I'm feeling frustrated right now with the private school system, and I was wondering if anyone else has gone through this or has any advice. We have three top private schools in our city that are very competitive when it comes to admissions. My son has a late June birthday, so he will be 5 years and 2 months when he starts school in the fall. Part of the private school admissions process includes cognitive assessments, which they did and found my son to be developmentally at his current age. That sounds like it would be a good thing, but then I was told that their kindergarten is academically rigorous, so it's designed for students who are developmentally at 5.5 to 6 year range when they start school. That doesn't seem fair to me, since our public schools accept kids who are 5 before the start of school. The private schools are telling us we need to apply for their TK (transitional kindergarten) program, which is designed for the younger 5s. However, their TK program only has between 15 and 20 spots (depending on the school) compared to 100 or more for kindergarten. Our chances of getting into TK are even less than kindergarten. The admissions counselor told us that if we don't get in this year, we should hold our son back and enroll him in another TK program at a preschool and then apply for kindergarten next year.
I'm so conflicted about this. I feel like kids with summer birthdays are at a disadvantage when it comes to applying to private schools. I'm not sure I want to enroll him in a preschool TK program and have him be 6 when he enters kindergarten. I know some people are pro redshirting, but I've always been on the fence about it. And then even if we do that, there is no guarantee he would be accepted at the kindergarten entrance point, so we could still not get in. Our back-up option would be to send him to public school, but if he will ultimately end up there, I would rather send him at 5 vs 6. We won't find out if he's accepted to the private school's TK program until the end of Feb, but in the meantime I'm feeling stressed about this whole thing.