Australia School Start Age Change Urges Caution Against Skipping Reception Year – but it’s the Parent’s Choice

IMG_0540The other side of the world and what a difference it makes to a parent’s choice in whether their child starts school early or on time.

Because the eligible kindergarten entry date in Queensland has changed from June 30 to July 31, it means children born in July 2010 can skip their pre-school year altogether and move straight into prep in 2015.

But unlike in the UK, where parents have no right of appeal if this is forced upon their summer born child, a report last week quotes IEU Queensland and Northern Territory branch secretary Terry Burke as saying “the ultimate decision lies with the child’s parents“, and he “urged parents not to rob their child of the vital learning year.

It’s well recognised the developmental play of the kindergarten year is critical in terms of building the development of the child’s mind, so missing out on those activities and the learning opportunity is the critical concern.

Also quoted is Gwynn Bridge, chief executive of the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland, who “said the move to align the July 31 cut-off date with New South Wales was a retrograde one.

Most other states are April or May, New South Wales is the only state where it’s July, so it’s amazing to us we went backwards rather than moving forwards to make the children older when starting kindergarten“.

Children, if they are pushed too early, will not have the benefits of being prepared right through their schooling years.

Of course there are parents of 4 year-old children who do feel their child is ready to start early, as this week’s article in the Herald Sun demonstrates, but the important thing is that parents who want their child to wait are still allowed to.

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