The term “kindergarten redshirting” sort of makes me cringe. It sounds too much like a choice we made due to sports*, when that wasn’t the case. We prefer to simply say that we waited to send our youngest to kindergarten. But, when the subject comes up, redshirting is what others say, so I’ll just deal with the slight cringe as I type it.
We made the decision when our youngest was in the 4 year old preschool program that we would send him to KinderPrep instead of kindergarten the next year. He was the youngest in his class, the smallest, and just seemed so young. He didn’t have any sort of delays, despite the “what is wrong with him?” looks or even flat out questions we got when we let people know. You can read more about our initial kindergarten redshirting decision.
Then, last year, while our youngest was in the KinderPrep class, it really felt like we had made the right decision in deciding to wait a year to start him. You can read about those reasons to redshirt.
But now that he’s halfway through his kindergarten year, how do we feel about the choice we made?
All of the reasons I was glad about our decision last year still hold.
He’s doing amazing in kindergarten. I don’t generally do the braggy parent thing because I think it’s obnoxious, but another mom asked me what reading level he was on. And when I told her, she muttered that it was only because he was older than her son.
And you know, that may very well be. He is performing more like he was a first grader. But, I don’t think he would have been ready for the demands of kindergarten last year. He might not have have floundered, but it would have been more of a struggle. He more than likely wouldn’t have reached this level by this time last year had he been in kindergarten then. He loves school and a big part of that is his success. It’s harder to like it when you’re struggling and he’s too young to start hating school.
In case you’re wondering, he’s not the oldest in his class. There are three who are older. He’s certainly not the tallest, though he’s not one of the smallest either(which he is when he’s with the first graders).
He has more confidence because of how he’s able to get things. He’s a leader.
Do you have to be one of the oldest in the class to get things or to be a leader? Absolutely not. It’s just how it worked for us.
Are things too easy for him? No, I don’t think so. Maybe if our school didn’t differentiate learning, he might be bored. But the kids work on their own levels.
It still sticks out to me what one of the kindergarten teachers had said to me, that it’s the only time in our kids’ lives when we can give them the gift of time.
That phrase was picked apart when I was on Huffington Post Live talking about redshirting last fall(as was the idea of waiting to send your child to kindergarten, I was the lone yay amongst the nay’s), like it was a judgment on any parents who didn’t give their child that gift. But I think of it as a gift that not all kids need- the same way a gift of a fabulous pair of size 7 boots would do me no good, since my last pregnancy made my feet grow. They would be an amazing gift for someone else, but not for me. That’s the kind of gift I think of redshirting as: great if it’s the right fit, but it’s not for everyone.
Could he have done okay had we sent him on time? I think so. But is he doing much better because we waited? Yes. Does it weird me out to think that according to his birthdate, he should be headed toward second grade in the fall? Absolutely. I think he’s where he should be. I don’t regret
redshirting waiting a year to send my son to kindergarten.
*About that sports thing: our son plays all sports according to his birthdate, not his grade.
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