Determining where and when to send your child to kindergarten is a major decision along the journey of parenthood. To a large extent, the kindergarten year sets the trajectory for your child’s education. The academic, and accompanying social skills, required to master kindergarten standards are far more intense than they were back in your kindergarten days. Moreover, the kindergarten cutoff age requires that children be 5 by September 1, in order to start Kindergarten in California. That, coupled with the trend of redshirting children to start kindergarten later, has resulted in a much older class of kindergarten students – 20% are already 6 years old when they start kindergarten (according to a study from Stanford University). A transitional kindergarten year can serve as an invaluable bridging year between preschool and kindergarten. Consider these three compelling reasons why a transitional kindergarten year may be best for your student:
- Selecting a well-planned two-year kindergarten program can offer your child a leg up academically. According to a study, Impact of California’s Transitional Kindergarten Program, 2013-14, graduates of a TK program out performed their peers who did not attend TK on language, literacy, and math skills when they start kindergarten. Having this additional year, taught by a credentialed teacher with an appropriate curriculum aligned with the kindergarten standards, helps to increase the students’ kindergarten readiness. The study shows that when they start kindergarten, students who attended a TK were academically as much as five months ahead of their peers of similar age. A unique aspect of Ascension Lutheran School’s two-year kindergarten program is that at the end of the first year (Seedlings), students will be evaluated for placement in the second year kindergarten (Sprouts), or in some cases, can be advanced to first grade if they have mastered the kindergarten standards.
- Students who start kindergarten later show a greater sense of confidence and self-control as they advance. Kindergarten readiness is comprised of far more than just academic aptitude. In fact, the ability to listen, follow directions, remember rules, and have empathy for others may be even more significant at this age. A study from Stanford University found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73% for an average child at age 11. Giving your child the gift of an extra year to intentionally develop their executive function skills can ultimately result in them having a greater love of learning, and a higher level of confidence to help them succeed in school.
- Your child can benefit from treasured time to enjoy growing and learning at a developmentally appropriate pace in a less strenuous environment. It has been said that Kindergarten is the new first-grade. With ever increasing academic pressures, little time is left in the typical kindergarten school day for development through unstructured and imaginative play. Exposure to these playful environments is critical for emotional, social, and academic growth. At Ascension Lutheran School, a full school day (8:00 AM-3:00 PM) for both our Seedlings and Sprouts Kindergarten classes allows for this interaction to take place. Each day, children can explore their curiosity, get messy, play outdoors, and even read and rest. Our Seedlings class introduces all of the kindergarten standards, giving students the opportunity to advance academically at a pace that is developmentally appropriate for each individual student while also developing the whole child.