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As most US states welcome five or six-year-old kids to primary education, some parents ponder if seven is too old for this level. What possibly are the advantages or disadvantages when students at this age attend kindergarten classes?

The right age for kindergarten

If we consider the norm and practices, a seven-year-old looks old. But bear in mind that even some states recognize that kindergarten is only compulsory at this age. It includes:

  • Alaska
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming

By the way, in Washington, kindergarten is only mandatory when turning eight years old. 

Capacity to learn. A critical factor to consider in kindergarten is the readiness of the child. If each one is unique, it involves pace and skills to study a particular level of interests or subjects. Add the idea that not all six-year-olds are ready for structured learning for various reasons like:

  • Separation issues
  • Need potty training
  • A problem with communication or expressing messages
  • No keen to socialize with classmates and teachers
  • Not open to follow instructions and routines

To gain these skills, a student needs more time or prior preparation before turning six. In the case of the former, the time may be equivalent to a year, which makes sense that a child turns seven years old when taking kindergarten.

Maturity. Seven-year-old kindergarten students also most likely gain maturity and come prepared to learn. It is, based on the research—Gift of time? School Starting Age and Mental Health—of Stanford Graduate School of Education Prof. Thomas Dee and Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research.

According to their assessment, hyperactivity and inattention become less when kids age seven years old. These connect to self-control which has a significant effect on performing better in school or learning.

Importance of pre-K and other preschool programs

Whether a child intended to take kindergarten at seven or not, experts recommend taking pre-k before transitioning to this level. Here are the practical reasons why parents and educators choose this option:  

  • It is a program that sets the stage for children to grasp the idea of schooling and structural learning.

Each level of learning has objectives, and kindergarten is no exemption. It may be the first stage of formal schooling, but there are already expectations from students. It includes social skills that allow them to do educational activities with small or big groups. 

On the other hand, obtaining social skills also leads to acquiring communication and motor skills. The good thing is preschool and pre-k help kids to be comfortable in socializing through play-based education.

  • Preschool programs offer an age-appropriate curriculum that nurtures learning abilities in children.

Whether a child takes time to learn or exhibits advancement, either of these demands support from adults. All young children go through stages where they develop various traits like being inquiring or shy. 

In supporting curious kids, adults around them should be willing to offer guidance. They must be patient to provide answers to questions and lead children to positive discipline. It is also the same with shy types, who need support to be more open to explore and socialize.

Aside from kindergarten-related matters, kids also reap more benefits from preschool programs. These are because preschools provide activities and lessons that are age-appropriate or best fit to their development stages.