Will a delayed start to kindergarten improve chances of a child’s success?
Will it produce improved emotional, social, academic, and/or athletic outcomes?
Or will it sacrifice valuable time when a child’s brain is primed for learning?
Will it actually harm your child’s progress?
Will it ingrain boredom and lackadaisical effort?
The closer your child’s birthday is to your school’s cutoff date, the more difficult the decision.
According to U.S. statistics (NCES)*
6% enter K at age 4
42% enter K at age 5-5½
43% enter K at age 5½ -6
9% enter K already at age 6
The results of educational research into the decision about redshirting a kindergartener are inconclusive.** Some analyses indicate improved scores in early grades, but not thereafter, except in athletics. One study finds reduced inattentiveness and hyperactivity that might carry over into higher grades. Other studies suggest no long-term benefits when controlled for socio-economic and developmental factors. Some worldwide research indicates a small, but slight, advantage through high school.
In the highly competitive world we live in today, one other consequential factor must be considered. Because kindergarten is the new first grade, it is very important that your child be ready for formal reading instruction. For better or worse, kindergarten today is more than social and emotional adjustment to school. Listening, reading, and writing are required daily.
Most regular kindergarten teachers want a child who sits still, listens, follows directions, and is eager to learn. They need students who are attentive, flexible, and persistent in grade-appropriate tasks.
Helpful resources to guide the redshirt decision include first, your child’s preschool teacher, and then, kindergarten screening tests, usually administered by most school districts before school entrance. Evaluating your child’s individual differences in physical stature, academic readiness, and emotional and social characteristics is very important. Also, be sure to check out Reading Spotlight’s
Above all, trust your own instincts because you know your child best.
Talk to your child’s present and future teachers because you all want what is best for your child’s development and success in school.