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To ask do you think children start school too young in England?

(212 Posts)
Tangerineandturquoise Sun 26-Jul-15 15:45:31

I know there will be differences, some children seem too young even by the end of Year R, others including a couple of young relatives I have are chomping at the bit to get started.
Scotland start at P1, so most skip starting at the age of reception, but then I have just seen this which is similar to the American system for starting Kindergarten (which is our year 1) and it can be deferred, which for some reason they call red shirting in the USA but it seems some parents in Scotland can also defer entry, I know technically you can defer in England but you do seem to be expected to jump through many many hoops..
Most of the continent start later for formal schooling-and are still quite play based when they start.
We tend to start at 4 (with some lucky children very nearly five) with full days quite quickly.

Sorry it is a rambled post

omnishambles Sun 26-Jul-15 15:48:13

No, I actually dont think they do. I have had one young for the year and one old and they have both just got on with it. In fact they were then having much shorter days than they were at their respective day nurseries.

Its the structure of the school day in reception thats important and not really the age they start.

Both of mine stated in classes of 20 or less though.

arethereanyleftatall Sun 26-Jul-15 15:49:39

The problem is, is that some kids (girls?) are ready at 4 and some aren't.
(Cue anecdotal stories of boys who were ready at 4).

afreshstartplease Sun 26-Jul-15 15:50:31

No I don't think it's too young although I do think it depends on the child

I have two school age children and a toddler

Both of my older dc were well and truly ready for school, I'm not sure if this comes from 3+ years attending nursery though

I have no doubt the little one will be ready when her time comes too, they all enjoy learning and socialising

I have seen though when both of my children started school some terrible upset and unsettled children crying at doors for their parents every day sad

afreshstartplease Sun 26-Jul-15 15:51:06

Oh and both my older dc are boys. One winter born and one summer born

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sun 26-Jul-15 15:53:22

Ud rather they be at school with qualified teacher than young girls in a nursery. All my kids learnt loads in reception. Dont see a problem. Teachers deal with those deemed too young by parents.

omnishambles Sun 26-Jul-15 15:54:09

I think whether a child is ready or not is more often a reflection of whether the parent is ready rather than the child. Those children won't get much more ready at home with the same influences in most cases.

TravellingToad Sun 26-Jul-15 15:54:46

Yes definitely. Countries that start at 6yr seem to have better results too. Studies show that 4yr is too young

The govt won't change it though as it's seen as free childcare by a lot of parents. There'd be uproar.

Mummyusername Sun 26-Jul-15 15:55:18

Too young and too long a day.

tomatodizzymum Sun 26-Jul-15 15:55:32

Yes I do, I also think they are expected to jump from free-flow to formal settings far too quickly and too early, which can actually be even worse and completely override any benefit that freeflow had in the first place.

Children who are in freeflow environments in other countries, similar to the model that England uses for nursery and reception, are usually kept in these environments for longer and the transition happens more gradually and at a time when the child is more physically and mentally ready for formal learning. If a system works, it's because it is a whole system, taking bits of it and thinking you'll get the same results is confused.

Baffledmumtoday Sun 26-Jul-15 15:55:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnathemaPratchett Sun 26-Jul-15 15:56:33

Hmm it's not the being on a school premises at age 4 that's the problem - it's how early phonics and formal education is introduced. School, IMHO, should be play based until age 6....

LIZS Sun 26-Jul-15 15:56:44

No I don't and fear the European argument is somewhat flawed. Much of the childcare and kindergarten can be pretty formal and primary school is then full on.

JoandMax Sun 26-Jul-15 15:59:35

I do feel it's too young based on my own circumstances.

DS1 was a summer born so just 4 when he started - he was fairly indifferent to school and he didn't really 'get' reading/writing until start of year 1. Once it clicked he loved it and progressed brilliantly. I don't think he really got anything out of that first year at school

NinkyNonkers Sun 26-Jul-15 16:00:21

I think they do, for sure. Summer born or not I think structured schooling starts way too young. Ideally for me kids would be in a very loose, play based, home like setting with small numbers until 6 or 7.

My daughter is a mid Aug babe and started at 4 plus 2 weeks. She loves it, and her school is great, but I still feel it is too young.

DoeEyedNear Sun 26-Jul-15 16:01:23

I think they start at the right age. I'm summer born and was ready, according to my mum, from age 3.

I think 4-5 is the perfect age and my spring and autumn born dc again were more than ready to start when they did.

CognitiveIllusion Sun 26-Jul-15 16:01:50

No, I don't (although mine are autumn born). Reception year is mainly play anyway.

Pishedorf Sun 26-Jul-15 16:04:09

No I don't think it is too young. Year R is play based still as part of EYFS and I think the majority of children are ready for it. My LO is a summer born (has only just turned 4) and is more than ready for school.

She was is part time day nursery from 2-4 days a week depending on work and has been doing longer days than she will be in school.

I appreciate there will be some kids who aren't though, some will be significantly older than DD and still not be ready. But there's got to be a cut off somewhere.

Flutterbutterfly Sun 26-Jul-15 16:04:14

I think there should be the option to defer summer born ( as Scotland do) otherwise I think it's fine.

teacherwith2kids Sun 26-Jul-15 16:04:43

My view is that children don't start too early BUT that there is, in many schools, too rapid a 'progression' from play-based child-led free-flow to formal learning.

What many children seem to experience is that Reception is very like the pre-school settings they have been in from 2.5 or even younger, but that there is a 'cut off', either at the beginning of Year 1 or, in some schools, later in Reception 'to get ready for Year 1', where much of the play-based curriculum is replaced by more formal learning.

I don't think parents help, tbh - schools (especially those with 'Ofsted Outstanding, or high MC aspirations to keep up with) experience a lot of pressure from parents around e.g. early reading books or 'sit down and write' maths that can lead to an ealier introduction of more formal learning.

So 'the school year that they turn 5' seems not too early to start in a child-led, play-based Reception setting, such as the vast majority of state schools supply. But 'the school year that they turn 6' - Year 1 - can be very early for 100% formal learning.

Bunbaker Sun 26-Jul-15 16:05:30

"I think whether a child is ready or not is more often a reflection of whether the parent is ready rather than the child."

I agree. Some children aren't ready and some parents aren't ready to let their children go.

Summer born DD was ready, but she started in January because our LA had two intakes when she started school. Saying that, she would have been ready in September.

Pippidoeswhatshewants Sun 26-Jul-15 16:06:09

I agree with too young and too long a day.

JeanneDeMontbaston Sun 26-Jul-15 16:08:34

I believe there is some research to suggest 4/5 isn't the optimum age to learn to read, on average. I can see some children love school for the social aspect and learning some things, but do wish children aged 5 didn't have to feel as if they've failed if they can't read.

reni1 Sun 26-Jul-15 16:08:56

Reception was fine, year 1 was the killer.

Bunbaker Sun 26-Jul-15 16:09:23

How is it too long a day when some children are in nursery upwards of 10 hours a day from much younger? Reception is very much play based.

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