Monday, November 26, 2007


We are running into what I think is a relatively common problem in schools: the intentional "redshirting" of students of kindergarten age. The name of this practice comes from the college sports world, where kids sit out of sports for a year to bulk up and mature, and preserve their 4-years of eligibility. This way, they are bigger and stronger than their peers on the team (this is probably most-widely practiced with football.)

When talking about kindergarten age kids, the practice refers to them being placed in kindergarten only after their 6th birthday.

My nephew turned 5 in the June prior to what should have been his kindergarten year, but it is becoming more and more clear as the year has gone on, that though his school has promised a kindergarten education for him this year, they have no intention of actually providing him with it.

He has been effectively redshirted. We will not know for sure until the start of next year--then we will know if they consider him to be a very old kindergartener, or a first grader.

The school has claimed that the "science" is on their side, that he will benefit from an extra year in nursery school.

Well, since this is a household of scientists, and since the glorious internet has placed many scientific journals online, we naturally have been doing a bit of research.

The next few posts will show the results of our search.

A packet of these articles was delivered to the head of the kids' school this morning. This is an attempt to record what we found for the use of other parents who are either considering intentionally redshirting their kids, or who are being redshirted by their schools.

The bottom line is this: while none of the research is completely conclusive, it does not support the school's position. In fact, many studies have shown that students who are younger than their classmates do better in school, while those who are older tend to have more behavioral problems and a greater likelihood of dropping out of school.

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