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When Should Kids Start Kindergarten (redshirting study)

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Interesting read. The thing that I find curious is that the push is to hold five year old kids back because they're not socially/emotionally ready for "today's" kindergarten. This is because k-garten is 'the new first grade.' 

 

Instead of holding their kids back, why doesn't anyone question why today's kindergarten has become the new first grade, and whether there is anything that should be done about that?!! :dizzy

 

http://www.greatschools.org/students/academic-skills/4165-redshirting-kindergarten.gs?page=all

post #2 of 36

Almost all of the parents I know, and many of the teachers, DO question the fact that kindergarten has become "the new first grade." All the questioning in the world, however, won't get us anywhere if the people who make education policy don't change their minds. For the time being, parents and teachers have to work with what they have. This means, among other things, that kids with birthdays near the cutoff will often be kept in preschool for one more year.

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

I hear you!!

 

The other problem that I see, is that 5 year old who are still in preschool can be terribly bored! Some of them act out as a result of this boredom. They're just trying to create something interesting! 

 

It's almost like we need another "grade" between preschool and kindergarten now!!

post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren View Post
 

The other problem that I see, is that 5 year old who are still in preschool can be terribly bored! Some of them act out as a result of this boredom. 

 

We're in Canada where red-shirting doesn't happen to any appreciable extent, but I've heard from friends who live where there is a lot of red-shirting that there's a downstream problem with red-shirting that is similar to this ... where 5th- or 6th-graders who are a year older than their classmates become adolescents sooner, meaning that their physical, emotional and social needs and interests change. As such they're no longer entirely in the same space as the rest of the class. A bit of questioning of authority or sarcasm that might find good company in middle school instead gets perceived by classmates and teachers as anti-social and trouble-making, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Miranda

post #5 of 36

I wonder about this. I was young for my grade (October b-day) and my mom felt I was too advanced to keep out of kindergarten. While overall I did well, I had a lot of issues in school academically and socially that I think would have been helped by an extra year to mature. BUT, I think those issues were mostly due to bad parenting and they could also have been solved that way. My daughter is a June birthday so with the way the cutoff dates have changed, I'll face the same issue to put her in as one of the youngest kids in her class or keep her back as one of the oldest. If she continues the way she has been, I can't possibly see holding her back either, but hopefully I can keep her from having a lot of the problems I had. 

post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

Erigeron it sounds like you were put in early, not yet 5? The redshirting applies to children who are 5 by the start of school (often Sept 1 is the cutoff) but the parents hold them back until they are 6 or just about 6. 

post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren View Post
 

Erigeron it sounds like you were put in early, not yet 5? The redshirting applies to children who are 5 by the start of school (often Sept 1 is the cutoff) but the parents hold them back until they are 6 or just about 6. 

At the time, though, I was just before the cutoff. When I first started kindergarten, the cutoff was in December. Then we moved almost immediately (within a month) and in our new state the cutoff was at the end of October, and that was where they offered my mom the option to hold me back. There was one kid younger than me in my class in first grade; his birthday was two days after mine. So we both made the cutoff but just barely. Throughout school I was in classes with people who were up to a year and sometimes more than a year older than me. The cutoff has changed since then, but that just means a late August birthday now is an analogous situation to mine back in the 80s. 

post #8 of 36
Our cutoff is Dec. 31, so my 15yrs 3mths dd is in 10th grade, where she's supposed to be. She was 4 for the first three months of her KG year, as are some kids here every year. Cutoffs vary.

Miranda
post #9 of 36

Fascinating! We homeschool, and we have the Dec. 31st cutoff here. Although DS "should be" in First Grade this year according to public school calendar, we opted to register him as a homeschooling Kindergartener. We had two real reasons: He wasn't ready for first grade work. And the private school we would send him to in the future if we decide to stop homeschooling, would consider him a Kindergartener this year. Supplementarily, it's nice to know that the Dec. 31st cutoff is a bit rare and the majority of states would also put him in Kindergarten this year.

 

DH was literally the youngest in his grade. He moved from a state with a Dec. 31st cutoff to a state with a Sept. cutoff, in early elementary. They kept him in the same grade level. This meant that children with his exact same birthday were in the grade below him. He was in classes with children 15 months older. And he said the academics were fine, but it was very difficult socially, particularly in upper grades. Of course, this differs from child to child, and I think with boys versus girls as well. However, I think the example of DH gave us a sense of how DS will do, very similar temperament, etc. So I think this is the right placement for him. 

post #10 of 36
I am a Dec birthday, and missed the cutoff. The next year, we tried kindy, but I was too advanced and hated it. (I would have been the previous year, too.) So, mom pulled me out, and I started first grade the next year and turned 7 that winter. In first grade, I did a few subjects with higher grade material, specifically.math and reading.

The result was that I walked away a confident kid. School wasn't a struggle for me, and I learned to be a leader. Maybe it was parenting, maybe it was mild giftedness, maybe it was age. Dh was young for his grade, had different (less encouraging parenting), and struggled in school. It's taken him 15 years to shake it off, and discover that circumstances were always the problem, not him. It hurt him significantly socially, and professionally. Now I think his confidence matches mine usually, and he discovered that he is also mildly gifted. His parents were not aware of his needs, and school was a problem rather than a joy. Parenting or age? Hard to tell, but maybe another year would have given him an opportunity.

I have heard of people suggesting children in the lower grades be divided in six month groups, instead of by year.
post #11 of 36

When my son went to public K for a couple months before we began homeschool they didn't have a lot of free play time but they didn't have real academics either, it was the worst of both worlds. All day it was papers of busywork, tv, and small candy bribes to be quiet. I visited a Waldorf kindergarten once, love the outdoor and indoor play time, handwork, and helping with chores that makes up most of the day. At 5 my first was ready for real academic lessons done quickly and playtime and helping me the rest of the day, at 4 my second son is too.

post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by FisherFamily View Post

The result was that I walked away a confident kid. School wasn't a struggle for me, and I learned to be a leader. Maybe it was parenting, maybe it was mild giftedness, maybe it was age. 

 

I suspect it was all three, combined with personality and temperament. I too was "old for grade," found school too easy, got accelerated but it wasn't enough. All through my early school years I had a sense of being different and of fitting the mould too well with no effort and feeling like a fraud. I struggled to find meaning in a too-easy education during adolescence, got seriously off the rails with lots of anti-social behaviour, then finally got the chance to test my mettle in university, and chose what was a poor-fitting career path simply because I wanted to prove that I could challenge myself and succeed. I did, but ultimately it was the wrong place for me and didn't make me happy. There are so many variables in individual situations. I don't think it's possible to draw general conclusions from specific experiences. For some kids being ahead of the curve can be great. For others it's a problem. Statistics are helpful in looking at overall trends and shaping general policy but they aren't necessarily helpful in dealing with specific cases.

 

Miranda

post #13 of 36

I live in an area where red-shirting has become the norm. It's not unusual to have kids turning 7 in kindergarten. It's not unusual for 15-year-old 8th graders to be sharing a campus with 10 and 11 year old 6th graders. It's not unusual to graduate at 19... even close to 20. In my own district, it's been a nightmare resulting in a rash of middle school "grade corrections" and an increase in high school drop-outs (because many kids are really done with high school and living at home about 18.) Families are pretty happy to have their 7-year-olds reading circles around the other kids in kindergarten but come 2nd, they start complaining about the lack of academic challenge "well, my little darling is ready for multiplication NOW".... yes, but your little darling should be in 3rd grade where they are actually studying multiplication. It's ruined the gifted program which is largely full of "too old for grade" kids who are only advanced because they are developmentally older not because they process information at an accelerated pace. However, their presence in the regular class drives up the curriculum and put the kids who are age-appropriate to be seen as "behind." 

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again... there will always be that kid who is truly not ready to attend kindergarten on schedule. There will always be that kid who needed to start kindergarten a year early. We should be flexible enough to accommodate that. The problem is that now, masses of developmentally appropriate kids are being held back and it just screws the whole system. To skip a grade, a kid has to PROVE they are not only ready for the older class but that they could actually handle the grade or two AFTER the class they want to join. To hold a kid back, mom only has to say "I don't think so." Sure, keep your child out of school if they don't seem ready but maybe we should be assessing these 6-year-olds before routinely placing them in kindergarten. Maybe they should have to prove they aren't ready for 1st grade.

 

My own kids are young for grade. My DD 16 is a senior in high school due to grade acceleration. My DS 13 is in 8th grade because that is where his birthday lands. No way I could hold them back. As it is, the academics aren't enough. There are frustrations but I won't rehash them all again. I'm all for a multi-age schooling environment if it is designed to be a multi-age learning environment. When you've got a 2 year age range in a class built for 1... it's problematic.

 

Here is a study and article on the demerits of red-shirting. 

 

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/09/youngest-kid-smartest-kid.html


Edited by whatsnextmom - 2/20/14 at 10:46am
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren View Post
Instead of holding their kids back, why doesn't anyone question why today's kindergarten has become the new first grade, and whether there is anything that should be done about that?!! :dizzy

 

http://www.greatschools.org/students/academic-skills/4165-redshirting-kindergarten.gs?page=all

 

A lot of people question it, but the situation is difficult to impact. There really isn't much any of us can do about how crazy K is, but people can make a choice about when their own child goes.

 

What I see is that where I live, middle class kids are often given an extra year of preschool. But where I work in the city, that isn't an option because of finances. Children who aren't ready and are too young are retained in either K or first.  Our society functions to tell children who have the most challenges that they are failures, when the reality is that we are asking them to preform skills that many of their more privileged age mates won't be required to do for another year.

 

Some of what is required in K (in many states) is not backed up by research for what is developmentally appropriate for such young children.

 

One of my DDs is considered "young for grade" because she has a summer birthday and is in her age appropriate grade. She has been subjected accelerated as well. However, we homeschooled when she was little and I don't know that she would have done at all well in the early grades at a traditional school due to just being playful and goofy.

post #15 of 36

I would  have given anything to have been able to reshirt my august birthday now 8yo ds1. He was the smallest in the class, a total extravert, friendly , loving child, but not quite as mature (as  most of the other who were 6-11mths older than him) I still cringe when i hear the older bigger kids dominating the classroom, pushing my boy around outrunning him. So that now  he has become shy, and withdrawn, and  thinks he's stupid. 

 

On top of that, they combined the 3rd/4th grade classes because its a small school, so now the kids are 6mth-2years older than him. He has language issues too, so double whammy! 

 

My ds2 is a March birthday,  he  is friends with everyone, he participates in class discussions, he has the respect of the other kids. He is doing just fine.

 

I think those  near the cut off birthdays should be given the option to wait another year. Childhood goes so fast, whats the hurry? Its not fair on the younger ones.

post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

 

We're in Canada where red-shirting doesn't happen to any appreciable extent, but I've heard from friends who live where there is a lot of red-shirting that there's a downstream problem with red-shirting that is similar to this ... where 5th- or 6th-graders who are a year older than their classmates become adolescents sooner, meaning that their physical, emotional and social needs and interests change. As such they're no longer entirely in the same space as the rest of the class. A bit of questioning of authority or sarcasm that might find good company in middle school instead gets perceived by classmates and teachers as anti-social and trouble-making, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Miranda

This is actually quite a common problem around here with some kids trying to jump a grade at 4-5 to fit them in with their peer group. Our schools has actually moved children directly to first grade when they arrive at school as K students. The kids are huge, bored, often reading, and that can make for a pack of trouble.

post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post
 

I would  have given anything to have been able to reshirt my august birthday now 8yo ds1. He was the smallest in the class, a total extravert, friendly , loving child, but not quite as mature (as  most of the other who were 6-11mths older than him) I still cringe when i hear the older bigger kids dominating the classroom, pushing my boy around outrunning him. So that now  he has become shy, and withdrawn, and  thinks he's stupid. 

 

On top of that, they combined the 3rd/4th grade classes because its a small school, so now the kids are 6mth-2years older than him. He has language issues too, so double whammy! 

 

My ds2 is a March birthday,  he  is friends with everyone, he participates in class discussions, he has the respect of the other kids. He is doing just fine.

 

I think those  near the cut off birthdays should be given the option to wait another year. Childhood goes so fast, whats the hurry? Its not fair on the younger ones.

Contactmaya- for what it is worth both of my nephews were huge kids with language delays and ridiculous redshirting, they weren't even young for their class. They were also socially awkward and very little contact with kids outside their small church. My nephew turned 19 six months before he started his senior year. Being small with language delays can be bad. Being huge with a language delay is just awful. Constant constant fighting. 

post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post
 

Contactmaya- for what it is worth both of my nephews were huge kids with language delays and ridiculous redshirting, they weren't even young for their class. They were also socially awkward and very little contact with kids outside their small church. My nephew turned 19 six months before he started his senior year. Being small with language delays can be bad. Being huge with a language delay is just awful. Constant constant fighting. 

Lets face it, language delays are a dammed nuisance no matter what .I try to coach ds to project his voice, speak up...im grateful for some of my  classical singing training that comes in use...:-)

post #19 of 36

We started our now 12 year old in kindy when she was just a couple weeks shy of 6. With a Sept. birthday I suppose she could have either been one of the youngest or one of the oldest. She's small and was embarrassed about that even as a child who was a full year older than some of her classmates. One thing that came up for us at about 2nd grade is that I may have considered holding her back that grade but she was just too old for that. For my DC she is still on the late side for puberty, even as an older kid. 

 

I do totally agree with PPs who say that we (as an educational community) should be focusing on being sure that grade levels are age appropriate. As we move closer to pre-K for all, this becomes an even bigger issue. But, I think a lot of parent buy into the whole "earlier is better" thing. I'd be open to some sort of compromise that meets whatever research is out there to support early academic learning AND the far more convincing (to me) research that supports play-based education in pre-K and kindy. 

 

I know for our second child, starting late will not be an option so I will be looking for a school that offers developmentally appropriate schooling for kindy. 

post #20 of 36
I am confused by red shirting.
US state laws have a minimum compulsory age to begin school of age six (24 states), age seven (14 states) and age eight (2 states). http://www.ncsl.org/documents/educ/ECSCompulsoryAge.pdf
Only eight states are age five.
It seems cutoff dates are seen as the required age but in reality they are not, they are to send children a year earlier than the law states to begin education.
Shouldn't this this be the exception and not the norm?

I live in New Jersey and the legally required age to begin education is six years. Kindergarten is not required in New Jersey either.
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