Are there any private Kindergartens that admit 4yr 9month olds?

I know normally there's a TK program for kids born between Sept 1 - Dec 1. My kid is born Jan 2 so he is actually technically too young for even TK.  He would be about 4yrs & 9months old at the start of the school yr. 

But are there any private kindergartens that would allow him admissions at his age? Or even a more challenging/academically advanced TK program that would take him at his age? He's pretty advanced socially and academically and the preschools and TK programs I've seen are not challenging enough for him and don't have a good enough ratios or programs where teachers could give him some personal support to help him stay engaged and challenged.

We would be looking for Kindergarten admission in the 2020/21 school yr. Any suggestions of private schools that could be a fit? 

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Not recommending a private school, but seems like there's some information here about your question under the Transitional Kindergarten section: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderinfo.asp "...a school district or charter school may, at any time during a school year (including at the beginning of the school year) admit a child to a TK program who will have his or her fifth birthday after December 2 but during that same school year, with the approval of the parent or guardian, if the governing board of the school district or the governing body of the charter school determines that the admittance is in the best interests of the child and the parent or guardian is given information regarding the advantages and disadvantages and any other explanatory information about the effect of this early admittance."

Your dilemma is not uncommon and is addressed by the many preschools that have curricula that extend to kindergarten level. I promise your kid will benefit from that year as long as the curriculum extends upward. Most certified Montessori preschools take an individualized developmental approach to learning and most extend to age 6- so yes K level.

Good Luck!

As the parent of an older child, I would not recommend starting your child in kindergarten so young, even if you find one and even if he can handle it now. Please think to the future, do you really want him to be 11 half-way through 7th grade, and 17 half-way through his freshman year of college? Those are profound times to be a year younger than classmates; I have heard that social anxiety is more common among kids who skip a grade. A TK would probably be a good idea if he is academically and socially ready, and to actually start kindergarten later in the year that he turns 5.

My son's birthday is mid-September. We were not interested in TK and he would not make the public K cutoff, so we explored the option of private school for K. Many private schools have now gone with a hard September 1 cutoff, but not all. We found that EB, Park Day School, Redwood Day, and Aurora all had more flexible cutoff dates. We did not look at schools in Berkeley beyond EB, or in other parts of the Bay Area, so there may be others. With that said, I think you would be hard pressed to find any private school willing to take a child born in January early. Most of the schools I spoke with said they would take fall babies on a case-by-case basis. Some explicitly stated a 10/1 or 12/1 cutoff. 

I also think I'd be remiss in saying that no matter how socially and academically advanced your child is, they probably aren't going to be ready for K for the 20/21 school year for a number of reasons (and I say this as someone who felt my child was ready and would be bored in preschool another year). The private schools we visited had pretty high expectations for behavior and ability to transition, and while I think my son would have been fine starting early, I think he will really thrive after waiting another year. Also keep in mind that a number of parents whose children have late summer birthdays will be holding their children back, so even if your child were to enter K, he might be in class with children who turned 6 over the summer (18+ months older than him). That is a huge difference at that age. One of the private schools who has a more flexible cutoff explicitly told me that they very rarely admit children with September and October birthdays and that their program is designed for older children, thus their classes skew closer to 6/almost 6 when starting K. Most schools seemed much more likely to admit younger girls than boys -- I heard over and over again from teachers and admissions people that younger boys do better waiting a year (so even if your child is perfectly ready, you might be dealing with that bias/mentality making your son less likely to get accepted.)

My son has not been bored at all doing another year of preschool and I am so happy we ultimately decided to wait. During the admissions process this year he has been confident in a way that he wouldn't have been last year (again, even though I think he would have been okay last year too.) 

Maybe look at Monetessori schools -- they often feature mixed age groups so your son can gravitate towards things that challenge him and be with older children as well.

When we were facing this same issue with our January baby 10 years ago (times flies!!) we could not find a place willing to take her despite acknowledging the fit.  We placed her into a language immersion preschool with an academic focus and she was quickly learning to read in another language not spoken at home...  After that we homeschooled after finding all institutional educational offerings to not be a fit.  It's tough in the "let them play, let them be kids" world to have a young kid who is driven to learn and WANTS all the facts and learning.  There are other kids out there with a thirst and drive to exercise their brains in an "academic" way which, to them, seems like play.  Hang in there!

Hi there. As an educator, I would say that when children aren't engaged, it's because adults are bringing an activity that is not matched to the child developmentally.  Waldorf Kindergartens accept children beginning at 4.9 -- and they go until 6 years of age.  Admittedly, if you are looking for an "academic" kindergarten, this is not it.  This is a place where serious pre-academic skills are laid down, social learning is emphasized, and there is lots of outdoor play for the development of the physical body and sensory integration.  These capacities need to be put in place before students sit for long periods of time in 1st grade and beyond.  East Bay Waldorf School and Berkeley Rose would both offer this kind of a program.  Educators are also seeing more sensory integration problems in young children because of premature emphasis on academics and not enough movement and outdoor time.  This Washington Post article speaks to this issue.  Good luck finding the right school for your child!  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/01/the-decline-of-play-in-preschoolers-and-the-rise-in-sensory-issues/?tid=&utm_term=.1e7c062a74b8

 

Pear Tree Community School is a Montessori School and has mixed aged classes and your student would be eligible for TK. All students are assessed for the appropriate classroom placement. There is a TK/K room and a K/1 room, although there is some flexibility in the actual ages grades of students in the room placements. My daughter attends and is thriving academically and it is a rich social environment. To set up a tour, you can email admissions [at] peartreecs.com

You should check out Prospect Sierra's TK program. Prospect Sierra is an incredible private school in El Cerrito that has been around for years serving grades K-8, and they have  started a TK program which will be small (~12 students) with two teachers in the classroom, so there will be a lot of personal support to meet your child's needs. The socio-emotional curriculum is very robust and well executed and all kids in the TK program will be 5 (or turning 5 by January). The TK program will have its own building but will leverage resources (including specialist teachers) from the lower school campus. Happy to talk to you more about the program, and I really encourage you to take a tour and see the Prospect Sierra community in action. 

I found myself wondering the same thing when I was looking for schools for my academically advanced but late fall birthday daughter. We found Montessori Family School to be one of the few schools that actually looks at each child and not just their age when admitting kids. Plus the Montessori program is great - allowing her to learn at her own pace while still being in a class with kids her own age (plus younger and older children - which is such a gift, but not related to your question). You should check out MFS - there are campuses in Berkeley and El Cerrito and both have Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten/TK programs.

Hi! I am not sure if you would be interested in having your child attend the Kindergarten Program at Northern Light School in Oakland. My son goes there and our expereince so far has been remarkable. They also have extended care should you need it. Definitely, reach out to them and see if your child can be admitted. Best of luck to you! 

Admission's Director is Jill Diaz: jdiaz [at] northernlightschool.com

Admissions Portal: http://www.northernlightschool.com/admissions/

Best,

Mercedes Ballesteros

Hi there! My child attends Crestmont School on the El Cerrito/Richmond border - it's a K-8 and the cutoff is 5 years old by Nov. 1 of the year in which the child starts. We love Crestmont so much - it's a small school, with class sizes of 15 kids with one teacher, one teaching assistant, and often a parent volunteer. My child was in Kindergarten last year, and the transition from a play-based preschool to Crestmont Kindergarten was smooth and lovely. The K teacher is amazing, they all are. The community is very friendly, and since it's a co-op we all participate in the school in different ways and get to know the other families, students, and teachers/staff. (There are all different ways to participate in the co-op so it's totally doable for working families.) Crestmont is very attentive to social-emotional development, which is great at all grades and especially helpful for that K transition and for younger kids. Lots of field trips, community engagement and social justice curriculum, and hands-on fun learning techniques. I can't recommend it highly enough. We are planning to start our second child there this upcoming year. Good luck with your school search!

Just to push back on some of the discouraging responses, our gifted child went to K at 4, and 1st grade at 5, and was in a school that used a 2nd grade curriculum in 1st grade. It was the right thing for her then and continues to be the right thing for her now. Do what your child needs at the moment and make adjustments as needed in the future. If your child needs more challenge there is no point in having them be bored for years to come. 

We also have a daughter who will be 4 years 9 months in September, and is perfect for "traditional school" in that she likes sitting still, taking in information, and following directions, so we called around. The Academy, Bentley and Heads Royce said they would consider kids with fall birthdays on a case-by-case basis, but not with January birthdays. We will likely send her to a foreign language immersion school instead (EB and EBI both take younger kids).

As a few others have noted, a Montessori school would be a great option because of the mixed-age classrooms and the ability of the teachers to create individualized lesson plans for each kid. We are at The Renaissance International School, which is a Montessori school, and highly recommend it. It is wonderful for many reasons, one of which is that we were able to avoid the dilemma of whether to redshirt our August baby and enroll him in kindergarten as a 6-year-old. Instead, he’s in a mixed-age class until the teachers decide he’s ready to move to the Elementary campus. Good luck!