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Children What is the ideal age for children to start school?

Discussion in 'Family & Relationships' started by Indian Summer, Oct 14, 2017.

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  1. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer Administrator Owner

    I realize not a lot of vv-ers have children, but we have all been children at one point, so: In your experience, when is the optimal or ideal age for a child to start school? And when I say school, I don't mean homeschooling, I mean when they go with a bunch of other children for 6 or more hours per day, 5 days a week, to a place where they're meant to learn at least basic skills like reading, writing and mathematics.
     
  2. Andy_T

    Andy_T Addicted Poster Forum Moderator

    Location:
    Hannover, Germany
    I would say ... that depends on the children!!! At that age, half a year or a year can make quite a big difference in the development of the kid. My experience (in Germany) is that many schools offer to conduct an interview with kids who are able but not compelled to start school in the year and then make a suggestion whether they think it is good for the kid to already start with school.

    In principle I think it would be better for kids to start early, however, if the kid is still small for his/her age, this might lead to bullying in the class later. Or maybe it should not be called bullying, but possibly that other kids are more dominant.
     
  3. GingerFoxx

    GingerFoxx No effin' whey!

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    I don't have children, but I can certainly say there is a lot to factor in outside of just academic readiness. Developing interpersonal skills and learning to adjust to a structured schedule can be very important later in life.

    I grew up in a very small town with no young kids my age that lived near enough for me to interact with prior to grade school. I think I was undersocialized because my parents never had friends over, or play dates that I can really, so the only kids I really saw were out of state cousins during the holidays. I am the youngest in my generation on both sides, so I couldn't really relate to my older cousins.

    Conversely, my brother was academically gifted, and as such, skipped two grades when he was an early adolescent. In hindsight, he says although academically he was placed at a better level, developmentally, he skipped some important stages socially that made forming friendships and relating to peers more challenging.
     
  4. Moll Flanders

    Moll Flanders Deity

    Location:
    UK
    I think 4 or 5 years old.
     
  5. Mischief

    Mischief Addicted Poster

    I voted for seven, because I think there's a great deal of value in kids having unstructured time, and that seems largely to go out the door once they start school.
     
  6. FortyTwo

    FortyTwo Custom Title

    I think as young as possible, but seriously overhaul the system so it's not the disappointing, abusive mess we have today.

    School as a concept isn't the issue IMO, it's more the fact that we've let school develop into this thing and it's not good for anyone, least of all the kids we subject to it.

    For instance:

    Totally agreed. There's zero reason to force kids to do homework and fill out forms and shit like that when they're barely old enough to read. Homework as a concept in general needs some serious overhauling.
     
  7. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Famous Member

    I think children should start at the age of 3 in order to develop social skills and get used to being away from home, however at that age it should be something like 5-15 hours per week, so 5 would be my answer to your question (30+ hours per week).

    However I think going to preschool at age 3 might be emotionally damaging for some children with a strong attachment to a parent, so it isn't for everyone, but I think it's a good rule of thumb for most.

    What I don't think makes sense is going from 0 hours of school per week to suddenly 30 all at once, that is a heck of a scary transition.

    So I think say in the year of being 3 years old you do something like:
    First week: 1-2 hrs/ day, 3-5 hrs/ week.
    First month: 2-3 hrs/ day, 5-10 hrs/week.
    Rest of year: 3 hrs/day, 12-15 hrs/week.

    And then build up from there to >30 hours by age 5 or 6.

    There shouldn't be a sudden point when it goes from playing with toys in the sand to suddently rote learning maths and reading at a desk. The transition from play to learning ought to be a steady process. At the age of 3, it might be 90% play and social skills and 10% specific activities designed to build vocabulary, for instance. Children learn well through structured play and activities so there should not really be a clear dividing line between play and learning, either, I'd say.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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