2006_10_billmadison.jpgThe NY Times examines the growing trend of holding back children a year before kindergarten. Some parents feel an extra year of pre-school has many benefits, as their kids are more confident and have more skills under their belt - not to mention their kids won't be the littlest or youngest in the class anymore. The practice helps with getting children into private schools (implication: private schools rather deal with more mature kindergarteners) and with sort of gaming the NYC pubilc school's rules. From the article:

Unlike many suburban districts, the New York City public schools are generally strict in placing children who turn 5 by Dec. 31 in kindergarten that year, and not the following year. Kindergarten is not mandatory, but children who are old enough for first grade will be placed in first grade. That rigidity has angered some parents, who maintain that in this day and age, kindergarten is no place for a 4-year-old.

City public school officials defended their cutoff system, saying it was best for children.

“New York City is so out of sync,” fumed Marlene Barron, head of the West Side Montessori School on the Upper West Side and confidante of many a parent frustrated by the public school policy. “It’s ridiculous. They have the babies of the universe. When you have kids who are so young, of course they never can test as well as kids who are older.”

Interesting point, but since there's no conclusive evidence that says older or younger kids do better, who knows? Sometimes kids mature when they are around more children and have a more structured routine, some are naturally more mature. At the end of the day, it's always going to be about the individual child and what he or she is ready for.

One private school official told the Times she was thinking about starting a "junior kindergarten" to keep up with the demand, but let's call it what it is: A pre-school post-graduate year. But what will be crazy is when the big 7 year old kindergartener pushes around the 5 year old. That'll be fun.