Is Your Child Really Ready for Kindergarten?

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For this year’s graduates of preschool, the pressure begins. Most children in those adorable moving-up ceremonies are 5 years old and will start kindergarten in the fall. But in some states, 4-year-olds are in the group as well, and their parents are anxious: Are their children ready for the rigors of kindergarten?

The option of delaying kindergarten, a practice referred to as red-shirting, is popular among upper-middle-class families who want to give their children the advantage of time before they start having to take high-stakes standardized tests in school. Educators and parents have long debated the issue of when children should start kindergarten.

But some children will always be young for their peer group in any given class, and this difference can be particularly noticeable in early grades. How can American educators do a better job of deciding when a child is ready to start school and perhaps even redesign kindergarten itself?

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