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New age cutoff for kindergarteners will equalize kids on social, educational levels

Graphic by Demi Sasson ’25
Kindergarteners in Connecticut must turn five on or before Sept. 1 beginning the 2024 to 2025 school year. In previous years, kids young for their grade (who turn five after Sept. 1 but before Jan. 1 of their kindergarten year) have been proven to be under-prepared for school and eventually fall behind compared to their older counterparts.

Back in 2015, I met this girl at my summer camp that lived in New York, whose birthday was in mid September. I was going into third grade at the time, while she was going into second, despite the fact that she was a month older than me. Miniscule questions like “How are you in this grade?” didn’t matter to me then, but now that everyone in my grade has their driver’s license and I’m not even 16, being one of the youngest in my grade  gets on my nerves a lot more. 

According to Westport Public Schools, children who do not turn 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 will now be restricted from entering kindergarten in the fall. This new cutoff begins on July 1, 2024. They also acknowledge the fact that this may cause trouble to families. Consequently, a child who does not turn 5 years old by this date may enter kindergarten if a parents makes a request to the school principal.

Honestly, I think it’s for the best that the cutoff was changed, socially speaking.  I always felt late to the party being over a year younger than other people in my grade especially when people had their Bar or Bat Mitzvah in seventh grade while mine was in eighth grade. Seeing all of my peers exercise this freedom makes me even more insecure about my age. 

I think that this change will create more equality between kids in a grade both educationally and socially.

— Demi Sasson ’25

It will also be a beneficial change educationally speaking since older children are proven to have done better in school than their younger counterparts. The advantage gap between older and younger kids in the same grade could be as large as 40 points on the 1600 point SAT. Teachers in the younger grades also notice this gap, which is why the cutoff was changed in the first place. They felt that some of the younger children were under-prepared for school.

While I do believe this change will do more good than harm, I do recognize that changing the age for kindergarten entry will likely impact some families financially.  For some families who have children born in the fall and winter, it will require them to pay for another year of Pre-K that, under the old cut-off age, they would not have had to pay.  As a result, this change could complicate situations especially for poorer families with children born after the cutoff..

That said, overall, I think that this change will create more equality between kids in a grade both educationally and socially. I, for example, always hated having to experience things later than my peers solely because of my age, and this cutoff will prevent that for future late birthday kids such as myself.

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About the Contributor
Demi Sasson ’25
Demi Sasson ’25, Paper Opinions Editor
Paper Opinions Editor Demi Sasson ’25 joined inklings because writing is the most prominent way she can express her thoughts and feelings. “I think writing is one of the best ways to express myself. I keep a journal that I use to record my day and I think that translates really well into my journalism abilities,” Sasson said.  When Sasson is not writing, playing tennis or listening to music she can be found spending time with her friends. “Being around someone that you can rely on and trust with your life is very important to me,” Sasson said.   

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    ElinorOct 24, 2023 at 11:52 am

    When my mother went to school, they did it by half years. So everyone in class was within six months of each other. They skipped her twice, but it was only six months at a time. If you think about it, wouldn’t it make sense to have girls six months ahead of boys?