Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten at BASIS Charter Schools?

The BASIS Charter School Curriculum has been encouraging students to reach high standards since the first school opened in 1998. We believe that greater expectations are key to better performance and achievement. As American inventor and automotive engineer Charles Kettering observed, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.” BASIS Charter Schools compel students to achieve more than traditionally expected.

BASIS Kindergarten studentIt’s critical that kindergarten students are developmentally ready for the classroom, setting them up for success every step of the way. The BASIS Charter School kindergarten program accelerates through a first grade curriculum, preparing students to take on second grade concepts by first grade. BASIS Charter School students succeed because they believe they can, and because they are prepared with the tools they need to succeed.

Social and emotional readiness

Most experts believe that social and emotional skills are the most important factors in determining whether a child is ready to start school. Around age four, children should start to build on certain behaviors that will allow them to succeed in a classroom. It’s not necessary that they show these behaviors consistently, but they should begin showing comfort in the following areas:

1. Separating from their family
2. Transitioning between activities
3. Self-advocating
4. Curiosity about the world and others

Cognitive readiness

Dr. Jeni Riley, author of The Teaching of Reading, claims, “It is common to find within a kindergarten classroom a five-year range in children’s literacy-related skills and functioning.” Children start kindergarten with various experience and skills. Consequently, some children are not yet prepared for the classroom learning environment and risk falling behind.

This “readiness gap” is not an indicator of a child’s intelligence, she explains, but rather missed learning opportunities during the early years of life. Because the early learning that occurs from birth to age five is the most rapid development period in a lifetime, much of a child’s early learning begins at home, where you can influence their interests and behaviors. Reading to your child can inspire a love of reading. Asking questions at the end a story can help familiarize your child with classroom discussion. Sharing and taking turns while playing games models good sportsmanship, which can improve social interaction in school.

Kindergarteners who are familiar with the alphabet and numbers when they start kindergarten may have an early advantage, but education consultant Alina Adams stresses that, “Teachers are less concerned with what children know coming in, and are more concerned if children can come in, sit down, and follow multi-step directions.”

Physical readiness

The practice of redshirting traditionally refers to a college athlete who doesn’t compete in varsity games for a full year, thereby extending the athlete’s eligibility for another year. The additional year allows the player to grow in size and skill, giving that player an advantage. The trend to “redshirt” children entering kindergarten has grown significantly in recent years—up 300% since the 1970s.1

Some parents believe that older students tend to be leaders in the classroom, and the resulting confidence and skills will snowball, giving them an advantage in life. Academic redshirting in kindergarten is most common among parents who want to help their child excel in sports, holding them back to allow them to grow physically and develop better motor skills. Many parents, particularly those whose children have summer and fall birthdays, choose to put kindergarten on hold, to give them the advantage of a full year’s growth and development.

However, students are often motivated by the maturity and performance of older peers. In fact, a joint study conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College and Northwestern University concluded that “having older classmates on average improves educational outcomes, increasing test scores up to eight years after kindergarten and raising the probability of taking a college‐entry exam.” 1

Age requirements

Age does not necessarily determine readiness, but children tend to reach developmental benchmarks around the same age. To enroll in kindergarten at a BASIS Charter School in Texas, children must be five by September 1 of the year they wish to start.

Many school districts set a minimum age requirement for attending kindergarten. Now with the growing popularity of redshirting kindergarten students, and concern over any actual benefit to a child’s readiness, some districts around the country have set a maximum age requirement to enroll in kindergarten, in order to serve the best interest of each child.

How will I know?

You know your child better than anyone. Trust your judgment, but do allow them to try, and don’t be afraid to let them fail. Failure is necessary for success. According to Albert Einstein, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

BASIS Charter Schools promote achievement at every grade level. We begin instilling success strategies like organization, communication, and time management in kindergarten, on day one, to prepare students for the challenges ahead. The accelerated curriculum and collaborative community supports their future learning, so students who start the BASIS Charter School program as soon as they are ready have the greatest chance of succeeding.

Discover the possibilities at BASIS San Antonio Northeast! BASIS Texas Charter Schools are open enrollment, tuition-free charter schools serving grades K–12, and follow an internationally acclaimed liberal arts curriculum. The BASIS Charter School Curriculum builds foundations in language, literacy, civics, history, science, math, movement, engineering and technology, performance arts, visual arts, and music.

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1 Cascio, Elizabeth U. & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. “First in the class? Age and the education production function.” Dartmouth College, Department of Economics, Hanover, 2015.

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A fifth-generation San Antonionian - who happened to spend her formative years in Austin - Amanda loves the SAT from the confetti in her hair to the bluebonnets under her feet. Never one to miss a reason to host a party or decorate for a theme, Amanda revels in the 'mas Fiesta' attitude of the city. She's mom to Vivi (2012) aka #HurricaneVivi, Mac (2020) and wife to Francois, whom she met at Texas A&M (FTAC '05). She has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and a Doctorate in Making it Up As She Goes - which means she's a sometimes-fun-mom. You can find her on Instagram . She loves confetti, croissants, and a cold Ranch Water. Favorite Restaurant: Piatti's Favorite Landmark: Johnson Street footbridge in King William Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Fiesta Medals