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More Parents Holding Kids Back From Kindergarten

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BOSTON (CBS) – As thousands of kids go back to school this week, many families are experiencing a major milestone — that first day of school.

But more parents are deciding to hold-off on kindergarten.

They say waiting an extra year can make all the difference for their kids.

Caren Pasquale’s twins Trevor and Daniela turned five in July. But instead heading off to kindergarten, they’re staying in pre-school another year.

“I think my twins could handle kindergarten. I don’t think they would have a problem in kindergarten,” she said. “I just think one extra year of maturity will benefit them immensely.”

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

The twins aren’t alone. Many parents with children who have summer birthdays are choosing to wait before sending their children to school.

Pediatrician Dr. Michelle Mayer says another year in preschool made a world of difference for her son Joshua.

“We have full day kindergarten,” she noted. “They do a lot of sitting and a lot of listening and in my opinion it’s asking a lot of a five-year-old boy to sit six hours a day and learn.”

Education consultant Susan Silverstein-Kaufman helps parents decide if their children are ready for school

“Look at the skills they need to have in order to enter kindergarten. Don’t look at the birth date,” she suggests. “They have to be able to wait their turn. They have to be able to ask for help.”

Kaufman says parents also need to think long term and consider what it will be like for their child in the upper grades.

“Kids develop at all different ages. Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen years old, there’s a whole other series of issues kids will be dealing with. I think to have the extra age and the extra maturity can only be helpful,” she notes.

But not all parents agree. Connie Hernando’s son Jordan also turned five in July — and he’s off to kindergarten this fall.

It’s part of life,” she says. “If we automatically say “stay back” we’re almost sending a message that we think you’re going to fail.”

In most Massachusetts cities and towns, children must turn five by the end of August or beginning of September to make the cut-off for kindergarten.

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