It is a big question for all parents: Is my child ready to start school? In Australia, the age that children should legally begin school is the year of their sixth birthday. However, some are beginning even sooner than this, as early as four and a half years old.

The problem is that older children are at a more progressed developmental stage. Naturally, these children are outperforming their younger classmates. So the question beckons, is your child ready to start school? The Owl and the Pussycat Preschool in Warriewood is here to help you decide!

Starting Later Is Better

A new report proves the theory above ‒ children starting school later are performing better due to their developmental stage. Because children’s development is rapid, even just a six month difference can significantly affect their ability to perform, understand and capture knowledge and can have ongoing consequences to children’s learning.

The report was led by the University of NSW and showed that 25% of students start later than they are first allowed. Interestingly, the report also found that 25-35% of children from financially stable backgrounds stayed home for an additional year. But why?

Other factors, such as health and maturity, also affect the age at which children begin school.

The Cost Of Child Care

The report communicated that lower-income earners and migrants were more likely to send their children to school earlier because of how costly childcare is, and they would choose to do this rather than hold them back. Unfortunately, the high cost of childcare is forcing parents to send their children to school early, often TOO early. This reality is prevalent in many communities and brings to light some significant and problematic social inequalities, which then result in performance inequalities at school. However, recent changes from the NSW Government are making it easier for children to stay at preschool until they are ready, with additional funding for four and five years olds in addition to a more generous child-care subsidy for second and subsequent children in care. Learn more about the recent change here.

How To Help Your Child Be More Ready

The point mentioned above needs to change, but until it does, parents can do a few things to ensure their children are more ready for school, especially if starting early.

  • Language

Language skills can develop in a few ways. Encouraging your child to make their needs known, asking and answering simple questions, joining in singing familiar songs, and following simple instructions are just some methods you can instil. They should practice using various tools to draw and write, such as pens, paints, pencils and even sticks in the dirt. It helps them practice and develop their communication skills.

  • Maths 

Help your child recognise numbers for counting, differentiate between opposites like up and down or front and behind, see differences in shapes and identify and group different objects.

  • Physical Skills

Physical skills include using scissors to cut a straight line or taking off and putting on various clothing items. Further, practicing going to the bathroom and washing hands with minimal assistance, packing a bag, filling up a water bottle, unpacking a lunch box, opening containers, taking care of their belongings are great skills to work on to help prepare for school.

They should also play with creating and designing things using several materials and partaking in indoor and outdoor activities to become comfortable with their environments and harness their imagination. 

The Owl and the Pussycat Preschool in Warriewood is here to support your child’s learning and development. We ensure to teach and equip little ones with the skills they need to be ready for school. Learn more about our childcare centre by booking a tour today.