School age debate.
I know this is a topic, often a spoken about, not always a positive topic, yet a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on. So I thought that I would ‘chime in’ also as recently there was a ‘heated’ debate about it in the kindergarten playground.
I was faced with a confronting and unwelcome conversation last week by a woman that I don’t know. I was standing in the kindergarten playground chatting with other kindergarten mothers about nothing in particular when a mother that I had never met before starting making comments about our children.
See, we all have children who started kindergarten this year, and we also coincidentally have children that are turning 3 this year some boys, some girls. So when this woman passed comment that our ‘babies’ will also be going through school together, I said “that’s great will your daughter be going to kindergarten 2020?”. Not realising I had just unleashed her favourite topic!
She quickly responded with ‘no, my daughter is going 2021, why would you send your daughter early?, I mean sending a child too young has so many negative effects on them, why would you do that to her?”. I almost felt like I was being personally attacked, or that I was making a terrible decision and possibly ruining my dear daughters life.
I was taken aback – which rarely happens, and because of my silence, this woman thought it was her right to then lecture me on all the negative reasons as to why I should wait and send my daughter to kindergarten when she is 5 turning 6. You see, in her opinion sending my daughter 4 turning 5 in the May, is way too young and will undoubtedly end with teen pregnancy, under age drinking, lack of intelligence, slow learning, being left out of rep sporting teams, being easily influenced by others, difficulties with learning and socialising, and her extensive list went on. And on. And on. (Her words)
I was horrified at her response. I mean. This is the first time I’d ever met her. What a front she has to lecture anyone on their family decisions and what is best for someone else’s children. Too opinionated for my liking, that is for sure.
It really put me in a weird mindset, it made me question my husband and my decision and left me feeling quite angry and deflated. This was mind you, first thing in the morning so it played on my mind quite a lot that day. I spoke to a few friends throughout the day to vent and also get their opinions, of whom I value, and they, my friends much like myself, are of similar mindset with the school age decisions.
I also spoke to my little mans kindergarten teacher later that afternoon as this woman’s righteousness was confronting. I wanted to speak to a teacher who deals with children of varying ages on a daily basis and this teacher also, has over 13 years primary school teaching behind her. The kindergarten teacher is also of the same mindset as myself. That is, that each child is individual and ready at their own pace and in their own time.
I think I will have a better idea as to when we should start her in kindergarten once she starts preschool, however at the moment, my little miss who is not yet 3, knows her alphabet, can count to 20, dresses and undresses herself, copies and repeats her big brothers sight words, mock reads books, is extremely social, not shy, is really confident, will sit colour and draw by herself, can hold a pen or pencil with correct pen grip, will listen and take instruction and can sit through a whole movie, I think I will be ready but time will tell.
All kids are in my view, are individual and each to their own, however with this woman’s rant it got me thinking of all the negative effects that sending a child to school 5 turning 6 May encounter.
A few that really stand out to me are,
– Being an adult doing their HSC.
– Being 18, which is legal age to drink in Australia, which may mean the 18 year old who is still in high school, can and possibly will go out drinking. Is drinking whilst at school appropriate?
– Being older and holding a drivers license which at involve having other school children driving with them.
– Being older and influencing younger students mindsets.
– Wanting to ‘grow up’ too young.
– Will they get distracted or bored easily from being older?
Look, I get that this is a very personal topic, I think that either way, sending your child at 4 or 5, if you are raising your children in a way that you feel appropriate and comfortable with, your child will make the right decisions. They will know what is acceptable and hopefully make good decisions. It’s very individual based on each child differently.
I see valid points from both sides, however what I didn’t appreciate was being ‘force fed’ this woman’s opinion and how forthcoming she was with telling me how terrible I was as a parent for even considering sending my daughter to kindergarten at age 4 with her birthday in May.
What are your thoughts?