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A new take on the term, redshirting describes parents choosing to postpone putting their child's entrance into kindergarten to allow for them to have more time, growth and development to prepare for traditional schooling. Academic redshirting is a play on the term that was previously used for collegiate athletics.

The term redshirting originated in college athletics and described coaches waiting to play some of their team members for a few seasons until they were ready to play at the same level as the rest of the team or the competing teams. 

Academic redshirting often occurs when children turn five shortly before the school year for kindergarten is about to begin. This often means they will be almost an entire year younger than in comparison to some of the children in the class. Because of this some parents might choose to hold off on enrolling them in school for a year or so to allow them time to grow and develop before entering the classroom. Some parents of children with developmental delays also might practice academic redshirting so their child can be on the same educational level as kids a year or two younger than them. There are a few pros and cons to academic redshirting. Some parents are in favor of the benefits that come from redshirting. However, some parents may not believe in the hype or supposed benefits of redshirting. Keep reading to learn more about academic redshirting to find if it is a good option for your child. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about nine percent of all kindergarten-age students are redshirted each year. This means that most parents do not redshirt their children, but that it does occur. Redshiritng more often occurs with boys versus girl students. White children are also more often redshirted than in comparison with Hispanic and Black students, according to statistics from the NCES. In a national survey, teachers reported that about 48 percent of students are not ready for the kindergarten curriculum. Because of this, the number of parents considering redshirting their children continues to rise in schools throughout the United States. 

To Redshirt or Not:

Because there isn't the best of evidence out there so far to determine whether or not redshirting truly is a better option for some students, it is important for parents to make an educated decision before they make this choice for their children. Some of the draw backs of redshirting might include stifling your child's potential as well as stunting them socially. That is why you should really assess if redshirting is the best choice for your son or daughter by discussing this option with the school or kindergarten teacher before you enroll in school. Talk to the teacher about your concerns. It might even be a good idea to have the teacher meet with your child before you enroll for an assessment or small test to determine whether or not they are ready for kindergarten.

Another way to bypass the option of redshirting entirely, or at least help your child prepare for kindergarten is to consider enrolling them in preschool in the couple of years before it is time to attend mainstream school. Many children begin preschool around ages three and four to help get them ready both socially and introduce them to learning styles as well as basic reading and writing skills.  By considering these options, you can at least help them prepare for what to expect when the time to enroll them in kindergarten comes around. If you still feel they are not ready, or if the teacher has some concerns, it can't hurt to hold them back until the next year when they feel more prepared to take on the kindergarten curriculum. Many times the option to redshirt has nothing to do with educational development and more to do with social preparation. Many children are shy or reserved by nature and might have a difficult time learning to interact with their peers, especially if they are many months younger than the older set of children in the age group. If your child shows signs of being extremely introverted, they might struggle with kindergarten. Waiting until they are a little bit older, and closer to the age group, might help give them time to open up more socially. Ultimately, redshirting is up to the parents and what they feel the most comfortable with when it comes to this tough decision. Be sure to assess all of your options when it comes to redshirting.