There seems to be a growing band of professional educationalists that are suggesting that we are sending our children to school too early and that the knock on effect of that is that the UK is slipping down the academic table in key subjects such as maths, science and reading.
So should we change the law and let children start school at age seven?
Increasingly, teachers are reporting that children arrive at primary school unable to converse in sentences, have few social skills and are still in nappies. Is this an indication of schooling children too early or us, the parents, failing to spend enough time talking, reading and playing with them, preferring instead to give them another gadget or sit them in front of the television?
In most of Europe children begin their formal education at the age of six, with some states delaying it further to the age of seven. The UK is slipping down the academic achievement tables with in core subjects, being overtaken by the likes of Sweden, Poland and Sweden where they allow their children two more years of “play” and social development compared to our school system.
It is known that small children have very different rates of learning, so should it be just as important for them to learn and develop their co-ordination, verbal and social skills so when they do begin formal education they are confident and able to fit in and fully benefit from the education on offer?
Currently pre-schoolers are taught using the Early Years Foundation guidelines (EYFS) focusing on communication, numeracy and personal development, however leading academics advocate teaching small children how to speak and communicate properly and insist that is far better than learning to write. They also claim that testing at such an early age may actually harm them, creating little failures before they even start big school.
Further research should be paramount to explore the subject, so that we offer our young children the very best start in their education.
What do you think?