We constantly talk about ‘school readiness’ but what does it actually mean?
With the school year drawing to a close, and a new class of kids preparing to start school in 2020, the debate about when to send your child to school is on again. There’s an argument for every side. If you send them early, you’ll be extending them, if you send them later, you give them a chance to gain confidence first. It seems you just can’t win. So when is the right time to send your child to school and is it the same for everybody?
An Overwhelming Time
Starting primary school is an overwhelming time for any child, and for parents too it can be a difficult transition. ‘School readiness’ is not about academic ability necessarily, but refers instead to the knowledge, skills and behaviours children need to be able to adjust to the demands of the school environment.
Children who are school ready are:
- Able to get along with other children
- Able to follow instructions and directions from teachers
- Able to cope with minimal adult contact in a large group
- Able to speak clearly and communicate their needs
- Able to demonstrate fine and gross motor skills like running, jumping, holding a pencil etc.
- Able to independently go to the toilet, carry their bag and manage their belongings
More Than Just A Number
For kids born at the very start or end of the calendar year, the options are a little less flexible. If you turn 5 in December, chances are you’ll be starting school in February bang on schedule. For those born in the middle of the year however, they can start school at 4 1/2, 5/12 and in the case of some kids, 6 years of age. It really comes down to the judgement of parents.
Can you see your child heading off to school in a uniform, with a school bag and homework and responsibilities? If the answer is no, and they’re not quite at school age yet, perhaps it’s worth considering another year at pre-school to give them the best chance of success.
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How did you know when it was time to send your children to school? Tell us in the comments.