USA Today Starting Later


It’s back to school…for some.

Being ‘held back’ a year in school was once the ultimate failure, but now a popular strategy to success.

The tactic is dubbed ‘Reshirting’ after the university sports practice of giving “college athletes who practice in red shirts but do not compete in games as freshmen, giving them an extra year of eligibility” USA Today describes in its piece “Reshirting of kindergarteners threatens to get out hand”…

  • “Theoretically, the redshirted child gains by being the oldest rather than the youngest in the class. Not only might he or she be better prepared for classwork, being older might also make the child more confident or likely to be a leader.”

Malcolm Gladwell explores this dynamic ‘The Matthew Effect’ featured in his book ‘Outliers’

  • “The explanation [for the preponderance of National Hockey players born between January and March] is quite simple. It has nothing to do with astrology, nor is there anything magical about the first three months of the year. It’s simply that in Canada the eligibility cut-off for age-class hockey is January 1. A boy who turns ten on January 2, then, could be playing alongside someone who doesn’t turn ten until the end of the year – and at that age, in preadolescence, a 12-month gap represents an enormous difference in physical maturity…Of course [the coaches] are more likely to view as talented the bigger and more coordinated players, who have had the benefit of critical extra months of maturity. And [those kids] get better coaching, and his teammates are better, and he plays fifty or seventy games a season instead of twenty…he practices twice as much.”

The conclusion is that to set your child up for success, start them off with failure.

The Matthew Effect - Outliers