I’m from Texas, and there, redshirting is a term used in football. I had no idea what it meant concerning kindergarten, but I was soon to find out…
My son has a summer birthday. I didn’t plan it that way, of course, that was up to the Gods. In fact, he was born 9.5 weeks early, so he would have been almost an Autumn baby if things had worked out as they were supposed to, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
Anyway, when it came time for kindergarten, my kiddo still seemed young. Not chronologically, necessarily, but he was still carrying around his transitional object, read: lovey. Need I say more?
It’s not that my boy couldn’t go to kindergarten — he’d met all the cut off dates, and he was ready intellectually. It’s that he would probably be learning phonics from underneath a table or while somersaulting, because emotionally it was clear that he wasn’t ready.
Initially my husband wasn’t happy with the idea that he was being “held back”. But, as I told him, and now share with you, I think that’s the wrong way to think about it.
See, my son wasn’t held back, he was given room to move to the front.
We gave my son a gift, which allowed him to have a little more time to mature and, as a consequence, gain self-confidence. As one of the oldest boys in his class, he became a leader at his preschool; a child the other kids looked up to. He was the cool, older guy. Ya know, the one who’d moved past Star Wars and graduated to Harry Potter. That’s serious stuff at a preschool. It was truly wonderful to watch!
When kindergarten time came, my son was six and he was ready. My boy felt good about himself and I knew I didn’t have to worry. Juxtaposed to how unsure I was of his ability the year before, it was such a relief!
And, it goes without saying, my husband thinks it’s one of the greatest ideas he ever came up with (whose idea was it?), and both of us think it was one of the best decisions we ever made.
In the end I gave my son a better head on his shoulders as he starts his journey through school and into adulthood, and who can argue that isn’t a good thing?
6 thoughts to “Guest Blogger Samantha: My Son Wasn’t Held Back…He Was Given A Chance To Move To The Front!”
What a great reframe! I love the idea/image of being given a chance “to move to the front.” Schools need to start adding that to the lexicon — so much better and dignity-maintaining than being “held back.”
I totally agree with Pauline. It’s a wonderful way to look at things. I really like the idea of allowing children more time to be ready for Kindergarten. Especially because so many schools are headed toward a much more rigorously academic K, if it’s possible to wait I think all children (and especially boys) can benefit from an extra few months of play in Pre-K.
I totally believe in giving kids the best chance to succeed and waiting is a great way to go! With age (more time) comes a confidence that is so important for a young child.
We did not hold our August boy before K, but then decided to do it in 5th grade. The truth is that no matter how much the teachers told us he was fine, there were kids more than a year older than him, girls and boys, in the class and those same teachers never ever considered my sons age in comparison to his classmates. We switched to a school with an earlier cut off where he was with older kids, several older than he is and he seems very relieved. He is finally with the boys he plays sports with, many of whom were older, but in the younger grade. It was obvious when the kids around him were talking about girls and he was still talking about Lego. In the end, I’m sure it would have worked out either way, but we’re all very happy that we “adjusted” his grade. I conferred with an ed specialist who told me, no matter what his grades/test scores, August boys should be with the younger grade.
Thanks for sharing your story of success with your son. It is so good to hear that he is doing well because we always wonder if we are making the right decision at the time. My little one is going to need to repeat K next year and we decided to give her the gift of an extra year rather than push her ahead where she is not ready to be.
I will keep these wise words in mind when my October-born son will be starting kindergarten at nearly six due to the cutoff date.