Why did we set the cut-off date to July 1st?
After much consideration, discussions with staff and parents, and examination of student data, we established a cutoff date that helps us best fulfill our mission of providing a high-quality learning environment for all students, and building a foundation that sets up each child for long-term success. Children must be age five by July 1st to apply for the Kindergarten in the fall. Students entering in later grades must meet a corresponding cutoff date.
Parents with an advanced child are often eager to get that child on the academic path. Being very capable, however, does not necessarily coincide with the social and emotional maturity of children with a few more months behind them.
Our data verified a high percentage of students with late summer birthdays struggled with school readiness.
Even with our high level of adult support, younger students often struggled with social skills, were unable to confidently manage in-school academic work and homework, found extended projects daunting, had difficulty managing time at a grade-appropriate level, or felt emotionally overwhelmed. Their discomfort and stress (and tears) also affected their peers and classroom learning environment.
Many of these same students were given the opportunity to repeat a grade along the way to ease their strain. Those that did flourished with the extra year to mature.
Many parents worry their child will be bored waiting to start Kindergarten, or will miss their preschool peers. On the other contrary, a year to gain maturity and be the “older ones” in a good preschool class is not boring—it is a different, age-appropriate experience. These children arrive for Kindergarten the following fall able to separate from parents, eager for the academic day, and ready to learn and interact with maturity.
Looking beyond Kindergarten, children face similar readiness challenges transitioning through middle school, high school, and puberty. Making good social decisions, negotiating driving and activities with peers, and heading off to college are all handled more confidently if children are a bit older.
To honor the integrity of this age-at-entrance policy, we will not make exceptions for children with birth dates just shy of the cutoff. In fact, we hope that you will consider giving even those children with June birthdays the gift of another year of preschool before starting Kindergarten.