Academic Redshirting: Parental Decisions
Redshirting happens all the time in college, when athletes are benched for a year so they can "mature." But is it necessary for a four- or five-year-old? Find out what you need to know about redshirting.
What You Need to Know
Redshirting has become a popular strategy for children whose birthdays are so close to the cut-off dates for entering kindergarten that they may be the youngest in their class. As a parent, you may consider redshirting your child if you’re concerned that he’s not physically, mentally, or intellectually ready for kindergarten. While it isn’t a bad thing to hold your child back a year, make sure to consider the pros and cons.
Before making the decision to redshirt your child, consider these statistics:
- Academic redshirting occurs at the rate of about 9% per year among kindergarten-age children.
- Boys are more often redshirted than girls, and children born in the latter half of the year are more likely to be redshirted than those born earlier.
- In a national survey, teachers indicated that 48% of their students were not ready for the current kindergarten curriculum.
- High percentages of teachers indicated that half of their students lacked important skills, including "following directions" (46%), "academic skills" (36%), and the ability to "work independently" (34%).
In the short term, redshirting a child may:
- Raise the child's academic achievement (math, reading, general knowledge) and conduct on par with or above that of younger classmates
- Increases the child's confidence in social interactions and popularity among classmates
- Add to the normal mix of ages and abilities within the classroom
- Give the child an unfair advantage over younger classmates in size and in psychomotor and social skills.
In the long term, redshirting a child may:
- Cause the child to display more behavioral problems than their classmates in later years.
- Result in a child with special needs being misdiagnosed as immature, and delay direct intervention.
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