Is Repeating Kindergarten a Good Idea?

IMG_3021My Freak, aka, Analisse, who turns 6-years-old at the end of this month, is struggling a bit in school. She is the last of our six, my favorite (“favourite” for my Canuck readers…looking at you, Erin, Rebecca, Gloria, Joel, Chantelle, etc) by a long shot, and is the only one of my squirts who attended a full year of pre-school.

As a wild child, she had a hard time learning to focus on her own work in the classroom, at the beginning of the school year. Her teacher, who is the best teacher I have ever met, this side of the sun, took a liking to her, which is impossible to avoid, and worked her rear end off, to get her to hone those skills.

But she struggled with Kindergarten subject matter. In fact, at Spring Parent/Teacher conferences, her teacher had a packet all prepared to show us how worried she was about The Freak, and was going to recommend that she repeat Kindergarten. Her argument was, “If she’s going to repeat a grade, Kindergarten is the grade to repeat.”

But, in true Freak fashion, that was the week that Analisse decided to take off with her studies. All her teachers said the same thing:

I have no idea what is happening, but things just….clicked this week.

So her teacher softened her recommendation, still vying for a repeat, but in a more ‘wait-and-see’ mode. The school put together a team of six specialists to assess her and to find her a path with special education, if necessary. We are also putting her in Summer School, which she’ll love.

So, my question:

Would you have your daughter repeat Kindergarten, especially when there is the chance she won’t really need to, even if she may struggle a bit in the years ahead?


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    We had a similar situation with our son last year. Except it was pre-k. Here in NW Wisconsin pre-k is two full days each week. It is a fantastic program, but he struggled with the behavioral and discipline aspect. He is a bit of a wild child. The teacher suggested another year of pre-k “for seasoning”.
    He did much better the 2nd year and is excelling in kindergarten.
    I would advise having her do kindergarten again. It is much better if she is a little ahead of her class than a little behind.
    Xander will be 7 as a first grader, so what. He is doing well. Whatever decision you make, make it in her best interests. She is not having troubles because you failed, so don’t send her on because of some misplaced attempt to protect your pride or to prove you are not a bad parent (I had to come to those realizations). Ok end of soapbox.
    Listen to the experts, do what is best for her. It actually is that simple.

  2. badgersdaughter says

    My younger brother was “hyperactive” and not focused in kindergarten. They thought he had ADHD but he may or may not have. It is true that as a September birthday child, barely over the cutoff line in that district, he was one of the youngest kids in his class and perhaps not entirely ready socially, despite being OK with the schoolwork. In any event my parents and his school decided to enroll him in a between-K-and-1 class called “developmental First”. It had a more experimental, individual slant, the activities were modern (this would have been in 1973 or 1974) and allowed my brother to be a little more active, and he enjoyed it much more than traditional kindergarten. That year I taught him to read quite well for his age. The next year he entered first grade without stress and completely ready for the work. I don’t think it did him any damage at all; he actually did better in school than I did, and I entered kindergarten as an eight-grade-level reader.

  3. DanDare says

    At school i coodnt not spel computa programa but now I are one.

    Seriously though I would recommend taking the path that doesn’t require the Freak to take it all too seriously unless she wants to. She’ll drive herself where she gets interested.

  4. lorn says

    Ahead is generally better than behind, as long as she doesn’t get bored or complacent. Too small a challenge can deaden enthusiasm for learning and lead to chronic underachievement. Being ahead can work but you need some way of taking up the slack. Of motivating her, keeping her reaching for more than she can grasp, and challenging materials at hand to keep her actively engaged in learning.

    One of the beauties of the internet is that it is all out there. A friend’s kid started trying to draw trees but couldn’t get the branches right. So she looked up how trees create branches in a seemingly random, but still organized, structure. That leads to a similar structure that guides how capillaries are organized. Then, on to the chemical signaling mechanism that tells blood vessels where to form.

    In a couple of hours she went from art to the functional structure of plant biology, to evolution and biology to inter-cellular signaling, quorum sensing, and applied medicine. She is about eight years old. She could potentially make a career out of any of those fields of study. So … whatever catches her eye and imagination.

    Bright kids can be tough to manage. Push too fast and they get discouraged and learning can become a burden. If left fallow too long they get complacent and might miss out of the lifelong love of learning.

  5. plien says

    Kindergarten is kleuterschool right? 4/5(/6) year olds, right?

    In my country (The Netherlands) there was a scientific paper about this issue & it basically said that repeating a year of that is pretty useless. Any other year had more benefit.

    On the other hand, longer play time is fun.

  6. voyager says

    There are some serious social implications to being left behind. It tends to put a child out of step with their peer group especially at very young ages when a year represents a great deal of growth and development. I would say this about jumping ahead also, but there is less stigma with advancement and also greater challenge to help keep a child interested. Staying behind can also risk boredom. Of course this must be balanced against a child’s ability to manage the work because failure and frustration also have serious implications, but if the child’s situation is borderline I would consider advancement first with a good educational plan and support system in place.

  7. DonDueed says

    I would ask, what does Analisse think about repeating kindergarten? Or have you discussed it with her yet?

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