I was held back in kindergarten. One of my earlier memories is my mom asking, “Would you like to do kindergarten again, only with Mrs. Kinsel this time? I was all about it! I loved kindergarten. Not only that, I was one of the first to get my license in high school. My only other memory in the fives or sixes is sleeping in a tub with my dog. I didn’t have a bed in the lake cabin up North. Both these memories are positive, which makes me question myself.
There’s research on both sides of this issue (more against than for I think). Here are a few things that seem to hold with most people.
- If it has to happen, the earlier the better. I realize there’s the, “by third grade” point, but it’s likely the issues arose well before the fourth year in school. Maybe starting Kinder when they were in the early fives, or in some cases, late fours? Sorry, that’s tough and leaves the kinder teachers I know wondering what they can do with such a developmental youngster. Or, there was just a lack of exposure and experiences during early development. It’s catch up time, which is easier said than done.
- If you’re switching schools the year you repeat, it could lessen the impact.
- Before considering retention, consider everything else.
- What have you and your teacher done to identify and accommodate the area/s of difficulty? There are many tools out there.
- Is it behavioral, academic, developmental . . .?
- Have you researched the pros, cons, and talked with Principals and Teachers?
- Have you discussed this with your child?
So, that leaves us with . . . nothing conclusive, because it’s different for everyone. There’s no box for this particular issue.
Findings on social, emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral outcomes among the retained students compared with their promoted peers appear mixed, with some studies reporting positive outcomes and others finding insignificant or even negative results. The bottom line, as always, depends on a complex variety of issues, and it is ultimately up to the parent. Will the juice be worth the squeeze?