Knowing When to Begin Kindergarten in the Redshirting Trend

Parents are delaying kindergarten registration for their children by an increasing number of years. Is it better to get out of bed late and get a head start?

In college football, “redshirting” is a phrase that refers to freshmen who participate in practice but are not allowed to play in games. A 2006 research by the University of California at Santa Barbara sparked the idea of redshirting toddlers.

In math and science, students who are the oldest in their grade have an advantage over their younger peers, with a 4–13% increase in test scores. The achievement gap narrows over time, but it doesn’t disappear because the abilities learned in the early grades are necessary for subsequent education as well.

More than double the percentage of eighth-graders who went on to a four-year college or university were those who were the oldest in their class, a difference of 2 to 9 percent.

Boys, who are typically less mature than girls at the age of 5, and youngsters born in the latter half of each year, have been particularly influenced by these effects. Over the course of the last 40 years, the percentage of kindergarteners over the age of 5 has increased from 5.4 percent to 17 percent.

National Bureau of Economic Research data shows that redshirting is responsible for the majority of the increase in the number of students participating in college sports. In most states, children must be at least five years old by the end of the calendar year before they can enroll in kindergarten.

“Redshirting” your kid is a bad idea.

Delayed school entry is a practical solution for parents like Bonawandt who don’t like the way the elementary-education system has changed. School districts are now subject to a higher standard for student achievement in reading and math because of the No Child Left Behind Act passed in 2001. As a result, many school districts have lowered the grade level of kindergarten in an effort to improve test scores.

However, the impact of redshirting as a leveler of ages may be exaggerated. Children’s projected academic success is more closely tied to the socioeconomic level of their family and their readiness for kindergarten than their chronological age.

Is your child ready to start school or does he/she require an extra year? Here are some hints from the pros.

Keep a tight eye on her.

Observe your child’s behavior and development before selecting whether or not to enroll her. As a parent, trying to get to know your child better is the most important thing you can do. It may seem obvious, but it’s difficult to objectively evaluate your child’s ability. You may remember how excited you were to begin school as a youngster, so it’s only natural that you want your child will feel the same way.

It’s possible that, during the first few weeks of kindergarten, you grieved every day for fear that your child would be forced to relive that painful experience. When it comes to the cost of another year in pre-school, you may be worried about holding her back.

It’s up to you to give all of your attention to your child’s schoolwork, no matter what else is going on at home. This isn’t just about her ability to read and write, but also her ability to get along with her peers. Ask her preschool teacher if she plays well with others and is able to iron out her own conflicts.

Take a look at the kindergartens in your area.

Cutoff dates for schools can alter from year to year, ranging from August 1 in Indiana to September 30 in the District of Columbia (visit Superpages.com to find yours). In kindergarten classrooms, the personalities of the teachers and pupils might differ greatly, even within the same school or district. The personality traits of teachers also have a significant role in shaping the classroom atmosphere. While one teacher may favor traditional methods of instruction, such as a lot of repetition, another may place a higher value on free thinking and coming up with original solutions to problems.

Accept the fact that there is no single answer.

Try not to worry too much about the consequences of your child’s starting school at the wrong time, even though it may seem like a big deal. Take a step back and look for an answer instead of looking for a solution.

Your child’s academic career does not finish with kindergarten; rather, it is just getting started. When she starts school, your support will be crucial to her success. When it comes to parent-teacher conferences, don’t wait. Make regular phone calls to her teacher to find out how she’s doing and what you can do at home to assist her. Invite students to help out by volunteering to assist in the classroom or other special projects.

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