If your child is born somewhere between January and July, then you’re one of the lucky ones that gets to choose which year they go to school. Will they be four turning five, or five turning six? If your child celebrates his or her birthday in the winter and spring months of August to December, then the decision is out of your hands, as children must start school in the year they turn six.
However, for those with summer or autumn babies, how do we know what the right thing to do is? It’s sometimes a tough decision for parents and it’s time to decide now, as schools are enrolling kindergarten children.
Ultimately, the decision lies with you, depending on what is best for your child. The following tips may help you to decide whether your child should start school in 2020 or 2021.
Being school-ready is NOT about reading and writing.
Ask a kindergarten teacher what they expect from children entering school, and it will not be about whether they can recognise every letter of the alphabet, write it and be able to count. True school readiness is about being socially and emotionally ready – will they cope with the everyday tasks?
– Can my child sit at the table to complete an activity?
– Can my child make choices about the type of activity they wish to engage with?
– Can my child take care of themselves independently – toileting, washing hands, care of his or her own belongings?
– Is my child able to resolve conflict with peers? The teacher to student ratios in the playground are far greater than at daycare or preschool, meaning less adults per child. If your child has a problem, will they be able to work it out for themselves or will they always need adult support?
– Can my child ask for help if she or he needs to?
Find out about your daycare or preschool’s school readiness program
Listen to what daycare or preschool tells you
Speak to “big school”
What will life be like in Year 7?
Will my child be bored?
This is a valid concern, especially for those children who seem ready to go now or are very bright and wanting to be challenged mentally.
The Early Years Learning Framework, the curriculum used at every daycare and preschool, lends itself to play based learning.The educators use this to support your child’s learning and development as they get closer to going to school; so there is no opportunity to get bored.
Another way to challenge your child is by enrolling them in activities outside of daycare. Drama, martial arts, dance and sports are great confidence boosters and give them an additional opportunity to practice their social and emotional skills.
Whether you choose to send your child next year to school, or stay another year at home, preschool or daycare, it’s your decision. Make the decision that fits your child’s needs and growth and don’t worry about what other parents are deciding.
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