Entries in Kindergarten (3)


'Redshirting' in Kindergarten Still Subject to Debate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More parents are putting off a child's kindergarten entry so he or she will be a little older than the classmates. It's a phenomenon known as redshirting.

"The reasons parents choose to redshirt their child vary, depending on the child's emotional, social and academic readiness to join school," Dana Vela, president of Sunrise Preschools, in Arizona, said in an interview with

"It has always been in practice, but it has gotten more attention recently and people are talking more about it," said Vela, a mother of three and a preschool teacher for 25 years.

Parents might think their child is not emotionally ready to leave home, or not socially or academically adept. Some parents are even delaying schooling to give their children a competitive advantage in sports, or to delay admission age to college.

A joint study by the University of Virginia and Stanford University released in 2013 established a relationship between red shirting and socio-economic status and ethnicity. "We find that between 4 and 5.5 percent of children delay kindergarten, a lower number than typically reported… We find substantial variation in practices across schools, with schools serving larger proportions of white and high-income children having far higher rates of delayed entry," noted the report, The Extent, Patterns, and Implications of Kindergarten "Redshirting," issued in April 2013.

According to a report issued by the National Center for Education Statistics in spring 2011, the scores for kindergarten entry were higher for delayed-entry kindergartners and on-time kindergartners than for repeating kindergartners.

"Even though most school districts want the child to be at least at the age of five, the cut-off date for joining differs according to school district and state," said Vela.

There are mixed results on whether redshirting is helpful for the child in the long run. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2011 said that starting kindergarten one year late "substantially reduces the probability of repeating the third grade, and meaningfully increases in tenth grade math and reading scores. Effects are highest for low income students and males." Alternately, estimates suggest that entering kindergarten early may also have detrimental effect on future outcomes.

Redshirting poses challenges not only to children but to teachers and parents.

"The teacher is mostly impacted by it. They are dealing with children of ages ranging between four and a half and six and a half. This is a large developmental gap when trying to get through the state standard curricula," said Vela.

"The student will develop a persona that they are always bigger, better, and have the upper hand, which might be challenging in their future," she said.

Tracy Gibb, a mother, blogger of Less than Perfect, deliberately redshirted her son because she thought he was emotionally immature. Her son, now 13, has a best friend one year younger than he is.

"When he complains about his friend, I always try to remind him that he is one year younger than him and that he was doing the same things last year," Gibb told

Gibb still thinks she made the right choice not only because her son was "emotionally immature," but also because she did not want him to join high school or college at a very young age. "If he's older, he won't be easily manipulated into drug use and malpractices like this. He might feel more confident dealing with older students," she said.

Just as Gibb made a choice depending on her son's emotional needs, Vela recommends that parents do the same.

"Parents make that decision for all kinds of different reasons. We can test a child academically but we can never test their emotional readiness. They sometimes are not ready to leave home at the age of five and the separation anxiety will impact them for a long time. You also find children who are ready to leave home at an even younger age. So it's really up to the parent to decide for their child," said Vela.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chicago Passes Sex-Ed for Kindergartners

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- While most U.S. public schools start sex education in the fifth grade, sex education will be coming to Chicago kindergartners within two years as part of an overhaul of the Chicago public schools' sexual health program.

The new policy, which the Chicago Board of Education passed Wednesday, mandates that a set amount of time be spent on sex education in every grade, beginning in kindergarten.  Chicago has the third-largest public school system in the country, with 431,000 students.

“It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors and relationships,” Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of the Chicago Public School System, said in a statement. “By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.”

Under the new policy, the youngest students -- the kindergartners -- will learn the basics about anatomy, reproduction, healthy relationships and personal safety. Through the third grade, the sex-ed lessons will  focus on the family, feelings and appropriate and inappropriate touching. In the fourth grade, students will start learning about puberty, and HIV.  Discussions will emphasize that the virus cannot be transmitted through everyday contact such as shaking hands or sharing food.

From the fifth through the 12th grade, the emphasis will be on reproduction, the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS, and other sexually-transmitted diseases, bullying and contraception, including abstinence.

For the first time in Chicago, sex-ed instruction will cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Students will be introduced to terms and definitions associated with sexual identity, including those related to heterosexual and LGBT populations, in an effort to bring awareness, promote tolerance and prevent bullying, said the school board.

Parents or guardians of students can opt out of the sexual health education program if they so choose.

Developed by the Chicago Public Schools Office of Student Health and Wellness last year, the policy was designed to align the Chicago public school system with the standards in President Obama’s national HIV/AIDS strategy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Psychic Kindergarten' for Budding Mediums?

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- Long before J.K. Rowling ever conceived Hogwarts, a small group of students in Berkeley, Calif., were learning what Harry Potter would have called "divination."

It's called "psychic kindergarten," beginner lessons for clairvoyants, where they learn how to read colored spirits, feel chakras and "blow roses." Susan Bostwick, the president of the Berkeley Psychic Institute, is also one of its teachers.

"What we do is teach people to discover, go in and find out what your abilities are, and how do you want to use them for the greater good," she said.

Bostwick stressed that, unlike Harry Potter and his friends, what she and her students are practicing is not magic.

"We talk about magic and miracles, [but] it's allowing yourself to have what you're experiencing in life as a miracle," she said. "I'm teaching people to use their psychic ability. They already have it."

The institute, which is an offshoot of the Church of the Divine Man, is a new age religious group, which bases its teachings on the Bible's New Testament. The organization has been around for 38 years; 300,000 participants have reportedly come through, according to Bostwick.

When the students are asked to "blow roses" in "psychic kindergarten," it means they are being asked to imagine a rose as a way of focusing the mind. In their minds' eye, they then visualize the rose exploding, which is supposed to clear their thoughts, getting rid of any distracting psychic energy.

The students also spend time talking about colors of psychic energy. Each of the colors has different meanings. For example, gold means spiritually awakened or inspired.

"In kindergarten, you're just there to play and learn and discover," said Bingo Marasigan, director of the Berkeley Psychic Institute. "That's what we do here. We provide the space. It's a playground for you to play with energy."

Tune into Primetime Nightline: Beyond Belief special, "Psychic Power," airing on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on ABC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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