The "5 before September 1st" rule is stressing me out

The "5 before September 1st" rule is stressing me out

Go-2-baby is almost four this year, which means it’s definitely time for school. I’ve visited preschools in hopes that I’ll find one that can guarantee her a slot in Kindergarten for next year. This might sound crazy, but I’ve been stressing over this since  she was born.

Illinois, like many other states require children to be five years old by September 1st in order to start Kindergarten. It doesn’t matter how smart or advanced they are, all public and charter schools follow these guidelines for the most part.

I’ve found a few private options that may have some ways around it, however cost or location have presented additional issues. Some people feel that I’m thinking too much into it, that my child will be just fine starting grade K at almost six years old.

I beg to differ, because I’m also a November baby. I started school here in Chicago at three years old. At the end of the school year, the school informed my mom that I’d have to go through the program again because I didn’t make the cut off for Kindergarten. My mom didn’t agree and had me sit out that next year. Luckily for me, my story didn’t end there. We moved to the East Coast shortly after and I was given an opportunity to test into 1st grade at the age of five. I actually tested beyond that, but my mom only allowed me to go to 1st  based on my year of birth.

“Skipping” a grade didn’t cause me to have any issues in school socially nor academically as many people argue. Throughout elementary school, I was an honor roll student and performed exceptionally well on standardized tests. My high school grades suffered at times for other reasons, but even then I continued to test above my grade level.

Fast forward to now, and I’m struggling to make a choice that is best for my daughter, and not my own personal feelings.  I feel like I’m cheating her if I don’t try to make it work out for her like it did for me.

Perhaps it really is no big deal, and I’m making more out of it than I need to. I’ve always felt that it should go by birth year, allowing students to start school with others born in the same year. I know my blog post isn’t going to change the rule, but I’d like to know what educators and other parents have to say about how much it really matters in the long run. It may even help to hear from some students who were directly impacted by the cut off as well.



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