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.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time