- "The Littlest Redshirts Sit Out Kindergarten," New York Times, August 20, 2010
- "Is 'redshirting' your kindergartener the right decision?" msnbc.com, August 23, 2010
We live in Connecticut, where a child entering kindergarten must turn five by January 1 (which also makes S eligible to start when he is four, but he would be the absolute youngest child in his grade). The only other states that have such late cutoff dates are:
- California - December 3
- Hawaii - December 31
- Maryland - December 31
- Michigan - December 1
- Montana - December 2
I decided that T would wait until he turned five before starting kindergarten when he was still in utero. I had three reasons for this:
- If we lived in any other nearby state (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts), he would not be eligible to start school at age four.
- When I was in kindergarten, I could read (my teacher used to have me read stories to the class), so my teacher suggested that I move into first grade. Thinking it was for the best, my mother agreed. While I thrived academically, emotionally and socially I always felt insecure and "less than." In hindsight, staying in kindergarten would have been a better decision.
- As the youngest person in my grade, it was not easy to be one of the last girls to get her period, one of the last to get a driver's license, or to sit home on a Thursday night when all of her friends were barhopping.
When T was in Mother's Day Out, I had many conversations with the director about whether to hold T or send him to school on time per Connecticut's cutoff. P (the director) gave me some sage advice: If I put T in kindergarten at age four and he hits "bumps in the road," I will always wonder if it's because he's one of the youngest in the class. If I wait until T turns five to have him start, I will figure that any "bumps" are just part of the process.
I'll admit, it would be convenient for T to start kindergarten at age four. It would be easier for me to have him in school sooner rather than later. But what's easier for me is not what's important. What is best for T is what's important. And as his mother, I strongly feel that giving T the time to mature emotionally and socially is what is best for him.