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Posts Tagged ‘kindergarten’

Kindergarten “red-shirting:” What about summer birthdays?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

It’s that time of year when parents are facing a tough decision: another year of preschool for their child with a summer birthday? Or send them to kindergarten as one of the youngest in the class?

We faced this very decision in our family. Twice. Molly’s birthday is August 13; Anna’s is July 2. Two summer babies, two very different children. I’ve blogged about this before, actually twice!, and those posts have generated many comments. Clearly we weren’t alone in our worrying.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently carried a story Kindergartners “Redshirted” to Gain Edge, in which Harvard researchers suggest that red shirting (1) increases the potential for high school drop outs and (2) threatens depressed lifetime earnings because the student’s entry into the labor market is reduced by a year. Pretty grim stuff!

Are you facing this decision? I wish I had an easy answer for you. We waited with one, and sent the other. In both cases, I’m pretty sure we made the right decision. But our decisions weren’t based on my background as a teacher or reading specialist, a Harvard study or any other panel report. It really came down to our parental instincts about each girl.

As an educator and as a mother, I would recommend waiting if you’ve got a child who isn’t ready academically, socially, or emotionally. It’s a fast-paced world, and I don’t see the need to rush into it. Kindergarten is a much different place than it was 10 years ago.

I’m going to talk about this our school’s principal and some of the kindergarten teachers soon, and I’ll let you know their opinions too. But for those facing this decision now, what are your thoughts?