by Stephen Wruck
Is Four Too Young to start school?
If your child’s birth month would make them one of the youngest in their class, would you wait a year and let them start Prep with greater maturity? Or are they excited and ready to take off on their school journey?
Prep is the official start of school in Qld. There is one annual intake for Prep in January and children must be five by 30 June in the year they commence.
But what about children born in June? If they were born a couple of weeks later, (in July) they wouldn’t start school for another year, so what factors should parents take into account when considering when to start school?
Social and emotional maturity skills are a great indicator of a child’s potential to thrive in the first year of school. Children don’t need to be able to be fluent readers and writers at the start of Prep – that’s what they learn in school. More important questions to ask are: “Can my child play well with others?”; “Can she take turns and share?”; “Is he interested in stories and enjoy being read to?”; “Can he listen to and follow instructions?”; “Does she express emotions and deal with conflict appropriately?”; “Can he hold scissors correctly?”; “Can she climb or catch a ball?”; “Does she identify shapes and colours?”; “Can he balance on one foot?”
These social and emotional skills give an excellent guide to a child’s readiness for school. If you feel your child may not be quite ready, then delaying school for a year may provide that extra level of maturity that allows them to thrive.
King’s Christian College has a guide called “30 Skills your child needs before starting prep.” You can download it from www.kingscollege.qld.edu.au/PrepSkills
If you have any concerns about whether to start your child in Prep or to wait a year, ask the advice of your Kindy teacher or a Prep teacher at your future school.