Originally Posted by karne
I think that this is backwards in some ways----"redshirting" (hate that term, and feel it's very disrespectful to children, always surprised to see it in such general use on MDC, BTW) hasn't encouraged the schools to push first grade expectations on 5's as much as NCLB, lawmakers making educational policy, school districts where play and recess are seen as optional, etc.
I'm sorry, but I think "redshirting" is very accurate. I suppose on an individual level, once in a blue moon a child might really need an extra year to mature, but on the whole keeping a child home an extra year is a practice done by mainly wealthy or otherwise privileged white families to gain advantage for their child in the school setting, because they will be older and more mature. Studies have shown its not actual age that affects how well children do in kindergarten, but it clearly shows that children that are relatively older based on the ages of children in the class almost always have an advantage over the youngest in the class. The youngest in the classes (no matter when the cutoff age) are usually the children of families with the least resources. An extra year of daycare is too expensive or they would be sitting at home not doing much of anything to actually prepare them for going to school the next year.
And while yes the standards are generally set by the state or NCLB laws, teachers usually have to teach to the middle of the class. But in communities with lots of children starting Kindy a year late, the average is really skewed. I was a preschool teacher and good friends of the family with a little boy with a June birthday (in a school with a September cutoff) and he was the youngest boy in the class. Most boys in the class were an entire year older than him and the curriculum in the class reflected it. When a third of the kids are capable of first grade work a good teacher supplies them with work that's appropriate to their ability. But I think that children working at kindergarten level may easily internalize the fact that they aren't given the harder work as "I'm not smart" or "I'm not good at school"
Keep in mind though that my experience is in very affluent urban areas where "redshirting" is very very common. Where the decision often is as arbitrary as "my kid has a summer birthday, so I'll wait another year" This isn't about one or two kids who may actually need a little bit more time. My concern is how mass "redshirting" affects the less fortunate kids who's parents don't have the same resources to give them the "gift of time"