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If it was up to you..what age would you want your child(ren) to start school?

(33 Posts)
emkana Fri 13-May-05 10:52:40

Following on from my other thread here
I would be interested to hear opinions when children should ideally start school.
I would say five would be a good age. I think four is still too young, but six or even seven, which it often is in Germany, seems quite old, looking at my dd1 who is nearly four and already seems so keen to learn about letters and numbers.
What does everybody here think?

starlover Fri 13-May-05 10:54:33

I would say 6.
But perhaps from say 4 or 5 they should be at a nursery a few mornings a week where they can start learning numbers and things but in a more laid-back environment.

agree that some kids seem "ready" for school a lot earlier than others.... and yet they're all chucked in at the same age regardless

Carla Fri 13-May-05 10:54:46

6 or 7. With a bit of help at home, I think they could get there with letters and numbers. It broke my heart when my 'baby' went full time, a month before her 5th birthday.

Carla Fri 13-May-05 10:55:30

Totally agree, starlover.

expatinscotland Fri 13-May-05 10:55:43

6 or 7.

Caligula Fri 13-May-05 10:56:14

I think kids should start an informal educational setting, socialising and getting ready for a formal learning environment, at about the age of three to four, depending on their individual development.

They shouldn't start any formal learning until at least six or seven, imo. It works for everyone else in Europe - practically every Western European country has higher literacy rates than us, higher levels of public exam passes and infinitely better behaviour. And practically none of them start formal learning until at least six.

Hulababy Fri 13-May-05 10:58:01

I think about 7 to FT school and the formal education.

Maybe a play based kindergarden/nursery setting before then from whatever age a parent decided suited them and their child; although maybe PT compulsary and FREE for 5yos - to get them used to being away from mum/dad, socialising and learning social skills with other children, before formal education started.

emkana Fri 13-May-05 10:58:20

It would probably depend a lot on what was on offer before school. If the child was at a good preschool/nursery type thing, then six or even could be a good age.
But in Germany in some places the Kindergartens just leave the children all day every day to run around doing "free play", and that is a wasted opportunity I think. I don't necessarily think that should do all literacy or numeracy work, but topic-based projects would be great and stimulating and every enjoyable for the children, IMO.

happymerryberries Fri 13-May-05 11:02:58

DD was more than ready at 3, teaching herslf to read and desparate to do more than I could give her (and no she was noy hot housed). On her first half day she wanted to go back ofter lunch and was upset when she couldn't. ds six or so. they are all individuals

Mud Fri 13-May-05 11:04:58

school as in structured education around 6 or 7

but actually full time off my hands / out of hair / not in my face - around 3.5 to 4

marialuisa Fri 13-May-05 11:07:44

Like HMB's DD, mine was more than ready at 3. It was interesting to see people acknowledging that those countries who start "formal" schooling later actually put 6/7 year olds into a much more rigid system (not quite right phrase) than they endure here in the UK.

Hulababy Fri 13-May-05 11:13:29

I don't think it is DD who isn't ready BTW, just me who isn't ready. I hate the idea of my little one having to go to school so early; it just seems that they are so little. Whether they are ready for formal learning or not I just don't like the idea. I guess I just want her to be my baby for longer!

Caligula Fri 13-May-05 11:16:18

But I think a lot of the informal pre-schooling they do in Europe, prepares the children to be put into a more formal environment at seven, doesn't it ML?

kama Fri 13-May-05 11:17:06

Message withdrawn

Blu Fri 13-May-05 11:19:47

I understood that although what we call formal ed doesn't start til about 7 in Germany and Scandinavia, there is actually a carefully structured programme, beginnning with co-operative and social skills, imaginative and expressive play, and before they learn to write they are introduced to all the various shapes they will need in order to form letters - circles, straight lines, curves etc etc, as abstract concepts, and they are given confidence with all the motor skills needed before embarking on letters themselves. then they learn in a flash.

Gobbledigook Fri 13-May-05 11:20:35

Hmm, a tough one. I think ds1 who is just 4 is ready for school although I think he'd be quite happy remaining at his sessional pre-school for longer too (9-1pm). He's getting along fine there on numbers and letters but in a more laid back fashion than in other local nurseries, which I prefer.

I agree that about 6ish sounds right for more formal learning, with perhaps some more 'laid back' pre-schooling from 3-4.

I'm quite worried about ds3 who will start school just days after his 4th birthday - he's only 8 months atm so perhaps he'll seem ready but it sounds incredibly young to me.

binkie Fri 13-May-05 11:25:26

it so depends on the child

dd (now 4.5) has been in her element in nursery school/fulltime learning since about 2 and a half - she just adores being in a group, joining in, sharing stuff, the more interaction & stimulation the better - she's a bit exhausting outside that world

ds (just 6) still hasn't got it, despite swanning through the academic stuff. He wants to be off in a corner quietly percolating the concept of friction, not having to sit on a carpet tile and say whether the story was about a lion or a tiger. I don't think he'll really be ready for group learning till he's about 8.

Caligula Fri 13-May-05 11:26:19

Binkie are you me? That's exactly what my kids are like.

tortoiseshell Fri 13-May-05 11:28:30

I think 5 or 6, but with very structured state preschool up till then - even doing reading/writing etc, but without the pressure of it being 'school' (also with flexibility of pre-school - i.e. not minding if you take them out for a day or a week holiday - it's got to be good for little ones to be able to go for outings with their mums when the places aren't over-run with older children). Ds will be 4 and 3 months, Dd will be just 4 when she starts, and I do think it's too young. The difference between my ds and some of the children who will be 5 in September is huge!

marialuisa Fri 13-May-05 11:36:04

I think from experiences within my family and reports from friends that isn't always the case-it may be the aim but it doesn't always turn out that way. For example family in Holland have had a very tricky time, my cousin remarked that their 6 year old is expected to be too grown up, lots of whole classteaching sat at desks in rows, very little "down time" within school, e.g. P.E., art. Also teachers very strict and "hands-off" which was a bit of a shock after a very casual, cuddly pre-school until that point.

suedonim Fri 13-May-05 11:37:32

Six or seven, I think, though I admit I was very happy to send dd2 to school when she was five and even tried to get her into a year early!

Caligula Fri 13-May-05 11:39:12

Hmm. Sounds like it was a bit of a sudden transition. What I liked about my DS's school, is that they had a policy of letting the kids go half time for up to two terms if they needed to (although no-one ever does, because they're so good at getting them integrated after about a month at the latest - they then screw it all up when the kids go into Year 1 and have a sudden transition from the informal, mainly play-based reception class, but that's another story.)

binkie Fri 13-May-05 11:44:27


Problem is that they're at the same school, which thinks sun shines out of dd but has developed a special voice for phoning me up about ds. Is your ds's school understanding?

bambi06 Fri 13-May-05 11:49:16

5 for `nursery type education` and then reception should be for 6 yr olds like in other countries..our kids spend more time in school and from an earlier age than most countries

Caligula Fri 13-May-05 11:55:28

Oh God, not the special voice!

My DS's school are quite good about accepting that kids are individuals, but I think I'm quite lucky because it's a very small school and they have enough time, resources etc., to be able to deal with that.

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