Education Editorial: Redshirting Kindergarten

By: Bill Bosher - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Harvard Health Blog is now looking at kindergarten and an issue that is getting much debate…"redshirting". Yes, a concept that has been associated with college athletics is now the focal point of moms and dads as they decide whether or not to permit their son or daughter to enter kindergarten.

What some perceive as "gaming the system"…holding your child back for a year for an advantage in maturity, language development, …and even size. Some experts believe that this quandary for parents is due in part to the changing nature of kindergarten classes…more academic work and more testing.

Virginia school divisions are required to offer kindergarten but parents are not required to use it. Compulsory attendance laws provided for multiple options… and parents should make that decision. Many families spend more time deciding what car they will buy than they do the school that that their children will attend or the educational programs in which they are engaged. If a boy and a girl start school on the same day and at the same age, it is quite likely that she will be more mature and better prepared.

Whether by study or common sense, this is likely the reason that more boys start kindergarten at age six. As for the notion that five-year olds are not ready for the rigor of academics, public schools are not day care centers…if they are, you are paying too much.

While "redshirting" is a novel description for this decision making process, the real issue may be that age is a weak tool in determining when to start school. Two children in the same house…with the same values, preparation and gene pool…are not ready at the same time. Maybe the child's first "coach" should decide when he is ready to go into the game!

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.