• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

kindergarten retention question



I am going to retain a kindergarten student because of readiness and speech issues. Any suggestion on how the parents should tell the student? When? Are there any books that I could read to my class to help them all understand why he wont be in their class next year? He's a great little boy and I want to make the change as easy as possible for all. I also want to help the other students to support him not make fun of him.


Senior Member
speech issues?

Hi Patti,
I was just wondering what you meant by speech issues? Also, would you mind sharing more about your choice for retention? What readiness skills, etc?


Junior Member
retain? documented support

Retaining is easy if you have documentation: We must have work samples that show them not being to master 20 different state benchmarks:

We have to have a folder: In this folder we have a minimum of two sheets for each of the twenty benchmarks:

Ex: Reading 25: Capital and lower case letters: Sheet dated from September 15: cannot circle the letter A from verbal directions
Retest March 22: *a different sheet* cannot circle A from verbal directions
And so on...that way no one can say that the student really should or shouldn't have gone on...also that folder is saved so next year if progress is not made and they need to be referred to special services TEACHER SUPPORT TEAM TIER ONE - you have work samples already to go....

WE CAN NOT hold a child back based on maturity - a parent can make that decision and request, and then we can have a meeting with school administration (hence birthday is very close to cut-off)

Also speech is SPED service and A CHILD CANNOT BE HELD BACK if they are receiving SPED services, same with ELL students, if the only drawback is being ELL...they need to be passed based on the knowledge than an ELL student can spend 2 years in an English speaking environment on the third year they will be at grade level.

Most of ours that stay back, really are not ready, truly do not show that they know they are back in Kindergarten...they just know they in the beginning - "Hey I remember this_____." I retained two students last year 1 for failure to master benchmarks and 1 for 42 absences and I never once mentioned to them they were staying behind.

I don't know what their parents told them, but I don't feel its my place to tell them their not smart enough to go to first grade...I just try to encourage them to keep learning until the last bell rings.


Full Member

I would like to know more about what all goes in the folder you mentioned. I would like to have something like that to go along with the students that are not improving. Thanks.


Junior Member
Retention Folders

Our district has number all my states benchmarks, so when we say R32 it Reading and it say "Identifies ending sounds of words"...If you know a child is not mastering benchmarks...
We have a plain Manilla folder
One day in class when I have done a sheet that has ending sounds and he misses some
I take it date it and put it in the folder
Next week with more teaching he does another sheet and still misses ending sounds
I date it and stick it in the folder then I write on the inside of folder R32

The next week we are working on graphs which I know is M4- Graphs objects and M5- Interprets information from graphs
Same student cannot make graph - I date it and put it in folder
Next week with more teaching student cannot make graph - date it and put it in folder inside of folder I write M4

At the end of every nie weeks we give a paper pencil test. Which also tests the benchmarks.

When I have 20 different benchmarks written (40 work samples) I can then refer the student for retention -- This folder is saved and if the next year the student still does master benchmarks this folder is referenced in SPED/Teacher Support Team Process

That way when the parents questions it, I have concrete examples saying your child cannot ____, ____, and more, and here are his work samples.



Don't retain him in kindergarten unless he is very immature and his birthday makes him very young for kinder, but even then research does not support that decision.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (March, 2001) endorsed this position statement developed by the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education:
Retention is rejected as a viable option for young children . . . perpetuated on the basis of false assumptions as to its educational benefit. . . Although research does not support the practice of grade retention, many educators and parents do. . . The vast majority of control-group studies, which are structured to measure this comparison, come down clearly on the side of promotion. Students recommended for retention but advanced to the next grade level end up doing as well as or better academically than non-promoted peers. Children who have been retained demonstrate more social regression, display more behavior problems, suffer stress in connection with being retained . . .

Do a search on the internet: kindergarten retention and read the research. There is ALOT.

I am a kindergarten reading coach and I used to recommend retention in kinder but now I do not. The research is correct, I have witnessed first hand. There are better alternatives that do not cause long term damage.

Please read the research and think about it.


Yes Yes Yes

I appreciate Cmallory's response, but I'm sure she didn't mean this as a blanket statement for ALL kindergarten students. As my school's reading specialist, I've worked very closely with our kindergarten teachers (I taught K for 10 years). There are 5 students we're retaining in K for next year. All of the parents agree with the decision. In the 10 years I taught K, I retained a handful of students...ALL with great results.


Retention is sometimes needed

I will have to disagree that retention should not be done in the lower grades. I think kindergarten is the BEST time to retain a child if he/she needs it. The emotional distress and embarrassment of being retained in an upper grade can be too much for the child. They are less likely to be upset and understand exactly what it means at the age of five. If your student needs more time in kindergarten, PLEASE LET HIM HAVE IT! It can mean the difference between a great school career and him stuggling for years. I do not know of any research to support kindergarten retention, but I have seen it's benefits first hand! The students that I have held back (for whatever reason) are doing great! It made all the difference. If I had not held them back, they would have crashed and burned in first grade.

Just tell the parents that their child just needs more time. It is not a failure, just a way to help him in the long run. You could talk to the child and explain to him that it is going to be so cool to be the "leader" next year. Tell him that he can show the new students how things work and help them. It needs to be kept positive! Give him ideas of great things to do to help next year. Good luck!


Full Member
Yes Younger is Better

I agree that Kindergarten is the best time for retention just like was said above. 5 year olds easily attach to making new friends and are not emotionally scarred that others have left them behind. The child in my class that is being retained is much much smaller than the other students. He can recognize ~8-10 of his ABC's and can count to 12. He doesn't recognize his numbers past 5 very well and can not identify any of our sight words, including "I" and "a". He has a very difficult time staying in his seat, and has not kept the same crayons or pencils for more than 2 days. He has just recently in the past few months been able to correctly write his name, which is only two letters. We have all discussed it, principal, mom, and myself. Retention is the best thing to do. This child would get stressed trying to commit to the work in 1st grade. SO I have to totally say retention is sometimes needed! And younger is better.
Last edited:


Junior Member

I agree with Kendra, LP and ES. In eight years, I have seen five students retained in kindergarten. In later years, the students gained confidence because they had the skills to do the work.

One teacher used the analogy of loosing baby teeth. Not everyone looses their teeth at the same time therefore we should not expect everyone to be ready to read, spell, or go onto grade one at the same time.


New Member
practical proof

I have retained 2 children in my 13 years experience and both have benefited tremendously from an additional year in kindergarten. This is a very personal decision which must be made on a case-by-case basis, so please do not quote "research says..." Maturity as opposed to academic success, is obviously a major determinant in being able to complete first grade requirements. While I agree that retaining a child for academic issues in not usually valid, a very young or immature child may need the gift of time to develop the independent work skills necessary to be successful in a first grade program.


Should I retain my son?

I tried to explain to my son that he was going to be in kindergarten again and how he would be a leader and could help the other kids in class that was just going to kindergarten.

My son's response

That's what the teacher is suppose to do.The teacher will show them what to do and they will do it. In addition, to my son's response how do I respond to that? My son also told me that he's already done that ( meaning kindergarten) he knows everything and he is not doing it again. He said that if he have to go back to kindergarten,that he is never going back to school again. Now tell me if this sounds like a child that needs to repeat kindergarten again.

His birthday is August 30th, He's a boy, and they say he is not mature enough.


Senior Member
final word

As a parent you should have a lot of input in this choice. If you want him to move on I would argue for him. I diagree with many people who say K is the best year for retention. I do not believe in retention for most cases anyway.


Kindergarten Teacher

In some states, Kindergarten is not required, so even if the teacher recommends retention, the parent can simply enroll the child in first grade the next fall. If the parents are on board, the child usually accepts the retention. If the parents fight it, the child is usually resentful. If a child enrolls in a new school at age 6, he is usually placed in 1st grade anyway, and the parents don't HAVE to tell about any kindergarten experiences.


Junior Member
Can he do the work...what kind of papers where sent home, what does his assessment look like?

His birthday can be Aug 30th, if he can do the work he should go on...IF HE CANNOT do the work -- he should be held back.



Yes, my son can do the work. His report card even proves he can do the work, but because of his age, gender, and maturity. The teacher think he would do better if he stayed back another year in kindergarten. What should I do? I feel as though I have failed my son as a parent and my son never had a chance the first day he walked into that class because of the simple fact that he is the youngest in th class and he's a boy.


I would let him go to 1st

If the only argument is that he is young/immature and a boy and he can do the work (and in your opinion as a parent he is ready which is what you seem to think from your posting) I would let him go on to 1st.

My nephew was in the same situation except his 1st grade teacher wanted to retain him. She felt he was immature (and he was one of the youngest in the class). My nephew did not want to be retained and was very upset at the thought and my sister fought it. He was promoted and just finished 3rd grade with all O's and G's (Outstanding's and Good's) and is doing fine. He is shy, though, and his 3rd grade teacher worked with him all year on getting him to come out of his shell (which helped) but he's always been a shy boy (even before starting school).

Best of luck with your decision.