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Old 10-09-2011, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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or can we talk about the pros and cons of "redshirting"?

 

My dd will turn 5 next July. In our area, the good public schools are magnets, and the application process started in September for next year. The public school we are zoned for is a failing school that has not met NCLB criteria for two years, so I believe we have two other (decent) elementary schools to choose from, but they would be quite a drive. 

 

We started the application process for our preferred magnet school, but I'm concerned about whether DD will be ready for kindy next year. She is very bright and loves pre-school, so I'm not sure what my issue is beyond the fact that she will be barely 5.

 

The magnet school's hours are 9-4, which is 1/2 hour longer than when I went there for middle & high school in the 90s. At one of many required sessions before we can get an application for the lottery, a kindergarten teacher did a presentation about readiness and the K curriculum. She described research in the library, learning to read, and many many field trips and projects. She said she has four kids (out of twenty) who are reading at a 2nd grade level a month into kindy. The school seems to encourage parents to wait a year if they have any concerns about readiness. If we did get a spot for DD, we could defer for a year, but we would have to decide in January. 

 

Frankly, what the kindergarten teacher was describing, while it sounded engaging and fun, did not sound like kindergarten to me. She even said, "kindergarten is not what it used to be," meaning that it is much more rigorous than in the past. 

 

My main issue is that I want to set DD up for a positive school experience, and I'm wondering whether that will be more likely if she is a year older. This should probably not even be a factor, but she is also incredibly tall. She wears size 6x/7 at age four. DH and I are both about 6', so it isn't a big shocker that we have tall kids, and I figure she will tower over her classmates whether she is 5 or 6 when she starts kindy.

 

Does anyone have experience dealing with this issue? As a parent? A teacher? Links to good articles on the subject?

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Old 10-10-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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I'd scroll down a bit. You'll find a lot of posts on this very subject. There are a very small percentage of kids who should be held back a year just like there are a small percentage who should go early. No way I'd hold back a child who was bright, tall and already 5 before entering K. Personally, my eldest started as an older 5 (on schedule) and it was a mess because she was too advanced, too mature and just didn't fit. She had to be moved up to 1st grade by Christmas Break. My DS started as an older 4 (on schedule) and I'm grateful he had that chance. He's in middle school now and doing great... still in all the advanced classes. I can't imagine had I waited to send them to school a year. As a preschool teacher, there were only a two I felt could really benefit from being retained and they were very unusual cases (abuse/neglect cases that did make them very immature and another year with a solid family life and nurturing preschool could benefit. 

 

Retention has caused major problems in our district with a jump in "grade corrections" around middle school when many red-shirted kids are totally and obviously out of place with their peers and not getting their academic needs met because they are older and should be doing higher level material

It's natural as moms to worry. We tend to see our children as babies much longer than they are. We see their little meltdowns and issues at home assuming that will happen at school and for most kids, it never does. We don't have much experience with other children at that age so our view of what "mature" is can be off. I think it's important to really not let those "my baby" feelings hold them back.

 

Like I said, a very small percentage should be held back but I'd not consider holding back a child who will already be 5 first day, bright, loves school and tall for age.

 

Here is a good article.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/opinion/sunday/dont-delay-your-kindergartners-start.html?_r=1


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Old 10-10-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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You said that they encourage parents to wait a year if they have any concerns about their kid's readiness.  Do you have concerns? 

 

From what I'm hearing your kiddo is smart and well-adjusted.  No issues with going to pre-school.  Keeps up with her peers without difficulty.  Am I reading too much into your OP or is this accurate?  If it is, then I really don't see any reason not to have her start kindy *at the appropriate age to start kindy*. 

 

TBH I would rather my children be "challenged" (and from what you have said I imagine your dd would not be overly-challenged) in kindy starting at age 5, than waiting a year and finding everything so easy that they don't have to work much.  Easy can equal bored, and bored can equal behaviour problems.  Also not needing to work at something can equal not knowing how to buckle down and work (ask me how I know!).


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Old 10-10-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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Thx for that article whatsnextmom.  I don't want to crash kindchen's thread but I am struggling with this...in my case, it is only because of DD being just 6 days before the cutoff date in our state.  I am not sure how I would feel if she were a couple months older like the OP.  I am finding myself factoring in a million things.

 

I just posted my own thread but will be following along here as well...thx!


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Old 10-10-2011, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the dose of perspective. I think part of my issue is that I always had homeschooling as an option in my mind, and when I recently decided that it is not my preferred option, I wasn't sure how to proceed. Also, I think actually touring a school and hearing about their program made the whole decision-making process more urgent, somehow. I also have a daughter who is fifteen months younger, and she will miss the kindy deadline by 22 days the year she turns five. I think I had the vague idea that I should give them each an "extra" year before starting school, but I hadn't really thought it through.

 

The magnet school is excellent. I had a good experience there, and the process of applying gets parents quite familiar with how the school works. Of course, there is a good chance that my child won't get in, but that is an issue for another day.

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Old 10-10-2011, 05:33 PM
 
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Quote:
The school seems to encourage parents to wait a year if they have any concerns about readiness.

 

 

I wanted to add another perspective here - I know of a 4 (who soon after school started turned 5) and the school was private/religious- the child was excepted (mostly due to the parents standing in the church) and the child was asked by the school to repeat K--the parents said no way and the school pushed the parents into "summer" school and re-testing prior to allowing him into 1st-end of 1st the school again required he attend "summer-school" ----now says he hates school-and he is only in 1st

 

K is not what it use to be at most schools and some teachers are looking for a "whole" class that is closer to the same level, now that tends to be more advanced than what it use to mean

 

"readiness" can mean different things to different teachers----I would see what exactly they have in mind by readiness (some even do pre-testing) but you seem to have gotten very clear answers from the other posters 

 

 

 

 

as a child who was 5 and turned 6 shortly after school started I can tell you it was a nightmare for me later on-my school ended up reversing it's cut off date because of children like me

 

 


 

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Old 10-10-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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Somebody has to be on the younger side. My DS will be 5 in July and we only have one shot at our charter placement. We can't red shirt him even if we wanted to. He is also a big kid, moving into size 7 this winter.

 

Most of the kids I know who do it have girls who are clearly behind and just plain "young" or boys who are physically small. Our play based preschool started a DK which seem pretty cool but is not particularly developmental.

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Old 10-10-2011, 10:34 PM
 
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Being behind is not a reason to red shirt. It can cause a delay in getting specials needs identified and therefore a delay in the most vulnerable children getting the help the need.

One of my dd's has a summer birthday and is therefore on the younger side for grade. We are a short family. In 7th grade she was bumped up 2 years in math, and this year as an 8th grade she is taking about half high school courses. I'm not in a hurry for her to grow up, but the idea of her being a grade behind where she is just seems silly to me.

I think being honest about how bright both parents are and how school work generally flowed for them makes sense. There are some kids who really don't need to be the youngest, but for other kids, it can be a good thing. It can make it easier for them to have more appropriate work.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:58 AM
 
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I've worked as an education specialist and teacher. I'm also the parent of a July kid who ended up needing to repeat kindergarten. I've read all the research on delayed entry. I believe it's right for some kids and not right for others. I never thought that DS wouldn't be successful in his first year of kindergarten, NEVER. It wasn't until he was in kindergarten, that his "unreadiness" began to show up. It wasn't the school, everyone was wonderful, he just needed more time. His birthday is six weeks before the cut-off date so he's not really "older" than the other kids. He's now doing beautifully in first grade.

 

I'm more concerned about a school that is steering away "unready" children. That's not ok. It's one thing to talk with a parent about a specific child's readiness but this screams of a school that wants to boost it's magnet exclusitivity buy making some parents think that their child shouldn't be there. It's not ok for a teacher (who doesn't know YOUR child) to do that and it's icky when a school, as a whole, does it.

 

Project based learning and research likely sounds "bigger" than it really is. It's a great way to learn but it's nothing like projects in the older grades. And some kids in kindergarten come in reading, others begin reading quickly, and others take longer. That's the natural breakdown of most kindergarten classes.

 

Your daughter sounds ready but I would definitely schedule a visit to see what the program looks like in action. And remember your daughter will be very different in August/September than she is right now. That's almost a year away.

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Old 10-11-2011, 06:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

 

I'm more concerned about a school that is steering away "unready" children. That's not ok. It's one thing to talk with a parent about a specific child's readiness but this screams of a school that wants to boost it's magnet exclusitivity buy making some parents think that their child shouldn't be there. It's not ok for a teacher (who doesn't know YOUR child) to do that and it's icky when a school, as a whole, does it.

 

 

Your daughter sounds ready but I would definitely schedule a visit to see what the program looks like in action. And remember your daughter will be very different in August/September than she is right now. That's almost a year away.

Ditto all of this!!!

 

 

Here we have a Dec 1 cut off dates. My girls are Oct kiddos. They are in 1st grade and 'just' (yesterday) turned 6. They are thriving and both have mild special needs. Yes, the curriculum is more than we (as adults) did at that age, but they are having fun and learning. That is what matters. They are right in the middle of the class for height/weight and top half for academics and bottom half for social skills. It is all just fine for a young 6 yr old. Their teacher has no concerns related to their age AT ALL  and has reassured me that 1st is the right placement (vs K).

 

 Our school actively discourages parents from 'waiting' a year if the child qualifies age-wise and there are no 'flags' on the K screening. They do screen and will suggest based on that developmental/young 5s K or standard K but rarely do they suggest to parents to 'wait'. They want those kiddos in school- it is  the best place to be able to screen for speech, behavioral, or other supports that the kids may needs early on! It also allows the K teachers to help boost any skills that may need support. Yes, some kids repeat K- but the school basis is better to repeat K knowing that they really need it than to wait a year and then have kid that really would do better in 1st grade and is now in K. They have had kids that 'skip' K  or move into 1st after starting K-- to age correct  when they are walking into K at age 6 reading/writing.

 

Also 6 months, a year makes a HUGE difference in kiddos abilities, maturity, and socially. 

 

I would suggest going for the spot at the school-- ask the school to screen your DD for readiness. You will be surprised at the range of skills for K. If needed, you could defer it-- but your DD does not sound like she has any concerns.

 

 

A birthdate is just that - a date. All kiddos born on the EXACT same day will vary widely on their skills and developmental ranges and still have it be age appropriate.

 

 

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Old 10-11-2011, 09:41 AM
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I wouldn't redshirt a July birthday kid without a really good reason. I probably would redshirt a September birthday if I had any doubts about his/her readiness (our cut-off is Oct 1).My oldest was a January bday in a Dec. 1 state when he started school, and being one of the oldest was great for him. I likely would have red-shirted him if he had been anywhere near the cut-off. My middle son got early admission to K and is thriving as a 5 year old in 1st grade at a school where about half the kindergartners are older than him (nearly all August-September kids are red-shirted). Many of his friends are 7 and I trust that their parents made the right choice for their child just as I did for mine. Because of the school culture at his school, I would be inclined to redshirt if there were no extenuating circumstances. You know your child best.

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Old 10-11-2011, 10:08 AM
 
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I red shirted my DS with a Sept. birthday and an Oct. 1 cut off.  So far I have no regrets. I plan to do the same with #2, but he has an August birthday. My kids are small though so size was never a concern. However, there are kids in DS's class who are pretty big and it just doesn't really seem to matter. At least not at this age (1st grade).  I agree with what some of the others have said, talk to the teacher to find out what the kindergarten class is like. Also find out if most kids red shirt or not. You may not want her to be the youngest by more than a year if the trend is to red shirt. I would also look at the kindergarten class. Our K class is definitely not play-based. My feeling is that 5 year olds need to be playing and I didn't want to take that away from them.

 

I would also consider how she is socially. The extra year of pre-k gave my DS a huge boost socially that I think made school fun for him. He loves school and fits in beautifully with his classmates. It's a tough decision, but no matter what you decide it will work out. Good luck. 


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Old 10-11-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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My main issue is that I want to set DD up for a positive school experience, and I'm wondering whether that will be more likely if she is a year older. This should probably not even be a factor, but she is also incredibly tall. She wears size 6x/7 at age four. DH and I are both about 6', so it isn't a big shocker that we have tall kids, and I figure she will tower over her classmates whether she is 5 or 6 when she starts kindy.

 

Does anyone have experience dealing with this issue? As a parent? A teacher? Links to good articles on the subject?

 

My ds has a March birthday with a Sept 1 cut-off; though he was one of the last 3 children in his K class to turn 6, the "head and a half" height advantage he had in September only shrunk to a "head" by the end of the year, but ds' rapid growth (he looked 2 years older) stopped by the time K started.

 

Though I expect he will end up close to dh's height (6'4"), right now his height (2nd grade) is more average.
 

 


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Old 10-11-2011, 07:49 PM
 
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I have an 8 yo dd who also has a July bday and when she was to enter kindergarten I hesitated and my gut told me she wasn't ready. In the end I decided to not redshirt her and I regretted. She was the youngest in her class and struggled to keep up with everybody else (I suspect she is dyslexic). She is a perfectionist and extremely hard on herself so when she didn't get things right away or didn't read or write as well as kids who were nearly a year older than she would get very upset. Her teachers in kindy and 1st were also not the best, b/c she is so bright they just assumed she wasn't trying hard enough or applying herself (in reading and writing). She went to a charter school that was pushing academics to make a name for themselves. 

 

We made the decision to move out of state (for better schools) and it was the perfect time to hold her back. So she is repeating 2nd grade and so far I'm very happy with the decision (our choice not the schools, she was an A/B student except for in reading and writing). She is a lot less stressed. She's not in tears when trying to do her homework. She's not very big so she's average in height in her class. And the best part she no longer says she hates school. FWIW we wouldn't have held her back if we hadn't moved. 

 

Everybody's situation is different and every child is different. You have to go with your gut. 

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Old 10-11-2011, 10:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minkin03 View Post

 

Everybody's situation is different and every child is different. You have to go with your gut. 

 

But not a gut made queasy by scare-tactics from a school trying to boost its magnet exclusivity.

 

Miranda
 

 


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Old 10-12-2011, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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I'm more concerned about a school that is steering away "unready" children. That's not ok. It's one thing to talk with a parent about a specific child's readiness but this screams of a school that wants to boost it's magnet exclusitivity buy making some parents think that their child shouldn't be there. It's not ok for a teacher (who doesn't know YOUR child) to do that and it's icky when a school, as a whole, does it.



I just wanted to respond to this bit. I probably wasn't that clear in my OP. I don't think this school is steering kids away. They handed out a kindy readiness sheet to the prospective kindy parents. I'm pretty sure it is the same sheet given to all parents in the district. The kindergarten teacher was just describing the program. She said that she has a wide range of kids every year, from those who can't write their names/don't know ABCs to those who can already read, and that this is totally okay. She was encouraging parents to read lots of books to their kids and point out letters/sounds. There was nothing "icky" or "your kid doesn't belong here" about it. The school is hard to get into (100 spots, 20ish siblings of current students/teacher's kids, so really only 80 spots. Hundreds and hundreds of applicants in the lottery) and I think they want to make sure you know that if your child gets a spot, but isn't ready, you can defer a year and not lose your spot. 

 

I already had questions about whether to hold back a child who will be young for her grade, so I was focussing on anything they said about that. The school is not intended for just academically advanced kids. The only thing a child needs to get in are involved parents (although that is huge, of course). A special ed teacher, a gifted teacher, and the curriculum coordinator meet with each teacher every week for curriculum planning, taking into account the needs of any children with IEPs. I went to this school for middle and high school, and I'm quite aware of its strengths and weaknesses. My other choices for educating my children are private schools. In my area the good ones are quite snobby, so it's funny to think about this public school touting its exclusivity.

 

 

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Old 10-12-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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I agree with the advice to look at your dd's readiness. For my dd, two months before the cut off date, red-shirting would have been a mistake. Dd is now a very bright 3rd grader & one of the youngest girls in the class. She makes A's easily, and, has good social skills. Yet, we still had issues with boredom last year - she would quickly finish her work and be at loose ends. We resolved the issue with her teacher (peer tutoring, other activities) but, academically, I believe she would suffer if she were a grade behind. But, on the other hand, ds is developing more slowly. He is less mature than some kids in his age group. If he had a birthday anywhere near the cut off date, I would have to seriously consider holding him back. I feel fortunate that he is older in his class.
I believe you really have to consider your dd, and where she falls developmentally into her peer group, rather than some arbitrary date. Good luck with you decision!
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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This is a bit old now, but this article by the NAEYC influenced my decision with both of my girls.  My oldest is a bit of a special circumstance so I won't bring her into this much, but my youngest made the cut-off for K by three days and only b/c the district where she started pushed the cut-off date to October from mid-Sept. the year she started.  She later changed districts to one with the mid-Sept cut she didn't make but they didn't make her repeat a grade so she is, by far, the youngest in her grade.  She is also very, very small.  Dh is 5'6", so that's not a surprise for our family.

 

She's now in middle school and I don't think that holding her out a year would have been beneficial for her.  It might not have been the end of the world.  She very well may have been fine being on the older end rather than the youngest, but I don't believe that being the youngest has been a bad thing either and she isn't struggling academically.   

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Old 10-12-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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Ds bday is early August and our district has a Sept 1 cut off. This is the way we plan to handle it.... We will be looking into schools we'd be interested in for next year. We'll act like he's going to K next year, but we'll really decide later as we get closer.

Maybe he'll stay home next year, maybe he'll go back to his current play based preschool next year. Maybe he'll do K the following year. Or maybe he'll stay home/ in preschool and do 1st next year.

My ds might not be ready for K at 5 but he *might* be ready for 1st at 6 and we are leaving that door open.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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I send my kids to kindergarten the year they're eligible, barring any developmental issues or glaring deficiencies. 

 

For my DD, that means she'll start K when she's 5 and a half. For my DS, it meant that he started when he was 4-going-on-5, and that right now he's in 2nd grade and hasn't turned 7 yet. It was the right choice for him and we're comfortable with our decision. 

 

I wouldn't let her comment about kindergarten not being what it used to be get to you too much. Yes it's different, but it's different for all the kids. And before my DS started kindergarten I used to hear that a lot, but it seemed very age-appropriate to me. His homework was things like finding 5 yellow things around the house, looking for the letters of his name in signs around town, or retelling familiar stories and drawing a picture of his favorite part. I student-taught kindergarten a few years ago, and we did lots of "academic" stuff, but the kids mostly perceived it as games -- we'd sit in a circle and roll a ball of yarn to each other while saying words that started with a certain letter (eventually making a spiderweb), use puppets for letter-sound games, use manipulatives (cubes, macaroni, etc.) for math activities, etc. It was learning, but it was still fun! 


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Old 10-14-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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I have a child with a sept B-day who I started on time. He was/is totally ready! The norm here seems to be red shirting, but for my child it was not the right thing. My youngest has a very late b-day 2 weeks from the cut off.  I will wait until right before K to decided. I will go by whether she is ready, not the fact that she will be the youngest.  Somebody has to be the youngest. shrug.gif

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Old 10-16-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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To me, the issue is more about whether doing what sounds like it may be grade one work with five year olds is really appropriate as a general practice.  I'd look more closely at what the program really involves.


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Old 10-25-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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I think a good kindergarten readiness test can help guide parents as they make the red-shirt-or-don't-red-shirt decision.  If your child is developmentally ready, I'm not sure why you would hold him back a year.  But if he is still lacking important skills, maybe an extra year could really help -- do extra work like kindergarten worksheets, flash cards, socialization, etc so he's ready to thrive the following year.

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