Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I wrote this post about a year ago and recently experienced another story of the problems with "redshirting". I was speaking to a mother at lunch duty and she was distraught by a meeting she had with her son's kindergarten teacher, an older teacher who is nearing retirement. She said thatthe teacher harshly told her that her child was immature and isn't doing the things that the other kids were doing though intelligent. She was heartbroken and confused. Me too at first. He was the right age and actually his actions (like a healthy interest in legos) seemed very age appropriate. Then I asked her if she knew how old the other kids were in the class. Many of them (boys) were 6 months to more than a year older than he was. There's the problem. He IS younger. We all know how much 6 months, even a month, makes in the emotional and physical development of a child. I reassured her and gave her my perspective as a parent and an educator.

My earlier post:

In baseball, redshirting means that an athlete sits out a year or more in order to lengthen their eligibility. This term is being used for the practice of holding kids back from Kindergarten for a year for academic, social and/or physical reasons. I am familiar with this practice from my teaching experience. I stopped teaching when my first son was born 8 years ago. In 8 years, it seems like this practice of holding back has snowballed. It seems like a very popular thing to do now. It is not that I disagree with it under appropriate circumstances but I think the initial purpose of it is losing its value.

My friend called me for advice on this topic last Spring. Her daughter's Kindergarten teacher thought it would be best if she "redid" Kindergarten again this year. I thought it was the best thing for her daughter and gave her all of the benefits of it. At the same time, I thought about how many kids are going into Kindergarten at 6 now instead of 5. I have also had this very discussion with other parents trying to decide whether to hold their children back. My hope is that they are holding them back for the right reasons or the children who need that extra year might struggle again against kids who are physically, emotionally or academically even further ahead. We all know how much a month, 6 months and year can make in the development of a child.
So, my friend's daughter is succeeding and she is much happier this year in Kindergarten. When she talked to me about it, she also asked me if I knew of any books out there that deal with this issue. She didn't know how to explain it to her daughter. Soooo, in about a half hour, I jotted down a little flip side story about it. She loved it, read it to her and shared it with her family. When the emotion hits me, my pen starts scribbling almost by itself. What a great thing.

Take a look at her story (partial) and the article related to this blog. http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailybeast/20110208/ts_dailybeast/11972_holdingkidsbackfromkindergartenhowredshirtinghurts
What are your thoughts about "redshirting"??

This is part of the story. There is more to each side.
If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.

1 comment:

Kara Caruth said...

This is great... I struggled with Charlie about holding him back. But luckily for me his school is small enough he could do parts of kindergarten over (reading and phonics) to catch him up and still do first grade with his friends for the other things. By January he was caught up with his class :-) I am ever grateful for the teachers that mold shape and work with my/our/everyones children!!