Nursery school age cut off

The Brat, born in May, ends up being among the older children in his class. I couldn’t be happier, because it means less stress for him. In fact I did try and talk to the school about letting the Bean repeat a year while she is too young to realise it –  that way she stays two years junior to the Brat in terms of class and also, becomes one of the eldest in the class instead of the youngest as she is now.  Bean happy, momma happy – win-win. 

But it was not to be. The teacher told me she’s fortunately way ahead of the class and they wouldn’t encourage me to make her drop a year. I left, unconvinced because I am worried that even if she does fare well now, I don’t know how hard the pressure will be later.  Also I truly believe that a 3 year old should not be in nursery, learning to spell. I even had grand plans of moving to Noida (they take nursery kids at 3.5 years instead of 3 and even 6 months makes a big difference) hoping that it would help the Bean drop a year but that didn’t work out either.

Then Kapil Sibal made this grand announcement, just a year too late for my benefit. And I read articles that talk about people worrying about their kids getting one less year to apply for competitive exams. Who are these people and why am I stuck on the same planet as them? They’re more concerned about a year less later, than the extra pressure on baby brains right now? I feel like sharpening melon seeds and poking my eyes out, just to distract me from the pain they’re making me feel for their kids. I pity kids whose parents are already hoping they’ll take competitive exams. I bet they planned conception and delivery according to school year.

Take me away now, Lord. I don’t want to see my kids hanging out with them and getting influenced by their parents and their ridiculous ideas!


149 thoughts on “Nursery school age cut off

  1. yeah, we should bundle the whole bunch of them and dump them in the sea.
    when i told O’s teacher that there was too much homework in grade 1, she said parents were asking for it. i asked her to give hw to those kids and spare mine!
    bunch of idiots these folks.

  2. Dear MM,

    Starting formal school at 3, is indeed ridiculous. Children’s mortar skill are not completely developed for them to write’S’, ‘8’ and the like. In the US, children start formal schooling at the age of 5 & they are able to read & write fast. But here too there are Indian parents, who think that their kids will not be ‘at par’ or competitive with the kids in India & put them through additional classes. My daughter is a May born & the cut off date for Kindergarten is 1st September.I didn’t even know what to say, when another mom(an Indian) said, ” Poor girl! She’ll be losing a year. She’ll be the eldest in her class. Why don’t you push her a bit & enroll her in a private school?”
    I am comfortable with my child going to first grade by age 6 & am looked upon as a specimen from another planet by other moms!

    • first of all, i dont get how it matters, simply because my son doesnt look like the oldest in his class. is he going to go through life with people asking him which month he was born in and calculating if he was the oldest or youngest? i dont understand why people are so ridiculously hysterical about saving a year. saving a year? saving it to do what? hit the workforce earlier and lose one precious year of your childhood?

      you go Akhila! we’re with you 🙂

  3. Seriously, come over here! You might not like other aspects of the move but I am sure you’ll love the absence of pressure on the kids.

    BTW, DO stay (ref – the last para of your post :P), if only to negate the influence of those friends and their parents. The Indian education system needs more parents like you.

  4. You are such a drama queen:), poking your eyes by sharpening a melon seed ha ha ha…..

    I totally agree with you the unwanted pressure it’s crazy, why would parents think about competitive exams while enrolling for nursery??

  5. When did nursery (LKG) age get changes to 3 in the first place? When I did my schooling in Maharashtra, we used to get into nursery at 4.. I was 4 years and 2 months old when I started LKG. Hmm.. anyway.. this is a very interesting discussion. The whole point to get kids into school early (this used to happen a lot in our parents’ times) was so that they complete early and start earning soon. Well, now we’re in a generation where a lot of people admitting their kids to school are ok I’m not sure why they want to force their kids into school sooner.. is it some kind of a stupid fad to say that my son can spell at 3?
    At 18 would it matter at what age he/she learnt ABC or spelling of cat and rat? God.. but then again.. i’ve seen parents who boast that they’re kids started walking at 9 months, or rolling over at 3 months etc.. as if faster/earlier milestones mean something better.. i guess that’s where this is comign from.. trying to prove their kids are smart by getting them to do stuff earlier.. not thinking one moment for the stress and pressure the kids would go through..very short sighted inded.
    Sorry for the long rant..

    • what? you mean i havent already put you off having kids enough to trash the list altogether and stop reading my blog?

      damnit. will have to try harder. spent a half hour yesterday convincing two friends not to have kids at all. i thought spending time with my kids would scare them but apparently it didnt

      • I think spending time with your kids and you would make anyone feel like “having” kids. I can’t say the same about some other kids and their parents I know.
        So, I chose to stay on the fence and watch the fun on both sides, and wag my virtual tail in glee with my dogs.

  6. MM,

    Read the linked news item – and actually I agree with the parents’ concern – it is not necessarily that they are worried about their children taking competitive exams from birth – but unless all states follow suit, Delhi students *will* be disadvantaged, given the crazy competition for these exams, and the limited number of years people can apply for them. The mother who was concerned that she would have to apply for nursery for her child at close to age 5 is also right – the age is going to work against her child in competitive terms.

    The article itself seems incomplete – there are clearly two issues here – yes, starting kindergarten later is good for kids, BUT – how about the ground realities of resources in India? Unless there are other articles with these details around?

    Here in our school district, I face the opposite problem – Many non-desi parents hold their kids back a year to give them an advantage in maturity – my kids, who are age-appropriate for their grades are the youngest in their classes! Not a huge issue now in elementary school, but can cause issues when things like driving-age (16 – drivers ed. in school) come up – my kids will be a year behind many of their peers there 🙂


    • i dont think that is a bigger concern than pressure, no? I’d rather my kid loses out on that extra year of competitive exams than gets pressured now when they are young and the pressure is so high. its a trade off. do i want more pressure now or then?

      also, if my kid takes that extra year right now and gets a solid grounding, he wont need three attempts at JEE, hopefully!

      • As you know, my ILs live in a small town in TN. I see so many people whose lives are affected, and badly so, by the cutoff age for competitive exams – and no, not JEE – these are bank exams, Railway job exams and the like. All of them have age limits. These people mostly do not have the means to do professional degrees in non-govt schools. I can see the extra year not mattering to upper middle class folks (like most of us responding to this post :)) as much, but it really does matter to a whole different set of people. Will Mr. Sibal’s rules apply across the board to all schools in Delhi or only upmarket pvt ones? If only pvt schools, I’d agree, there’s not much reason for heartburn.


        • Well as of now his ideas are only for Delhi I think. Lets see how they get implemented. That said – the age has not been raised to an unreasonable 6 or 7. The different states all have different age cutoffs. The OA went to class 1 in Calcutta, at the age of 6 while in UP I went at 5. So he lost a year competitively, but hey – he got a better grounding and no one made a big fuss saying – oh kids from UP get an extra year. I personally feel its a small price to pay for your child’s mental health.

  7. Ahh there is someone who lives on the same planet as me. You see I live in US and the NRI janta here has taken the education craze to a whole new level. I am so scared for my daughter that I do not even want to move into “The Best” school district. She is a bright kid and I think she will probably excel if I go there, but I just want her to be a child and education to be a part of her childhood and not consume the childhood. Forgive me if I am rambling but I guess you get the point.

    • I so get what you mean Asheesh! Here I see many desi parents going for private schools just because they don’t want to consider the option of public schools. Though it is less of a craze here where I live but from what a friend living in California tells me – no one considers public schools in her locality!

  8. huh! are we the only two in this blessed country who think this way? I know people whose kids did not make the admissions cut off for a particular year, by a few days/week(s)/month, pay for fake birth certificates so they’d get admissions that year and not MISS ONE YEAR. I have knbown people from other states/schools where the cut-off is a little earlier ‘feel sorry’ for my kids as they will be a little late applying for competitive exams (which i hope they never take and stay out of the rut).

    What’s with this obsession to get kids to do stuff too soon? I know kids who are the same age as my daughter and son do a whole shit-load of stuff way better than them and i worry that i do not worry about it :D.

    • i have to say this again – if my kids are interested in a line, they’ll clear the competitive exams in the first shot. otherwise they better find something they’re better at

      • Hi

        You have already started making decision for your kids here. What is they want to take it again and succeed? You are puttin pressure in an indirect way anyway..

        • They’re most welcome to take exams again if they want to. But I know that as a parent I’d not be encouraging them to waste time on something they dont have a natural flair for. Surely if you want to be an engineer, you should make it into SOME engg inst, if not the IITs? Is it right to inflict my second class brains on an unsuspecting world when I am not good enough? Its probably why half our doctors and enggs from third rate colleges after 5 attempts, make such a mess of their jobs.

          I know lots of people want to attempt competitive exams again and again. But I believe that is only because they’ve chosen careers they’re no good at. If youre good at it, you dont need a second attempt and the world cant hold you down. Here too I believe its because of social pressure that they choose certain streams and believe that taking 2-3 attempts is the right way to do it.

          • Well, this topic is really debatable. What if your kid gets into one of the reputed colleges and starts failing in only one subject? Do you take him/her out because he/she is not good at that subject? That is not very practical.The kid maynot be good at applied mechanics , but may be really good at elcttronics. However,you are not given that choice when you are in first or second year of engg. You must pass these subjects in order to get through the course. In that case, if you encourgae your kid to just pass that and just get throug that he might really turn out to be an extremly good electronics engineer.So I am not sure if your theory hold good all the time.I do agree that it does apply to some students.

            Some kids are not good at taking exams at all. They might really know the subject very well, but might be abolutely bad in taking exams.These are the kids who may need couple of attempts to succeed. It doesnot mean that they are not going to be good when they start their profession.

            • No its not really debatable because you’re talking about an entirely different issue. Splitting hairs, if I might use that phrase.

              I’m talking about pressure on a kid in entirety. I would certainly not pull a kid out for failing a subject if they’re faring well at the others. In the school years I’d see if they’re unable to handle most of the subjects and I might even suggest dropping a year if that is needed. If its just one subject, well that is natural, isnt it? Not every kid can be good at every subject!

              IF after clearing the entrance well, they’re failing at ALL subjects, at the college level – then theres a good chance they’re generally fooling around instead of concentrating and studying. If its one subject alone, then they just need a little help.

              I have no idea if you’re a parent or not, and how old your kids are… but I am guessing you dont need to be a parent to know that once you’re a parent, you do know your child well enough to know whether they are having trouble keeping up with a mere subject or the entire stream.

              This wasnt about passing exams. This was about forcing kids to reattempt competitive exams or even working with the possibility that the kid might need many attempts. Why do we even imagine such an option? Shouldnt they be doing what they want to do,within the first attempt, if they’re any good at it?

              If my kid wants to take the IIT entrance 5 times of his own free will, well, I’ll not stop him but I will think its a terrible waste of time and life.

              I don’t think I can take your theory of being good at a subject but an absolute failure at exams, very seriously. I understand little children getting nervous. but by the college level i think everyone should know what they’re doing. Well enough to pass an exam at the very least

              What next? We turn up at college with tiffin boxes during exam days? 😉

  9. Hi MM,
    I have been hearing this discussion again and again on one of our mailers. This was something which is shared there

    Some comments:
    It depends on the child – some are really ready socially, maturity-wise, and academically — some maybe only one or two of those areas and the extra year could make for a better start to their academic experience. I have two fall b-day kids (my oldest and youngest), and I did not hold either of them until the following school year. My daughter did great — academically and socially, and for her I think it has been a good choice so far. I am observing that it makes a difference once they hit middle school (she is tiny anyway, and has not hit puberty so the nearly year difference in age makes her seem out of place at times at an age where kids typically like to “blend” or “be like everyone else”). My son probably could have used an extra year to mature before starting Kindergarten — I thought being the youngest of three children would help since he’s used to being around older children, but I think there is some truth to the theory that boys tend to mature later than girls.

    One more: I had a similar situation with my older one a few years ago. Before she got into K, I was stressed about her “losing” or “missing” a year, but I was advised by many parents here (on this alias) that it is better for a child to be an older kid in class than be the youngest. There are many parents who even hold back their children if they are November-borns. I also decided not to try to beat the system. Now that my child is in Middle School, looking back, I do not regret my decision at all. Kids tend to do much better in school and adjust better socially being the older ones in class than the younger ones. It is more evident in Middle School. In many countries, there are age restrictions to various exams and tests, so it is crucial for many parents that their child does not “miss” a year, but it does not matter here at all. Besides, as one parent remarked on this alias in a separate discussion, your child will enjoy another year of childhood if you don’t push him/her into a higher grade too soon.

    I know this comment is very long, you need not publish 🙂
    – Fist time delurking here

  10. ohhhh.. and i have run out of activities and new things for ishaan.. i heard that announcement and went, well, these kids are doing at 2 what i neva thot of doing till 4 or 5! By the time he gets to nursery, he will have finished his nursery curriculum, and this when i dont even teach him @ home!! he still picks up from i dont know where!!

  11. amen to that mm. growing up, i was among the youngest in my class. but fortunately, i guess god made me a tough cookie.neither age nor being short-see they didnt say nice things like petite back then! ;-), bothered me much. it was struggle to keep the good grades, but i dunno if it was my age! also times were different then, syllabi not so advanced. we kids were fed bite size information.
    i am teaching my 13 yr old stuff in science and math that i did when i was 14-16. and this is tru for their language course and the social sciences. ie the kid is expected to perform at advanced level in all subject? why? why cant we have courses at different levels for same grade. so a child can opt for advanced languages and standard math. or vice versa depending on aptitude? why fry their brains and destroy their pleasure of learning by swamping them so!

    phew! i cd fill up yur blog w/ my frustration…so i hope mr sibal does something more worthwhile than eliminating exams!

    • same here. my mom tells me they only learned tables till 12 in school. and we had to learn them really early. and up to 20! so yes, the syllabus is just increasing and the kids are groaning under the burden.

  12. I feel if we can give our children the ability to be happy, that would be the biggest gift. Doing well in exams, shining in so-called great careers are all secondary.

    Achievers in the prized professions may not necessarily be happy. I really hope learning is a joyful discovery for children rather than a stress.

    Best wishes,

  13. There is something to be said about not putting pressure on a child to learn. But-here’s the puzzling part- how do we reconcile this with montessori education where the child starts going to school at 2.5 yrs, and is comfortable with it? My daughter attended montessori school, and I swear she did not realise till 6yrs of age that she went to school to study. Where will montessori schools figure in Kapil Sibal’s scheme of things?

    • i think the montessori way of teaching is so beautiful that it helps the child. but not all schools have it and the method they use, puts a lot of pressure on the child. i dont mind a kid going to a playschool at 2.5 and playing in the sand. i mind my daughter having to learn A and a and the hindi alphabet – all in the same year, at the age of 3!

      yes, i wish mr sibal would do more. all my hopes are resting on him now

  14. Hey mad momma I stumbled upon your blog from here And I came here because I so related to the name (Mad momma) and the title of this post.). I too plan to start a different planet where they let children be. Where they can enjoy their childhood, dig the earth, smell the roses…so to speak – and not be spending that wonderful time with their noses buried in notebooks trying to write ABCs with their tongue sticking out. Yeah and I’m one of those mothers who did the unthinkable! I made my child repeat her UKG because I felt that she needed to be 6+ before going into first standard. Everyone was against it. They told me she will ‘cope’. They screamed at me saying I was wasting one year of her life. Sigh…I guess they really missed the point. Here I was thinking I was smartly snatching just one more year of her merry childhood for her from this nasty world. You could read my lament here –

    If you do find another planet…do let me know 🙂

  15. my kiddo is due in june mid and i am not even sure if i am happy or sad about it. i have frankly not thought if that would mean he/ she will be eldest or youngest in the class… i think the best thing to do with kids is to leave them with what they have… They are pretty good at figuiring out their way, a lot better than us.

    And yeah i am planning to make my kid enter the IAS exams, so i have already started reading books for it… baah :-p

  16. Totally agree with you on the difference a few months make at these young ages. I can see it in both my kids. I despair about them not being able to understand certain concepts, then kick myself to back-off, and voila! 2 months later something clicks on and the understanding sets in (for me especially!) Luckily both my kids are perfect for their classes, neither too young nor too old. On the other hand, I’ve always been the youngest in my class, and was somewhere near the top…but my parents didn’t pressure me, thank goodness.

    • i despair too. but i only despair because it bothers me to think of them sitting in class and not understanding whats going on. why should my poor child be in that place? if he’s not bright enough, i’d rather have the child drop a year and move along comfortably instead of struggling to keep up. no glory in that.

  17. i sorely missed you in a conversation i was a bystander to few days ago when these folks were talking about how parents of kids that cannot get into IIT really need to worry and start saving money (or something). parents of 0.5-5 year olds. success in life = passing IITJEE and passing IITJEE = success in life was sort of the argument. AAAH! the melon seeds sound good.

    (However, I personally DONT like my monster being among the oldest in the class. This has nothing to with ‘missing out an year’ or competitive exams of course, but because i think school is useless anyway so whats the big deal).

  18. Find it hard to believe that such people exist, all they can worry about is their kids ‘losing’ out a year?!
    Anyway, about the Bean, similar case here, I was youngest in my class (in fact some juniors of mine are older than me) My mom decided to go by my KG teacher’s words and let me stay. While I can see your concern, if the Bean can do well now at this age so will it be so later on too..not to worry

  19. Think of the good old days when children were kept at home until 5 or may be even 6..and then they started school..I wonder why the mad rush now..I do feel bad abt packing my kids off at 2 to a play school..but no heavy duty stuff with sand, clay, ur tea and back home for lunch. By the time they wake up from their nap am home.

    I do know schools in B’lore where in upper KG they hv week long exams. What!!! even in my univ. exams didn’t last that long. I am glad both my kids are way older for their class..and their school takes it reallly slow..home work starts for 5 yrs and up once a week..and no exams until class II.’s not an international school 😉

    • i think thats awesome and the beauty of having a blog is getting to know more people like myself… i feel like an idiot when i am unsuccessfully trying to explain to another parent, why i dont want my kid to ‘gain’ a year and lose their childhood

  20. Not sure what would be harder on the Bean at this point – being youngest and one of the smartest in the class, or being one of the oldest and miles ahead of the rest with no one who can connect with her!

    Speaking as one of the youngest(turned 17 during my class 12 boards) in the batch, don’t worry so much. If she isn’t having a tough time now, she won’t have one later.

    Would like to see how March Hare weighs in on this, she’s another “baby of the batch”!

  21. Couldn’t agree more. That’s the reason I was so intent on homeschooling my kids (although I hadn’t planned having two kids in as many years!). Two other similar-thinking friends and I had decided to just that because all our kids were six months apart when I had to up and move countries. I hope I can make it possible some time in the future.

    These days I see more and more parents who are taking it easy with preparing their kids for the world and it encourages me. But then I think maybe it is because I only talk and meet like-minded people that I think the world is getting better. Maybe the minute I see a child-life-planner, I can smell him/her and I run a mile and that the world is still full of parents who are becoming doctors and engineers and what have you vicariously.

        • well there arent enough people doing it – which makes it very unacceptable when the kids apply for college. it goes against them. also, i have some fears about the kids not getting to socialise enough if its just 4 kids. one of which is their own sibling. i do believe school is important for the variety of friendships and people it offers you. no? also, it challenges you when you meet other bright kids etc… part of your overall development. i’d be more willing if there were atleast 8-10 kids

          • I LOVE the homeschooling idea and have the same doubts as you about it going against them when appearing for the boards and applying for college. But I guess it will save up a lot of commuting time, and because their school and home work is the same, it will free up more time for other fun-n-learn activities. Good luck to you for executing that idea! I wish I lived in the same city. I would apply for a teacher’s post in your school!

            • the appearing for college part i hadn’t thought about. but the socialising bit? we live in social spaces where there are loads of kids about, so opportunity to associate with other children will be plenty. maybe not in an organised set up as in a school but apartment buildings or gated communities provide the company of at least 20 kids at any given time. also i am a very strong believed in challenging oneself, over meeting other bright people and challenging yourself against them. i just have to find a way to teach them to understand competition.

  22. It’s not just the brain that is taxed unnecessarily at a younger age but also simply the large and small motor ability, stamina and emotional maturity.
    Studies show that regardless of natural ability and prowess in sports like baseball children born later in the year burn out earlier compared to the early borns if placed together at the same competitive levels. I held my son back a year at school even though he was a year and half ahead gradewise despite the warnings that he would “get bored”. It makes a world of difference- yes, like you said even six months matters!

  23. I too have a May born and have been through the ‘lost one year’ debate many times.
    I know many people (including some relatives 😦 ) who have taken fake birth certificates to avoid the ‘losing one year’ thing.
    Another interesting aspect , I have seen ppl reducing age. A child born in 2001 is shown to be born in 2002, so that he gets more years to try competitive exams!!!!
    How that makes a difference fails me.

    • You know, I believe that a kid who should be an engineer, will make it in the first shot. If its too tough, its obviously not his cup of tea and the parents should encourage him or her to explore other options. How can you consider making a career out of something that you arent very good at?

      • I forgot an important point.. it seems reducing age apparently helps increase ‘groom searching age for marriage’ for a girl child later..
        When I hear it, I feel like doing exactly what you would want to do with the melon seeds.

  24. Hey bhagwaan! I really thought this would be happy news for ALL parents – ofcourse that thought didn’t account for loonies. What do these morons want – 6 year olds with IIT dreams in their eyes? Well, the revised syllabus is taking care of that too!! Atleast parents can give the little ones a break 😐

  25. You know how my brother is preparing for his 10th std. boards?

    Going for LAN games with friends, cricket matches, barbecue parties, pool parties, movies etc. And still he maintains an 80% average in all his subjects.

    Just saying that I am glad to see my parents not being as neurotic as some other parents and pressurising my brother to no end. Be it as young as 5 yrs old or as old as 15…I don’t get it why Indian parents are so hellbent on preparing their kids for IIT..or any other college equivalent to it.

    And I constantly tell him to pursue further studies in whichever field he is interested in.

  26. Interesting to read all comments here. Strangely no one contradicting you. All of us birds of the same feather! Maybe we have enough birds to start a planet huh? 🙂

    Also agree with you on home schooling. Kids need that social interaction. Meeting different types of kids and handling different ‘difficult’ situations in school prepares them for real life. I feel its important that they go to school. And touchwood I’m happy I repeated an year for my daughter. She also loves her new montessori school – where they let her sing and dance and just let her be. whew. thank the lord for little mercies. Of course even here there are parents who worry about why this school does not give any homework!!!

      • 🙂 I thought i was the only idiot who repeatedly sends back Poppin’s homework – unfinished – with a note explaining exactly why I choose not to have her write cursive “t” or “h” 10 million more times after writing pages at school! And this is a montessori school 🙂

  27. oh yeah! no one seems to understand the importance of not putting so much pressure on kids! 😦

    like i said in one of your previous posts, most parents at Cub’s play school gave me incredulous looks when i told them i want to let him be! that i dont want him to be the youngest! but none of this made sense or mattered to them! sigh!

    i just hope this decision we are taking on his behalf is good for him! 🙂


  28. I was one of the youngest in my class.. and I wish I had been older. Not because I had any trouble following stuff.. but I wonder if my choices would have been different if I had been a year older.
    Wishful thinking.

  29. Somehow, I fail to have such a strong opinion on this one. My son will be 3 in May. Most of the schools here start LKG in 3.5. But the one that my son got admitted to starts in 3. I was not aware of this till the headmistress asked us that he qualifies for LKG on age and if we would still like to keep him in pre nursery. Since, he had gone through the observation routine, we told her to take a call depending if he is ready for LKG. He has also been going to a play school for an year now and has had some form of schooling. He got admitted to LKG. We still have to see how he takes it, but I feel he should be fine.

    Basically, I am wondering if we need to be so paranoid about an year here or there. Whatever suits the kid is the best.

  30. No apartment buildings?! Hmmm.. then I am just living in a well. I just wonder, between getting a liberal education and making friends, what’s more important? on the other hand, i also wonder if by home schooling the kinds, will i be able to give them the expertise that trained and dedicated teachers can. for a few years now, however, teachers are those who have time on their hands and want to earn the extra money. for how many of them is it an ambition they’ve chased?
    oh i am abroad. just not that abroad, closer home abroad 🙂 sorry to be hogging all this comment space.

    • again, you’ve voiced my fears. will i be as good as a trained teacher? will they benefit by seeing mama as both, parent and teacher, 24×7? and yes, i’d written about this too – why are so many teachers in the job just because they want a job that gets over at noon? arent there people out there who want to teach the kids? OJ excepted!

    • Delhi doesnt have apartments and gated communities. so if you dont go to school, it can get a little lonely. you can go to one of the dozen parks surrounding home, but somehow it seems a shame to deny them company of their own age through the day. and yes, the college bit is important. many colleges dont recognise home schooling even if you take the open exams. so its a couple of problems that hold me back.

      and i dont know why i thought you lived abroad because this seems an insane time for you to be up, chatting with a mad momma 🙂

  31. Ojas will be 2yr 6 months and there is a school which is taking kids at 2yr 9 months here and i didnt want to do it… and the result well people have been almost shouting and screaming at me because I didn’t push the school for 3 months and would have rather have him join next year and be 9 months older…

    infact i have decided that i want him in a montessori till he is 6 and people are giving me are u mad looks…

    no one seems to understand the amount of pressure it puts on the kids.. i wonder why?

  32. i *know* i am on the other side of the fence but seriously MM, if you were the parent of one (or two, or three :-)) of my students, i would be so happy. typically they are such a messed up bunch and torture us and their own children so much. a friend of mine wants to gather all the parents and shove them from the highest point on campus…

  33. I started school at 3.. I was always the youngest in class, am still the youngest in my workplace.. I am not always the smartest, but am in the top 10% always..

    For these accomplishments, I have to thank my parents who instilled in me several good habits like reading, exercising, talking about stuff – things that your doing with ur kids now!!

    I think when the Bean is older, she would tell you if its getting tough and then, u could take a call.. Don worry about her being the youngest.. U never know, u could have a genius on ur hands 😀

  34. I am a regular reader but never comment. (I just don’t :). But I can SO relate to this post… I am a mother of 2 ( a boy and a girl). My first one was born after 5 years of marriage, after 3 years of actively trying, after 1 miscarriage and after doctor’s help. He was born on December 10th and cut off date where we live is December 1st for the school year. One of my colleague‘s comment when he heard the news was “Oh..poor boy..he’ll lose an year” I wanted to kill him. At that point I was just felt so happy and lucky to hold a baby that it didn’t matter to me if he ended up not going to school at all (you know what I mean 🙂 Now my son is 5 years old and I am so used to of hearing “Poor boy will lose an year” that it doesn’t even make me angry. I only pity those people who make comments like that. Phew!

  35. Most relatives of mine have a different DOB in record from their original,this is for schooling.It had started long back and the trend still continues.
    One of my husband’s friend was advised by the school admin that he shld have got his child born @ June for admission,he got furious and replied back,well why have you not told me before in hand,i would have planned as you wish.
    Its bcoz they become jockey in the horse race of their kids,driving them madly.

  36. Worrying about cut-offs is one thing but i have seen another alarming phenomenon-parents have fake birth certificates so that the kids can go to school earlier!!

    One of my college mates was exactly a year younger than the rest of the class.She had no qualms about seems even her 2 sisters have fake birth certificates!

  37. “I don’t want to see my kids hanging out with them and getting influenced by their parents and their ridiculous ideas!” – This is the best if lines in this post.

  38. Sorry MM, This is your space… But I would like to read you on this…. Could you do it? Readers request .. please…. 🙂

    This is not exactly related to the post, but I had always wanted to know what is the rest of India’s take at least could be on reservation for Professional Studies – Engg. Medicine , Law etc.,?

    I mean, I feel reservation for Arts and Science should be availed and given but Proff. Studies?

  39. God bless Sibal. Really.

    I have the opposite problem here with a little boy who started school at six and half and halfway through the school year is already bored out of his skull and (occasionally) acting up.

    In most European countries, inclusive education is the norm and it is a wonderful thing in many ways. His class has kids with CP, dyslexia etc. They learn pretty early that Jack is competent too even if he has to write on a computer. The school obviously has to follow the Multiple Intelligences philopsophy which makes school possible for so many kids with difficulties.

    Unfortunately, in the bid to bring struggling kids upto par, gifted ones can fall by the wayside. They are expected to cope, to deal with it, to get a move on and try stuff that challenges them. But not all six year olds are so self-motivating. At least not mine:-)

    We try to rememdy this by finding work for him. Fun online resources, Library visits, trivial pursuit. You name it. I have a boy who begs for maths problems at ixl. com as a treat. Go figure.

    My point I think is really that academically, he performs like a second or third grader. But its so important for him to be the “old” firstgrader. SO IMPORTANT. He has gained so much confidence socially from being a sort of spokesperson for his class. He is more confident about conflict-solving, handles dicey social situations well and I can’t see that happening if he had been only with kids older than him. I don’t think he would have naturally been socially adept, like a lot of kids.

    We can teach him stuff, but we can’t teach him (only guide) how to relate to his peers. How to deal with simple day to day challenges. Isn’t that the REAL point of primary school – cracking a social code – rather than relentless and pointless rote learning?

    Too long comment ended with a hug:-)

  40. Couldnt resist the temptation to add my 2 pice’s worth.
    I was the youngest in class, through school and college. I started at 4, but my school decided to ‘double-promote’ me and send me to 2nd grade, from UKG (I suspect the real reason was my height – I was way too tall for people to believe i was in UKG).
    However, in 10th std, when the school thought the authorities might have an issue with my being ‘underage’, my dad didnt bat an eyelid, at consenting to let me take my Boards, the year after. I didn’t have to, though.
    My point is, my parents did not make a big deal of either. I knew, from a very early age, how and what my parents felt about my education (no IIT/ Medicine pressures) and that the communication lines were always open for me to discuss with them, if ever I faced issues at school. And given that this (need to get into IITs and Medical school) was a peer pressure that wasn’t favorable to me, I was only too glad to side with my folks.
    Looking back, I realise I had no clue who was older or younger in my class. And if my schools (I changed cities and schools) had not made an issue of it at times, I may not have been aware of my ‘youngest’ status either.
    I think as far as schooling/ education is concerned, pressure from the parents (to perform/ achieve) is singularly greater than peer/teacher/school pressures, MM. And as long as your kids know exactly how you value education as a family, and know they can always tell mama/ papa when something is not ok, they are going to be just fine..
    Till then, lets sharpen the melon seeds, for the Loonies 🙂

  41. I have always been one of the youngest in my class, (The school year ended in March/April, and I am born in February) and I don’t think it made any difference at all. I mean,if the Bean isn’t having any problems now, she shouldn’t be having any later. Bean’s is the age in which even an age gap of six months gives the older one an advantage. But once she is older, I should think that the advantage diminishes comparatively. I mean, I don’t think that a sixteen year old’s capability to understand Trigonometry is much more than a fifteen and half year old’s.

  42. I have a friend who has a 7 year old who is in 2nd grade. They made him skip 1st grade because he knew the material covered in 1st grade. The school gave him a test to determine that and he passed it and he is in 2nd grade now. He is the youngest and the shortest in his class. He goes through a lot of stress from leaving all his friends in grade 1 and not having any friends in grade 2 and stuff. Even if he is academically fit to be in grade 2, he is just not ready to socially interact with kids older than him :(.

    He was supposed to have a test today and I was planning a surprise bday party for his mom yesterday and I was thinking he would have a lot of studying to do and mugging up and revising and so I planned it real short and turns out they don’t even have text books to mug from and they stayed at our place till 10 in the night(screw early bed times :)). I loved the concept of not having to mug up and be stressed just before an exam but instead just write whatever you already know and have learnt from the classes.

    I see desi students in grad school fussing over grades. Anything below an A is not acceptable to most of them(Myself included). Being a 4 pointer is a matter of pride. Never mind the fact that a 4.0 gpa is not as valuable on a Phd resume as are good research publications. I see that American students have their priorities straight(the ones who make it to grad school that is).

    I went to kg when I was not even 3. I was born in 1985 but my dad got me a fake certificate which said I was born in 1984 and put me in school. He claimed he did that coz I was creating too much nuisance at home :). I never had any problems being the youngest in my class though. I am still the youngest in most classes in grad school 🙂

    Sorry for the loong comment.

  43. A co-worker once told me that he wanted a fake birth cert for his Oct born. When I told him to leave her alone and let her be a kid – he said – “Who care about social readiness, I’d rather her not lose a year’s worth of salary when she graduates”. And I was like – WOW. I guess that is a reality for some?!

  44. I was like your duaghter. My mum wanted to hold me back in nursery because I was so young (my birthday was the cut-off date),the teacher said no, I was coping well enough.

    Didn’t matter anyway. I was the youngest in my class and then the youngest in my b-school by far, not only becaus eof the cut-off date, but because I had 3 years of BA rather than 4 years of engg school. So my classmates were at least 2-4 years older than I was. Then I graduated to being the oldest my PhD program because I worked for several years while my classmates have come right out of undergrad. No correlation between how well I did and age. Also no age pressure at any time, either being the youngest student or the oldest student.

    The only advantage of being the youngest in the class, esp in b-school, is that today I can happily pretend that “when I am their age” I will be as successful as my classmates 😉 Of course that’s always a moving target, guaranteed to keep me happily optimistic till I turn 80 (and they turn 84 or 85!)!!

    But this is just anecdata. Some data do show that its better to put kids in older rather than younger. I think having one’s kid graduate as the youngest in the class is just for parents to boast about it as one commenter rightly says. Its not about competitive exams – I don’t see the logic there. Or myabe I misunderstood the article. Wouldn’t Delhi kids have the same number of years of schooling as any other state kids? Since competitive exams are based on school year not age, how does going to nursery a year later have any impact on anything? Now if one said one had a year less to take the civil services exam or become a Young Professional at the World Bank, I can understand. But given that the cut-off ages there are like 30 or 32, I fail to see how ‘losing’ a year would impact anything.


    • some entrances go by your age N, so I see their point. But I also know that you can fit in a good 2 attempts even as the oldest. Some places also limit the number of attempts you can make. So theres no one rule. And yes, its things like the YP at the WB that they’re worried about.

  45. Okay, just to add to what I said earlier somehow being older adds to confidence and self esteem both in class and on the sports field/palyground-these are observations from my son’s class teacher.
    He and a couple of others are Feb-Mar-April born and the rest are Fall or later borns. So while the younger kids have adapted more or less suitably to the academic pressure guess who they all look up to as informal “leaders” in their class:-) So when I said emotional maturity matters more than the academic crap you can cram into young brains this is an example of what I meant.

    Also, my son and his similar age cohorts are doing better on the playground too. This gap might level off as they get older but his coaches tell me by and large it doesn’t, which is why in the best leagues(soccer, baseball etc) the majority demographic agewise are these early borns. Go figure!!! I need to dig up the research artcle on this and send you.

    Having said that, I was the youngest in my class all thru because like the Bean I was crazy about going to school and my mom got fedup and sent me.
    I wish I’d been a year older though because growing up I was puny(albeit with attitude)and although I excelled academically the other kids just seemed tougher and physically stronger.

  46. I loved the comment by Mom Gone Mad – that we can teach our kids stuff, but we can’t teach them (only guide) how to relate to his peers. Even I don’t know how to relate to peers, how could I teach my little nephew to do so? Thankfully, he has parents who are better than me!

  47. Maybe I should get my manic neighbor to read your post. She and her daughter attend an ‘educational’ mother toddler group where the child is learning the alphabet, colors, shapes etc. in the morning. In the afternoon they’re off for baby yoga, for optimal co-ordination of the muscles (the baby’s, although the mother needs them more for the muscles in her brain). Oh and her daughter is eleven months old, same age as mine.

  48. Oh I see Cee’s got the agarbattis covered.

    I’ve been the oldest and the youngest in my year and both ways I got ragged. A girl just can’t win. That apart I didn’t have any problems coping because of my age. Beanie sitch bothers me more because of her extreme ‘leetleness’. I guess I wouldn’t care so strongly if she were say 10 or so.

  49. On this topic, there are parents who decide the date of delivery based on the cut-off date of School District.

    The cut-off date in our school district is December 1st and my friend was due in the first week of Dec and guess what she asked the Doctor to induce her on November 29th and gave birth on that date. Just because she wanted her son to not miss a year!! Moot point….!!

    Thank goodness I never had to do that, my kids are Spring babies right in the middle. I was in UKG at 4 as my Mom had prepped me at home and I was ahead of LKG students that they pushed me to UKG. But then I had to put a brake at 6th std as I moved to KV and they would not take underage kids. At that time I felt bad, but hey now I feel that was all for good.

    Who cares about your age much when you are finally into the Corporate world!!!

  50. Pingback: School woes « Things do not change…until we change!

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