Should they stay or should they go? How parents decide to enroll or withhold their late-birthday child from kindergarten

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.S. in School Psychology


Department of Counselor Education & Human Services


Advisor: Elana R. Bernstein


Every year, parents of children with late birthdays are faced with the decision to send or withhold their late birthday child from kindergarten when he or she is technically eligible to enroll. This decision can have long-term effects on a child's academic development, and is one that can weigh heavily on parents. However, to date there is no conclusive agreement regarding the efficacy of either enrolling or withholding an eligible but young child. Further, there is little research examining why some parents choose to enroll their child, while others choose to withhold their child. The present study examined the factors parents consider in their decision to enroll or withhold their child, using a qualitative design. Nine parents were interviewed to gain insight into their experiences regarding the decision-making process about kindergarten enrollment. The factors considered by parents, and how these are weighted, are discussed. The results provide a better understanding of what influences parents in choosing to enroll or withhold their late birthday child from kindergarten. Suggestions are made for school psychologists, teachers, and other professionals to better guide parents faced with this decision.


Readiness for school Attitudes, School age (Entrance age) Attitudes, Parents Attitudes, Kindergarten, Early childhood education; educational psychology; kindergarten readiness; kindergarten redshirting; kindergarten start

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Copyright © 2013, author