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Elementary Educators/Early Entrance of Grade 1

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Question
Dear Kevin,
My son is 5 years old now and I enrolled him in a British school in UAE which wants to put him in grade 1.
He can read, do simple addition and subtraction, but I'm worried if this will be a correct decision.
I'm worried on his long term education cycle, especially in higher grades.
Do you think it's better to keep him in KG2 rather putting him in grade 1.

Please advise.

Regards

Answer
Hello Dima,

Thanks for your question.  I will do my best to answer it.  First of all, I am not familiar with the school system in Dubai, but I will give you my opinion based on my experience in the US.  Obviously the school has determined that your son is academically ready for grade 1.  I would assume that he has been tested and determined that he has mastered all the skills needed for success in grade 1.  However, your son's maturity also needs to be taken into consideration.  As a parent, you will be the best judge of his maturity level.  Does he have the social skills needed to interact with older children?  How will he react to the rigor of the curriculum in grade 1?  Answers to these questions could help guide you in your decision.  I would also explain the choices to your son and see what he has to say.  You are right in thinking that this decision will effect his schooling experience.  One thing to remember is that if he goes to grade 1 now, he will most likely be one of the youngest in his class throughout the years.  This may or may not be an issue, but as a teacher, I have seen younger students that are not quite as mature as their older classmates and sometimes don't do as well emotionally or socially even though they have the academic skills.  

On a personal note, I was in the same situation when I was a child.  When I was in grade 1 my teacher and school felt I was ready to move to grade 2 based on my grades and academic success.  However, my parents weren't sure because I was the youngest and smallest child in my class.  They determined that it would be best if I repeated grade 1 so I could be more on-par with my classmates.  I think that was a good decision.  I ended up being one of the older students in my class, but not the only one.  I think this extra year gave me a chance to grow both physically and emotionally.  

I think you certainly have the right to keep your son back because you have his best interest in mind.  Repeating the Kindergarten will not harm him at all.  He will have a chance to learn and experience more and then he will definitely be prepared for grade 1 next year.  It would be easier to keep him back now compared to when he is older and in upper grades.  Remember, you are the parent and have the final say in what your son will do.  Feel free to discuss your concerns with the current teacher and school administration.  I think your son would be fine if he entered grade 1 now, but I really believe that keeping him in kindergarten one more year would be the best idea based on his age and maturity level.

I hope this helps you with your decision.  Let me know if you have any additional questions or need anything clarified.  I would be interested to hear what decision you made.

Sincerely,
Kevin

Elementary Educators

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Kevin Kennaugh

Expertise

I can answer questions from teachers, parents, students, and other interested parties. I can answer questions regarding classwork, curriculum, behavior, classroom management, homework, and other school related issues.

Experience

I have been an 3rd grade elementary teacher for the past 12 years. I also work with students in grades 1-4 on a daily basis.

Organizations
NEA

Education/Credentials
B.S. Elementary Education M.S. Elementary Education/Technology Integration

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