Friday, November 30, 2012

Redshirting in 2013

From a reader......

As we get closer to January, my husband and I have a big decision to make....  Whether or not to send our son to kindergarten in August 2013.

Our son turns 5 at the end of September, right before the October 1st cut-off for SFUSD.  He will be 4 years old on the first day of school.

-  He is the second born, so he is used to playing-with, keeping-up with older kids
-  Verbal, gross-moter & social skills seem on track for kinder
-  He is of average size, so he won't look like the smallest in the class
-  He seems ready and he wants to go
-  We think the mental challenge is good for his development (see below)

-  He loves sports and seems motivated & coordinated to play team sports
-  He will be the youngest in his class...  forever

Our daughter was also born right before the cut-off and sending her was the best decision we ever made.  Our decision was reinforced by this article in the NYT supporting younger kids starting kinder...

NYT, Delay Kindergarten at your Child's Peril

Notably, "Parents want to provide the best environment for their child, but delaying school is rarely the right approach.  The first six years of life are a time of tremendous growth and change in the developing brain.  Synapses, the connections between brain cells, are undergoing major reorganization.  Indeed, a 4-year-old's brain uses more energy than it ever will again.  Brain development cannot be put on pause, so the critical question is how to provide the best possible context to support it.
For most children, that context is the classroom."

Although we have a strong bias towards sending him, our approach will be to meet with his preschool teachers in early January to assess his readiness, then pull the trigger....

Parents - Are you facing this decision?  Will you send your child next fall or hold them back?


  1. If you have a strong TK program that you can get into - that is the best of both worlds. Your son will get the academic stimulation of a full K curriculum, just with more accomodation for social/emotional maturity or more time to catch up in one skill area (for example, many boys need a bit more time to catch up with girls on drawing with details and other fine motor pre-academic skills). I was the youngest forever in my class growing up, and hated it.

  2. Your pros and cons list says it - you should send him. Even if you find him a great TK, that just means he will be more likely to be bored in K and every year after.

  3. I am not currently facing this issue, but I did with both my sons several years ago. My only advice is rely on what your child's preschool teachers/director say. My boys were born the same month (different years, obviously), and we held one back but sent the other when he was 5. In both cases, we relied heavily on the advice of their preschool teachers, who have worked with this age group for years and have loads of child development experience. In both cases, it was the right decision. It's such a personal decision, and each child is different. Plus, there tends to be passion surrounding the issue for whatever reason, which can lead to over-generalizations and heated comments in online forums that have zilch to do with your own child (in my experience, anyway). Good luck!!

  4. One thing I've seen people do is public K for a year, then private K, or vice versa.

  5. Either a child is ready or they aren't--2 years of kindergarten is a bad idea.
    My parents did it with me and I ALWAYS felt I flunked kindergarten--no matter what anyone said

  6. We called this "to K or not to K." It's a completely personal and per child decision. There is no right answer. We waited for our late Sept. boy and he is in his 3rd year of preschool now. Since the state has changed the law to Sept. 1, I decided to just go with that. Even though it is rolling back over a 3 year period and my son could have still squeaked in. I talked to a lot of people with older kids on this topic. I heard from a few that wished they had waited (one friend had their late Aug. son repeat 1st grade), but I didn't hear from anyone who waited that regretted it. I do think there is a stigma with repeating. My 2nd grader can tell you every kid at school who "should be" in another grade. Good luck.

  7. I'm facing this problem with m September girl as well. The biggest problem is finding an alternative. Academically, she is good. She just doesn't know how to work within a structured environment and is a little immature. Not that she's developmentally delayed, she could just use some extra time to master impulse control and cooperation in groups.

    She doesn't qualify for the public TKs and none of them are at schools I would want her to go to anyway. I've considered doing a year of private K, but their cut off dates are Aug. 31, so we're stuck in a no-man's land. I've found ONE private TK that we're going to apply to and pray we get in and I'm putting in a list with SFUSD as a backup, but I'm really not happy with any of my options. I've pretty much just reconciled myself to the idea that she may just have to repeat kindergarten, as much as I don't like that idea. Any suggestions or alternatives would be welcome.

    1. The San Francisco Waldorf school has a two-year kindergarten program, and accepts children who turn 4 by June or something like that. I was in a similar situation with my Fall-birthday child, and I found that their play-based program (but with great structure and social interaction) was just what my child needed. Granted not everyone agrees with Waldorf, and they have a no-TV rule, but I have found it to be absolutely wonderful for young children.

      Good luck!

  8. Try Eureka Learning Center's TK program. It is perhaps the best in the city and the director and head TK teacher are both legendary.