Ready for School?

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“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”.

There are a few reasons why:

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.

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What is your favourite thing about school?

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Each time ‘Parent, Student, Teacher’ interviews roll around, I ask my students (in front of their parents) to share what their favourite thing about school is. Of course I hope for responses that reflect their love of learning such as: “I just adore reading” or “I like to count using the blocks”. And if I’m really being honest I’d love to hear a “Libby is my favourite thing about school” response. Unfortunately, I don’t get to hear any of the above comments as much as I’d like!

Here are 6 of the most common responses I do tend to hear. I’ve also included the corresponding thought that goes through my mind on hearing them.

  1. “I love playing outside.” What about Maths? You like that right?
  2. “I enjoy having ‘free play’.” Don’t you mean “developmental” play with highly educational value?
  3. “I like eating lunch.” Oh dear
  4. “I like sitting next to my friend.” While engaging in cooperative learning tasks?
  5. “I don’t know…” What about eating lunch? Come on, just say something.
  6. “I like it when it’s home time.” Just smile…

Can anyone else relate? What responses have you gotten?