look for professional advice tailored to your daughter's specific needs.

  • One thing that I don't see here is anything about "de-skipping" (e.g., she's already started early, but now she would repeat kindergarten). – Acire Nov 20 '15 at 16:19
  • @Erica I don't have any specific knowledge about that - yes, I imagine there are a set of difficulties that it might entail. This is from a more long term perspective. – Joe Nov 20 '15 at 16:21
  • @Joe, one issue of keeping her in same class is that, next year she may be eldest in class by age, That may not be right for her overall development ? – kuldeep.kamboj Nov 20 '15 at 16:33
  • @kuldeep.kamboj You may want to describe things more fully, then. The way you described it above, she's up to a year younger than the children in the class - meaning she's basically a grade ahead. Is that true? Is that false? What is the normal age range of a Grade 1 class in New Delhi? In the U.S., Grade 1 children start at 6 years old to less than 7 years old (typically). If your daugter was born on 6/1/2011, very similar to my son, she'd be a year young for kindergarten right now in the US. But I don't know standards in India at all. – Joe Nov 20 '15 at 16:36
  • @Joe Well in india, minimum age of nursery (which is earliest class) is 3 yr, then we have kindergarten and then 1, 2, 3 so on.. Issue is that she is exactly 3 yr old when she admitted into nursery class. So most of her class mates if not all are elder than her. Now as an average student she may not be equally perform as most of her classmates who already are 6 month - 1 year elder. – kuldeep.kamboj Nov 20 '15 at 16:43

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