Age cut-offs - are these fair?

@mommyboo (13198)
United States
July 14, 2009 2:13pm CST
More or less, how does it make you feel if someone states 'you must be x years old to enroll or attend' or 'only ages 9-26 are eligible' etc? A little background - my daughter has been enrolled in a dance studio in a combo class for two years. Combo is ballet and tap and that is really all they offer at this studio for ages 3-5. My daughter is now closer to 6, and she wanted to switch to jazz instead. The problem with this studio is that they claim that anything under 6 cannot move up to a class that includes 6 and older. I have the same problem in swimming - my daughter took the tot advanced class last summer. I only enroll her for one session because all she needs is a refresher with a teacher who is not mom and dad. We have a pool and she is very comfortable in the water but a little bit of instruction is always helpful after a season during which we cannot use the pool. Anyway, because she is not 6, they would not allow me to enroll her in the level classes, which assumes kids know HOW to swim so they focus on technique, strokes, diving, and the like. This is entirely frustrating for me. I do not feel in any way it is fair to penalize my daughter due to her AGE, which we can do nothing about. Age is not a fair nor reasonable indicator of ability or talent, skill level, or anything people try to refute! Why do people use it as a baseline to refuse people an opportunity?? I understand if the skill or ability level is NOT there, but if and when it is, it really raises my hackles! Have you encountered this in your life? What did you do about it? Do you feel old and disgruntled right now??
2 people like this
7 responses
@Riptide (2761)
• United States
15 Jul 09
The saying that age is just a number is true. Children don't all develop at the same speed and some kids are more advanced then others. So they should go by ability and not age. If a child is ready to go the next step, it's not fair that it's held back! Where I come from you have to be 6 years old to enter elementary school,but you had to be six at the enrollment date, which was July 1st. I didn't turn 6 until July 21st, so I had to wait until the following year to enter at which point I was 7 and the oldest kid in class. Even though I already knew how to read,write and do math at the second grade level at the age of 5. Then once I entered school, they wanted me to skip ahead to second grade right away,because I was way ahead of everybody. WTF??? My mom wouldn't let them, because she felt that I should be going through every grade regardless lol. Age limits hold children back and they should be eliminated.
1 person likes this
@Riptide (2761)
• United States
15 Jul 09
Yeah, the german schoolsystem is way different. They enroll you in nursery school at the age of 3 and of to elementary school at the age of 6 and then it's nose to the grindstone right away. Playtime is over lol. I got enrolled in private school at the age of 11 for 5th grade and wnet to school with a bunch of snobs. Small classes though so teachers were able to really concentrate on individual students. They never let the classes go above 12 students. In this day and age, where children start learning much earlier, they need to do away with age restrictions and just cough up the funds and time it takes to test each child individualy.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
16 Jul 09
I believe that if kids are going to be stuck in school for 6 hours a day, every day, and expected SO MUCH OF when they are just 5 or 6, they need to make it socially balanced. Each day needs to include other things like PE, art, music, etc as well as the academic stuff. Then, instead of sending home PAPER, they can send home concepts and it will be up to the parents to help the child choose how they want to do it - say that week the concept is learning about things that fly or words that end in -ing. Then the kid can take responsibility for what they are learning by bringing into it things THEY are interested in instead of doing a packet of busywork which interferes with them being able to do the PE, art, and music that the SCHOOL isn't doing during the school day! You can bet when my daughter is picked up from school, we are off to do FUN stuff, NOT more school junk! If you can't tell, I am all for kids being kids. Nose to the grindstone, that is for high school and college, when you're 13, not when you're 5! Again, even in high school, as long as you participate and do your assigned work in class, you get very little 'homework' unless you are lazy and procrastinate. Yes, I know this, I have two older step kids and every single teacher in middle school and high school told me at conferences and open house that they do not 'assign' homework. If my kids had homework, it's because they were not coming to class and doing it during the assigned class period. The teachers always said that 20-30 min was sufficient to complete most if not all of it - IF they kept on task. When I was in high school, despite having tough classes, I had very little if any homework except for projects, and I always dealt with those over time.
@Riptide (2761)
• United States
16 Jul 09
We did have art classes in elementary school and only 4 hours of school and no afternoon school until 3rd grade. In private school it was much more fun, even though it was tough, the teachers allowed us to be creative and on beautiful days we often held class outside. I believe too that kids need to have fun learning, because learning should be a joy and not a chore. We are always,kids and adults alike, better at things that we enjoy then at things we despise.
@icehut (508)
14 Jul 09
It's understandable for height restrictions on roller-coasters etc. The age restriction for young children is probably policy based off expert advice on the ability of children to follow instructions in certain age brackets. Remember, you're using their facilities, and they require that you adhere to their rules for the safety of your child. A nuisance, but safety first...
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
It is just frustrating because yes, I understand the rules are there for safety - but since she can swim and DOES listen and behave, it's not a safety risk nor issue. I get so tired of having to PROVE myself to people all the time, I had hoped that my daughter would not have to grow up doing the SAME DAMN THING. Sorry but I was never okay with being lumped in with everybody else 'just because that's how it is'. That doesn't work with me and it's not likely to work with her either. Skill, responsibility, and maturity, that's what needs to drive cut offs, not something like age which is not a true indicator of any of those things. I have met 40 year olds who throw tantrums and 6 year olds who don't - over the SAME thing. I do understand height restrictions or weight restrictions, but those are not based on age, and in some cases, age will trump those.... given the safety factor is not high.
@icehut (508)
15 Jul 09
keep your voice down... they're going to know that you're a non-conformist and put you under surveillance... LoL... There's not much we can do about other people's rules, we can either abide by them or take our custom elsewhere... Just remember what Henry Ford said, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black"
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
16 Jul 09
Oh, people know I'm not a conformist. Conformist is a bad word. Whoever doesn't like it can bite me. *shrug* I don't tell other people what they can do, so I won't let others tell me what *I* can do.
@4mymak (1796)
• Malaysia
15 Jul 09
i can understand your frustations, but this is what happens when we go for 'public classes' - they have to set some sort of limit mainly for safety reasons, and also to be 'fair' to everyone - if they would allow one person to 'break the rule' then, others would complain of 'double standard'... i get frustated too, when i get turned down for classes just because i am 'over the age limit' (eventhough i know that i am more than capable) and it does make me feel 'old'... i guess that's why there is always 'private tutors' or 'personal trainers' available to those who can afford them..
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
That's the thing! Skill level, CAPABILITY, and talent! If someone displays those, then AGE is not a factor!! You won't hear ME griping about someone who is younger who can clearly demonstrate why they should be in a class with older kids! I don't agree as much in purely academic arenas but things like swimming or dance? That's about skill and capability... and perhaps willingness to learn and understand and pick things up. That is not a double standard to me. TOO much is focused on age when it means nothing. Heck, I'm an adult and I can't dance at ALL, not disciplined like ballet, tap, jazz, and I didn't learn how to swim until I was almost TEN. I am telling you it is NOT an age thing at all because my daughter learned how to dance when she was 3 and how to swim when she was 4, and by interest as well as guidance and opportunity.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
By the way, I think people may be forgetting these things are paid for. WE pay for them, why pay for something when it won't be teaching your kid anything? If you're paying for lessons or teaching, YOU should get to choose a level where your kid will be actually LEARNING. They are quite willing to take your money, so it should count!
@kevchua (1004)
• Malaysia
15 Jul 09
This is my personal opinion: It's not a question of fair or not fair. It's a question of are we ready to get away from the norms set by traditions? Our lives are infested with such "unfairness", actually. To say that you have to be x years old to do something is a rule that parents impose on their children whom they believe are still not ready. This same rule applies in organisations and educational institutions. As long as you've not reached certain age, you're not able to enrol into a school, or a course. As long as you're not at the minimum age, you're not allowed to move to Level 2 - the result is that students who are advanced would have to wait for their "time". It is unfair in this sense...definitely. We can't do much about it as parents because these human-made rules do not cater to people with special talents. The only thing that we could do is to keep pushing for reforms and hope some day someone will listen and give everyone a chance to move up the ladder regardless of age. In my country, it is mandatory for civil workers to retire when they reach 58 years. It was 55 years at one time. It certainly makes senior citizens look helpless and hopeless, doesn't it? But it's a rule - stupid or not. Just look for an alternative. I would be fuming too if I had a talented kid who is held back just because he is not "matured" enough to go higher.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
I have never subscribed to age guidelines though. Pretty early on, I discovered that age is NOT an indicator of anything, maturity, skill level, competence, understanding, emotional health or well being, self esteem, education. It just isn't. I have never told my kids 'you can't do this until you are x years old', rather I told them that once they have proven they can handle themselves without screwing up in certain situations reliably, then they can earn the privelage. My older daughter learned early how to get herself to bed at an early enough time ON HER OWN that she could get up in the morning and get her backpack ready, eat breakfast, and get on the bus. My son overslept so often that we had to enforce an 8 pm bedtime, even though he was 14 at the time and 'all his friends' got to stay up till 10 lol. I told him that when he could get up on time without me having to drag him out of bed and chase the bus down the street and then have to wake his baby sister and DRIVE him to school, then he could go to bed later, but it was on him to prove. Sooo. My daughter never had a 'bedtime', and sometimes she'd stay up later. She was fine up until she moved out and I think she still manages without having 3 alarms and someone to drag her out of bed. We slowly lifted the bedtime for my son but if he starts doing it again when school starts, back it'll come lol. Another example - I don't have a kitchen table or a formal dining room area, although I do have a counter/bar in my kitchen. As such, my little one has never had to 'sit at the table' to eat. She had a little portable tray to use in the bedroom (because we eat in here) and a little coffee table type table in the front room. I have always taught her to pick up her stuff and to try not to be messy. At most of her friends' houses, she HAS to eat at their table or counter/bar, and she isn't allowed to carry food around the house or eat in bedrooms. The reason? Most of my friends' kids are super messy and they spill and drop things EVERYWHERE and walk thru it and they don't or won't pick up what they spill or clean up their messes or throw away trash. All these kids are around the same age, between 4 and 5. My friends ask me how I keep her from doing that at home and I tell them that it's what she learned, from the time she started eating finger foods etc by herself, when she was almost one. When she was two, she started throwing away her paper towels and napkins and going to put a bowl or cup in the sink. She can put stuff in the dishwasher now, and wipe up messes herself. She doesn't ALWAYS do this without prompting, but she will do it, so I never have a problem with her eating in the bedroom. Her brother is another matter entirely... I simply feel readiness is determined partially by what you teach your kids and your expectations of them, and partially by their own personalities and how they respond to situations anyway. Some kids WON'T learn. I have a friend's son who was noticing my daughter reading a sign - she doesn't read everything, just things she knows well. He said - hey, I couldn't read when I was her age, why not? LOL! I told him that he wasn't ready because he fought with his mom all the time over learning ANYTHING back when he was 5. My daughter doesn't - she wants to read lol. This is why I think it's so rotten that kids are either forced to learn certain things at certain ages, or held back and 'not allowed' until certain ages. It is not an age thing at all. If someone is ready, they are ready. If they aren't, they aren't. Basing it on age is a disservice to all and it makes a kid feel either like they aren't good enough, or as if it's bad to be good at anything.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
14 Jul 09
It's almost discrimination against the talented or the exceptional. You get these age limits and if you're one day past them, too bad. How is a kid who's one day older more capable than one who's one day younger? On the one hand, there are often good reasons for limits. Not starting kids in school until they're 5 years and a few months, for example, because the statistics show that a lot of kids who start when they're younger, even though they might do well their first years of school, end up having trouble later. But there ought to be exceptions for kids who are exceptional, and I wonder if cutoffs like this aren't at least partly laziness and/or budget cutting. There isn't the time and money to do the testing and/or somebody just doesn't want to bother.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
Thanks Dawn - this is how I feel too, in a nutshell. It's almost a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation where if you're bright and talented, you get the boot, and if you're slow and weak, you ALSO get the boot. What to do, what to do? Be mediocre? Be just slightly less than average so you soak up all the attention? BLEH. Age has never been an indicator of maturity, I just look at my older kids. When I was 10, I could stay home by myself for an hour and not destroy the house, not let the animals out of the yard, not burn down anything or allow friends over. I knew better than to answer the phone or let my sister do anything stupid. When my kids were 11 and 13 they um... fought so bad with each other I could not leave them home alone TOGETHER. They'd do things like.... leave the stove on. Have a door open while the AC was on meaning I'd get back and the house was 85 instead of 78. Did I mention fighting with each other? Spraying the furniture with water?? Leaving dishes and socks all over the front? I threatened them with two things, either I'd bring one of them with me and get a BABYSITTER for the other one or I'd bring them both with me and they wouldn't speak to each other, look at each other, touch each other, etc or ask me for anything lol. I do agree with the age cut-off for starting school as long as you can test your child and if they pass and WANT to go early, it's an option (I think within 6 months of being 5, so no younger than 4 1/2?). That's not something I was interested in though, even if my daughter tested and passed. I'm not in any hurry to rush her childhood, although I think it's much more fun to have a childhood where you know how to do a lot of things early. That means many more years of being able to enjoy things that maybe your friends can't do - and you're younger so you get to just enjoy them longer before they become some sort of 'requirement' or 'obligation' lol. In the swimming class, it probably is budget cuts and/or laziness both, the classes ARE small though, there are only 6 kids per class! Of course they'd only have one instructor. In the dance class I'm really not sure what to think about that. Her new class is relatively small and they have two instructors. The dance classes are NOT cheap, so having an additional instructor at the other studio really wouldn't be cost prohibitive, in my opinion. The swimming classes are - or in my opinion reasonable as opposed to cheap. The city offers private ones but I think they are super expensive, it's like $78 for private lessons - that's for a week, and that's M/W/F. The group ones are a 2 week session, every day and those are $28.
1 person likes this
@fkys509 (99)
• China
14 Jul 09
Very pitiful for your daughter can not attend such lessons. The rules you described seem not for safty restrictions. Just pute restrictions for the age. Maybe they made such rules just because they think that time a perfect a person to do something. But like you said, ability and interests are more important. Another reason you decline the application maybe there are too many people who want to attend the same lesson, although this rarely happens. For myself, I'd say I haven't attended many classes and most of them did not refuse my participation due to my age. Surely I would feel frustrated and upset if I can not join in it only because of my after out of their requirments. However, I think you still can negotiate with them or just change a trainer.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
I do face having time slots and classes fill up if I don't choose something right away, but my city does it via drawing, at least for the swimming. I hope that next year when she IS 6, they'll let her skip to a level where she is actually learning new things. She learns so well from a teacher as opposed to us. We can reinforce and help her practice things she learns but she doesn't seem to learn well from us, even though we swim - which is WHY I put her in lessons to begin with lol. She learns with me okay in general too, but she learned so much MORE from going to preschool 2 days a week, so see, I know I am not cut out to be a homeschool teacher, a swim instructor, a dance teacher, a t-ball coach, see what I mean? I wish it were that simple but I am also not licensed or accredited lol.
@jshekhar (1563)
• India
14 Jul 09
hello friend, I do understand your frustration but the thing is that those people have to take everyone into account. For example, your daughter knows most part of swimming at such an early age because of you. But then, every child might not be as lucky and hence, they had to set off a cut off age, below which the child might get unmanageable and would start throwing tantrums, which is a dangerous situation in a swimming pool.
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
15 Jul 09
Ok... here is the problem. I know (and any instructor would notice) that she can swim by herself and listens and behaves decently in a class situation. Saying 'I know you can swim and would benefit from level instruction so you are taught things you don't already know but you're not allowed because we believe children under six throw tantrums and are unmanageable' - that would be a false statement lol. I do believe that an instructor or teacher or boss or whatever would have the final say, but I think as a parent you should get an option to ASK. If your child can prove they should have a rightful spot, then it should be given. I still don't think it's fair to penalize someone who is 'ahead' figuratively simply for having the good fortune to have learned early. It is actually my intent to help her be interested in learning things early and to do it, it is better to be ahead than behind, but it bothers me that I may always have to hit people over the head to stop punishing her for it!