By Anna Orso
Lisa Larney started researching college when her daughter was 3. She wanted to know everything she could about the long-term impacts of delaying kindergarten enrollment for her daughter, born just a week before her school district’s enrollment cutoff date.
Would she benefit from going to college a year later? What if she’s too tall for her grade? Would she perform better academically if held back?
After two years of studying her daughter’s social interactions and researching her options, Larney decided to “redshirt” her, the term used for keeping children in prekindergarten instead of enrolling them when they’re first eligible at age 5.
Redshirting was originally popularized in college sports: Coaches would keep athletes out of competition for a year to develop their skills and extend eligibility. When it comes to kindergarten readiness, the hotly debated practice is most common among parents of kids with summer birthdays — locally, Sept. 1 is typically the cutoff date — because it decides the difference between being the youngest in their class or the oldest, with all the advantages that come with age.