Why Starting Kindergarten Early Is a Good Idea

redshirting hurts kidsThinking about holding your child back for another year of pre-school? Whether you're hoping he'll be the biggest kid on the football team or the smartest little dude at the spelling bee, it turns out you will be shooting that kid right in the foot -- academically speaking -- if you delay kindergarten. Not exactly what parents were going for when they made the call to let their 5-year-old wait a year before beginning his academic career.

However, a new study shows that children who start kindergarten earlier do better. And those red-shirted kids do worse in school and are less motivated all the way into high school. Yikes, that's a serious long-term negative effect on the kid you were hoping might just be a bit more mature next year.

Of course what's really interesting is the child that starts kindergarten on the younger end winds up kicking butt in reading and math. Turns out the biggest benefit to starting school early is that you're starting school early.


As a lucky parent to two children who were born in the spring, I can say that I've never had to consider delaying school. But as a precocious 4-year-old who started kindergarten learning how to read, I can say that being in a class with older kids was fine. More than fine, I almost skipped a grade and was always at the top of my class.

I, however, am not your kid. And if you really think your child needs another year of pre-school, go with your gut. After you've discussed the situation with your child's teachers, of course. Some children simply aren't emotionally ready to jump in with their peers and sit still and learn. Of course, you're not going to know unless you give them the chance.

Did you red-shirt your child?


Image via Elizabeth Albert/Flickr

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