Redshirting - holding back child so they will be relatively older than the others

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by TeacherShelly, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I have two daughters entering Kindergarten this fall. May birthdays. So I was upset to read about "redshirting" children (holding them back even though they meet the cut-off date) for the express purpose of giving them an advantage over the others. This is about relative age (compared to the rest of the class) not absolute age (4y 10m vs. 5y 10 mo).

    What experience do you guys have with this, and what do you think of it?

    -----------
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/magazine/03kindergarten-t.html?oref=login (too long to copy/paste, sorry!)
    NY Times

    June 3, 2007
    When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten? free registration req'd
    By ELIZABETH WEIL
     
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  3. map

    map Companion

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    Why rush them???? Most 4 year olds are not ready for Kindergarten. In most states one must be 5 before they begin. There are so many factors involved and every child is different. A student who is 5 years 10 months is more likely to be ready for what Kindergarten has to offer not to mention the high expectations placed upon them.
     
  4. TeacherShelly

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    Oh I agree, there is no rush. I don't think there is any advantage in adulthood to having been a young kindergartner. What I object to is purposely holding a child back an extra year in order to give them advantages over the others. I'm talking about a decision, without any consideration of the child's readiness, made simply to make them more likely to successfully compete against the others. Does that make sense?
     
  5. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    I have to agree. Of course you wouldn't want at 7yo in your class but better older than younger! Let them be kids. Most of my young ones are still struggling!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure what the competition is all about. If a child is ready, he is ready.

    I think it just feeds into the whole "they're 5; let's apply now to Harvard" mindset.

    If the rules say December 1st is the deadline, I think that, barring unusual circumstances, kids with a November birthday should be registering that year.

    Otherwise, we start early showing our kids that the rules apply to OTHER kids.
     
  7. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    What kind of competition are you refering to? When I think of redshirting someone I think of sports.
     
  8. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Well, hopefully the K teachers at the school that you have selected intend to create an environment that is cooperative and gives every individual child positive learning and "school" experiences. But, I realize that this isn't always so. Parents have to make the choices that they feel are right for their children. If a parent recognizes that thier child may be limited in some areas and they feel another year would give thier kids the cognitive, physical, social, emotional, or any combination thereof boost, then that should be their decision. I think that most parents want to build successful learning experiences. With that said, I think their needs to be much more differentiated learning in all grades. Becasue while many kids are not ready socially or emotionally they are more than ready cognitively. This development growth creates a problem for sure. Depending on the school your a child who has been held back for reasons other than cognitive could then begin with a school base of school is boring. I do not see this as a positive school experience. So, parents need to be careful, but...they are most often the expert on thier child. Thus, it is and should be their choice.
     
  9. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I think this plays a role, but also as the child graduates & going off to college with "older" kids when yours may still only be 17 for almost the first semester of school. I think also finding a job once out of high school may be harder for a 17 yr old compared to 18 yr old.

    I have fam who's son is a late Oct bday & a girl mid November & both "held them back" for the above reasons. I know when I worked in 1st grade room you could tell who had the closer to the cut off date bdays!!!
     
  10. TeacherShelly

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    For anyone having trouble reading the article (or the whole article, it is really long), the term redshirting is borrowed from sports and means holding the child back even though they are eligible for kindergarten entry, i.e., 5 years 3 months by the first day of school, but the parent decides they'd rather have the child be 6 years 3 months and holds the child back.

    The competition (in kindergarten) includes being the fastest runner, the best artist, and so forth. No, there is no prize except in feeling like they are the best. Of course, they are actually just older. The real dividends start to pay when standardized tests roll around in 3rd grade. The 9.5 or 10 year old will do better than the just-9 year old.
     
  11. Tigers

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    Yes, there is definitely competition in a lot of classrooms, however, teachers can work to provide a more cooperative learning environment. And, sometimes the younger ones can do far better on the testing, running, painting, etc. based on their development which differs greatly from child to child regardless of age.
     
  12. lw3teach

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    I say that no matter what the parents think... whether they are being purely selfish and want them to be better at things... let them!!
    Just because you hold a child back doesn't mean that they will be better, but it sure will help them.
    As said above, whatever the reason, a later start now is better. There are just too many things that have change and kindergarten is now like first grade
     
  13. TeacherShelly

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    Hmmm... maybe I should keep my turned-5-in-May daughters home this year. Another year of prek ....
     
  14. Steph-ernie

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    I have a hard time understanding how they would do better on standardized testing simply because they are older. Yes, they may be 10 instead of 9 in 3rd grade, but they have had the same schooling as the 9 year olds by that point. Wouldn't that have a greater impact than their actual age?
     
  15. SueHue

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    I agree with Map. I'm sorry that I haven't read the article, but keep the following in mind. Aside from the competition aspect, Kindergarten is so demanding these days. We've all studied what is developmentally appropriate for children, but we can't run our classrooms in a developmentally appriopriate manner (especially if you are a Reading First school/program improvement). It's not always fair to the students, but the truth is, they must be reading and writing before first grade to be successful. The students who start kindergarten without preschool or who are too immature when they start are at a disadvantage. They are behind before they even walk in the door. That's not fair! If you're children are in preschool, confer with their teachers. Otherwise, ask the school they will be attending what's best for them.
     
  16. TeacherShelly

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    My kids are kindergarten-ready, according to their preschool and preK teachers. I know they will do fine. It's the idea of trying to edge MY children above other children that hurts my sense of social justice. If a low-income 4.9 year old has to go, ready or not, because the family can't afford another year of preschool, then it doesn't seem fair to ask that child to compete against mine, especially if I chose to hold them back only to increase their competitive stance. Not only would I continue to provide an education-rich home life, they would develop more maturity and brain structure during that year.

    Steph, I think there is a big achievement gap with just one year of age difference - and with some kids held back, it can be even more than one year (15 months or more). Developmentally speaking, I suppose the elder child is 'ready' for the learning which makes it even more unfair to the younger, since s/he is likely not developmentally ready for the expected learning.
     
  17. moonbeamsinajar

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    In some districts around here, I believe it is a common practice to keep boys out of kindergarten an extra year, so they will have the advantage of being "bigger and better" in sports. That says alot about the "sports mentality" where I live.
     
  18. ABall

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    I think that Kinders are being pushed a little to much, I mean, some of them start as early as 3 in pre-school, and pre-K then K, and what they are learning in first probably is a lot more than what I learned in first, but the pushing to get ahead has its pros and cons. It makes me feel sad to hear the stories about kids not getting recess or art time because they are being pushed to do more academicly.......... like learning through play is bad. But each parent knows SHOULD know their kid best and if they feel a child isn't ready for K then I don't see why they shouldn't hold them back, but if they are doing it simply because they think it will give their kid an edge on the others in sports or other ways then I think thats wrong.

    I'm not saying all this because I homeschool, I have other reasons for that (first was because of health issues, second was the low state standards in AZ.) But by homeschooling (and I feel blessed to do so and understand its not the best option for every kid) I was able to teach my daughter a year ahead than she would of been according to the birthday cut off here, and I was able to go slower with another son because he needed extra time since he was going through cancer treatments-- and I just didn't feel that pushing the education at that time was the right thing to do.
     
  19. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    First, I am really sorry to hear your son has been through cancer. Goodness, that is one of my biggest fears, and my heart goes out to you and your son.

    Second, the one reason I've truly considered homeschooling was so my girls' education would be developmental, not scheduled based on (who knows what, politics, corporate sales growth, I don't know where the powers that be get the state standards). Oh, and the low adult-child ratio. One reason that seems to come up over and over (for what I see as non-child-friendly practices at school) is that with 20 (30, 35) students, it's just not possible to do otherwise.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Once it becomes common to hold back kids a year, does that mean that the really really concerned parents will hold their kids back 2 years? That way they can maintain that competitive edge.

    Am I the only one here seeing an ugly slippery slope?
     
  21. lw3teach

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    I thought of that too..... maybe it will give the beurocrats:eek: an eye opener that standards are becoming too high too early!!
     
  22. Tigers

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    I am not sure that the slippery slope will come into play. Too many parents want kids to start early.
     
  23. TeacherShelly

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    I think it is mandatory (in Calif.) to enroll your child in some kind of school (or declare homeschooling) the year they will be six by the time school starts.
     
  24. lw3teach

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    Oh yeah... that is the case in our state too.... I would think in most places, so I guess that does make a difference.... I don't know, as a teacher, I say if a parent wants to hold a child back a year, I am all for it!!
    As a teacher, I don't compare the kids against eachother, so the competition thing doesn't even come into play. If a child is more ready than another, that is just great... but the child who is not as ready, no matter what the age (some older kids aren't as ready as some of the younger ones:rolleyes: ) is also taken from where they are at.
     
  25. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Many teachers may not think of themselves as comparing yet still encourage competition.
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I don't think it's the teachers feeding into the competition. I think it's the parents, determined to give their kids every advantage over his or her peers.

    You've seen them at the playground: Susie is allowed 12.3 minutes to play before she has her harp lesson enroute to soccer on her way to her Greek lesson. Anything at all to ensure that she'll gain early acceptance to Harvard and be voted Most Likely to Succeed.

    (And Teacher Shelly, that was by no means directed at you or anyone else here. You brought up the topic, but I'm thinking of some of the parents of the kids I know, no one here ;) )
     
  27. TeacherShelly

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    Aliceacc, thanks for that. I am actually not considering holding my kids back. I was just thinking out loud about it.
     
  28. Mamacita

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    In southern Indiana, where Basketball is King, parents often redshirt their kids so they'll be the tallest, strongest player on the court/field/wherever.

    The parents who do it are, most of the time, "those" parents: the ones who drive you nuts wanting extra credit, exceptions, etc, for their child.

    Bah. Some kids are ready for K when they're three. Some still aren't ready at seven. Why do people get in such a tizzy over ages? With proper classroom discipline, why would it even be noticed, if their abilities and social savvy matched?

    And when do they ever, in real life, anyway?

    I say, let the kid go to Harvard at age 12 if he/she's ready and wants to. By that same token, let the kid skip up to seventh grade if he/she would benefit by it.

    Honestly, I think sometimes it's the parents of the grade-level-or-lower kids who don't want the brighter kids to advance.
     
  29. TeacherShelly

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    I think the competition is there, despite parents and teachers. Not saying some parents and teachers don't foster competition, but kids seem to naturally compete to a degree. If a young kinder draws a circle and then notices the kid next to him (who is, incidentally, 1.25 years his elder) has drawn a more balloon-like circle, he may think he is a less skilled drawer. That older kid could easily get the impression he is better at just about everything (without knowing the "competition" isn't fair).
     
  30. lw3teach

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    That's too bad...competition might be healthy when it comes to sports, but not good education
     
  31. lw3teach

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    What you say is so true, but also a fact of life... the 5 year old has no idea that the 6 year old is "better" because they are older... also, remember that this is just a fact of life... people are better at somethings than others. I believe it is a teacher's job to find what a child is good at and foster that.
    And there will ALWAYS be people who think they are better, whether they start school early or later, another fact of life.
     
  32. Tigers

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    I would suggest that the competition is there because of judgements used to socialize children. That said, knowing that this happens, we can still strive to place children in an atmosphere (at this age) where they can cooperate instead of having two kids drawing circles next to each other imagine the two kids drawing together. Sure, kids will notice that some excel in areas more but the truth is that it will matter less, because there is no competition. Now, I happen to love competition so don't misunderstand when I say this but competition can be good and bad in both the class and sports.
     
  33. lw3teach

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    We have set our kids up for competition by our reporting system, testing methods and grade classifications. Kids should be able to learn from where they, individually, have begun and then our reporting should only be on their learning, not their rank in class, nor how they compare to others. We should be comparing them to how they were in the beginning vs. how they have grown. Does that make sense? Sometimes I feel I ramble.... I think I am waaay tired. It's my last week at school.:rolleyes:

    Kids should not need to see competition in the classroom.. that was well said Tigers.
     
  34. Tasha

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    This topic is interesting to me because I barely made the deadline to enter school by about 3 days. That made me the youngest in almost every class I was ever in. Looking back I think that I was ready for K academically, I could read most things, write my name etc... I also ended up in GT, honors, and magnet programs all through school. However, I was socially younger than my peers and I can remember several instances of behaviors that were far behind my classmates. On one hand I was bored in a lot of classes and finished my work early, on the other, I could have used another year of social skills.

    In my current experiences I would urge any parent to reconsider any child whose birthday falls close to the cut off point. Being even a little bit behind in age can affect kids academically and that adds up quickly in the pace of schools today.
     
  35. TeacherShelly

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    Oh, yes, you are making sense. I'm with you 100%.
     
  36. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    No, Alice you are not the only one. Here in MD, we used to have a 12/31 cutoff, and parents commonly held back their November and December boys. The cutoff moved to 9/1, and now parents are holding back their summer born kids.

    Someone has to be the youngest. Period.

    It shouldn't be about birthdate. It should be about individual readiness, academically, socially, maturity. I'm all for keeping out a child who isn't really ready for K yet. I think that is something that is a huge gift to a child. I am very much against keeping a child out for an extra year so that they can be older than their peers (and the thinking is thne, they'll be more mature and more advanced academically and developmentally).
    Kim
     
  37. Dzenna

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    Red-shirting is big here for the same reason. Many hold back boys until they are six. Now parents are pulling kids out for a year before high school!!! 5 families (in my son's baseball league) held their 13-year old boys out of school to "home school" them for a year after they completed 8th grade, then started them in high school a year later. These boys were at the top of the curve both academically and physically when they were pulled out. Ridiculous!!!!
     

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