Montessori to BUSD -- Repeat/Skip K? (Turning 5 AFTER Sept 1)

Hello all,

I tried searching for a similar situation and couldn't find any threads (but happy to be pointed to any!).

Our child is at a Montessori preschool, which includes a "Kindergarten" year. She turns 5 a little over a month after the Sept 1 cutoff, so she will be almost 6 to start Kindergarten (BUSD enrolls based on age: age 5 by Sept 1 for K, age 6 by Sept 1 for 1st, etc.). Assuming that she is academically/emotionally/socially ready, our preference is to have her as one of the younger children vs. older children in her classroom, as she learns by observing her peers, and tends to regress to baby-like actions/emotions when around younger children.

Have any of you with Montessori-educated fall babies repeated Kindergarten? Or, been able to skip to 1st grade? Any options available other than private elementary? It sounds like BUSD enrolls strictly by age, so even if she were to transition at a later grade, they would still enroll her based on the Sept 1 age cutoff for that grade.

Thanks in advance!

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We did not end up enrolling, but Albany USD was happy to place my Oct birthday baby in 1st grade (she would start the year at age 5 then turn 6) after completing 3 years of Montessori preschool and kindergarten. I believe CA law about birthdate cutoffs only applies to K and 1st grade, so if you stay private through those years and then move to public, they can’t force you to repeat a grade. Anyhow, Albany USD has been actively recruiting and accepting district transfer students, so it might be worth a try... 

In BUSD I have heard of many parents trying to enroll their kids early / late because they’re near the cut off, but I’ve never known of anyone who was successful. If this is important to you, you may have to go with private school for a few years and then transfer.

As for whether you should try to enroll your young kid in the higher grade, I’m not sure I’d recommend it at BUSD. Maybe at private school? As to why - my kids came from Montessori and are young for their grade at BUSD (July and Aug birthdays). The public school is pure chaos compared to a Montessori classroom which takes some getting used to and can be really hard on younger kids. It’s not a social or academic maturity thing, it’s an ability to deal with unpredictable situations thing. And that can be HARD for the youngest kids.

In our experience BUSD is fine if your kid is fine. But you don’t get any say in anything for better or worse. Nothing advanced for your advanced kid, no special treatment for “minor” problems that don’t severely limit academic performance. If you want that level of input or support, you might consider private school. We have one kid with medical problems related to stress at school, but nothing severe enough to be labeled a disability. This child performs at grade level academically. So there is no assistance or accommodation for that child at all and the child is frequently in trouble at school. We have other friends with kids with similar issues - their kids are struggling but not enough for services. There is no help for these kids, and I’ve seen a couple of families move kids to private school where their kid goes from underperforming troublemaker who hates school at BUSD to performing at grade level, far fewer behavioral issues and loves school. 
All of that is to say, if you want something special for your kid, BUSD is not the place to get it. It’s a fine district, and there are many great teachers, and it’s fine for most kids.  But if you want something special for an individual kid (like placement not based on age and birthdate) it’s rarely going to happen. At least in our experience.