Being an early childhood educator I'm regularly asked the question "Is my child ready for school?" How do you know when a child is ready to make the transition into a formal educational setting?
"Many may suggest that it's purely based on the age of the child; however, there can be many other factors to consider. A child may be "age" ready but are they developmentally ready overall? Research suggests that the older a child is when they commence school, for example 5 and a1/2 years rather than 4 and a1/2 years, the more developmentally ready they may be.
A child's brain continues to develop as they age and is influenced by many factors such as genes, environment and relationships experienced. The older a child is when commencing school the longer the brain has had to develop before they start.
A child's individual holistic development should also be considered when deciding if they are ready for school. Children develop rapidly between the ages of 0-5 years Consider the developmental changes from newborn to one year of age, one year to two years and so forth. There is still significant development occurring in all areas, particularly the brain, between the ages of 4-6 years. Children also develop at different rates regardless of their age reaching different milestones at different stages.
A report from KidsMatter Early Childhood states "Some suggest that the skills such as knowing your colours or writing your name are essential starting skills, but it has been shown that personal-social skills are more important. Some of these are having reasonable control over behaviour and emotions, coping when things go wrong, talking confidently with adults and asking for help when needed, being able to entertain themselves, solving problems on their own and standing up for themselves, making friends, respecting others' toys and games and sharing their own, looking after own belongings and tackling new or challenging tasks."
As educators and parents we aim to send our children to school feeling confident both socially and academically. A child's age is not necessarily the only factor to consider when determining if your child is ready for school. Speak to your child's early childhood educator and the school your child will be attending. Professional advice and support from others can help to make this decision and provide the best possible outcome for your child's future learning.