Parents are continually given advice from a range of sources on a range of topics – it can seem relentless. One topic that can rise above the rest is education, particularly on timing of starting school.
The current popular view is that the more you hold your child back from school, the more they will succeed in their education.
Sally Larsen, a researcher from the University of New England, has been studying the connection between learning and age. She found that any advantage an older school starter may have had was diminished by the end of their Primary school education. This has been backed by other studies, both here and internationally, that show that academic differences “fall away during schooling.”
Finally, Ms. Larsen noted that the greatest impact on literacy and numeracy has nothing to do with age. The school in which a child attended played the most significant role in their literacy and numeracy progress.
Achievement, of course, is one measure and most of the studies that advocate for starting school later focus on the emotional and social maturity of the child. At Newcastle Grammar School, as part of our school readiness interviews, help parents assess whether their child is ready for Kindy.
Every year we are asked this question – our advice:
Follow your instincts on what you think your family needs and not what others expect. Your instincts are the best tool you have as a parent.