Kindergarten redshirting has been a hot topic lately, so I wanted to explain why we decided to redshirt my amazingly smart five-year-old. Redshirting is a term people use when talking about delaying kindergarten for a year. Most states have a summer cut off date for your child’s fifth birthday, but so many kids are not ready by then and delaying has become an option for many families.
My oldest will turn six in March and is in the middle of her second year of prek. She is so very smart and tells me things I didn’t even know, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty, my mama senses have been tingling for a while. We really struggle with attention span, following complex or multi-step directions, talking out of turn and social rules. Many people tried to assure me that my decision to redshirt was not based on me not wanting my baby grow up (ok, maybe there’s a little bit of truth in that), but I assure you, I will be more sane when she is in school full-time. After the assessments at the local elementary school, my thoughts were confirmed.
There is a lot of information available about redshirting and I encourage you to do your own research, but I also wanted to share the three reasons my wonderful husband and I chose to redshirt our child:
1. Attention span
When reading to my daughter, I can’t finish a book without my daughter asking about the character’s shoes, for example. Simple puzzles are hard for her to finish because she wants to “take a break” and if she is struggling with a concept, it is almost impossible for her to concentrate long enough for me to explain it a second time. I firmly believe that early education is about building confidence and I didn’t think my daughter was prepared for the public school kindergarten model. We live in an amazing school district and choose public school for her, but there are drawbacks to any decision and I just want to set her up for success.
2. Following directions
I sometimes have to explain things to my daughter multiple times and she needs to be redirected a lot. Kindergarteners want to be independent and I want her able to be such. For example, if she has to use the bathroom without it being a big class trip, I wonder: Would I trust her to exit the classroom, enter the bathroom, take care of business and promptly return? In August that would have been difficult for her.
3. Social maturity
We have had the stranger talk more times that I would like, and it still seems like she isn’t picking up on the appropriate boundaries. This is worrisome and I definitely want that awareness to exist before I send her off into the big world. Additionally, I’m not only concerned with prek, but also with third and fifth grade, which are huge maturity leaps for kids. I want her to be prepared for those as well.
While it is cheaper and a lot easier to send my daughter to kindergarten, I know that isn’t a choice everyone can make very easily. But if you can, consider giving your child another year of childhood, of play and of leisure exploration. We all know the stresses of not being able to catch on as quickly as others, so let’s teach our kids patience. There will always be advanced programs, early college courses and extracurriculars to enhance your child’s educational experience.