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What age does kindergarten start where you live?

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So, I'm Canadian. In Canada kindergarten starts in September of the year you turn five. (except for in Ontario where they have two years of kindergarten and starts the year you turn 4) My birthday is in November, so I started Kindergarten when I was 4 turning 5, and graduated high school at 17. One of my writing friends is only 11 days older than me, lives in the States and just blew my mind  :ahh  by telling me that I graduated a year before her because kindergarten starts at 5 going on 6 where she lives.

I just started writing an MG and am wondering if my characters are in the wrong grade...  :eh2

So, what age do kids begin school where you live???
#1 - November 13, 2011, 10:31 AM
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I am in an NYC suburb. Our kids must turn 5 by Dec 1 to start kindergarten (so the fall babies are 4 1/2, anyone born between Dec-Sept is 5). However, a lot of fall babies are held back by their parents and start when they are 5 1/2.
In Bergen County, NJ, just to the south of us, the cutoff is Oct. 1. And in NYC, it's Dec. 31.

And I do think more and more "borderline" babies are being held. Especially the boys.

So lots of differences, even just in slightly different geographic locations.

Good luck!
#2 - November 13, 2011, 10:42 AM

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thanks NC Girl! the cut off here is Dec 31 as well. It's not a perfect system, I was always one of the youngest kids in my class, and there were people born in January who were pretty much a full year older.

but it looks like I can probably get away with the age and grade my characters are if there is that much variation. I have them living in a fictional town, was thinking Washington state, but it doesn't absolutely have to be.
#3 - November 13, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Our cut-off is October 1, but like NC Girl said, many people hold their kids back (especially the boys).  My son's birthday is in the spring (late April), and in his 4th grade class by the end of August, there were four ten-year olds, eighteen nine-year olds, and three eight-year olds...of course, the three little ones were pushed ahead.

I started school at four and graduated at seventeen, as well.  The cut-off back then was two days after my birthday, but my parents said I was determined to go the second I could.  I'm in CO, btw.
#4 - November 13, 2011, 10:53 AM
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Our cutoff here in MA is 5 by Aug. 31.
#5 - November 13, 2011, 11:24 AM

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I'm in a Minnesota suburb. Kids need to be five by Sept 1, or you can petition to have them start early if they are close.
#6 - November 13, 2011, 11:25 AM
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 11:27 AM by ghoulinpajamas »

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In Seattle, children have to be 5 by Sept 1st. Like others have said, folks whose kids have summer birthdays tend to hold them back if the kids are of the XY chromosomal variety.
#7 - November 13, 2011, 11:28 AM
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I think our cut-off might be in October, here (eastern NC).  I started at 4 (Sept. birthday) and graduated at 17, too.  Academically, I was ready.  Probably not maturity-wise, though.

Where my sister lives (Nashville area), it's common practice to "red-shirt" your kids and hold them back a year, at least among a certain social set.  I think they're trying to give their kids an advantage by making them older (and therefore "cooler," smarter, stronger, etc.) than their peers.  I'm not sure what part of the population follows this trend, but you'd think if all the kids were red-shirted, no one would have the advantage anymore.  At any rate, my nieces are both in a grade lower than they would be here.  I have to remind my mother (their grandmother) of this when she says "X is already doing ___ and she's only in ____ grade!"
#8 - November 13, 2011, 11:28 AM

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In Maine, where I used to live (I'm in Massachusetts now), the cut-off was that a child had to be 5 by October 15.
#9 - November 13, 2011, 11:47 AM

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As you can see in the States the cut off varies greatly.  Here in Texas it is you must be five by Sept 1.  My sister whose birthday is Sept 4 had to wait a whole another year before being allowed to start.  My son who has an Oct birthday also had to wait.  I always thought the fairest way would be anyone who turns five by Dec 31st of that year then you have that whole calendar year's crop of five year olds. 
#10 - November 13, 2011, 12:00 PM

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Wow! I had no idea there was such a variation. I *think* it's pretty standard across Canada, but I've only lived in BC and Ontario. I moved to Toronto in the summer when my oldest was 3, turning 4 in the fall. I didn't know about the 2 years of kindergarten they have. Imagine my surprise when the sample lady at Costco told me he was supposed to be starting kindergarten in 2 weeks when I thought he had another year left.

thanks so much for all the replies!!!   :thankyou
#11 - November 13, 2011, 12:03 PM
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I just turned five as school started, but the cutoff was sometime in December in California, but I believe it's changed to September, I'm not sure.

I've had several people tell me they held their kids back until they were almost six to start kindergarten, so there is some variation, but not on the younger side.
#12 - November 13, 2011, 12:39 PM

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In Massachusetts it is 5 by September 1. When I was a kid it was 5 by December 31, so I started at age 4 (November birthday). They switched it before my younger sister started, so we ended up being 6 school years apart, but only 5 actual years.
#13 - November 13, 2011, 12:54 PM
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Right now in CA, kids have to be 5 by Dec. 2, but in 2014, they're moving the cutoff date back to Sept. 1: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/06/lawmakers-vote-to-raise-kindergarten-age.html

Personally, I think it's kind of ridiculous because as a teacher, I had many wonderful kids with fall birthdays who were developmentally ready and did just fine.  It really depends on the child.

#14 - November 13, 2011, 01:00 PM
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In Quebec you have to be 5 by September 30, but you can apply to have your child tested if he/she is born between Oct 1 - Dec 31st. 
#15 - November 13, 2011, 01:30 PM

Cut-off in Nebraska will turn to July 15th as of this coming summer. I have had several students who turned six well before they started kindergarten (April, May, June prior to starting).
#16 - November 13, 2011, 01:49 PM

Our cutoff here in Seattle is 9/1, and my middle born's birthday is 9/2. School doesn't start for us till after labor day, so she's been 6 for all of Kindergarten, even though she was 5 on 9/1. :) I'm fine with that because our kindy is pretty intense, so I was happy that she got more time home with me just being little before it all started. My sister has a June birthday, so she graduated at 17, also. With a summer birthday, a younger age is normal in any state, I think.

Incidentally, my aunt was born in Cali and missed the cut off by like half an hour. The doctor asked my grandma if he wanted to lie about it on the birth certificate so she wouldn't be the oldest in her class. My grandma said, "No thank you." ;)
#17 - November 13, 2011, 02:12 PM
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In Missouri, the cut-off is 5 years old by Aug 1. We don't have any four-year-olds in kinder. They are mostly 5 turning 6 during that year (or already 6 if they have an August birthday).
#18 - November 13, 2011, 02:18 PM

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In Virginia, kids have to be five by Sept. 30 to start Kindergarten.
#19 - November 13, 2011, 03:58 PM
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Here you go, your guide to all 50 states: http://users.stargate.net/~cokids/kindergarten_cut-off_dates.htm

I remember a 4YO in my kindergarten class (New Jersey). My SIL was 4 when she started, too (California). But these days most states are moving to make you already 5 when you start.
#20 - November 13, 2011, 04:29 PM

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thanks for the link, Olmue!!! *awesomeness*
#21 - November 13, 2011, 04:30 PM
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wow, BC, Canada is on that list. I didn't realize we'd been annexed already, lol.
#22 - November 13, 2011, 04:33 PM
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I think when I was a kid it was like a badge of honor to be youngest in the class - like "see, my kid is smarter, because she's only FOUR, your five-year-old must be slow."

But now, as noted above, the trend seems to be that well-off parents especially are purposely holding their kids back a bit so that they will be the oldest in class.

Both sorta weird, IMO!

(For what it is worth, the cutoff when I was a kid was December 31 and I was a Jan baby. I went to two years of "preschool" starting age 3, then entered kindergarten at 5, enter 12th at 17, grad at 18.)
#23 - November 13, 2011, 05:36 PM
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California finally decided to change things this year, but (unsurprisingly) messed things up. We now have a transitional kinder class. Our cutoff for 2012 is November 1, so the youngest to go to kinder should be Oct. 31 birthdays, but some schools won't have the class (not enough November kids). I teach Head Start and we won't be allowed to keep the Novembers for another year. 2013 the date moves back to Oct. 1 and 2014 Sept. 1. My school has already said they'll be taking the Novembers as if the law doesn't even exist, which I find interesting. We still haven't heard what's happening with our (potential) preschoolers who aren't turning 3 until November (we take 3 and 4's that miss the cut-off right now). If we don't take them, that hurts the younger kids even more since they'll only get one year of preschool and still be expected to go on to kinder, which is 6 hours and very demanding since we are behind academically. NO parent keeps their child back because of maturity at our school.

 :gaah :banghead :faint
#24 - November 13, 2011, 10:21 PM

Here in New Jersey
the cut-off is September.
Number one or thirty
I really don't remember.
#25 - November 14, 2011, 04:40 AM
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Here in PA the cut-off is August 31, and you have to be 5. My daughter turned 5 September 13, but I was able to enroll her in a private kindergarten so she doesn't have to wait the year.
#26 - November 14, 2011, 05:08 AM

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Your welcome, Artemesia. Funny how BC is on there! The list might not be totally up to date, but it would give you an idea, anyhow.

When I lived in NW Arkansas, where Football is King, it was not unheard of if your son was within a couple months of the cutoff to hold him back a year before starting kindergarten. Then he would be bigger when it came to football later on. My sons (who are small for their age) really noticed it--not only were they little, the other boys had a whole year's worth of growth on them, too!
#27 - November 14, 2011, 05:23 AM

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A lot of countries in south east asia goes from 5-6 I believe. 7 is grade one.
#28 - November 14, 2011, 05:28 AM

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I had to go to kindergarten twice--once in private preschool, once in public elementary. I think the rules was that for kindergarten in public school (even though kindergarten is not required, so really I think it was about how old you had to be for first grade) that you had to be five by August 31, and my birthday is September 7. You could fudge that by going to/sending your kid to private or charter for a year and then putting them back in public school.
#29 - November 15, 2011, 06:04 AM

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thanks, everyone!! the variations and different experiences are really interesting!!
#30 - November 15, 2011, 10:33 AM
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