“Should I send my child to school this year? He’ll be a bit young… or should I wait until next year?”
This is a question that I’ve been asked by many friends of mine. Although every case is different, my first response is usually “There is no rush for your child to start school. I’d wait until the following year”.
Things just don’t “click” until a child is developmentally ready. I believe that it doesn’t matter how many times someone practises using the letters of the alphabet. If a child is not ready to use them then they won’t make any sense. I am guilty of having tried to “push” my son before he was developmentally ready. I made the mistake of trying to teach him to crawl. I lay on the floor and showed him what to do (I’m actually serious). I said, “Come on, you can do it!” and I also tried to move his arms and legs in a crawling motion. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t work. It is important for me to accept that he will crawl when he was ready.
Aside from being ready to the learn the content of the curriculum, kids need to be able to sit still, concentrate, share, converse and follow a routine. I’ve seen kids at school pretending that their pencil is a train and “choo chooing” it around their table. It was very cute but better off at play group.
Children also need to be socially ready. Every parent’s worst nightmare is that their child struggles to make friends. I’ve seen the younger students getting lost in the crowd, not knowing how to ask people to play, saying things in class that don’t make sense and having others laugh at them or call them a baby because they do not understand basic social cues. Believe it or not but 5 year olds call each other babies! If you want your child to be confident, more of a leader and secure, then the older they are, the better.
There are exceptions of course. Children all mature at different rates and this isn’t always associated with their age. All I’m saying is that if you’re in doubt, keep them out of school for a bit longer.
Credit to Creative Clips for the graphic.