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Early (or Late) Kindergarten

"It may be concluded ... early admission to school of mentally advanced children who are within a year of the ordinary school-entrance age and who are generally mature is to their advantage.... There are few issues in education on which the evidence ... is so clear and so universally favorable to a particular solution." (Reynolds et al., 1962, p. 16) Nancy M. Robinson and Linda J. Weimer, "Selection of Candidates for Early Admission to Kindergarten and First Grade," Academic Acceleration: Knowing Your Options, CTY Publications & Resources, Johns Hopkins University
A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students Recommended The Templeton National Report on Acceleration
Acceleration is a powerful educational ally, but it’s a strategy that requires participation of parents as well as sensitivity to individual needs and circumstances. For that reason, this report is designed not only to persuade readers of the value of acceleration, but also to help schools administer acceleration programs effectively...
Also read the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC ) reply Position Statement: Acceleration
 
Selection of Candidates for Early Admission to Kindergarten and First Grade Recommended by Nancy Robinson & L. Weimer
Achieving an optimal match between child and challenge is a test of its own for parents and teachers...  There is plenty of evidence, as we shall see, that bright children carefully selected for early entrance tend to do very well indeed, both academically and socially.  Why, then, is this option utilized so infrequently?
 
Still! Unacceptable Trends in Kindergarten Entry and Placement Recommended A position statement developed by National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education
Delaying children's entry into school and/or segregating them into extra-year classes actually labels children as failures at the outset of their school experience. These practices are simply subtle forms of retention. Not only is there a preponderance of evidence that there is no academic benefit from retention in its many forms, but there also appear to be threats to the social-emotional development of the child subjected to such practices...
 
Academic Redshirting and Young Children on KidSource
Research on redshirting has so far failed to provide a clear picture of its short- and long-term effects. Some studies have examined the effects of redshirting that occur immediately or within the early elementary years. Others have examined its long-term effects. Proponents and opponents of redshirting often use the same evidence but reach opposite conclusions...
 
The Challenges of Assessing Young Children Appropriately by Lorrie A. Shepard
Why testing young children to delay kindergarten entrance, or for placement in a two-year kindergarten program is creating a new problem, not a solution (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Children Who Enter Kindergarten Late or Repeat Kindergarten: Their Characteristics and Later School Performance by Jerry West, Anne Meek, David Hurst
This Brief uses information from the 1993 and 1995 National Household Education Survey to describe the numbers and characteristics of children who entered kindergarten late or repeated kindergarten. It also discusses their subsequent performance and adjustment in school... to show how confusing the statistics are
 
Entering Kindergarten by the National Center for Education Statistics
Although not specific to gifted children, this study shows the national kindergarten readiness and proficiency of 19,000 children nationally (not including those repeating kindergarten, or entering their 2nd year of a 2 year kindergarten program).  You may be amazed at what the average entering kindergartener knows, in 5 separate domains including the academic domain.
 
In math, 20% of rising Kindergarteners can do more than count and recognize single digit numbers, 4% can solve addition and subtraction problems.  In reading, 29% can do more than recognize letters by name, including associating letters with beginning word sounds, 2% can read simple sight words.  Average sized K's are 3'8" 46 pounds for girls, and 3'9" 47 pounds for boys.
 
I never wanted to be one of THOSE moms by Barbara Cooper
I don’t want to sound like one of those horrible stage mothers – frankly, I was in denial about all this. But my oldest daughter is a pretty special child. I mean, ALL children are special but she’s special in a quantifiable way.  But...
 
And then there is The Apology.  Why do we feel we have to apologize for what our children are, for what we are?
 
The Junior Meritocracy by Jennifer Senior, in New York Magazine
Should a child’s fate be sealed by an exam he takes at the age of 4? Why kindergarten-admission tests are worthless, at best. 
 
Note: the article is based on New York City admission policies, and does not reflect policies in the rest of the U.S.  Conversely, the implication that all students should receive an enriched education from Kindergarten and be assessed later through comprehensive observation is good, but Senior admits, impossible to implement...
 
Kindergarten used to be play and naptime — no more by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo and Jeanne Russell
In other words, kindergarten isn't what it used to be. Not only is there pressure to succeed, there are repercussions if children fail. As standardized testing has taken firm hold in public schools, more kindergarten students in Texas have been held back each year. And the role of play, which many early childhood education experts see as key to learning for the youngest children, is under siege...
 
Meeting the Needs of Able Learners through Flexible Pacing (ERIC Digest #464) by Neil Daniel and June Cox
In article after article, early entry to primary school is just one acceleration option...
 
NAEYC: Where We Stand on School Readiness
The use of readiness tests to exclude children from school or to make other high-stakes decisions is indefensible.  Voluntarily holding children back from kindergarten will not ensure that more children are "ready" for kindergarten... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Opportunity Deferred or Opportunity Taken?: An Updated Look at Delaying Kindergarten Entry by Hermine H. Marshall
Many families are under the mistaken impression that holding their child out will be beneficial, that it will give the child the gift of time. But families need to be aware of the possibility of too little challenge and the potential negative effects of holding children out... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
NASP Position Statement on Student Grade Retention and Social Promotion National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
While delayed entry and readiness classes may not hurt children in the short run, there is no evidence of a positive effect on either long-term school achievement or adjustment. Furthermore, by adolescence, these early retention practices are predictive of numerous health and emotional risk factors, and associated deleterious outcomes...
 
Starting Kindergarten Late: How Does It Affect School Performance?
This is often raised as an alternative when we enroll our gifted children in school, and the answers discussed here by school administrators may surprise you
 
Starting Kindergarten Later Gives Students Only A Fleeting Edge by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in ScienceDaily (Aug. 18, 2008)
New research challenges a growing trend toward holding kids out of kindergarten until they’re older, arguing that academic advantages are short-lived and come at the expense of delaying entry into the workforce and other costs.  The findings show older kindergartners fare better academically largely because they learn more before starting school, not because age improves aptitude...
 
Still Unacceptable Trends in Kindergarten Entry and Placement, a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Position Statement
For the last two decades the members of NAECS/SDE have continued to call attention to attitudes and practices which erode children's legal rights to enter public school and participate in a beneficial educational program. Dramatic changes in what children are expected to do upon entry and in kindergarten have resulted in well-intentioned interventions which are often inequitable, ineffective, and wasteful of limited public resources.  Unfortunately, the practices continue-this in spite of a preponderance of evidence of their lack of benefit and even of harm to children...
 
Stipek study shows older students do not academically outperform younger peers in early grades by Mary C. Bounds, in The New York Times
Researchers found that students who are older than their classmates because they started school late tend to have more behavioral problems in adolescence than students who are the average age for their grade
 
Trouble Ahead for Older Students, Study Finds by Jessica Portner, in EdWeek
Researchers found that students who are older than their classmates because they started school late tend to have more behavioral problems in adolescence than students who are the average age for their grade
 
What If We Ended Social Promotion? by Robert M. Hauser, in EdWeek
In its plan to end social promotion, the (Clinton) administration appears to have mixed a number of fine and credible proposals for educational reform with an enforcement provision--flunking kids by the carload lot--about which the great mass of evidence is strongly negative
 
Last updated July 01, 2016
 


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