Nobody wants their child be the youngest, most inexperienced, most immature child in a grade, everyone wants their kid to be the Biggest, Best, Smartest and Oldest. Humans are competitive from the time our children are born, we compare weights, how quickly they crawl, talk, walk, and I think this competitiveness is extending into when people are sending their children to Kindergarten. I think the decision that these people are holding their children back a year will make a difference in the children who are starting school on time, and ramifications of this decision extends far beyond kindergarten.

I know five boys that are being held back from starting Kindergarten on time. Of these 5 people who are selecting to hold their sons back 1 year, they all have different reasoning. Such as their boys were born in the summer, their boys are immature, their boys are small for their age, their boys are hyperactive, all of these boys will have one extra year to hone their skills over the other boys and girls who start school on schedule. You say do they only have summer birthdays? No! They have birthdays in January, March, April, and two have summer birthdays. Why do I care? All of these kids are the same birth year as my daughter who has a summer birthday and will graduate from high school at age 17. I feel that my daughter is developmentally prepared to start school, but she is less mature and less physically skilled than children who’s birthdays are 6-8 months earlier than hers. Imagine how far behind she will be to a child that is one to one and a half years older than her like those who will be held back for a whole year.

My daughter is pretty smart for a 4 1/2 year old, she is tall for her age, friendly and outgoing. She is not as mature or as bossy as the girls who are 6-9 months older than her. She is not as skilled at art, coloring and cutting as girls 6-9 months older. My niece who is 6.5 months older is a greatcolor-er, she can blend colors, always stays in the lines, matches hats with shirts on her coloring pages, while my daughter is not an exceptionally good color-er . My daughter has months to catch up with the coloring skill but she is still right on track with her developmental age. In six months kids grow and mature exponentially.

Kids are expected to all be at the same level no matter if they are born in September 5 or August 5 a year later when Kindergarten starts, they are graded against one another, all practice the same skills, coloring, math, reading, writing, science and athletics. If they are playing catch up in kindergarten to match the skills of those around them how is that going to transfer to subsequent grades? How will that affect their skills testing scores? How will it affect their advanced level class test scores?

In our school district we have a program called Anthenium where the excelled students are put in their own advanced school, they have their own budget and grant money to give these advanced students benefits that the other general public school students do not receive such as a laptop for each student, along with a curriculum that challenges them and puts them even further ahead of the regularly educated public school students. Lets carry this age advantage to middle school when they separate the students by advanced writing, math, science courses. Those students are now predestined to be enrolled in the advanced high school courses and Advanced Placement college credit classes in high school. These students are given higher opportunity for weighted grade point averages, given more opportunities to shine on college entrance applications. Will these kids who are older and more advanced than those children who are academically on track for their correct age, put the rest of our children at a disadvantage?

Lets look at other reasons people hold their children back. A woman in swimming lessons is choosing to hold her son back because he is little, and she does not want her son to be the smallest one in his grade. For boys this can be a huge advantage to not being the smallest physically. My brother was one of the oldest in his grade and the biggest, being born in October. He was always physically coordinated, bigger, picked for teams first, he was an excellent athlete and fast runner. How would this have changed if he was born in July and the smallest in his class? Would he have had such great luck in sports, would this have changed his friend groups if he chose not to participate in sports because he was not as good as other kids and did not enjoy hockey, baseball, football? I am sure it would have.

What about the people who want their kids to be the leaders, does leadership possibly stem from age, size and physical presence? It might take more for a small kid to get noticed than a tall kid. With an extra 6 months experience being a leader it can dramatically change a friend group as who is the leader and who are the followers, this leadership role can be very challenging to change as kids get older especially if the oldest and biggest child is usually in charge and calling the shots.

I was born in July and graduated high school at age 17, I also graduated college at 21. I was always one of the youngest kids in my grade and the smallest. I was never the smartest, I was never the most outgoing, I was more of a follower because my friends were older, bigger and wiser than I was. They lost their teeth first, they matured and got their periods first, they may have been better at math, they may have been better athletes than me because their coordination was 1 year more advanced. All of these things that combined may have put me at a disadvantage from being number one in my class, from being good at track and field events, from being able to express myself with writing essays. I would not go back and want to be held back a year and graduate 1 year older. I love being able to say I purchased my first house at 22 after I finished college at 21. I love that I had a whole extra year to fulfill my goals before I had children.

We all want to provide the best opportunities for our children by giving them a strong foundation with all of the possibilities open to them. Sometimes competitiveness and desire for our children to be the best can make people make difficult ethical decisions such as people choosing to hold their children back so they are the oldest in their class. I hope that this trend of people wanting their children to be the Biggest, Best, Smartest, Oldest in the class can be controlled, and that it does not negatively affect my children who will be starting school on schedule and on time.