The pressure to give your child the best educational start in life leaves many families stressed and fearful of making the wrong decision. How do you know if he is ready? What should he know before he starts? Should you send him when he is 5 or 6?
In New South Wales, the law states that a child must be enrolled in school by the age of 6. This means that you may send your child if they are turning 5 on or before July 31st (for Public Schools - the suggested cut-off date varies in Independent and Catholic). Children should attend school from the beginning of the year if they are already 5, turning 6 that year.
Despite the plethora of opinions about the ‘correct’ time to send a child to school, it is ultimately the decision of the parents to do what they believe is best. As each child is unique, it is important to consider a number of factors when making your decision.
Here are some basic questions you may like to answer to assist in making an informed decision:
1. Can your child listen attentively and follow instructions?
2. Is your child able to go to the toilet, wash hands and open food packets independently?
3. Can your child concentrate on a task and complete it?
4. Does your child express thoughts, feelings and ideas?
5. Is your child able to use a pencil to draw circles, lines, scribbles and letters?
6. Will your child share with others and take turns?
Along with your responses to these questions, it is important to consider your child’s emotional maturity, social awareness and additional needs before making a decision.
Remember - the greatest preparation for school is talking with your child about it. Let him know that you think school and learning are important. Children develop positive attitudes toward school when they see that their parents and families value education.
As featured in: Glenmore Gazette, Jordan Springs Gazette & Emu + Leonay Gazette - August 2017
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.