apricot / 343 posts
I'll bite...wow, I didn't realize how many people were against it! I live in a rural-ish, high poverty area, so people don't redshirt here much--they need the free childcare that kindergarten affords, frankly. BUT I always thought people did it for social maturity reasons, especially for boys, and I get that. I have 4.5 yo twin boys and they are socially in very different places; luckily, their birthdays aren't anywhere near the cutoff. They will start kinder next year at 5.5. This year, at 4.5, one wouldn't have been ready for kinder, no way, no how. I myself was one day after the cutoff way back when, and I don't feel at all that I suffered for it! Can't say I gained any great athletic advantage, wasn't bored, etc. I loved school and was lucky enough to have teachers who always challenged me if I was a bit ahead.
Anyway, for all the comments on here about how teachers might know your child better...I do think parents have some advantage on knowing the social maturity of their kid. The teacher sees him/her in one setting; you know how your kid reacts to new environments, the exhaustion of a new school year, groups of kids, etc. So if you think your kid could benefit from waiting a year, why not? The judgmental stuff bugs me. If you have the means to keep your kid out of kinder and you believe you have legitimate reasoning, be my guest!
wonderful pomelo / 30692 posts
Do people not repeat kindergarten anymore?? When my brother started, he was born right around the cutoff, so he was the youngest in his kindergarten class. After, the teachers thought he could benefit from another year of kindergarten, so he just repeated it and was one of the oldest kids. So parents sent their kids to school on time and then just repeated K if necessary!
I'd never heard of redshirting outside of Hellobee (except in Star Trek terms - redshirts are doomed to be killed off!). I don't think people do it here. But our district cut-off is September 30th. My November baby will be one of the oldest in his class. My February baby will be in the middle.
nectarine / 2951 posts
@Adira: No... at least in NY very few kids are ever held back anymore. With differentiation, teachers are expected to teach children of all abilities.
My DS1 had a late Aug bday and the cut off in our town is Dec 1. He'll be going to Kindergarten 2weeks after he turns 5. I'm not going to redshirt unless his preK teacher recommends it (and I doubt she will), plus we don't want to pay for another year of preK. I'm very much looking forward to NOT having 2 kids in daycare....(10 months to go!)
I teach middle school in a high performing district and it is common to redshirt boys with birthdays within a month or so of the cutoff. Some of these boys are very strong academically, others still perform on the average level. These families could afford this, so yes it seems red shirting is a privledge of upper socioeconomic classes.
nectarine / 2280 posts
I'm in NYC and didn't realize there were so many different cutoffs across the country. I like the Dec. 31st cutoff here. It's simple. All kids born in a certain year are in the same class. I'd be ticked if I had to hold back my Oct. baby for a whole year.
I don't think you can hold kids back here unless you put them in a private school. Some of the private schools have summer cutoffs.
I also think the red shirting and more academic kindergarten programs feed into each other to create a problematic cycle.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
@Adira: Repeating K was a solution in my elementary school too for kids with speech delays or needed more help academically.
grapefruit / 4321 posts
@Adira: I grew up in Mass like you and when I was a kid we had a grade called "Readiness". It was between Kindergarten and 1st grade and some kids went and some kids didn't based on how they adjusted to Kindergarten. K was half day, 1st was full day, and Readiness was 2 half days and 3 full days. It seems like a great solution for kids who need a little extra time to be ready for 1st grade, and they have a whole year of school to make that determination vs. a parent just making a decision that their kid isn't ready to start K on time. I've heard though that they have eliminated Readiness because it created a stigma for the kids who had to go.
eggplant / 11706 posts
@Truth Bombs: Do you remember the date cutoff for that time?
pomelo / 5298 posts
Yes to so many comments that have already been said here. I think there should be more rigor around the process of redshirting and I don't think parents should be the sole decision makers. Teachers and administrators are experts in their fields and should know more about development and education than us non-educator parents. And let's face it, parents come with pretty significant bias about their children.
I have a daughter with a later August birthday and we have a 9/1 cutoff. It was never a consideration to redshirt her. She is behind emotionally. It is a problem for her in school. But she will catch up, her teachers have told me to expect her to level off emotionally (or catch up) in second grade.
My other daughter has a November birthday. She will be one of the older kids in her class when she gets there. I wish we had an option to test in early, as I would at least entertain the process for her and accept the outcome of the testing. But unfortunately, we don't have that option at all in our district.
Sure, Kinder is more academic than back in my day, but I don't necessarily view it as a bad thing. They still get plenty of carpet time and learning through play type activities. It's not all sitting at a desk with a pencil in hand.
@Anagram: Sept 1st
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
@Adira: I think a lot of parents mistakenly assume that there is an option just to repeat K, but given the state of the school budgets, districts really discourage it because they don't have the ability to really spend more than they have allotted for a child. It's unfortunate, but school funding is a problem in a lot of states.
I also think it creates a lot of stress on a child to repeat a year, all your friends are moving on and you're staying behind...I would rather start late than have a child go through that.
After reading all of the replies, I'm really getting on board with a national cut off date, and maybe some standardization of what Kindergarten is supposed to be.
If some states (NY, for example) have DEC 31 cut off dates, and they have 4 months of fall birthdays where kids will be 4 when starting K---then the state needs to either redefine what K is, or change the cut off dates so that kids need to be 5 when starting school. The current system seems to be setting up a difficult dynamic for both parents and teachers where many 4 year olds aren't ready for K. Undoubtedly, this is also going to create problems based on socioeconomics. People who can't afford another year of pre-k (and let's be honest, those families are less likely to have ever done any type of preschool) will continue starting their kids on time, whether or not they are ready. Whereas higher income, better educated parents may increasingly begin to choose to redshirt their kids. This is going to cause a huge divide between the oldest redshirted kids (who probably have socioeconomic advantages) and the the youngest kids who started on time and are at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale.
It just seems like a huge mess in the making.
@katsupgirl: I have a really hard time with the idea that two kids born in Jan and Dec of the same year are on the same developmental level. It's a full 12 months difference, which is why I actually prefer if we did mixed level/ability classes. I think you get this no matter what kind of cut off you do, though, so maybe the right solution involves going by ability rather than age.
I do think that all kids benefit from being in a mixed ability class. Let's face it, as adults, we have to deal with a population of mixed ability people all the time.
coconut / 8430 posts
My daughter has a late August birthday and the cutoff here is Sept 1 so she will be one of the youngest in her class. She's also very petite so she will also be one of the smallest!
I wish fewer people would redshirt and that there were more requirements other than the parents making that decision since it impacts the rest of the class too!
I worry about bullying and whether or not my daughter will be able to hold her own with kids who are a foot taller and 12-15 months older.
honeydew / 7444 posts
There should definitely be more rules. Have a national cutoff. We have this issue in Canada too - some provinces have a Dec 31 cutoff, others have this stupid Mar 31 cutoff (of the following year). In my opinion, if parents hold their kid back from entering kindergarten on time, they should have to enter the grade appropriate to their age group. The redshirting option should only be given if the birthday falls within 1 month of the cutoff.
Studies show that redshirting is a disadvantage for kids who are academically advanced/gifted or high achieving, but there is so much attention on the so-called benefits of holding back your kid that it scares parents (thanks, Malcolm Gladwell). Younger kids actually have much larger gains by learning with older kids.
I'm not familiar with US G&T programs, but i wonder how testing/entry works - how would they compare the results with a redshirted kid vs a non-redshirted kid, but competing for the same classroom spot?
A big problem is that you have more wealthy families redshirting their kids, and it's usually not for academic reasons. This only creates a bigger disadvantage for poor students who may not have had the luxuries of a strong preschool program.
@Anagram: I would only be in favor of a national cutoff if it was dec 31st. Maybe it's just me being comfortable with the system I know.
@looch: they probably are on different levels but with that cutoff 12 months is the largest gap. With some of the other cutoffs + red shirting the gap is much greater.
@sunny: Mine is petite too - we went to a 4 year old's birthday party last week, and he is bigger than her!!
@Freckles: they don't really redshirt in NYC but for the G&T they adjust scores based on what month the child is born. They test them in January.
cherry / 109 posts
I have all the thoughts about this. We live in the south in a very high redshirt area. It's a well off area so parents do hold their kids back just to have them home longer. Cut off is August 15 and I'd say it's common to hold back from May on, I actually know someone who held back from December of the previous year! My oldest son was an October baby and therefore on the older side. My youngest is July 25 and just turned 5 when we sent him this year. He is the youngest in his class. We sent him for a variety of reasons- he's smart academically, he behaves better with older kids, it's a financial strain to put him in another year of daycare, we wanted both kids in the same school., etc...
His behavior/ maturity is completely appropriate for a child his age, but since half the class is at least a year older than him his maturity is NOT at their level. Therefore he is struggling with behavior in kindergarten. They expect so much of kids in K now. And it's not academics its behavior-wise. It's hard for a newly five to be attentive for as long as is required. And it's impossible for them to act like a 6 year old in this regard.
I am very thankfully we have an older teacher who has seen it all. And has watched kindergarten evolve herself and assures us his behavior is completely appropriate for his age (even though not at the level of his peers) and that all the "problems" he is having now he will grow/age out of. But I do wish parents wouldn't hold their kids back a year because they feel like or because of maturity. (Because typical five year olds AREN'T mature.)
blogger / wonderful cherry / 21628 posts
My second daughter was born on August 19th. She is a month old and I have already been told by a handful of people that I should redshirt her. 🙄 I'm not a fan of it in general.
@Truth Bombs: my husband did something like readiness in Louisiana called Primer. He was born at the end of July and after K his mom knew he wasn't ready to move to first. It worked out great for him because even as the oldest in his grade he was still the smallest and he was picked on for it. It would have been worse if he was with older kids. He didn't get tall or "fill out" until college. Having an option like that still would be nice.
pear / 1849 posts
Redshirting keeps me up at night these days I have a mid-September boy with a district cut off of October 1, but parents have recreated a June/July (often earlier) cut off themselves. So much so that the principal of what will be his elementary school said she literally cannot remember the last time she had a September boy start "on time." Well then why is there even a cut off?! We have him in private K at daycare this year, since that was the next step after finishing pre-K, but he will likely repeat K again next year when he enters the public school. So technically we'll be "redshirting" him, but I sorta feel like we're left no choice when it's so common here. I'm against it in principal, but also feel like it's not fair to my son to have to be the trailblazer with kids 1-1.5 years older than him. It's so stressful!
pomelo / 5866 posts
I didn't really think about it the way most have. My daughter was old enough to start and so she started kindergarten. Chips fall where they may. I let the professionals handle it. I am pro-formal education and saw no issues that concerned me. Barring obvious major issues, I would just send children as early as allowed. If they stay back another year, so be it. At least they will be that much stronger the second year. If a child is struggling (regardless the cause of issue) parents may have to support a bit more at times but the child and teacher will work it out as well.
As a teacher, I would love to teach kids grouped based on similar ability/skill mastery. But sadly, it just isn't that way and I will keep making subgroups upon subgroups within my class.
olive / 60 posts
@SeptMomma12: yes! I feel like red shirting has become so common that there is pressure to do so when your child is close to the cutoff, and then that leads to even more redefining of what is "close", exaberating the problem even more.
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
@Adira: In our area, a lot of the public schools offer what's called Transitional Kindergarten. Its meant to address children who are in that cut-off deadzone where they are born later in the year. From my understanding, most of the TK programs around us are half day, but I guess you can add aftercare. I'm glad its an option for the public, but at the same time, I think it sorta encourages redshirting.
Ultimately, I really do think it comes down to parental choice, but I honestly don't get the whole "later in life" arguments for it on either side. I know one person who redshirted their late summer child because they were tall. Like, they just felt like their kid would get disciplined more because they were emotionally on the younger side of the class, but because they APPEARED bigger/taller, they would get dinged. Another family I know redshirted their son because, among other reasons, their kid would have a license sooner than his peers in high school and it would make him cooler and have a better dating/social life? And growing up, I know parents wanted their kids in school EARLY because they would graduate earlier and go to college earlier and get jobs earlier and they would be "ahead of the pack."
I don't know, perhaps its because for our family is currently heavily against redshirting our oldest son that I don't understand doing it as much. My husband and I are on-time kiddos but we were both in gifted education programs and we still often unchallenged in school - particularly my husband. He was in the best public school system in his area and he said he didn't feel challenged or interested in school until high school because he was so bored. And it came out in behavioral issues and mischief. To combat that, his parents put him in a zillion sports and extracurricular activities to try and just physically tire him out and while that worked to a certain extent, he said he knows that 1) he was a lot of trouble for his parents and grandparents and 2) he feels there were a lot of missed opportunities for him in terms of learning. And so one thing my husband and I are really adamant about is that our kids not be bored and to develop a genuine love of learning.
When I explained TK to my husband, he rolled his eyes and he was like "So he'd do kinder twice?! I can't imagine something so boring - he's going to be the most annoying kid in class when he's actually in kinder because he did everything already." But EVERYONE I know has been telling me to hold back my oldest because "the decision has technically already been made for you" in terms of public school and because of all the "later in life" arguments. When I counter that our second son, who is 20 months behind DS1 and a May birthday would then only be a year behind him in school, I've actually had people tell me to redshirt the baby too! I was like ummmmm, no.
nectarine / 2054 posts
I really like the rules in NYC, actually. For public K, there is no redshirting allowed. If your kid was born in 2012, they have just started kindergarten. If you decide to skip kindergarten and do another year of (I suppose private) pre-k, you'll need to enroll them in 1st grade next year. This means that the age range of the kids is limited to those born within the calendar year - there is no 18-month age range - no older kids that have been held back a year. The teachers are prepared to teach to a class that is a mix of mostly 5 year olds and some 4.75 year olds.
Personally, my son turns 5 in late October, and I'm very glad he's in K this year. He's been in preschool/pre-K for 3 years already, and is more than ready for kindergarten, even though he'll be among the youngest in the class. But I expect there will be a range of abilities, maturities etc. in the class, and the teacher is prepared for that.
pear / 1616 posts
@gingerbebe: My daughter just started TK. it has been AMAZING! i had alot of concerns that you mentioned, but once we started, i've been really thankful for this transitional year! the difference between preschool and elementary school is huge. they get babied alot more in preschool, which i see more now, where as elementary school they have to learn to do alot of things by themselves and the school is just massively bigger. so this transitional year has been great because she gets a taste of that, but they still get more help with learning how to be independent. academically, at our school at least, they cater to the kids needs. so she won't be repeating everything again in K, but they will work with her and her skill level to keep pushing her forward. i heard alot of kids at our school end up reading chapter books after tk! maybe it depends on the school but i'm all for TK now!
having said that, my son who is younger falls into the possible redshirting month (aug) but i do not plan to hold him back to TK. He is alot more socially confident and i know he will do fine going straight to K, where as my daughter needed this extra year to adjust. so i definitely think it depends on the kid, and i would not hold my kid back just for him to "get ahead" but if he was socially or academically behind i would consider it for sure.
When I was in kinder, I was the cutoff baby by a day. The teacher scared the daylights out of me on the first day of school due to a communication issue and I became very timid. She conferenced to hold me another year because of social immaturity but my mom advocated at the end of the year to send me ahead, despite the teacher's opinion, as I was very advanced academically, even before kinder started. I definitely wasn't academically challenged as I was, so I am very grateful it was a parent/teacher decision and not just one sided. Although I was immature compared to my peers. I don't think keeping me back for the social/maturity side would have addressed the problem.
apricot / 264 posts
I do think there should be the same cutoff date across the country. I just don't like how it varies so much!
As a child I was one of the youngest in the class (october Birthday and December was the cutoff), and I hated it! I didn't struggle academically but I just hated being the youngest.
When it was time to make the decision for my son who was born 11 days before the cut off, we went ahead and enrolled him. He was mature enough and has not suffered academically or socially at this point. His teacher last year did notice that in certain instances (like change), she could tell he was younger but overall it wasn't an issue.
I don't think parents are objective enough to make that decision. I think educators are more knowledgeable on the subject to make that call. My sister is a preK teacher and sees parents who are totally oblivious to their kid's strength and weaknesses.
@kodybear: Yeah, I think there are totally valid reasons for TK and even for redshirting if your kid just really needs it in the present - but most of the down the line arguments just seem so squishy to me. Perhaps its because my husband is a college professor and he's got some strong opinions about academic success in college (basically he doesn't think any of the redshirting reasons really add up outside the VERY elite Ivy League level arenas where things are crazy anyway). I know lots of people who did TK and loved it, so I'm not knocking it AT ALL. Especially if you're leaping from a private daycare/preschool to a big public school, I think its fantastic and totally useful as a transition tool to school.
But that's what I'm saying - like the parent knows their kid best, but HOPEFULLY parents are humble/smart enough to get input from the professionals to get good advice on when to start.
nectarine / 2085 posts
@Anagram (and anyone else who has suggested a national cut-off who wants to weigh in): I'm curious what a nation-wide cut-off date would accomplish or how it would fix the problem?
Is there really a big problem with children moving after K and having an even bigger age gap in classrooms? I assume that most kids spend their K-12 years in one or maybe 2-3 systems (and the moves are probably spread out, so they're not all occurring right after K), so I am not clear on why would it matter much if Rhode Island has the same date as Wyoming.
@gingerbebe: well, and there's also a lot of data that shows that the benefits of redshirting even out around middle school. So it makes sense that your husband wouldn't see any difference as a college professor.
@gingerbebe: Yeah i agree. i really do think that kids that don't fall in the TK months should have some sort of assessment first, versus just letting them redshirt. However, our school is impacted, so some kids ended up in TK by default because K was full! it totally sucks esp if the kid would be fine in K but it sets them back a whole year in life. we definitely live in an area though where parents want their kids to be the best in their year, so they redshirt, which i think is annoying.
It is hard for me that the decision to redshirt is based on such subjective criteria. Like..."emotional readiness". "social readiness". And that's making a really big leap that children will act the same at home as they do at school (And that isn't always the case).
Even recently, I found myself in a position of being surprised by what my kiddo is capable of. Of course, as a mother, I feel like I know my kids best. I feel like my oldest has proven to be very adaptive in general and that my youngest is very slow to warm up to new situations. DD2 recently started daycare for the first time and drop offs/pick ups were a nightmare. She was totally distraught. Although the teachers assured me she would adjust, I totally thought "They don't know MY kid", and honestly, after only the 1st week, my husband and I were already discussing if we should pull her and keep a nanny for another year. I know *some* parents would have already given up on daycare. I also know some kids really *are* terrible with transitions and there have been stories here on HB of kids who cried at drop off for an entire year. I really thought DD2 would be in the category. At home, she's so stubborn and set in her ways.
Then this week, I was proven wrong. On day 9 of her new daycare, she stopped crying. So my "stubborn" and "not adaptive" kid is really just average in that area, not particularly slow to adapt or whatever. The point is that---I didn't really know my daughter and her capabilities. She proved me wrong! In my head, I was thinking "she's not ready for daycare". But she's fine.
It's just such a subjective decision, the way it is now, where parents basically get to decide on their own with no input.
@Anagram: My point is that a lot of parents (for boys mostly) give me reasons for redshirting that are supposed to come into play in high school and college (like being ready for more advanced college prep classes, sports, girlfriends, or when they get their drivers' license, being an experienced driver by the time college rolls around) and my husband is like ???? He's literally like what does that have to do with the price of chicken unless your kid is going to be a D1 athlete or a top flight student at a elite college? And girlfriends/cars, who cares!? (Obviously my husband has no shortage of strong opinions )
nectarine / 2821 posts
@gingerbebe: I think TK is awesome! Especially for people who can barely afford preschool. Also I am confused, when you talk about redshirting your son, do you mean if he went to a public school and he would have to wait until he was 5? That's not redshirting. That's the rule of when he can start.
@mrsbubbletea: i think shes referring to kids whose birthday doesn't fall in the Sept-Dec months for TK. Those with birthdays from June-Aug have an option to send their kids to TK instead of K if theres room, so they would be effectively redshirting them. btw, love your user name, boba is one of my fav things in life
@mrsbubbletea: I call it redshirting because the cutoff is September 1 and he's a September 6th birthday. Like, I get he would be going to school "on time" if we put him in public school, but to me it would be like holding him back an entire year of school because of a 5 day difference. It seems absurd to me that he would have to wait when I felt at 4 years, 359 days old, he was ready.
And I have no problem whatsoever waiting if he needs it. We honestly, for a long time I thought he WOULD need to wait because he had a speech delay. But his teachers have been telling me that while his expressive speech in terms of speaking in sentences is a little behind his peers, its still totally within normal range. And more significantly, they keep telling me he's very "academically motivated." Which is laughable to hear when describing a toddler, but basically he REALLY likes to learn new concepts and he has a ridiculous recall memory. I mean, they use very polite ways to describe him, but basically, he's the really annoying kid who shouts out the answers to things all. day. long. and they have to find creative ways to let the other kids get a word in edgewise. That's why they asked us to let him move him up to the next class early. The thought of not having that type of flexibility and collaboration with my teachers when it came to kinder because of a 5 days was just super frustrating to me.
We are planning on sending our son to private school for a myriad of reasons, but the ability to have more control over when to start kinder and having a school that would do individual readiness assessments just made a lot more sense to me.
pomelo / 5524 posts
I have some mixed feelings about this. I'm a mid-September birthday, and I was sent when I was 4 turning 5. I was the youngest in my class and did well for myself, but I was definitely socially awkward. My older brother was a January birthday and he didn't turn 5 until January. My mom sent him to school and he was definitely NOT ready. She's on me for not sending my oldest son to kindergarten this year.
My boys are both late September birthdays with the cutoff in PA being September 1st. Though I could test them in, I'm happy letting the district sort of decide this for us. My oldest will be one of the older kids in his class, but redshirting is common here. I also look at the kindergarten curriculum, and it isn't the same as when I was in kindergarten. Kids in my area are expected to be where I was at a 1st grade level when I was in school. So I think the boys having September birthdays are to our advantage. Technically we aren't redshirting since they miss the cutoff, but I think our oldest needed the extra year socially. We'll see what comes when our youngest is in that position.
coconut / 8472 posts
I'm not a teacher and I'm not around kids every day other than my own. So I have no idea how their behavior stacks up compared to their peers. I really look to the teachers to give me their opinions.
I do have a lot of angst around my son and kindergarten, but for the complete opposite reasons than red shirting. He has a November birthday and our district has a 9/1 cutoff. I grew up in NYS so this is kind of bizarre to me. Due to the way MA structures daycare staffing laws, he started pre-school in August last year at 2 years 9 months. He did the preschool room for a year, and they moved him up to pre-k this month. Because he misses the 9/1 cutoff and because our daycare doesn't have a kindergarten room, he will be in pre-k for two full years.
Part of me thinks it's a good idea for him to not go to K because I think he needs time to get to where he can sit still and listen. But again, I'm not a teacher. And I know K is way more academic than when I was a kid. But I was one of those kids who was SO BORED the first few years of school because it wasn't challenging enough and it had an impact on me until I started grad school.
But basically, when it comes to redshirting, I think it should be more of a call for the teachers/administration to decide if an individual kid would succeed more by waiting a year.
@honeybear: I am not sure that a national cut off date alone will solve the issue, which I feel is that we really should be looking at grouping kids by ability, not age. As it is right now, we have schools around the country with different calendars, so it's not possible to select a cut off that would make sense nationally. We'd need to align the school calendars first. Additionally, not ever state offers universal free PreK, and as we all know, not all preschools are created equal. So we'd have to introduce that nationally as well.
I feel like the nut is so big, no one even wants to bother cracking it. I also think a lot of it is that there is widespread poverty in the US and if we could address that, we would address a lot of educational issues, but again, large nut to crack.
clementine / 849 posts
My sister has the redshirt problem. She was born August 7th, with a cut off date of August 15th, and my parents chose to hold her back.
She's in HS now. She has always been more mature than her peers, she physically developed way before them (and was definitely bullied as a result), and now she's the only driver among them. She was always friends with the kids in the grade ahead of her...but her 8th grade sucked because they were all in hs.
Yes, she would be advanced regardless. But holding her back just magnified the issues.
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