What are the Pros and Cons of Sending Your 4-year-old to Kindergarten?
Check with your choice of school first. What are their age requirements for kindergarten? I advise against starting a young 4-year-old with formal instruction in kindergarten unless cleared by the school. The biggest drawback is social skills. Is your 4-year-old socially and emotionally/developmentally ready for kindergarten? Maturity is extremely important to a child’s learning success. If they are in preschool let them have the full experience. Do they suffer from separation anxiety? If they are not in preschool, then at 4 years of age preschool might be a better fit. They get some formal instruction and significant play time to develop the skills needed for kindergarten. Kinder skills such as: sitting quietly, listening and following instructions, the ability to share, recite their letters, can count to 10 and higher, can identify 5-10 sight words, know that you read from left to right, at the end of a line of text eyes return sweep down to the next line…to knowing their name and possibly write a word or two, can use scissors, and the list goes on.
All schools offer a screening for children to determine their ability level for entry into kindergarten. Do not worry if it is recommended that your 4-year-old wait a few months to be accepted into kinder. Perhaps your 4-year-old is on the line and maybe they can split their day with some time in preschool with some time each day in kinder. If you place your child too soon in formal instruction they could struggle and possibly shy away from going to school. You don’t want to put too much pressure on your child at this age, let them have time to play alone and with their peers, explore, and develop their curiosity. Read with your 4-year-old every day to develop their understanding of the sounds of language, the structure of language, and their vocabulary. Play that will develop their focus, attention, fine and gross motor skills, and the brain capabilities necessary for learning. They grow up fast, so enjoy this age with them!
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