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What Is Academic Redshirting?
“Academic Redshirting” is used in an academic sense when parents decide to delay a year enrolling their child in school despite the child being eligible to attend.
The term “redshirting” was coined in sports about the red jerseys athletes wore in their first year of university athletics to indicate that they were delaying their participation in a particular sport to lengthen their period of eligibility.
Reasons for Academic Redshirting
If a child happens to be born in a month that would have them younger when entering school, their parents will often hold them back another year. Few parents consider delaying a year of child’s start time for various reasons, the biggest reason parents give for holding a child out a year is that he doesn't seem as mature as his peers, either socially or academically. The most common factors they relate to their kid’s readiness are emotional stability, health, physical skills and self-care.
Is Academic Redshirting the right decision for your child?
Children, especially in the early years, are like little sponges, absorbing all the information around them and then actively making sense of it. It’s not just academics we should look upon but the development of key skills - including posture, balance, standing, walking and fine coordination of hand and eye - all require activity through physical effort and learning opportunity at the preschool level. Educational psychologist Mike Hughesman believes it’s not the quantity but the quality of stimulation in the early years that counts.
According to our draft NEP 2019 recommendations,
A child’s social and emotional growth is the foundation of his academic success. Good schools promote young children’s creativity, play, and social learning. At the preschool level, it is a play and activity-based curriculum.
It is important to keep in mind that while your child may be cognitively ready, he or she may be behind when it comes to social or emotional strengths, and vice versa. For instance, your child may have advanced reading skills, but perhaps he or she is still struggling when it comes to playtime and sharing. Many problems will diminish as child ages.
In classes where there are children who have been redshirted, some older children may feel alienated from their younger classmates, and some older classmates may have an unfair advantage over younger classmates in size and psychomotor and social skills. It would increase classroom difficulty for both students and teachers due to age gaps between students and self-esteem issues.
In many cases an extra year can make a big difference in development, sometimes what is perceived as immaturity is an undiagnosed disability that could be addressed by special education services.
A young child is likely to adjust to the transition to school when parents are careful about how they express their concerns. Parents can be most helpful by offering the child reassurance and support, and by resisting the temptation to discuss their anxieties and concerns in front of the child
Additionally, a child who is redshirted would face a lot of competitions and will delay entering the workforce by a year, which might affect economically. All aspects of the child’s life should be considered when deciding to delay. Here the decision becomes increasingly important for parents whether late starts of their kid is indeed a smarter start and understand the impact of academic redshirting in the development of their child.
I wish that the culture of education would shift towards preschool being ready for kids rather than kids needing to be ready for preschool; it is incumbent upon parents to decide when to initiate their child's school journey.
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