Kids must turn five by July 15th to start school in D51

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The District 51 School Board made a decision Tuesday night about when your child can start kindergarten.

Just a couple weeks ago, Lesley Rose, Executive Director of Elementary Schools for District 51, recommended an earlier entrance date for kindergartners. Tuesday night the school board decided to change the kindergarten entrance date from September 15th to July 15th, meaning your child has to turn five ahead of that deadline to start school.

Janel Anderson, a 3rd grade teacher at Pomona Elementary School, wanted to make her voice heard when it comes to the age which children enter kindergarten.

"As it currently stands many children start kindergarten when they are four and turn five just before September 15th and I see a lot of those children struggle," said Anderson.

Anderson has first hand experience with children in kindergarten because she used to teach them.

"They struggle because they don't always have the maturity so they have troubles emotionally, in behavior and socially at school. I see them struggle with academics," said Anderson.

Betty Beidelschies, a retired school teacher, has a similar take.

"At age five, sometimes, boys especially, are a little immature, have a lot of developmental lag in their readiness period and I think by having an early entrance date that would be a bit better," said Beidelschies.

Beidelschies also feels the learning environment for students and teachers will improve if students start school at the right age.

"You have a classroom of children there, ready to learn, ready to grow academically and one or two are holding the whole class behind. It's not really fair to those children who want to learn," said Beidelschies.

The July 15th cut off date will take effect this year for students entering kindergarten.

Parents also have the option to let their child start kindergarten a year late, but state law says they have to be in kindergarten by age six.

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