Many kindergartens in Tootgarook teem with toys and learning materials spread across kiddie tables. These are the ones children can share with their peers and their facilitators, who have professional certificates in teaching and childcare.
There, they learn more about music, arts, and child’s play. They cultivate social skills and develop their cognitive and excellent motor skills. But then again, is kindergarten age the best time to send your kids to school, especially in Victoria?
Under Australian law, it’s the parents’ responsibility to send their kids to school. To achieve that, different territories set the minimum and maximum age in which school becomes compulsory. All except for South Australia and Tasmania mandate the parents to enrol their children when they’re four turning five, although the dates can vary. In Victoria and ACT, it is April 30.
The child then has to remain in school until they’re about 16 and 17 years old. The parents also must see to it the kid is present each school day unless there’s a valid excuse, of course, such as illness.
In reality, however, a growing number of parents prefer to delay their children’s first foray to education. In a Queensland study, the number of parents who waited for their kids to turn six before they enrol them in school increased from 1.5% to 2.9% from 2010 to 2014.
According to research, the parents considered several factors to come up with the decision. These include their child’s age in comparison to the cutoff, level of maturity, and even their personal experience when they’re still young.
Is It Okay to Delay?
Several studies tend to concur that delaying the child’s enrolment until they’re much older is better. One of these is from the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States. According to it, they tend to do better than their younger peers, and this level of excellence can persist until they reach college. One of the reasons is a sense of maturity. The belief is that when the kids are older, they are better capable of handling stress, pressure, and learning.
UNICEF, however, cites that the child begins their learning process during their infancy. Some experts even think they are already showing signs of learning while still in the womb. In a study by the Washington University School of Medicine, children who received nurturing during their preschool years increased their brain growth.
The scans of the participants’ brains revealed an increase in the volume of the hippocampus. It is the part of the brain related to the creation of new memories, learning, and emotion. Although the study focused on the parent-child relationship, the researchers also went on to say the results might be due to the plasticity of the children’s brain, which means it’s more receptive to new experiences.
Parents do go through a phase of confusion as to when is the best time to send their kids to school or if they even have to go through kindergarten. Fortunately, they can get plenty of support from childcare centres and schools that can help them evaluate the level of readiness.