According to a joint study released by researchers from the University of Virginia and Stanford University, between 4% and 5.5% of children nationwide delay enrolling in kindergarten — a practice known as redshirting.

Of those children, researchers found that most students who are redshirted are white and from high-income families. Some officials say it is unclear whether delaying students’ entry into school because of emotional, social and academic readiness benefits students. 

Redshirting Kindergarten StudentsMore 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 reshirting 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.

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Redshirting Kindergarten Students