I had been telling myself for weeks to be patient with the public schools, reminding myself that in good time they'd come to see Z's abilities and provide her with some extra enrichment. It turns out I didn't have to be patient -- Z's teacher was nothing short of amazing. It is thanks to her that the G & T teacher was brought in early and a social worker evaluated her social and emotional readiness. She even spoke with the principal, selected the 1st grade class she thought would be best for Z and spoke with that teacher about her new student. She let Z get in her (much-anticipated) turn as class helper today and told me they'll have a little send-off celebration for her on Tuesday. Wednesday will be her first day in 1st grade.
Thanks to everyone who commented on my original post; your thoughts were very much on my mind this week as we deliberated our options. I also read my friend Kim's post Parenting Gifted Children: Do Kindergarten Students that Start Ahead Fall Behind and contributed to a discussion of redshirting on Ask Moxie (since redshirted classmates will be 2 years older than my child).
In the end, however, our instincts lined up with the recommendation of the school. They've only skipped 3 kids in 8 years, so this isn't a decision they take lightly. And while even 1st grade will probably come easily to Z, she's now very much on the radar of the G & T program and I feel pretty confident they'll keep her challenged and engaged.