No golden rule to start school
When to begin the journey is unique to each child
ONE of the most often asked questions, especially from first-time parents, is: “When is the right time to send my child to school?”
It is one of the biggest decisions that a parent will have to make.
Everyone has a view on this, often shared in conversations in carparks, at weekend sporting events or over coffee.
The golden rule is not so specific.
There is no one size that fits all.
Every family is different, every child is different, every school is different.
In NSW, children can start kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn five on or before July 31 in that same year.
All children, though, must be enrolled in an educational institution by the time they turn six years of age.
While it can be helpful to seek advice from those we know and trust, the starting point for knowing if your child is ready to transition to kindergarten should always be your own understanding of your child.
Most parents understand their child’s strengths and needs.
Preschools and daycare centres can provide feedback in areas that will have an impact on a child’s readiness and maturity for their school career.
Schools also share the re- sponsibility of preparing to meet each child where he or she is at.
That can be in terms of socially, emotionally, physically and academically.
Research shows that the transition to school is greatly influenced by the willingness of schools to see each child as a resourceful and capable learner.
One way of establishing those rich relationships is by bringing your child to the interview and to the school open days.
This is beneficial as it helps the child to get a feel for the new environment they will be going into, and to ask questions and quell any concerns they may have.
But it also provides an opportunity for you to see how student and parent and school partnerships are nurtured and how those learning experiences are created and built upon.
At the end of the day, there is no simple test or tutoring program that will answer the question of when a child is ready for school.
Schools are in the business of learning, so you should seek their advice, but remember that parents are the best advocates for their children.
The more prepared you are to discuss your child’s needs, the better the schools will able to support them on their learning journey – to prepare them for life after school. ››
‘‘ The more prepared you are to discuss your child’s needs, the better schools will able to support them
Being school-ready is a combination of many factors, but largely it is dependent on whether the individual child is ready or not.