Back in the day, and definitely in my day, kindergarten was a lot more relaxed. It was learning your colors and writing your name. The day was spent finger painting and doing story time in a circle. There were no standards, it was just a play-based learning environment that was pretty stress free and pretty carefree.
But then it changed. Kindergarten got real during the No Child Left Behind era. The rules were changed, and it became much more rigid. Standards were adopted, which called for children to be able to read and write before advancing to the first grade. So, kids had to put down the finger paints and take out the phonics lessons.
So let me show an example of the current curriculum framework and standards expected of a kindergartner these days (you can find this information on this site):
As you can see, one example of what is expected of a 4 ½ to 5 year old is the ability to “follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.” I literally know adults that can’t do this. And another, “…students identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.” Back in the day, we were read a story and were asked if we enjoyed it. That was it. So, times have changed. Kindergarten is definitely more demanding, and not all of our kids are mature enough to handle some this. That’s ok!
If you find that your kindergartner is one of the millions of kids that just is not 100% ready for first grade, you will actually be doing your child a favor by having them repeat this level. Sometimes that extra year of kindergarten is just what they need to develop the maturity and mindset to move forward through the grades. Do not be ashamed. You are not alone.
So here is the current situation with kindergarten enrollment. While state law says that children who will be age five (5) prior to the September 1 cutoff can be admitted to kindergarten, state law does not mandate children to attend school until the age of six (6).
From the Department of Education:
Since school is mandatory for six year old students, parents and guardians of six year old students must enroll their children in school (Education Code [EC] Section 48200 ). Admission of age-eligible children must occur at the beginning of the school year or whenever the students move into the school district.
Districts must admit children at the beginning of the school year (or whenever they move into a district) if they will be five years of age on or before September 1 (EC Section 48000[a]). Children who are age-eligible for kindergarten may attend any pre-kindergarten summer program maintained by the school district.
For complete information on kindergarten, transitional kindergarten and pre-kindergarten, you can go the California Department of Education page on kindergarten. Click Here.
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