Last week, I took my youngest for his kindergarten physical. Filling out all that paperwork in preparation for registering him for kindergarten makes it seem real that my baby will really be in full-day school next fall.
But there wasn’t that oh-my-gosh-how-is-it-already-time-to-send-him-to-kindergarten feeling because technically, he should have gone to kindergarten last fall. We made the decision to redshirt him instead. You can read more about our reasons to kindergarten redshirt and how we came to that decision. And I’m glad that we chose to redshirt.
Honestly, the only time I ever had a moment’s doubt that we did the right thing was a few times when we had to fork over the preschool tuition, since kindergarten would be free.
My little Cub is a smart cookie. And I think he could have done just fine if he were in kindergarten this year. It’s funny to me that people assume that he must have some sort of delay or learning issue and that’s why we decided to redshirt. But if that were the case, we probably would have sent him on time so that he could get interventions sooner. But as it is, we didn’t have any concerns and he’s really learned so much this year in Kinder Prep. There are some of the end-of-year kindergarten goals he’s already surpassed.
I’m perfectly fine with the idea of him starting kindergarten ahead of where he needs to be, instead of worrying about if he’ll be able to catch up. So much of what our kids do at school is differentiated by ability, so I’m not concerned that he’ll be bored. But I do think he’ll have so much more confidence as he starts school because of how much he’s able to do, instead of being stressed out because he can’t do what the other kids do.
Our kindergarten is full-day and there have been so many changes in what the kids are expected to do by the end of the year. For example, when my oldest(who is now a third grader) was in kindergarten, the goal was to be reading on a Level B by the end of the year. Last year, that was changed to having to read on a Level D by the end of the year(a far cry from when I was in kindergarten and all we were expected to do was to recognize our letters).
My Cub would have been one of the youngest had we sent him last year. Add to that that he’s a boy and well, he would have been one of the more immature kids in the room, making it harder to be able to meet all those goals. I have no doubt he’ll be ready in the fall. That he’ll even be a leader in his classroom.
He won’t stick out as being the oldest kid, size-wise. He’s about average in his current class(technically the year behind him) and he plays soccer and basketball with kids his age(who are in kindergarten this year). When he’s playing sports, he’s no longer the smallest kid out there like he was last year, but he’s not anywhere near the biggest. And when he’s at school, he doesn’t stick out as being much bigger than the average kid(he’s still not the tallest). We weren’t thinking size or trying to gain him some sort of advantage in high school sports years down the road, but we did consider that we might have made a different decision had we thought he’d stick out like a sore thumb as the giant boy who can’t possibly be in the right year. But as it is, he looks like he fits with the grade we have him with.
When our child starts full day kindergarten this fall, I know he’s going to be amazing. He’s confident and has learned a lot. I don’t have any concerns that he’ll have a rough go of it. And I’m thrilled that he’ll have a first year of school experience that is easy for him. I’m glad that we gave him the gift of time this past year.