Should I Test My Child Into Kindergarten Early in Arizona?

Kindergarten…it’s a hot topic amongst Moms in Arizona. We start school here SO early compared to parts of the country. Growing up in New Jersey, we started after labor day so the cut-off dates were different. My Mom also told me that Kindergarten wasn’t as rigorous when I was young.

In Arizona, the cutoff to enter Kindergarten is generally August 31st. Your child would have to be 5 years old by the cutoff date to enter Kindergarten without having to take an early entrance test. However, there is an option in most districts to test in for children whose birthdays fall between September 1st and December 31st. But, is it a good idea?

When speaking with some of the 5,000+ Moms in the MOMnationAZ Facebook Group, it’s a pretty common theme that most would rather have their boys wait to start so they will be older than many other kids in the class. Generally, boys mature at a slower pace than girls and benefit from being older. Girls are more favorable for early entrance because they are usually more mature and advanced. One Mom said, in California the cutoff is December 31st. She mentioned one of her kids that she thought would do great, ended up struggling and the other ended up thriving. It was still recommended to hold them back when they moved to AZ because the school they chose was more rigorous. A few teachers that chimed in said they can definitely see the maturity difference in the kids who are younger vs older. Still, kids will be kids and each are different! Many Moms commented that their kids tested in early and are still thriving years later!

A few things to think about if you want to test your child in early:

  1. Have they gone to preschool in a classroom setting? This helped our daughter tremendously with her knowledge and social encounters. She was reading by the age of 4 and knows all of the topics that are on the list of what they will learn in Kindergarten. She also learned sharing and working with others.

  2. Do they know the items on the Kindergarten readiness sheet? It’s not all just academic. A few of the items are:

    1. Can they put on their jacket or backpack themselves?

    2. Do they separate well from their parents?

    3. Can they open their own snacks and lunch?

    4. Can they wipe their own butt? HAHA. Mine is still learning!

     3) Think about the future:

    1. They will be the last to drive in their grade. Since you can get your license at 16 in Arizona, I considered this a non-issue. She will still be able to drive almost 2 years in High School.

    2. Boys may be smaller than others in their class and have a disadvantage in sports.

    3. Girls would be entering high school at 13 years old which is not comforting to some parents, especially their Dads.

You’re probably wondering what to do if you want to test your child in early. Here’s the process that we went through. Each school district may be different so do your research! I would start planning at least a year ahead to prepare your child. Start researching schools and their policies and talk to other parents with kids in that school.

  1. I called the school district office in March to ask when they would be doing the early testing. The lady put me on the list and called me in April to schedule the test.

  2. Send in payment for the testing (if applicable). It was $30 in our district.

  3. The day of testing (in June), we checked in in the library and they had coloring sheets for the kids. Our group was mostly girls and one little boy. When it was time to go back, the teacher had them line up and go to a different room. They observed who separated well and who listened to directions.

My Daughter’s Review of What They Did in Testing (Varies by District)

  1. They were instructed to draw a circle and write their name inside the circle. Then, they had to place a sticker above their name and then cut out the circle.

  2. She said they did some practice with identifying letters, but didn’t fully explain.

  3. The teacher read them a book and I’m guessing that she was watching to see how they sit still and listen.

  4. Afterwards they colored a caterpillar and started to cut it out.

  5. She specifically told me that she listened when the teacher said to push in their chairs.

About a week and a half later we got the letter that she was accepted into Kindergarten! The teacher does evaluate each early entrance child at 30 days to determine if Kindergarten is a good fit.

Our district does a 3 day Kinder Camp type of program to get them used to the classroom setting. I highly recommend this if your district offers it! My daughter loved Kinder Camp! I feel this made her first day of real Kindergarten so much easier especially being a little fish in a big sea!

Meanwhile, I’m over here about to cry my eyes out because my baby moved from her wonderful Preschool into Kindergarten!

Jen Duncan AKA The New Build Ninja
(480) 707-7554

Jen Duncan, super MOMmy of one special little lady, fearlessly guiding local MOMs and Dads through the real estate process with extra ninja prowess in new construction.  SEARCH new homes here!

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up? A MOMs guide to returning to College as an Adult

 It’s a loaded question for many. I mean, in this group, we are all moms. So that means we sometimes lose our identity in the shuffle of caring for everyone else. Being a MOM is the most challenging yet rewarding adventure in the world! That being said, mommas still need their own identity. Finding what they love, where their passion is, and how they want to spend their time. So where do you start? How do you figure out what you want to be when you grow up?
Well it turns out that there are actually counselors who do just that! They talk with you, learn about you interests, needs and wants. Then work to partner with you to find a degree program to meet your personalized needs. So cool right! Best part is that some of these counselors have worked in the education industry for years and actually help you navigate to resources you may not have known about prior. So if you are considering finding yourself and what you want to do, get in touch with an experienced counselor today! 
That’s not all, did you know some school counselors help you with not only the figuring your life part out, but also with everything else. From figuring out your finances, scholarships, and other funding sources you may not be aware of. To preparing for success within your program. Heck the good ones even show you resources about what potential job outcomes you can earn with your degree, salary ranges, etc.
Sound like something you might be interested in? Contact your very own boss mom University Development Counselor today!
Important Questions When looking for a School
Modalities offered?
Class size?
Class length?
Cost per credit hour?
Support provided?
Resources available?
Scholarships available?
Cheri Ramo is an awesome College Counselor, doting military wife and ninja-MOM of three beautiful ladies!









AWESOME home for sale in Ahwatukee brought to you by! Here’s Katie Halle Lambert presenting this amazing opportunity on Cox Cable broadcasted in California and other parts of Arizona.  MORE INFO and PICS here

Top 5 Reasons Moms are loving Eastmark in Mesa

What’s all the buzz about Eastmark lately?  Oh nothing…it’s just one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the country consistently recognized as the #1 seller in Arizona.

That’s all great but why are Moms loving it?

1. The variety of homes offered at many different price points suits the needs of a wide range of families.  If you aren’t the new build type and need to move a little more quickly, there are several gorgeous gently used resale homes available. Check with The New Build Ninja for the list of specs available and get the best of both worlds, the brand spanking new home and the quick move-in!

2. The community feel is strong between neighbors.  There are many active Facebook social groups like Eastmark Moms, Eastmark Neighbors  and Eastmark Babysitters Group .  The beer club, gardening club and healthy life group brings those with similar passions even closer together.  The Eastmark Experience info page will keep you up to speed on the First Friday concerts, holiday events and all the other neighborhood happenings.

3. The amenities make life much more enjoyable and ridiculously convenient.  No mom wants to pack everything and everyone up just to drive several miles to the public pool or the park for fear of having to quickly pack up again and come home because someone had a meltdown or an accident.  Some of our favorite amenities are the 12 neighborhood parks, the splash pad, the Handlebar Diner, the Great Park, the Visitors Center with game room and the neighborhood pool.  The upcoming farm, lighted ball park and dog park are sure to be winners once they are complete.

4. The schools are very attractive and very close.  Queen Creek high school is coming to Eastmark in 2019.  Eastmark offers two of the country’s top-ranked charter schools. BASIS Mesa at Eastmark will be serving grades K-12 starting in 2019.  Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark is a STEAM-based elementary school that serves grades K-6.  The Learning Experience, serving the early education needs of children 6 weeks to 6 years, plans to open an Eastmark campus.  The public elementary school, Gateway Polytechnic, serves K-5.  There’s also a new Legacy Traditional School being built nearby that will be opening this year.

5. The commute is super reasonable.  These days anything affordable with the new home smell also comes with a 45 to 60 minute commute to the city depending on traffic. Eastmark is super close to the 202, the 24 and the 60.  It’s 30 mins to Phoenix Sky Harbor and 10 mins to Gateway Airport.  San Tan Village and all the shops and restaurants is 12 minutes away and Downtown Gilbert is only 18 mins away.

Got Eastmark questions?  Ask the New Build Ninja!

Jen Duncan (480) 707-7554

How do Local Schools Rank? Our Moms Tell All

Agh!  Schools!   For every new Mom it’s like swimming in an abyss of endless information.

I found myself fighting through the choices without much direction when deciding which school was best for my young son.  So, on Oct. 11, I polled our awesome group of Moms.  Here’s what they had to say when asked this question:

Tell me, tell me Ladies! Which school does your child attend? Do you love it or not so much? Tell us why!


“We are on the wait list at Pathfinder Academy in NE Mesa.  Our other option is the neighborhood public, Ishikawa Elementary, which has great reviews too.” – “Ishikawa in Mesa! Love it! I taught there for a year and now my son started kindergarten.” – “I taught at ishikawa and now my son goes there! Best school in the area and such a supportive staff/community.”

“My son goes to Fulton Elementary and we love it!”

“Summit Academy, it’s an IB school and we love it!”


“Sanborn Elementary and we love it so much! Wonderful teachers, awesome principal, very well-organized and lots of school functions!”

“My daughter goes to a Chandler CTA school. It’s public but it’s a Traditional Academy and so far, I’m impressed with the school.

“Greenfield Elementary and we love it!”

“Our 7-year-old is in 2nd grade at Higley Traditional Academy and we’re very impressed.”

“We started this year at Legacy Traditional in chandler. He is in kindergarten and our first to enter school. We absolutely love it!!”

“Franklin at Alma Public choice school (located within Dobson Ranch). We have been very happy with it. No uniform, but strict dress code.”

“Arizona School for the Arts. LOVE IT! We take our daughter to Phoenix everyday for it. She is really into performing arts and it’s an excellent academic school. She just started this year and she is thriving.”

“Eduprize in Queen Creek. So far I’m loving it.”

“Magma Ranch…. 2nd grade… absolutely love it… my 2nd grader is challenged and has straight A’s too!”

“Gilbert Elementary, my sons only in kindergarten but we love it! We have a giant history with the school, me, my brother, and my cousins all went there and my aunt use to work there so he’s been around the school since he was a baby.”

Canyon Rim Eementary 4th grade. I absolutely LOVE the school from every aspect! We just had our daughter evaluated last year and dx was ASD/ADHD. The IEP team is amazing, they are so caring.”

Kyrene has many fans!

“Kyrene Monte Vista. I love it. We looked long and hard for the perfect school, and then found a house in zone of it. It was so worth it!!” – “I love that school. I went there too” – “My eldest grew up in Kyrene district (de la Sierra) and we loved everything about all the schools in that area!”- “We’re at Cielo and I freakin love it. We’re out of district. And there is no comparison to our assigned school.” – “Kyrene Traditional Academy. We love it! We toured several schools and were planning on sending her to our neighborhood school but last May I decided to tour KTA. We love their emphasis on phonics and handwriting. My daughter has done really well so far.” – “My kid goes to Kyrene de la Mirada.  I like Mirada because they are used to kids on the spectrum and a gifted school.”

We had several Moms with great things to say about Montessori Schools: 

“Desert Shadows Montessori. Both my boys love it!” –  “Montessori House charter school in Mesa. It’s the closest thing to home schooling & I love the Montessori methods!” – “Adobe Montessori in Chandler!  We knew it was the one the second we walked in.  The Montessori method really makes sense to us and our son is learning more quickly than we imagined.  It’s amazing and he loves it which is the most important thing!” 

There were a few daycares / preschools that were mentioned:

“We had our children at Sun Valley Preschool and really enjoyed it. Guadalupe & 101 area.” – “My 4 year-old started Preschool at Oak Tree Elementary she loves it so much. I don’t have a true opinion of the school yet because it’s still so new.” – “Bright Horizons Day Care. It’s expensive but absolutely worth it. His teachers are involved, loving, dedicated, and he is really blossoming there. He’s learning Spanish and their art program is amazing. He’s been there since he was 6 weeks old and I have nothing but great things to say about them.” – “Sugar Britches Learning Center and they are amazing! Thanks to them my speech delayed cutie is catching up so fast! I can’t say enough good things about them and I’m pretty hard to please lol!”

I realized there are several homeschoolers in our group.  Some of our Moms had this to say:

I have 5 kids and one on the way. 4 are homeschooled right now. I don’t do co-ops because I find it too hard to be gone all day doing that. They have an art class Monday mornings for an hour but otherwise I do it all myself.”  

“Homeschooled and we all love it!”

Thanks for the input MOM nation!!!