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.

Comments (4)
  1. emom says:

    OH WOW, sorry, I am not all that sure delaying children from going to school is as good as some beleive.. My kids b-day is in the beginning of the year, HOWEVER, I never delayed when my kid would start school, sending to preschool was the best and worked to see if and when my kid was ready. No not all can be ready for a full day,. But unless you try you may not even know,,, I was unsure about my childs abilities, HOWEVER, I felt, the only way to know for sure was send my kid to school… I was totally surprised, My kid loved it, finding new things to do and well what I would consider would be to hard turned out to be really easy,, children will always surprise you , we take for granted that we might know whats best But sometimes we may need to let them try. If we do not let them try, then we set our kids up to be co dependant on us and what then,, are we going to help them learn everyday living abilities, like cooking, using everyday equipment, like in the kitchen, balance a checkbook, I can say I know 3 kids now over 18 that they are co-dependant of their mother to do most of what they should already know… CUT THE APRON STRINGS EARLY , BUT BE THERE TO HELP YOUR KID,, do not enable them so much that they can not go out into the world and take care of themsleves. who wants a child to never know how to take care of themsleves at the age of 25,, just saying.. ok 5 years olds cant cook, but they can make a sandwich if you show them, they can use a remote control, and they sure can do other thinks we think tey cant do…. I know many 5 year olds that can write there name, knowns there phone number and have an opinion,,,, let them try they just might surprise how well they will do.,.. If they are not able to handle, try a preschool half day or wait, at least you would know if it will work out first…

  2. Marilyn Burton says:

    I think looking at what their ablitlites are is very important. You might not see that it is the best decision until they are in 2nd or 3rd grade. I think if the parents see that they should keep them out for another year go for it. I have seen people do it and are so glad they did. I have seen people that sent them anyway and they wished they had waited but didn’t see it until third grade. I have heard if they had one more year a lot. It can be devastating for a child to Stay back as opposed to we waited one more year. I don’t think people ever regret it. MY boys have Oct and Dec. birthdays. and I am glad I didn’t have to make that decision. BUt it I had I would have waited. My Oct. birthday boys is in 5th grade and he wouldn’t be doing as well as he is if he had gone a year earlier. If the cut off was Dec like it used to be in our district..

  3. web says:

    Every child is’s really up to the parents to know their child’s abilities. Hindsight is great, everyone has it…we all know students who should have waited or did well…but it really is up to the parents who should know best.

  4. Jeanne says:

    I TOTALLY agree with the statement “Look at the skills they need to enter kindergarten. Don’t look at the birthdate”….Dr.Susan said that because she knows…as we all should…that a birthdate does not determine your maturity level or readiness to begin school. It’s not a bad thing if your child waits another yer – there is no stigma attatched, so if they are not ready, why would you send them? I also LOVE that Dr. Susan brings up the point about age/maturity level in the upper grades and when the child is a teen. Teen years are hard enough without having the added stress of feeling like your not “in the same plce” as the other kids….it could become a basis for feeling not good enough, bad grades and/or acting out. Maturity level is important…in fact, vital to the starting of school and success subsequent years. And with all due respect to Connie – I don’t believe anyone is “automatically saying “stay back” to any five year olds, I believe whats being said is “just BECAUSE your five years old, doesn’t mean you HAVE TO go to kindergarten. If you need more time – one more yera, take it…no problem”.

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