Ask a Waldorf Teacher: Summer Birthday – What Grade is My Student In?

Every Wednesday our members get to ask Waldorf teacher Diane Power questions about their homeschooling experience, Waldorf education and more. These Q & A sessions are posted on the member blog every week so you have access to all the past Q & A sessions. Become a member of Earthschooling to get your questions answered personally every week.

Question from Member: So I’ve been pondering on this a lot for the past months and I sway from one side to the other. My daughter turns 6 in July and for the past year I have been thinking how great it would be to get a second year of kindergarten and starting 1st grade when she was fully 7, as I have only mostly been told what a gift to have a late birthday is. But as we get closer to 6 the more I feel she is more ready for 1st than 2nd year kinder. She has most the sign’s of readiness now and I figure by August/September she will complete the rest. I would love to hear thoughts or suggestions of things to think on. I’m even considering possibly doing 1st for two years although if she’s ready she may not need it. – J.P

Response from Diane: You are your child’s teacher and would know best. Summer birthdays are always tricky. Usually in Waldorf schools, a summer birthday child would be encouraged to wait a year and become a leader for the class coming up. Although I have seen this policy changing, especially for allowing girls to begin first grade in the fall and having boys wait another year to allow their emotional maturity to develop further.

You could start straight on into first grade and if you find it’s not working well, adapt your lessons. You could wait another year and focus the kindy year on a lot of stories, movement (especially jump rope), lyre, puppet making, beeswax modeling, and nature play. Or you could start her first grade year in January. Or spread the curriculum over two years. Your instincts will tell you what is best for you and your daughter. Please let us know how things work out.

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