Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Moving Ahead

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My daughter is the youngest in her first-grade class. Academically she is doing fine, but my wife and I think that she is emotionally younger than the other girls, who tend to tease her and are quite rough. Her teacher says there is no academic problem and that it's up to us to retain her. Do you think she could benefit from repeating first grade?

A: If she moves on with her classmates, she will be with the same children --and she'll still be younger than most of them. As the curriculum becomes harder, your daughter may have more difficulty keeping up with the others.

On the other hand, research has shown that retention increases the likelihood that a child will drop out of school when she reaches the legal age to do so. You don't want to set your daughter up for failure.

Talk with the school counselor. He may be able to observe your daughter in the classroom and give you an objective opinion of her readiness to move on. The counselor can also tell you about any screening tests that the school can give to determine your daughter's readiness for second grade.

You may also want to talk with some of the second-grade teachers. Describe your daughter to them and ask what their experience has been with children in similar situations. Observe their classrooms; even though the children there now are a year older than your daughter, you can get a good idea of what is expected of second-graders and whether or not your daughter is ready for that.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks