Kristina Dell, of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, authored this insightful story today: The Problem With Holding Kids Back from Kindergarten.
Holding back kids so they’ll enter kindergarten at the ripe old age of six has become such a common practice there’s even a term for it: redshirting, a word borrowed from the sports world where an athlete sits out a year or more in order to lengthen eligibility. It’s an apt metaphor. Not only are pre-schoolers grabbing an extra year to brush up on their ABCs, they’re also gaining a year of growing time, which many parents believe bestows all sorts of future advantages—mainly for boys. “This has been a trend for years, but it has accelerated in the last five,” says Emily Glickman, president of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, a service that helps parents navigate private school admissions in Manhattan.
And indeed, for a variety of reasons, it’s the boys who are increasingly being redshirted. “Private schools in general tend to be less forgiving of younger boys than girls,” says Glickman, “and parents feel like boys mature more slowly.” As we approach February 11, the date most of New York City’s private kindergartens mail out acceptance letters, the growing trend of keeping kids in pre-school an extra year is once again stirring heated debate.
Dell notes that parents, teachers, suburban public schools, and NYC private schools are all part of the older kindergartener/redshirting trend.