Thirteen years of formal education is a long time. When we do send our little people off on the big new adventure, how do we know that the timing is right?
Possibly the most daunting task in every parent’s life is making the decision about the right time to send our precious babies off to ‘big’ school. There are so many views, opinions and options to consider when making this decision, which is what makes it a difficult one.
Bright Horizons Australia Childcare general manager Tamir Tukino says every child is different and parents need to remember that individuality is the key.
“All children progress at their own pace,” Tamir says. “Just because one child is ready at a certain age doesn’t mean that they all are. We need to remember that every child is unique.”
Perhaps your child can count and write but is that enough to be ready for big school? Preparation is priceless. Early childhood settings, including childcare centres, can offer so much valuable information. Approaching your early childhood educator for guidance is a great place to start. Here are some of the many considerations you should contemplate:
- Social development: Friendships shape who we are today and help start the learning process. Children need an ability to interact respectfully and positively with their peers. Being able to express emotions to seek help or support when needed is important.
- Communication development: Children need to be able to communicate. It is the key to interacting with people in their world and to have their needs met. Early language development, whether it is verbal or non-verbal, is crucial to be a successful learner.
- Self-help development: Independence makes a child very proud. “I can do it by myself” is such a powerful statement. Being autonomous and independent makes it possible for children to function in the world, enabling them to make appropriate decisions and solve daily problems and challenges.
- Finally, are your children ready to explore extended learning areas? Do they want to pick up a pen to write? Is there an interest in new literacy skills? Can they concentrate and be attentive?
On that day when your child takes their first steps into the big schoolyard with an oversized school bag on their little back, it is a proud moment to watch. This can be an emotional time and tears often trickle down parents’ faces – a moment of sadness to see them go but a moment of joy to see how much they have grown. As they start their journey of learning, know that your children will do wonderful things in their lives.