3 Years of Preschool for Fall Birthday?

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  • BUSD Kindergarten for mid-September Birthday?

    (10 replies)

    My bright, precocious kid will turn 5 years old 17 days after the September 1 kindergarten cut off.  He's currently in his 2nd year at a great preschool, in the oldest class at the school - which means all of his friends/classmates will be heading to kindergarten at this time next year.  Is there any option for him to go with them!?  Has anyone seen BUSD make an exception to the September 1 cut off for kids who are ready and have birthdays close to the cut off?  It seems so arbitrary that all the kids who have July and August birthdays (there are so many!!) would go to kindergarten, and my son would spend another year in TK/preschool.


    With a September birthday, your child will be eligible to attend BUSD's Transitional Kindergarten programs.  They will be grouped with other kiddos of the same age for a 2 year kindergarten experience.  https://www.berkeleyschools.net/admissions/enrollment/tk/

    It is completely arbitrary and can feel 'unfair' to those of us w/kiddos close to the cut off date. The December 1st cutoff date was arbitrary too, but they do have to draw a line somewhere and I don't think they want to (or have the resources to) deal with each situation on a case by case basis. My oldest is similar - turns 7 this September 10th and just started first grade. She skipped TK because of zoom school/pandemic and stayed in a preschool. I had similar concerns about her being the oldest in class (esp since I was always the youngest), but think that in general it's been completely fine for her. I've heard the TK program at BUSD is pretty great and may be a great option for you given how challenging the transition to K can be (even for an older kiddo, btw). That way he'll be off to a new school with kiddos all similar in age. You can certainly appeal to the district but I have not personally seen them make an exception for K. Best of luck!

    Here's what I did for my fall birthday child 7 years ago. I enrolled them in TK through the school district (at a different school site than our neighborhood school, that's just where the program was). They learned to read by May of the TK year, so spouse and I decided we wanted to accelerate them to skip K (from our older child, we knew that K was all about learning to read & stand in lines). We asked the TK teacher to recommend it and she said she was not allowed to (district rule) but otherwise implied she agreed with our assessment to accelerate our student. We emailed the TK school principal, no response. Right before the end of the school year, we got a meeting with our home school principal (where our older child was a student), who agreed to convene a meeting of the "Student Success Team (SST)" - ie., her and us - to discuss our student's needs and recommend acceleration right into 1st grade at our home school for the next school year. That's what we did and I am very happy we did it. Yes, my student is the youngest 7th grader at their school, but zero academic problems and they can't say they've been bored. This was a different school district than BUSD, but my strong recommendation would be to enroll in TK and see how your child does. You will have to advocate for acceleration if that's what you feel is appropriate, but there is ultimately a path.

    Hi there is no exception. The best option is to consider a private school, if you get financial aid it will be less than another year of preschool and great for their education

    We will be in the same situation next year except in OUSD (our son's birthday is on Sept 16). Very curious to hear if anyone knows whether exceptions have ever been made.

    Is your kid eligible for TK? That’s what most fall birthday kids do. We decided with our December birthday kid to keep him in preschool another year because he would have been the youngest possible in TK, and all his friends are staying preschool another year because not fall birthdays. Plus he only started in year ago due to the pandemic. Being an older kid in the class has developmental benefits you might look into, for example it tends to build confidence. 

    We had a similar situation where our child was born a 5 weeks past the cutoff (Oct birthday).  We met with BUSD, several board members and teachers to try to get her in with the class she knew.  Unfortunately, at that time (9 years ago) the district had a very strict rule to deny children whose birthday did meet BUSD cutoffs.  We met with the Deputy Superintendent of Education at the time and she clearly told us that we had to do transition kindergarten or something else.  Also, all the private schools we spoke to at the time had similar guidelines and wouldn’t start children early.

    I would not dissuade you from trying to advocate for your child (especially since they are so close to the cut-off) and BUSD could have relaxed its policies since our experience, but you should have a back-up plan ready.

    Good luck!

    As far as I know, it's a hard cut-off. They have to make it somewhere. They are not in the business of ascertaining whether kids are "ready". When I was a kid, they let me start Kindergarten at 4 years old (with a late October bday!) but those days are long gone. They will suggest TK (Transitional Kindergarten) for your son. FWIW, lots of parents are in the opposite camp as you - they're trying to find ways to delay their son's entry into K for a year (even if their bday makes the cutoff) so their son can be physically bigger, more mature, socially sophisticated, better at sports for their grade, etc... In those cases, I think public schools are subverting this by admitting those kids directly into 1st grade. All this to say, it is what it is. 

    I am going though the same situation at a different school district. I disagree with all Bay Area parents who voice their opinions about other people’s children being better off staying in TK vs the child’s parents advocating for K with birthdays so close to the state’s arbitrary cut off date, which, by the way grossly, varies between many states. If you feel your child belongs in K, the best option is private school. Many do not adhere to the strict September 1st cutoff.  However if that’s not financially prudent, there are a few public schools (in neighboring towns) with policies to “skip” a grade, in this case TK. It will require strong persistence and constant follow-up without guarantees, but schools do have the policy in their handbook. Good luck.

    My kid just started TK and turns 5 in early Sept, as does 2 classmates. Your kid won't be alone and will make new friends. You'll probably end up at different schools anyway. TK is NOT preschool. It is what Kindergarten used to be before "No Child Left Behind" and the pushing of our kids to learn too much too early. Enjoy the fact that your kid gets another year of fun childhood before testing and homework start. Down the road, you'll appreciate that your kid is the oldest in the class as opposed to the youngest. I teach at the secondary level and can see the difference for the kids with fall birthdays versus summer. 

    However, I think the cutoff should be July 1 instead of Sept 1 so we don't have 4 year olds starting K/17 year olds going off to college - let's email our state reps who are the ones who set the Sept 1 cut off. :)

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Need help planning for 2-year old daughter

Feb 2013

Hoping to find some advice as to how to plan the next three school years for our daughter, who turned two in December, and therefore won't start kindergarten until she close to 6 (and misses the deadline for Oakland's transitional-k by 10 days). I hate to be 'that mom', but she is seriously, strikingly smart in terms of language and literacy, though I'd say she's socially normal (ie not advanced in terms of interpersonal skills). I really believe she's ready to phase out of her nanny share and start some sort of preschool in the fall. The problem is that this means she would have three years of preschool, which seems like A LOT. We don't have much money, so we can't afford to do extra enriching classes along with nanny share or preschool, and in fact we can't afford the vast majority preschools, needing something that is in the $1000/month range. (Nanny share right now only 2 days per week, supplemented by parent and grandparent care.) Has anyone had their smart kid in preschool for 3 years and been happy with the situation? Other options? I would also welcome recommendations for a preschool in Oakland that offers full-day care that you think might be suitable for this situation. That Mom

hi there, i also have a daughter with a late december birthday who is likewise not eligible for public kindergarten or transitional kindergarten. we moved here from overseas where she was enrolled in a public (universal:) preschool system that kept her with her birth year peers. moving here i was dismayed by the thought of an ''extra'' year of preschool for financial as well as ''developmental'' reasons. my advice to you is to choose a preschool that has its own kindergarten class (we have found a few - montessori and waldorf preschools are good places to start looking) so that your daughter can attend kindergarten ''early'' if you and her teachers agree she is ready. in theory at least she could move from private kindergarten to public first grade - but if someone knows otherwise, please speak up!!! also i think 3 years of preschool is also not inherently a bad thing as long as you choose the school carefully and it allows for the child to mature in place. and while there are very few private schools that take young kindergarteners, crestmont in richmond is, based on our research, a wonderful and affordable option. hope that helps a bit! that other mom

Lakeshore Childrens Center may fit the bill for you. It is full time an around $1000 a month (just a bit over that now, I think). They have 2 houses, Kleines Haus, for the 3-year-olds, and Kinder Haus, for the 4's and 5's. They divide each house into groups under different teachers. In Kinder Haus, Joanie takes the 5-year-olds and basically runs a pre-K program. She's a credentialed kindergarten teacher and does a fabulous job with her ''smart cookies.'' My daughter only did 2 years of pre-school, but due to a mid-year departure ended up moving into Joanie's class mid-year, before her 5th birthday. In the 7 or 8 months she was in the class she made great progress on her pre-reading skills. She was almost reading when she started K (starting to sound out letters) and by October of kindergarten she was really reading.

There are many reviews of LCC on BPN. They have great staff and low staff turnover. Some of the teachers have been there 20 years or more, and one of the school age teachers is 2nd generation (his dad has taught at Kleines Haus for more than 30 years). Carrie

No advice on the preschool decision, but just wanted to note that I believe OUSD will accept December birthdays into the TK program as long as there is space; you just get prioritized behind the students who turn five by December 1st. Just something to consider! Another parent of a fall baby

Can you look into part-time preschool options? That could give your child a great transition to preschool. Since you have parent and grandparent care to supplement the nanny share, can you use one or both of those to supplement preschool instead? A part-time preschool (for example, 3 mornings a week, or 2 full days) probably wouldn't cost a lot more than your nanny share.

If you or another parent is available some of the time, you could look into a co-op, in which you pay less money in fees, by working one day a week (or so) to help in the classroom. There are a lot of co-ops around here. An in-home daycare could also be an option - often less expensive than a preschool, and provides more stimulation and interaction than a nanny-share. If you do need full-time preschool, there are preschools around here in the price range you describe. My child goes to Chatham Preschool which costs about that. Preschool parent

My son, also a Dec birthday, had three years of preschool and it was fine. I think many kids with fall birthdays will fall into this category. He's not a brainiac, but smart enough. I'd say finding an affordable preschool is your bigger dilemma! anon

Add to your musings the fact that some private schools are more flexible re birthday / kindergarten entrance guidelines. Some are willing to evaluate a slightly younger child, and many do offer financial aid. I have a very precocious boy, and went this route, myself. It's worked out quite well for him. early entrance mama

Hello, I don't know if you are near Alameda, but Rising Star Montessori there would be a great option for you. They have 2 campuses-- the Cottage for the younger ones and the main campus on High St. for the older ones. Rising star has different ''levels'' if you will of preschool, and also the Montessori method allows for kids to do a lot of work at their own level. They work on ''jobs'' independently for various skills and move on to the next levels when they are ready. Rising Star is also very reasonably priced, plus has full-time before and after care.

If Alameda doesn't work for you, I would say that Montessori would be a good way to go, for the reasons I was stating above. It is great for kids at different levels to all work at their own level within a class. Also, no matter which philosophy you choose, you will probably want to go with a larger program that has multiple levels of preschool classes since she will be there awhile. Then she can move up with her ''cohort.''

By the way, my child was in preschool for 2.5 years, and we know kids who were in preschool as long or longer and they did just fine. Kids don't keep track of time like we do, and as long as they are enjoying themselves, the length of time they are there is more of an adult concern. If you choose the right place for your daughter, she will do just fine. Preschool Parent

Three years of preschool for fall birthday baby?

Feb 2013

We are just beginning the preschool search, but are having a challenging time finding schools where the programs are designed to accommodate three full years of preschool--which our fall birthday child will likely be doing. (We know about and are watching the OUSD Transitional K programs, which he will be eligible for, but would like a preschool where our child can remain for all three years if we go that route without feeling like he is repeating a year or they're making a special exception for him.) We're not necessarily looking for a school with a Bridge K program, although that would be fine--but just hoping to put together a good list of schools where the program can grow with a child there for a third year, and where he will have peers who are also there for the third year. We need a full-time program somewhere in Berkeley or (ideally) North/Central Oakland--any schools we should be sure to look at? Thanks! Mama of a soon-to-be preschooler

I don't know what type of school you are looking for (Montessori, play-based, co-op, etc...), but if you are interested in a more ''academically'' focused preschool/preK I would HIGHLY recommend Starlite Child Development Center /East Bay Academy. My daughter has been there for about 18 months now, she will be starting K in the fall (they actually offer K classes at Starlite as well), but I know other kids who have been there 3 years before K. It is located on 14th Street in Oakland on the periphery of Oakland's Chinatown. Most of the students and faculty are of Chinese descent (as is my husband), but they are very welcoming and there are other kids of different races/ethnicity as well. I like that the school is more academically focused (my daughter is already starting to read and is learning chinese as well), but has a very welcoming and ''family like'' atmosphere. Don't get me wrong...it's still a preschool so there is plenty of play time, art, music, etc...but they do really focus the preK kids on being prepared for kindergarten. In fact, when the people at my daughter's new school (K this fall) saw Starlite on her school application they commented on how kids from that school are usually ahead of their counterparts.

There is usually a waiting list because the program is so in demand (and affordable - $620 for full-time school / M-F 730-6), so if it at all interests you I suggest you take a tour ASAP. I am definitely going to have my son (now just 7 months old) attend as soon as he is eligible too. A VERY satisfied Starlite parent

Step One sounds like it fits the bill...Your little one could do two years in the nursery school and then one year in the Bridge K. We'll just be starting the Bridge K next year, so I don't have first hand experience in that room, but our experience in the nursery school has been fantastic and the Bridge K teachers are great. There are lots of rave reviews of Step One on BPN and you can visit and see for yourself what a special place it is, so I won't go on and on. But look into it -- it's a great little school, if the Berkeley Hills location will work for you... Step One parent

I have two fall babies (currently aged 4 & 2) so I have thought a LOT about this issue! My conclusion is that I don't want my kids to have 3 years of preschool. As a result, the older one will be going to K this year (he barely makes the cutoff) and the younger one (who will not make the cutoff) will do an extra 6-12 months in daycare as opposed to preschool. My older one is in his 2nd year at a playbased school that does do a fair bit of work on letters and a bit of numbers, and in many ways as far as I can tell, approximates kindergarten in the olden days (as in, when I went to K). Even though he may not be quite ready socially, leaving him there an extra year would be a total waste of time; the school is not geared up for those ''third years'' and even in a different classroom it would be the same ''curriculum'' (same holiday celebrations, etc.). And Bridge K programs in Berkeley are just out of control expensive. So off he'll go to K. For my little one, I have the benefit of seeing how 2 years of preschool has completely readied the big one for K academically, so I have no inclination to pay for an extra year of preschool. She can start at almost 4 and probably be the most prepared kid in her K class since she'll be one of the oldest anyway. My longwinded advice to you is to think hard about if you really need to pay for that extra year of preschool - all of you might be better off staying in daycare until summer 2014. 2-Years of Preschool Family