Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Redshirting Kindergarten

Holding Kids Back from Kindergarten: How Redshirting Hurts - The Daily Beast:


Holding back kids so they'll enter kindergarten at the ripe old age of six has become such a common practice there's even a term for it: redshirting, a word borrowed from the sports world where an athlete sits out a year or more in order to lengthen eligibility. It's an apt metaphor. Not only are pre-schoolers grabbing an extra year to brush up on their ABCs, they're also gaining a year of growing time, which many parents believe bestows all sorts of future advantages—mainly for boys.
So, yeah, everyone who read Gladwell's Outliers, or reached the same conclusion independently. My kids, because of the birthday, will be among the youngest in the kindergarten class. For that reason, we've discussed waiting another year for kindergarten, so they wouldn't face the risk of being measured against older kids and possibly relegated to an underperforming  group within their class where they might not receive the same praise and attention.

We've decided not to go that route. Not because we think they wouldn't get an advantage, but because we think they'll be fine. I was the youngest or next-to-youngest kid in my class in elementary school, but I picked up reading early and always scored on the 99th percentile of any standardized test, so I never faced those issues. (Socially, would I have benefited from being more mature in the early grades? A case could be made.) My kids are miles ahead of where I was socially at their age, and I think they'll do fine with kindergarten curriculum. (Pre-school conferences are coming up, so hoping we'll find their teachers share the assessment.)

That said, I totally understand the desire to redshirt. It may not be an advantage if everybody is doing it, but it sure likes like a disadvantage if you're the only one who's not.

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