Delaying Kindergarten

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Today is our son’s 5th birthday. It should also be his very first day of kindergarten. While we will be eating cake and opening presents after tonight’s dinner, we won’t be rehashing the details of his first day of public school. With his birthday just 2 days before the cutoff for our district’s kindergarten registration, we’ve made the decision to “redshirt” our son this school year.

Redshirting is a hot topic in both parenting and in education. Many parents fret over whether or not to send their 5 year olds to school “on time”. However, keeping our son in pre-k for one more year was a relatively easy decision for my husband and me. Quite honestly, the teacher in me strongly feels that the delay will benefit him in the long run, and the mother in me feels relief that we are “keeping him little” for one more year. 

Here are a few reasons why:

I Did My Research

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve read most everything on the internet regarding academic redshirting. I’ve taught high school English for close to 15 years, and I have a masters degree in curriculum and instruction. When I apply all I’ve learned and factor in discussions we’ve had with his teachers, it’s clear that our son is one of many children who quite possibly needs the extra year to mature and gain academic focus. 

Some, most notably Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, suggest that age may even play a factor in one’s level of success later in life. Though there is no concrete proof of this, we figure it can’t hurt to give our son the extra year to mature academically. Though he is a bright little boy, it is highly doubtful that he will be bored with next year’s kindergarten curriculum. 

He LOVES “reading”, but he would rather create his own story than pay any attention at all to the letters on the page.

Social Skills Matter

Our son is what some would consider a tad immature. Maybe it’s because he’s a boy. Maybe it’s because he’s an only child. Or maybe it’s because he was slightly premature. Most likely it’s a combination of all the above. Rather than worry why he isn’t quite as settled as some of his peers, we prefer to give him a year to work on his focus and patience. He’s only going to be little once, and we want to enjoy this time rather than rush him into his next stage of life. 

Our Current Situation Works For Us

I realize that work hours, daycare expenses, and a plethora of other variables may play into others’ decisions regarding whether or not to send their 5 year olds on the big yellow bus this school year. But we are in a situation where our current routine is ideal for our family dynamic. 

We LOVE our son’s daycare. And our schedules and routines are not only familiar, they are ideal for our current circumstance. For us, keeping that routine for one more year is a classic case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”. 

Our son at his current daycare where he is learning, thriving, and meeting superheroes.

Above all else, we are redshirting our 5 year old because our strong parental intuition is telling us to. Hopefully it’s the right decision because there is no going back now. But even if our son someday expresses that he wishes he had gone to kindergarten the day he turned 5, we can confidently tell him that we did what we felt was best for him at the time. 

 

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Liz Hawkins
Liz, who grew up in New Castle, PA, is the only female resident of her family’s Cranberry Township home. This boy mom actually enjoys being severely outnumbered by her husband Adam, their 5 year old Miles, and even her male dog and cat. She frequently claims that there are definite perks to being the “lady of the house”. Liz studied Secondary Education/English at Clarion University where she also earned her Masters of Curriculum and Instruction. She puts her degrees to good use as a high school English teacher. Though it’s sometimes difficult to juggle her career and motherhood, she can’t imagine her life without either role. When Liz isn’t teaching or relaxing with her guys at home, she can typically be found reading, working out, adding items to her Amazon Prime wishlist, listening to 90’s hip hop, cooking, or planning her family’s next vacation.