Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Repeat Performance?

Yael Schuster

Parents are often faced with the tough decision of whether or not their child should repeat kindergarten. When is it beneficial to repeat, when is it wiser to push a child ahead, and what can be done to smooth the process if the child is repeating? Our panel of educators share their wisdom and advice.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Pfeiffer squeeze themselves into the tiny seats and turn eager faces toward Mrs. Grossman, their darling Eli’s kindergarten teacher. Eli is their oldest, and this is their first PTA meeting. Mrs. Grossman flashes them a warm smile, and the couple relaxes as they wait for the accolades to rain down.

“Eli is clearly a very bright little boy. When he stays focused, he absorbs what we’re learning like a sponge. And what a smile! However, Eli is displaying some immature behaviors that, quite frankly, I’m concerned about.”

After giving a few examples, the bomb drops: “Of course, it’s way too early in the year to make any decisions, but if things continue in this vein, Eli may not be ready for pre-1A next year.”

The Pfeiffers stumble out of the meeting, their faces reflecting their shock. Over the next few months, as they observe his behavior, Eli’s parents seek answers to some difficult questions: When is it in a child’s best interest to repeat kindergarten? Are there any clear-cut criteria for making this decision?

Our panel of educators, with over 150 years of collective experience, sheds some light on this often-perplexing, high-stakes question.


Note: In this article, “kindergarten” refers to the grade two years prior to first grade (primarily four-year-olds). “Pre-1A” refers to the year before first grade (primarily five-year-olds). Some preschool programs classify their grades differently.

the panelist

Mrs. Goldie Golding is director of early childhood at Yeshivat Shaare Torah inBrooklyn,New York. She is the author of children’s books in the famed ArtScroll Middos series, and is aMercyCollegeprofessor in Sarah Schenirer’s Post-Graduate School Building Leadership program. She has over 30 years of experience in early childhood education.

In what situations should parents consider having their child repeat kindergarten? What are red flag behaviors?


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”