What is the appropriate age for a child to start attending kindergarten?

Most parents are anxious to know if their child is ready for kindergarten. They are not sure at which age the child should join pre-school. Some pre-schools enrol children when they are two years old. They believe that a two-year-old who has stayed away from parents for a short period will quickly adapt to the school environment. This is also the age when children learn to explore their surroundings and begin socializing with other children. However, some schools are increasing the kindergarten age with the faith that older children will be more prepared for pre-schooling. Let us take a look at the host of factors that go into determining whether your little one is kindergarten-ready yet.

Child’s Age

Kindergarten age is a phase when development varies from one child to another. While the child’s birth date is an essential factor, it should not be considered the only indicator of school readiness. There are several factors a parent needs to look into before seeking admission in a school. Attention span, fine and gross motor skill development, social skills, interest in learning, and overall behaviour in an environment are factors to be given preference over the kids’ kindergarten age.

Love for Learning

Pre-school should be a place your child is excited to go to. These formative years instil a love for learning. Make sure that your little one is happy to go to pre-school each morning. After all, this is the place where beautiful childhood memories will be created.

If your toddler already goes to a daycare centre or nursery, make sure you ask the caretaker or teacher for feedback or a general assessment of your child. It is a good time to voice your concerns about child-specific behaviour, making it difficult for you to decide about his/her school readiness. The way a child behaves at home is entirely different from their behaviour at a nursery. So, it may surprise you when the teacher has a different view of your child’s readiness.

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

Asking for a Kindergarten Readiness assessment can help you in deciding if your child is kindergarten-ready. This assessment helps measure various skills like social-emotional, physical and fine motor skills and behaviour in the kindergarten environment. Based on each child, the teacher selects an appropriate assessment to determine the readiness quotient.

Do visit a few kindergarten schools near your area to understand their approaches. Some formal pre-schools lay their primary focus on academics, while less-formal ones allow children to learn by exploring and building social skills. Briefly discuss the child’s characteristics with the teacher and seek advice regarding your toddler’s readiness in the particular class.

There are always a few pros and cons that one must consider when holding your child back or admitting him/her to pre-school early. Taking an extra year off school will prepare your child for the demanding school experiences. The child will also develop physical and social skills during this time. On the other hand, it is alright to repeat the year if your child hasn’t produced the necessary skills. You and the teacher can decide by gauging whether your child requires more preparation for the first grade. 

Studies have shown that it is okay to delay or repeat a year in kindergarten as children develop in these initial years. It must be noted that skipping kindergarten is not recommended as it lays the very foundation of elementary schooling. Although children may be reluctant in the initial days, they will learn to adapt to the new environment soon. 

Lastly, as a parent, reading this article, you know your child best. So, trust your intuition and support your child with the right kindergarten to develop age-appropriate skills!

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