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Jerlean Daniel, a child care center director for 18 years, is the executive director of theNational Association for the Education of Young Children.
Regardless of whether the cutoff date for children to enter kindergarten is September or December, there are other important issues to consider.
Children, in addition to normal individual differences, enter school with a variety of prior experiences based largely on the socioeconomic circumstances of their families. Research makes it clear that comprehensive high-quality early childhood education from birth to kindergarten is a critical springboard for success in school and beyond, particularly for low-income children.
The entry date for kindergarten has a direct economic impact on families and whether they can afford an extra year of high-quality preschool if the date is moved. Likewise, schools must be ready to support all children as they enter kindergarten and progress through school. Ready schools are staffed with teachers who understand child development and how it impacts curricula, instruction and assessment.