A Comprehensive Guide To Answer The Ultimate Question: When Should Your Child Start School?

Aug 07, 2018 | 5 months ago | Read Time: 3 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

As the admissions season approaches parents find themselves riddled with confusion about what age they should enrol their kids in school. As the anxiety associated with school admissions for toddlers continue to rise year by year, parents start worrying about the same as soon as their kid turns one. What adds fuel to the fire of confusion is the lack of a governmental limit about kindergarten and class one admissions. Due to the lack of a criteria laid down by the Department of Public Instruction, schools are often left to their own devices, due to which admission age ranges from two years six months to three years 10 month for pre-nursery and from three-and-a-half years to four years 10 months for lower kindergarten (LKG). According to the Right to Education act of 2009, students enrolled in class 1 must be at least 6 years old.

In the slew of confusion surrounding the school starting age, a key factor to remember is that every child is different and while age brackets and research can be helpful in determining when you should send your child to school, you as a parent can often be the best judge about when your child will be ready for school and if that will be best for his/her holistic development.

What does the research say?

A popular study conducted by Stanford University late last year showcased that parents who enrolled their kids in kindergarten by age 6 (as compared to the “norm” of enrolling at age 5) had “better performing kids”. The kids that were enrolled in school at a later age not only had better test results by the age of 7 and 11, but also reported to have better self-control, which is regarded by psychologists as an executive function. Psychologists believe that self-control is one the most important qualities children can develop during their formative years, and signals their ability to maintain focus even in the face of distractions. Additionally, several psychologists also believe that pushing the school starting age by a few years at times can help children develop important social skills and help them grow in a play-based environment, without the pressures of a traditional school structure.

According to media reports, the practice of enrolling kids later in school is very common in Nordic countries, which as Finland, whereby, at times kids don’t begin school formally till age 8. This approach to education focuses on the fact that playtime and social development should be the primary focus for young children and seems to work for the children in Nordic countries, as they tend to be some of the top-performing nations in the annual PISA education rankings.

However, there is some research that suggests that if your child starts school early, they gain a head start in learning due to the formal environment of a school system. Additionally, it is also said that children from less advantaged backgrounds have the capability to make up for their deficit in academic skills if they start school early.

What do you say?

While plenty of scientific research, and national school starting averages can be used to try and deduce the “ideal” age at which your child should start school, you might often be the best judge of the same. You know your child best, and you understand their maturity and abilities better than any research study might. Often, using your own knowledge about what you think might be the best learning environment for you child might be the best decision.

Official entrance age to primary education (years)

Official Entrance Age to Primary Education

Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics.

School starting ages vary significantly world-wide. While majority of European countries have a starting school age of six, Scandinavian countries have a starting age of seven, while Ireland has the starting age of four. It is important to know your child, and his/her educational, social and psychological needs and your plan about your child’s education apart from scientific research about childhood development in answering the question of when your child should start school.

Additionally, this is also a good time to think about investing in a child plan for your child’s education. While you are thinking about the educational future of your child, making sure you have the financial means to pay for the same is equally important!

Advt. no.: IA/Jul 2018/4248


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