The Department of Education (where I’m from) wanted to implement a new policy, a new age requirement for kids entering Kinder and 1st Grade. Parents of kids who finished pre-school and were originally scheduled to enter Grade School petitioned that this policy be amended.
Although I’m not one of those who joined the petition, I do understand their sentiments. Because I have a child who’s a few days short of the cut off. My kid will be turning 6 a few days after the policy’s cut-off. For months we worried if it’d be wise to let him stop school for a year, but more importantly we didn’t know how to tell him that he’d have to stop school for a bit.
The Department of Education apparently listened to the parents pleas. Most of them want to get their kids, who already finished Pre-school to cross onto grade school because they felt implementing this new policy without first checking the situation and those who will be affected is unfair.
The department listened. For the first two years of implementation they are going to make ammendments. Basically those kids who are already in school will be allowed to continue on with their education. Strict compliance to the age requirement will start by 2020.
Sounds reasonable. But there are parents lamenting the fact that little kids will get to attend a few months of first grade (before they reach the age requirement). They say kids are being forced to wake up early and sit in class. Parents are forcing kids to go to school.
Here’s why statements like that prove to be a problem.
We have to stop judging parents. Quit generalizing. What applies to one parent might not apply to another. Each child is different. We cannot assume that all parents with children who went to study early (before everyone else’s) are forcing their kids to go to school. Some might just have kids who are happy in school believe it or not.
My son attended toddler/play school before he turned three. Now before you judge me and call me a stage parent hear me out.
I have a curious little kid who loves learning. As weird as it might sound because maybe other kids aren’t like that, some kids actually love learning and studying. At that time I felt I was running out of things to teach him, he was absorbing “lessons” faster than I can teach him. He was so hungry to learn and I wasn’t trained to teach a little child. I teach university students yes, but there are experts who study to teach little kids and I felt I needed help.
Second he was bored out of his wits at home. I was working full time that time. Yes, not all parents are blessed with the time to spend with their kids to build pillow fortresses and “play”. Some need to leave kids with baby sitters so they can put a roof above their heads and food on the table.
One time my son got visibly bored he bit a nanny’s butt! Seriously.
I also felt I would rather have him in playschool, singing and dancing with other kids. Being taught by a teacher who’s highly trained to handle little kids curiosity than for him to sit at home in front of the TV beside a nanny who barely talks to him.
Nannies can watch over kids, they are not trained to keep a kid stimulated and engaged, they are not trained to teach, we cannot expect them to answer a little kid’s questions about plants and the universe. There are people highly trained to do that, who attend school.for years, study childhood development and teaching methods for years. They’re called pre-school teachers. And not all of them are scary tyrants who force little kids to attend class, some are wonderful, some love kids, and some are so awesome they make little kids want to go to school everyday.
So yes I sent him to playschool before he turned 3. And he loved every minute of it. We saw drastic improvements in him, the way he deals with people, his social skills.
Fast forward to a few years and he’s set to enter grade school, a few months earlier than his peers. I sat him down a few days ago and explained that he might not be able to enroll next school year. And he cried.
He loves school. He loves going to school. He enjoys interacting with his friends, he loves his teachers, and yes, he says he loves learning.
Point is, not all kids are being forced by parents to wake up early sit in class and go to school. Not all parents are so competitive they want their kids to stay ahead. Some parents just have kids who enjoy school. Who lates missing classes, being late, and going to school without a home work.
Some kids actually enjoy these things and would rather be in school than stay home and spend “boring” days playing with toys.
Some kids like learning. Some kids love their teachers. Some kids don’t see school as a punishment and most definitely not as torture. Stop judging parents, stop generalizing.