My summer baby started Kindergarten when the cutoff was December 31. I recall that I didn’t give a huge amount of thought to whether I should send her or not. If I was sending her to Kindergarten now, I would explore the concept of “redshirting.”
I thought about redshirting. Back in 2003, the whole redshirting thing wasn’t on my radar. Plus, most of the preschools in my community (it’s semirural) do not have a PreK program. Most preschools near me only have programs for 4s. These programs are not as rigorous as traditional PreK programs and tend to meet only 3 mornings or afternoons a week. The benefit of redshirting your child is that your child is one of the older and more mature Kindergarteners after the extra year of preschool.
The options for schools with PreKs were over a 30-minute drive from my home. I had an infant at the time and it was awfully tempting to have my K and 2nd grader hop on the same bus to school. My kid was in morning K so I felt that she had time to decompress in the afternoons as well as do at-home learning, library storytimes, play dates, and nature center outings. She loved Kindergarten. She found the joy of reading. Became adept at counting, sorting, and patterns. Loved riding the school bus.
Did you redshirt your child? Why? Why not?
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I did redshirt my oldest. They were in the process of changing the date and backed up up 30 days/year, and for her year she made the cutoff by only 3 days. Not only that, the same year they were changing from 1/2 day kindergarten to full day kindergarten in her school, but the preschools hadn’t caught up yet. I had a toddler and a newborn at the time, and sending her was tempting, but she would have gone from going to preschool 2.5 hours a day for three days a week to going to kindergarten all day every day. She just wasn’t ready. We sent her to an accredited kindergarten in her church preschool for 1/2 days, then did kindergarten full day the following year. It was the right decision – she is a middle schooler now, is an excellent, driven academic student, and has the maturity to better handle the social issues of middle school. Two of my other three kids have fall birthdays but ended up not being able to start until they were almost six, and it has been the right decision for them, too. Especially here (in Montgomery County) where everything is so driven and competitive, we feel like they have more than enough time for school stress to intrude, so they can be kids for a little bit longer.
I’m curious as to why you would consider redshirting. Although I realize it’s certainly been a popular trend, all of the new research that seems to be coming out – EXCEPT AS IT RELATES TO SPORTS – is pointing to redshirting being a poor long-term strategy. So…why would you do it?
I think redshirting depends on the kid. I remember many incidents in 3rd grade where old-for-3rd graders who had been redshirted were just horrible to other kids. Quite mean-spirited. Much of what they said went over the heads of the other students, but I recall hearing about it from my kid and I was horrified. In this case being old for the grade resulted in bullying and the like. Luckily the teacher was on top of things.