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John Mercure: Mercurey Rising

Redshirting Kindergarteners

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Have you ever considered redshirting your kindergartener?

You are probably hunching your shoulders, shaking your head and wondering what the heck I'm talking about. 

I'm sure you've heard of the term 'redshirting' when it comes to college athletes. It means holding an athlete out of competition for a year so they have additional time to develop.  Well now some parents are keeping their five year olds out of kindergarten for a year, so they have more time to develop.  They are redshirting their kids.  It used to be that all five year olds went to kindergarten.  That is no longer the case.  Experts say there are pros and cons.

The advantages are that kids may be more mature and developed.  They have more life experience and might be more ready to be in a classroom.  Older kids are more likely to turn into leaders.  Studies show that older 8th grade kids have higher test scores and are more likely to attend college.

The downside is that some kids aren't challenged enough and that can lead to behavioral problems.  There is also the problem of inequity.  The fact is that poorer families just can't afford to redshirt their kids.  Finances dictate that they need to get kids in school as soon as possible. So doesn't that put poorer families at a disadvantage? 

And finally, let's talk about the athletic issue.  A kid who starts one year later than his peers definitely has an inherent athletic advantage.  Older kids are bigger, stronger and faster. I recently read about a couple of cases where parents redshirted their five year old primarily so that the kid would perform better in sports. That is ridiculous. If your kid can't compete with kids his own age, maybe more practice, not waiting for him to get bigger than everyone else, is the answer.

What do you think?  jmercure@620wtmj.com

 

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