What is the average age that a child should begin formal schooling? Experts say that it is around the time a child hits age 5. At least in the formal sense of schooling, age 5 is the sweet spot in which a child is able to comprehend more intermediate skills like counting or form better word association. However, with the presence of curriculums or frameworks targeted towards a child’s early years by design, your child may be enrolled as early as age 2!
So, as a parent, how do you know when your child should start schooling and what factors should you be thinking about? While there is no definitive answer, since every child differs developmentally, assessing the individual needs and readiness of a child is the first step. Earlier isn’t always better!
Just remember that the age a child should start schooling is gauged on their developmental readiness.
Developmental Readiness of a Child
The school framework enables a support system to cultivate and supplement your child’s development, but it will not prove effective nor beneficial if your child begins to fall short in the expected developmental milestones for their age. For example, is your child able to develop or form some sort of attachment to you, regardless of whether or not you could be in the same room? Developing this trait is already a telltale sign that it may be less of a challenge for them to form an emotional connection outside the home and feel confidently independent.
You can make the proper assessment based on their displayed behavior or enroll in the appropriate institutions to do so. Without this, there can be varying schools of thought that leave much to be subjective. If a child experiences developmental delays, it is more ideal to prioritize early schooling so that a child receives direct attention and formation.
If a child displays intermediate skills for their age and hits milestones with ease, choosing to hurry up schooling based on these criteria alone may not be ideal, either. There are other factors to consider, such as their emotional development.
Development is multifaceted. How does your child fare in the different developmental domains for their age, in terms of communication and language; physical development; and personal, social, and emotional development?
A child will generally start to give off indicators to prove whether or not they’re ready to start schooling. At St. Andrews, a thorough assessment is integrated into the stages of the enrollment process to validate the readiness of your child and provide reassurance and guidance to the family!
Readiness of the Family
Did you know that the circumstances of the family is an additional gauge of when your child should begin schooling? Parents take on active roles in their child’s formation, so whether the parents are fulfilling their roles within the structure of the family becomes a factor in the schooling decision. Family structure pertains to your household, whether it is a nuclear family (traditional household with a complete set of parents), a single-parent household, or even the presence of extended family or a blended household. These circumstances may urge parents to choose earlier schooling to ensure that their children receive the needed attention, given their perhaps limited capacity to provide the attention themselves.
One-on-one learning is still best for information retention, as undivided attention paid to the individual child benefits their learning greatly. However, the conditions will not always be favorable, and this is where institutions that embody similar personal values and the appropriate methods come into the picture.
Remember it is not an either-or scenario wherein readiness of the child and readiness of the family should be strictly paired. But both of these factors are important in the child’s early years foundation to be effective, especially as they progress further towards the different life stages.
Benefits of Starting School Early
At St. Andrews Sukhumvit, which follows the British EYFS curriculum or the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Nursery classes are held for ages as early as 2; and here are some of the benefits of kickstarting your child’s schooling as early as that age:
1) Structured Learning
Following the curriculum for nursery students and kindergarteners, albeit play-based, learning remains structured. This means there is a process to assess the developmental progress of a child at certain checkpoints throughout the year. This ensures that a child’s milestones are met accordingly and naturally, to ensure that each child is perfectly capable of progressing through.
2) Cultivating Social Skills
For children, who at age 1 already develop a sense of “I, Me, Mine”, learn to regard themselves in the company of others inside the classroom. These social interactions breed skills that cannot be taught but are naturally developed as a result of the environment. Beyond the peers, these children learn to develop emotional and social relationships with their respective teaching faculty.
3) Higher Emotional Intelligence
These social skills compound and develop into higher emotional intelligence when groomed early on. As they interact with other children of the same age, they are taught to socialize, to share, and to wait for one’s turn, which can only be uncovered in a social setting such as this. Given the absence of their parents in this environment, children learn to become more independent and self-sufficient by doing tasks by themselves, or by taking care of their belongings.
4) Stimulate Enthusiasm Towards Learning
Found mostly in the earlier stages, play-based learning during the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) promotes a positive connotation and foundation to education that enables children to foster a healthy relationship with learning in general. These enjoyable activities, on top of developing a child’s cognitive abilities, feed on the inquisitive nature of children at this age and create learning opportunities through play. This may eventually form the foundation and translate into academic success in the future.
5) Parental Support
Allowing a supervised and controlled environment such as the classroom enables parents to feel at ease leaving their children into the capable hands of the teaching faculty!
Given all of these considerations and advantages, the decision to enroll your child into the early years foundation should not be rushed.
Ultimately, it is important to note that, as a proponent of holistic education, St. Andrews International values the individual needs of every child. They will take your child’s own developmental readiness and external circumstances into play, and rightfully assess whether your child is ready to start learning as early as now, or a bit later on.