Seven news recently reported that more and more parents are enrolling their toddlers, as young as 2, into school readiness programs. These programs are more structured than preschool and focus on basic numeracy skills and learning to write. The parents intention in enrolling their children into these programs is to give their tots an advantage when they start school.
Click here to see the news article by Georgia Main for 7 News.
I am currently in the process of deciding if my eldest daughter will go to school at 4.5 years old or 6 years old. You see, we are in the small group of parents that have a choice of when to send our daughter to school, as she was born in June. The cut off in NSW is 31 July. Let me tell you, it is not an easy decision.
Do you think toddlers need school readiness, structured programs? Image source: www.freedigitalphotos.net "Young School Kid Smiling At Camera" by photostock
What I do know is that she is currently thriving at her play based preschool and the thought of enrolling her into a school readiness program scares the hell out of me. My first thoughts when I read about these programs was - since when did it become acceptable to rob a child of their childhood? These days, when a child goes to school, they are expected to learn at a rapid pace and as a result, they tend to grow up much quicker than in the past.
My current thoughts are that once she begins school, she will be in the system for at least 13 years. She is only a child once, so I see no harm in allowing her to enjoy her childhood for 1 more year and know that she is truly ready for the academic journey that lays ahead of her.
Do you think school readiness programs are appropriate for toddlers? Do you prefer play based programs or more structured programs when educating your children?
2 sounds too young for a school readiness program. My eldest son started a government play based program that's just one afternoon a week, and this is based upon play based learning. He's learnt many of the principles that he can apply when he starts school but all within a play based environment. An interesting article, thank you.
I have a background in early childhood and really disagree with the school readiness programs. Children under the age of 5 are learning all the time and play based programs encourage that. I don't believe starting a child in a readiness program so young will be of benefit at all.They need play at that age to practice the fine motor skills which are essential for skills like pencil grip later on. It seems like children would be missing an entire huge step of development by being enrolled in such a program.
As far as educating my children I ultimately prefer play based. My youngest son attended a Reggio Emilia inspired center, which was fabulous.
It's an interesting conundrum, but 2 definitely sounds too young for a school readiness program. At the age of 2 surely it's more about fun, playing, getting messy and just the general adventure of being a child. There's so much learning that can take place through play based learning, that lets a child just be a child. The rest of their life is filled with pressures, surely their earliest years can be spent carefree as a child?