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Redshirting; Is your child ready for kindergarten?

Redshirting; Is your child ready for kindergarten?

It may seem premature to be weighing things like high school athletics and class rank before a child even enters kindergarten, but those are real factors for some parents who are considering “redshirting” their five-year-old.

What is redshirting?

            Named for the sports-related concept of having athletes who are kept out of college competition for a year wear a red jersey, academic redshirting refers to delaying kindergarten for a year.

Why would a parent choose to redshirt their child?

            For the most part, parents are concerned about their child’s academic, emotional, and social readiness. A five-year-old child who didn’t attend preschool may have more attachment issues and be less prepared to be separated from her mother. A boy who is small for his age already may benefit from the extra year of growth that starting kindergarten as a six-year-old may provide.

Who tends to redshirt?

            A joint study from Stanford University and the University of Virginia released in 2013 found a link between redshirting and ethnicity and/or socioeconomic status. Of the 4 to 5.5 percent of children who are redshirted each year, schools that serve larger proportions of Caucasian and high-income children have much higher rates*. In fact, when it comes to socioeconomics, the top 20 percent of families are 36 percent more likely to redshirt than those in the lowest 20 percent**. Why? Often it’s simply that they can afford to postpone kindergarten. Poorer families may need to put their children in school sooner due to daycare costs.

Should you opt to redshirt?

            There are a lot of factors to determine if you should delay kindergarten. Finances, confidence, independence, maturity, physical size, and even toilet habits may need to be weighed. But one of the most vital factors­ to consider is academic readiness.

            Don’t assume that the difference between age five and six will mean huge leaps in academic readiness. Many children have the cognitive skills even earlier, but are only limited by the school’s birthday cut-off.

            One way to determine the strength of your child’s learning skills is through a cognitive skills assessment. Any discrepancies in the underlying learning skills can then be focused on to prepare the child for the academic rigor and decisions about holding back or advancing the child would have a firm basis in knowledge rather than supposition.

What does a cognitive skills assessment measure?

            One-on-one brain training centers use cognitive skills assessments to measure the fundamental skills needed to learn, think, process, remember, and recall. The noninvasive evaluation measures logic & reasoning, processing speed, auditory and visual processing, attention, and memory. The results will help you determine if your child is academically ready for kindergarten compared to their same-age peers. You’ll also be able to decide if you want to enroll your child in one-on-one brain training program to target any weak skills and give your child a leg up when he or she does head to school.

            It’s important to note that very smart children can have weak cognitive skills. For example, a boy with attention issues may still have strong visual processing and logic & reasoning skills. A girl with slow processing speed may excel in all academic challenges … if given more time than her peers. Regardless, knowledge is power, and a brain skills assessment is personalized knowledge about your child’s cognitive readiness to help you determine if you should delay kindergarten for another year.