Are we too eager to send our kids to school?

Rethinking the Early Start to School


Farida Dahee

9/8/20233 min read

We Indians will teach kids even before they are born!!! Parents have such big aspirations from their kids, some have their own unfulfilled dreams & some are way too eager to produce the next Einstein!!!

With so much competition, some of them getting a perfect 100% it’s not surprising for parents to be eager to start sending their kids to school before they have learnt to walk or talk.

My own experience of sending my daughter to a big school which was up to the 10th grade, when she was in the nursery turned out to be a huge mistake. I’m not trying to degrade any school or parent’s perspective, all I’m doing is sharing my opinion through what I experienced.

It’s time we end the rat race & understand that each child is different & cater to them accordingly. It’s important to understand a child’s readiness through their cognitive, social, and emotional ability. Not every 2 year old will start talking and not every 3 year old will be able to hold the pencil, so watch your child’s development independently & not by comparing with other kids. Overall health and well-being may be compared to a general comparison chart that the paediatrician gives but if they don’t ‘fit in’ doesn’t mean they will not grow or put on weight. Sometimes genetics do play a role in overall development, so give them time & be patient.

Now the question remains when is the “right age” to start school?

There are a lot of things to consider before selecting a school for your child, and this may vary from parent to parent on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration social, emotional readiness, as well as cognitive ability. For many parents, evaluating a child’s kindergarten readiness isn’t easy. Most parents decide on kindergarten readiness based on the child’s age, which has been the base for many years but is it right??

Getting admission to a well known school is definitely not easy. Most parents prefer to push their kids to bigger schools, even if they are not ready, in all other aspects but are ‘age ready’, as admissions to most reputed schools start age wise. No sooner the notice board for new admission is put up there will be a beeline of parents waiting to get their hands on the enrolment forms to ensure their child secures a seat.

In my opinion it’s not good to rush to a big school especially for Nursery to Jr. and Sr. KG.

Here are some of the reasons to ponder on before taking that big step.

  1. A school is a new environment for the child, unknown people, separation from the parent, even though it may be for a few hours, it’s a very important step in a child’s life so make sure the school is nearby

  2. Teacher child ratio should not be more than 1:10 as each child is seeking attention. Do you think it’s justifiable for the teacher to pay attention to so many kids, when we find it difficult to handle one child!

  3. In high schools it’s possible for the little ones to feel lost especially during breaks, seeing so many bigger kids can sometimes be scary for the smaller ones.

  4. Playschools that cater only from Nursery to Sr. KG pay a lot of attention to the décor, ambience, child security, child friendly surroundings, ample of toys, some even have a special kitchen to serve home cooked food to kids, a resting area etc. All these things may not be available with bigger schools. (It was definitely missing where my daughter was enrolled, had boring classrooms)

  5. Teaching method also plays an important role, does the school emphasise on a play-based program, or is it academic focus, to ensure the child gets admission into a higher school

  6. Does it have tie up’s with bigger schools to help in easy transition/admission to Higher Secondary Schools

  7. School timings play a crucial role as small children cannot wake up early, my daughters school started at 8.30 am & we had to leave the house latest by 8.00 am. This was very taxing for her and many a times she would go to sleep in the class which again was a problem.

  8. Last but not the least ensure that the teachers are certified in early childhood education and care. Teaching at a playschool should not be a part time job!!! A preschool teacher must love kids & have utmost patience to deal with them, so it’s essential to have good knowledge of early childhood care.

Ensure you make your child’s first school experience a memorable one where the child looks forward to attend school. Happy Schooling to all the little ones!