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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

The wheels on the bus went round and round

August 22, 2007

Anna, our "five-year-old-summer-birthday-girl-and-second-born" daughter started kindergarten today. I first wroteabout the subject of kindergarten with summer birthdays last January during preschool re-enrollment. I questioned sending her; Miss K., our preschool teacher, never had a doubt in her mind. Anna would go. Another year of preschool and she would be bored to tears. Send her on.

Many of you commented with your own stories; clearly my husband and I weren't alone with our ambivalence about starting school at 5 versus 6. The New York Times ran a story this summer on the topic, and with fall upon us, I expect there will be more. There's the gift of time, and the threat of boredom. Little fish, big pond; Big fish, little pond.

We made our final, final decision last week, and we sent her today. This morning, she couldn't have been more proud. Anna marched right to the bus line and stood marking what she believes to be her rightful spot. She waved from the bus window smiling, ready for the day. And hoping she gets to do the monkey bars.

What about you? Did you wait, or send your baby on?


My daughter is 7years old & I went throught the same thing when she was five. 2 years on now she is in 2nd grade and looking back we are glad that we had made that decision. No looking back now. Be proud :-)

Thesse events are so hard and each one is so personal. There is no one right answer.

Not so much about waiting or sending:When our daughter, C., went for her first day of kindergarten, I drew the duty of accompanying her to the bus stop. We walked along our street to the front of a neighbor's house where the children we waiting. C. seemed pretty sure of herself--at least, I thought she was pretty brave. At the bus stop, I explained to one of the neighborhood children that it was C.'s first day and the neighbor girl, who must've been all of eight or nine, assured me that C. would be fine. The neighbor girl even suggested that I didn't have to wait with her, that she would keep an eye on C. After C. got on the bus, I walked home and found Pat at the window watching the bus pull away from the curb. I'm pretty sure that there was a large, heart-shaped lump in her throat.

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx