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    Joined: May 2011
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    In California, K is not compulsory - BUT - enrollment in school during the year containing the sixth birthday is, and children must turn 5 before a cutoff that is moving to the first day of school to attend K. There's an equivalent cutoff of turning six for first grade. So realistically speaking, K during the year they are 5 is only optional for kids with summer birthdays, and those kids are not usually considered for placement in first grade afterward unless they have completed K already.

    There is always the option of homeschooling for K and 1, I suppose. There is no age cutoff for second grade.

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    In PA, K is not compulsory and districts do not have to offer it. Most districts do offer it, and our district just went to full day K. They claim that there are larger reading and math achievement gains of full day kids vs half day kids, they can ID learning issues earlier, more time for teacher to get to know kids, etc. I guess I don't really care since mine are older and always attended full day daycare or school from 2-3 months on. Also interesting to note that our district was just rated #1 in the state by the new PA rating system - don't know why they need the "benefits" of full day.

    Even more surprising in PA, a kid does not need to attend school until the year in which they turn 8. If the kid turns 8 more than two weeks into the school year, they can wait another year to start school. Of course, I don't know anyone who waited until their kid was 8 (or almost 9) to start school. There aren't too many homeschoolers around here, but I understand that you don't need to notify anyone of the intent to homeschool until the kid is 8.

    The thing is, most kids start school at 5. Definitely by age 6. I think others would think it was kind of weird to wait until 8, and if you didn't homeschool, you would have a bunch of 8 year olds who could not read entering school (and placed in with the 1st graders).

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    Interestingly, the research on pre-K (and, somewhat by extension, K, depending on the age cutoffs) is that it is very useful (from the standpoint of long-term academic achievement) for children from families who are disadvantaged, but virtually useless for upper SES families. IOW, it is useful for those who cannot afford to pay for preschool, and not useful for those who can. Children from enriched homes do not need preschool to be prepared for school.


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    Originally Posted by aeh
    Interestingly, the research on pre-K (and, somewhat by extension, K, depending on the age cutoffs) is that it is very useful (from the standpoint of long-term academic achievement) for children from families who are disadvantaged, but virtually useless for upper SES families. IOW, it is useful for those who cannot afford to pay for preschool, and not useful for those who can. Children from enriched homes do not need preschool to be prepared for school.
    Are there more details as to precisely by what mechanism(s) children from disadvantaged families are benefitted?

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    Kindergarten is not compulsory in Colorado. I didn't go to Kindergarten myself, because my mother said I already knew all that stuff. smile My DS skipped it and started first grade that year instead. (He already knew all that stuff, too.) DD is the first one in my family to go to Kindergarten.

    DS was not allowed to skip *into* K, but he was allowed to skip *over* it.

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    Quote
    the research on pre-K
    Hart & Risley, positive family interaction with infants to age 4: long-term positive impact

    compare and contrast with

    Head Start, pre-school for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds: gains even out by third grade.
    This is the longitudinal study by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children & Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE). One of the report links on this webpage is the Executive Summary for the "Third Grade Follow-up to Head Start Impact Study", and states, in part:
    Originally Posted by report
    Looking across the full study period, from the beginning of Head Start through 3rd grade, the evidence is clear that access to Head Start improved children’s preschool outcomes across developmental domains, but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade.
    ...
    In terms of children’s well-being, there is also clear evidence that access to Head Start had an impact on children’s language and literacy development while children were in Head Start. These effects, albeit modest in magnitude, were found for both age cohorts during their first year of admission to the Head Start program. However, these early effects rapidly dissipated in elementary school, with only a single impact remaining at the end of 3rd grade for children in each age cohort.


    Archived Links:
    1) Head Start impact summary, follow-up - https://web.archive.org/web/20160309043339/http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/research/project/head-start-impact-study-and-follow-up
    2) 32-page PDF, executive summary - https://web.archive.org/web/20170201141546/http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_executive_summary.pdf

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    In NZ you start any time between your 5th and 6th days (literally any day school is open). You are placed according to your birth date though so a kid starting on their 6th birthday would probably not be placed with the just turned 5's - at least not long term.

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    You wanted other countries, too...

    In Germany, mandatory b&m schooling starts in first grade only, enrolment age 6, cutoff between Jul 1 and Dec 31, varying by state.

    The equivalent to k, as in a preparatory program for 5yo is a pull-out program mandatorily offered in preschools, enrolment in which is not mandatory, but pretty much universal since every child is entitled to a half day place in preschool/daycare from age one and up. It is usually a bit of a joke, like two hours weekly pull-out with a bit of mild academics for the 5yo kids in what is usually a mixed age play-based classroom, and sometimes a daily 10 minutes phonics program, but this is considered sufficient since all the "separating from the parents and functioning in an institutional setting" stuff is taken care of by the preschool environment. (although we did manage to have DS7, who narrowly missed the cutoff, included a year early, it was barely a bandaid for him, and we were glad to be able to swing early entrance into first grade as well.)

    The debate about making the last year of preschool mandatory for 5yo waxes and wanes, with some insisting that with non-enrolment being into e low single digits by that age a mandate would be regulatory overkill, with others pointing out that the non-enrolled kids, usually from poor non educated recent immigrant families, tend to be precisely the ones who'd need it most.

    Re the question how the benefits for low SES kids accrue and whether they last:
    The benefit can be summarized as: lots of interactive exposure to high level language in the dominant language of instruction lead to great academic gains for kids who, unlike peers from higher SES families, do not get this at home from practically before birth.
    The research on the long term results of preschool benefit for low SES kids is uneven because unless you take program quality and intake into account, you cannot really tell how much of this exposure is actually taking place, as in are there lots of low SES immigrant kids being watched by overworked staff with minimal qualifications, or are low SES kids, integrated with high SES kids, being actively engaged by well trained child care workers and teachers with a low student staff ratio - and most crucially, does this continue in primary and secondary education in SES-integrated schools. Google the research on the peer benefits of SES integration and the evils of SES segregation by Richard Kahlenberg, it's fascinating!

    Last edited by Tigerle; 09/29/14 02:47 AM.
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    For European countries you might find this link useful:
    http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/index.cfm?9B1C0068-C29E-AD4D-0AEC-8B4F43F54A28

    In Scotland and England, compulsory education (which can be homeschooling) begins at age 5. In practice, children in Scotland typically start school between the age of 4.5 and 5.5, and children in England start between the age of 4 and 5. In England, if you insist on your right to have them not start until they are 5, you practically always miss out on the first year "reception" of school. In Scotland, there is more flexibility, and children who are in the youngest few months of the year group often have entry deferred till the next year, e.g. might start in August in the first year ("P1" in Scotland) age 5y6m instead of 4y6m.

    School is always full days, though some schools have a settling in period which is half days.


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    K is not required in our state (US). My DDs skipped K and started 1st at 5- turned 6 that Fall.

    States are funny-- varied requirements and ages of requirement. Even homeschooling regulations vary.

    PreK is free in some areas/states and not in others....even cut-off vary by states, though many are moving toward a Sept 1st cut-off.

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