GCS Entrance Age Standards
Jr. Kindergartners are typically 4 year olds turning 5 during the school year or recently turned 5 before school begins. At a minimum, a child must have reached the age of 4 years by August 1st of the fall in which he would enter Jr. Kindergarten at GCS. In other words, children with summer birthdays (June & July) are eligible to begin Jr. Kindergarten as a 4 year old, as are 5 year olds with summer birthdays.
Kindergartners will have turned 6 between June 1, 2019 and August 1, 2020 (Typically 5 year olds turning 6 during the school year or recently turned 6 when school begins).
1st Graders will have turned 7 between June 1, 2019 and August 1, 2020 (Typically 6 year olds turning 7 during the school year or recently turned 7 when school begins).
To clarify, this means that your 6 year old with a June or July birthday might begin either Kindergarten or 1st Grade depending on his cognitive development, maturity level, and your decision as his parents. We will gladly talk through the options of this decision with you and do assessments when necessary. Ultimately, we will make recommendations for official grade placement, but the decision belongs to the parent where June and July (and even August sometimes) birthdays are concerned. May birthdays are also allowed to move backward if the parent decides that for their child. (Note: Math and SWR early promotion are allowed by assessment only. This is different from official grade level placement.)
At GCS, we typically (not always) recommend that a child with a May-August birthday “go backward” for the following reasons:
- Confidence is learned throughout a child’s life. If a child is the oldest in his class, he has had another year of cognitive development under his belt and he will tend to grasp new concepts more quickly than his younger classmates, which means he will continually gain confidence in learning new skills over the years. A child who moves ahead and is the youngest in his class will often take a little longer to grasp and master new concepts each year, which may give him hesitancy or insecurity when trying new things.
- Along with growing confidence, older children in the class tend to naturally develop leadership skills in interactions with their classmates, the way an oldest child in the family birth order would.
- A child who moves ahead and is the youngest in his/her class will be on track to graduate high school at the age of 17. A child who moves backward and is the oldest in his/her class will be on track to graduate high school at 18, giving them another year to grow and mature with their parents before entering the workforce, trade school, or college. Additionally, this extra year of cognitive development helps to set them up to have the ability to complete college credits during high school, earn higher scores on the PSAT, and earn scholarships for college.
- Think of the concept of redshirting a college freshman athlete so that he has another year to develop before beginning his athletic career. This idea is very similar to why we recommend a child with a summer birthday to go backward and be the oldest in his or her class, rather than pushing forward and being the youngest.
- Students at GCS always have opportunities to move forward if they excel in a particular subject. If it becomes clear that Johnny or Suzy is gifted in math or reading, we will work with parents to move him or her to a higher level class where they can be appropriately challenged. We want to set children up for success when we can. It is always easier on the child to move up a level after mastery than it is to move down a level due to academic necessity.
Therefore, moving backward is our typical recommendation for summer birthdays. However, we do have some summer birthday students who are the youngest in their class at GCS and doing fine! Again, we can make recommendations and talk with you through the pros and cons of your unique child’s situation, but ultimately, you know your child better than anyone. For a better understanding of our thoughts on summer birthday enrollment, please read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.