What Are the Effects of Redshirting?
posted by Amy

Emily Bazelon analyzes the latest study about how holding kids back from starting kindergarten affects society.

I've written before about my family's decisions to send our oldest, with his mid-August birthday, and our youngest, with her late-November birthday, to kindergarten at ages 5 and 4, respectively. Now that they're going into the 8th and the 2nd grades in a few weeks, we're still glad we made those choices.

We were especially glad about it when puberty hit around three years ago. The poor boy would have been shaving in the 6th grade if we'd redshirted him.

There's certainly a need for some kids to start later, just as there's a need for our schools to recognize individual differences in development. My sister who came from Korea at age 4 wasn't ready for kindergarten at age 5. She needed to grow and learn English and adjust to her new life. That's the kind of redshirting that seems like a no-brainer.

But for a lot of parents, it's not that clear. Learning more about long-term individual and societal effects of the practice seems like a really good idea to me. So does universal access to high-quality preschool.

Edited to add: This article by Carol Dweck seems relevant to the issue.