Red Shirting


No, I’m not talking college sports… I’m talking kindergarten. Academic redshirting is a growing phenomena in which parents are seeking a competitive edge for their children. By delaying their child’s entrance into kindergarten, some parents are hopeful their children will be natural leaders.

This seems counterintuitive to me. I was discussing this issue with another parent who agreed. She recalled that when she was in school, if a classmate was older they tended to be ridiculed or somewhat ostracized. I share those memories.

As the parent of a gifted teen who was denied entrance into kindergarten because she was too young, but then later “skipped” kindergarten I do not agree with this assertion. My daughter continues to be a leader of her peers and is frequently the youngest. I think that as parents and educators we should allow our children to advance according to their pace and to do otherwise is a disservice to them.

I am currently selecting a school for my four year-old son which, by the way, rivals the college selection process in the stress level and pressure to make the right choice. He just turned four, tested in the “gifted” range and is reading. His teacher wants him to enter into kindergarten in the fall, however he is too young to do so.

I understand that educators are concerned with the maturation level of young students and their social skills. However, I think that we should look at students as the individuals that they are. There will be some students who are ready to begin school at an early age and others who are not – my son included. My fear is that he will do another year of pre-kindergarten and become progressively bored in the classroom. I can and will supplement as much as I can at home, but will that stave off mischievous behavior at school? My concern is that would lead to him being labeled as a behavioral problem.

I think the point should be to do what is best for the student in order to nurture their learning and growth. When did we get so off track that education became about anything other than that?

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