Reporter Quotes Reedy on 'Redshirting' Kindergartners

April 4, 2012

"The practice of parents holding children back from starting kindergarten at age 5, called 'redshirting' after the athletic practice of delaying college for a year to gain an advantage, is being given a new look by some parents and was discussed on CBS’s 60 Minutes. The impetus is that kindergarten these days is more academic than it used to be," writes Linda Stein in the Reporter. Stein interviewed Dr. Cynthia Reedy, Assistant Professor of Education, in the story:

Cindy Reedy, coordinator of the early childhood education program at Arcadia University, said, redshirting has become “quite a trend” but it has its “pros and cons.”

“If students socially and emotionally are not ready to handle the demands of current kindergarten, it’s helpful to hold them back for a year,” Reedy said. “Many parents feel (their children) are academically ready but they are not looking at the social and emotional pieces.”

Things like stamina and being able to take turns are needed to be a happy successful kindergarten student. While much of the kindergarten curriculum remains the same as ever, the amount of “seat work” has increased, so children have less time to get up, move around and explore at different learning stations in a classroom, she said.

Sometimes a child seems to be doing fine, then by third grade develops “self esteem issues,” she added. By third grade they face multiplication, timed tests and other stresses. They also become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and why another child might not like them.

Reedy agreed that a push to excel at sports may be behind some parents’ moves to hold their child back. But that might not be best for a child. Many more suffer torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries by middle school and others burn out, she said.

Another aspect is the problems posed for teachers by students of largely varying abilities.

“They come in fully reading, sitting beside a pre-reader,” Reedy said. “The challenges for teachers are getting larger.”

Read the entire article.