Red-Shirting Kindergarteners


Red- Shirting Kindergarteners


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

If you are a sports fan, you may be familiar with the term, “redshirting”. In college football, it represents the practice of keeping an athlete out of the competition for a year in order to further develop the athlete’s skills and extend his eligibility period.

When I was an elementary principal, I often conferred with parents who wanted to delay, for one year, sending their eligible kindergartener to school. With few exceptions, I usually agreed that it would be to the child’s advantage to become one year older before entering kindergarten.

What are the advantages?

Redshirting has particular advantages for a kindergartener. It usually contributes to the maturation process both academically and socially. This practice has been fortified by school districts on a national scale that changed their kindergarten eligibility dates from turning five years old before December first to turning five years old before September first. According to research, the distinct advantages are:

Being older translates to better performance in school socially and academically.
Reduces the possibility of being retained.
Increases the odds of graduating from college
According to Chris Karbownik, an economist at Northwestern University, “It does seem to be the case that the effects of redshirting persist, at least, into young adulthood and manifest outcomes that are relevant for the labor market.”( I think that means getting a decent job)

To do or not to do; that is the question

It seems clear-cut, a piece of cake, or no biggie but, it isn’t. To redshirt or not to redshirt still requires thoughtful consideration. First, no one knows their child as well as parents do. But sometimes parents lose their objectivity about their child’s skills, especially social and emotional skills. “My child can read the Wall Street Journal” claims one mother. Excellent, but can she sit still long enough to complete a task? Can she follow directions? And does she get along with others?

If you are considering redshirting, talk to education professionals you trust and read Chapter 7 in my latest parenting book, Family Pledge: Raising Life-long Learners and Good Citizens.

Dr. Casale is a state and national award-winning educator and the author of the highly praised book published by Skyhorse Publishing, “Wise Up and Be the Solution: How to create a culture of learning at home and guide your child to succeed in school and life.” It is available at bookstores and online. His second parenting book, “Family Pledge; Raising life-long learners and good citizens”, will be available soon.

He is available as a speaker.

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