Jump to content

School Starting Age


  • Please log in to reply
212 replies to this topic

#1 RuntotheRiver

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:37 AM

Thought this article would be interesting food for thought.  Always so many starting age debates on this forum....


https://fee.org/arti...pLbP2BDXbo87Na8

#2 Caribou

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:42 AM

I'll kick off the debate: :D

1.This is US kids, schooling in early learning years isn't the same as Australia. It's like comparing apples to oranges in this case.

2. It really comes down to the individual child. Some are more than ready for Kinder at 4. Others need a bit more time and need to wait until they're six.

I think 5-5.5 is a great age to start school.

The biggest issue facing schools is the age gap for FYOS is way too big. you have kids from 4-6 nearly 7 year olds in some cases so the learning style varies for each age. we really need a more narrow age gap for FYOS to limit the issues that arise from having a 2 year gap between the youngest and eldest person.

#3 RuntotheRiver

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:45 AM

...and each state is different.

In Vic, my area, lots are 'holding back' so its very common to have a turning 6YO in FYOS (prep/foundation) therefore the turning 5's really stand out.

#4 Ellie bean

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:47 AM

Love being in WA where you don’t get a choice. Avoids so much angst.

#5 ~J_WTF~

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:52 AM

I just wish we had a nation wide starting age. It’s crap that each state has different rules.

I just sent my kids when it was meant to happen according to the state we lived in, as does everyone I know. We don’t have 2 year age gaps in classes unless a kid has been deliberately held back.

Mostly I just think people overthink it way too much but that said it’s really only on here I see these discussions, they never come up irl!

Edited to make it clearer, tiredness is kicking in today.

Edited by ~J_WTF~, 13 May 2019 - 08:57 AM.


#6 LiveLife

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:52 AM

I agree WA is awesome, no angst an exact 1 year spread of ages.

This article just really isn’t relevant when it discusses kindergarten which isn’t a standard nomenclature in Australia. In WA kindy is something very different to NSW.

#7 BeachesBaby

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:53 AM

One thing to keep in mind is that the US school year goes from September-June, so only kids who turn 5 between September-December (most states have a cutoff of December 1) can start at 4 years old, meaning yes there could be 11 months between a 4 year old who turns 5 on November 30th and a 5 year old who turns 6 on January 1, who are both in the same class, but that’s the most extreme scenario. Only kids whose birthdays fall between ~September 1-November 30 will start at 4. So assuming an equal distribution of birthdates across the year that’s only 25% of the class who would have the option to start early. Most people choose to hold boys back in that case, so it ends up only being a small minority who start at 4.
But yes, in the US just as here that minority tends to be those living closer to the poverty line, especially since in the US the govt doesn’t give you any money for daycare the way they do here, so there’s even more pressure to put kids in kindergarten as soon as they’re eligible.

#8 FEdeRAL

Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:59 AM

View PostCaribou, on 13 May 2019 - 08:42 AM, said:

The biggest issue facing schools is the age gap for FYOS is way too big. you have kids from 4-6 nearly 7 year olds in some cases so the learning style varies for each age. we really need a more narrow age gap for FYOS to limit the issues that arise from having a 2 year gap between the youngest and eldest person.

Surely this bit is exaggerated and is what drives parents of youngest students to cry unfair. In Victoria the largest gap tends to be 16 months. You will likely find that children who start as late as “nearly 7” have valid reasons for doing so and are the rare occurrence.

#9 Riotproof

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:05 AM

View PostFEdeRAL, on 13 May 2019 - 08:59 AM, said:



Surely this bit is exaggerated and is what drives parents of youngest students to cry unfair. In Victoria the largest gap tends to be 16 months. You will likely find that children who start as late as “nearly 7” have valid reasons for doing so and are the rare occurrence.

And if we listen to any teachers who post here they tell us that every school year has a wide variation in ability, even with children that are the same biological age. They are trained in how to handle it.

#10 Octopodes

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:14 AM

I think all children should start the year they turn 6 unless there is giftedness and advanced social skills demonstrated.

Sweden (I think it is) has some of the best educational outcomes in the world and their children don't start school until closer to 7yo. I will see if I can find the study I read on it a while ago.

#11 seayork2002

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:17 AM

Each child would develop differently but the government also can't say to everyone just start school when you feel like it either (all just IMO)

so I cannot think of a total policy that would keep everyone happy

and yes I am sure there is some Scandinavian article or something out there that says something different

Added - Octopodes I pressed send before I saw your post

Edited by seayork2002, 13 May 2019 - 09:20 AM.


#12 Octopodes

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:22 AM

No-one is arguing for starting whenever you want, seayork. Why would you dismiss valid scientific research just because it is Scandinavian? What a bizarre thing to say.

#13 mayahlb

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:28 AM

The problem with comparing it to Scandinavian outcomes is the fact that yes formal learning and “school” doesn’t start until later but they are in early child educations from 2-3 as it subsidised and normal. They don’t just go from being home straight to school. The environment they are in is still doing things like teaching letters, numbers, general knowledge. I have friends who live in places like Denmark. Their kids certainly didn’t start their formal learning at 7, they had already learned how to read and do basic mathematics via the early education and “daycare centres”, and kindergartens, they attended. Which had fully qualified teachers.

This doesn’t seem to make it into any of those reports though...

#14 seayork2002

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:34 AM

View PostOctopodes, on 13 May 2019 - 09:22 AM, said:

No-one is arguing for starting whenever you want, seayork. Why would you dismiss valid scientific research just because it is Scandinavian? What a bizarre thing to say.

I was being a little facetious - I am not saying anyone is saying to start whenever but I guess my point was every child may benefit from starting when it is i appropriate for them personalty but school don't (and I can't see them ever being able to) work like that

My point about the Scandinavian research is it works for them and the way they live and sure we may get something from what they do but no I cannot see the whole thing working here

#15 Octopodes

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:36 AM

View PostEllie bean, on 13 May 2019 - 08:47 AM, said:

Love being in WA where you don’t get a choice. Avoids so much angst.
This is fine if you have a neurotypical child. Having to start the year he turned 5 would have been a disaster for my neurodivergent child. He also never would have met the official criteria of any education department to be held back.

His birthday is at that time of year where in some states he makes the cut-off and others he doesn't. I do agree there needs to be a national cut-off date to make moving between states easier.

#16 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:38 AM

In NZ it's a rolling intake. You start the week after your 5th birthday. The system could be tweaked so you start the term of your 5th birthday, but it works. However expectations are lower, you are not exoected to write your name or count to 20 for example, unlike I have found here in Australia.

#17 seayork2002

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:40 AM

View PostKiwi Bicycle, on 13 May 2019 - 09:38 AM, said:

In NZ it's a rolling intake. You start the week after your 5th birthday. The system could be tweaked so you start the term of your 5th birthday, but it works. However expectations are lower, you are not exoected to write your name or count to 20 for example, unlike I have found here in Australia.

Yeah i think the UK has 2 intakes (could be more?) a year which I was going to look into for DS then we returned to Australia instead

#18 Octopodes

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:44 AM

View Postmayahlb, on 13 May 2019 - 09:28 AM, said:

The problem with comparing it to Scandinavian outcomes is the fact that yes formal learning and “school” doesn’t start until later but they are in early child educations from 2-3 as it subsidised and normal. They don’t just go from being home straight to school. The environment they are in is still doing things like teaching letters, numbers, general knowledge. I have friends who live in places like Denmark. Their kids certainly didn’t start their formal learning at 7, they had already learned how to read and do basic mathematics via the early education and “daycare centres”, and kindergartens, they attended. Which had fully qualified teachers.

This doesn’t seem to make it into any of those reports though...
How many kids in Australia go from being at home full time to school? I am genuinely curious as I don't know any child who has. They have all been to childcare or preschool/kindergarten before FYOS. Mostly because both parents need to work. The lack of proper government funding for these facilities is a real problem here, compared with Scandinavian countries.

#19 Kreme

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:46 AM

My vote would be for a uniform national starting age with a 12 month range. Government funded pre school starting from the year you turn 4 would then provide the opportunity to identify struggling or gifted students and  hold or accelerate  them as appropriate.

#20 Fourteenyears

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:46 AM

Yeah I have been very pleased I live in NSW and got to use my parental discretion and knowledge of early childhood development to make the decision about when to send my children to school.

My experience has generally been that it many cases in the classroom you can’t pick the ‘sent early’ kids from the ‘held back’ kids, because if they start at the right time for them they are generally similarly ready to engage positively in the classroom environment.

Of course there are always some kids who are sent too soon, and some kids that were sent too late.  But the answer there is probably better guidance for parents in the decision making process rather than a much narrower ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ approach to cutoff dates.

Edited by Fourteenyears, 13 May 2019 - 09:47 AM.


#21 LiveLife

Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:48 AM

Fourteen years, my experience is you can pick it very clearly in late highschool and early uni.

Edited by LiveLife, 13 May 2019 - 09:52 AM.


#22 Bam1

Posted 13 May 2019 - 10:01 AM

I could have sent my DS to school a year later, he would still have had ADHD and other issues, he just would have wasted another year not getting the help he needed.

#23 blimkybill

Posted 13 May 2019 - 10:09 AM

I personally would like to see a uniform starting age, with occasional exceptions. The angst over starting age in NSW and Vic is excessive.
However I think the key point of this (hyperbolic and not really evidenced) article is, are we expecting too much of children too young? I definitely think there has been a creep in what is expected of children. Reading expectations have greatly increased. Sometimes expectations are unrealistic and lead to identification of problems which would not be problems if given more time.
I don't think the frequency of ADHD diagnosis is anywhere near 11% in Australia,  however I would suggest a rate of diagnosis of 11% in the USA indicates some sort of problem with expectations and diagnostic criteria.
I personally would like to see expectations for FYOS shifted back a bit to allow for more play based learning in that year and to hold off longer before labelling reading delay. Many kids do get it in Year 1 successfully even if they have struggled a bit in Kinder.

#24 BECZ

Posted 13 May 2019 - 10:10 AM

It varies so much from state to state.  First year of school in some states is the same as preschool in others.

Even within the same suburb the 'norm' can vary.  I had a thread on this, but my 3 youngest went from being pretty normal in our local Catholic School about 700m from our house, to being called to check that I had things correct on their paperwork for the public school 700m in a different direction from our house and being told that my kids were a year behind!




#25 Sincerely

Posted 13 May 2019 - 10:11 AM

View PostRiotproof, on 13 May 2019 - 09:05 AM, said:

And if we listen to any teachers who post here they tell us that every school year has a wide variation in ability, even with children that are the same biological age. They are trained in how to handle it.

A friend of mine taught kindergarten in a public school in an area which is highly aspirational (with many pre-school coaching colleges). She told me that many of the kids in her class started school with a reading level in the mid twenties. That is far beyond the expected requirements for start of school.

In contrast, when DS started school (three days after his fifth birthday), I don't think he even knew the full alphabet, but he was very hungry to learn after a year of play based learning at childcare. His school had an open kindergarten classroom with all three nominal classes combined in one big space with ability based grouping. He was continually moved, from the bottom group to the top group, in the first six months.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

 
 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Viewed Articles

 
Advertisement
 
 
 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.