A time comes when friends and mothers in the neighbourhood all start talking about their plans for sending their children to school.
Suddenly, you are surrounded by parents who talk about age criteria, best school, point system, interaction, last date of form submission etc.
All these questions start scaring you, and you start wondering, “My child is only 2.5yrs. Isn’t it early to send her to school?” So, what is the good time to send your child to school?
The answer entirely depends upon what kind of family and lifestyle you are providing to your child. In other countries like U.K., Australia, most children start between four-and-a-half and five-and-a-half years. It is compulsory for children to have commenced school by the time they have turned six years of age.
They have formal care (long day care, family day care, outside school hours’ care, and some occasional care) before they start schooling.
Is the child growing up in the comfort of a joint family where grandparents are constantly talking and giving ample love and affection, or the child is growing up in a nuclear family? Where both parents are working and the child is left with the housemaid?
Remember every family is unique and as parents, you need to observe your child closely. Try to understand your child’s social and emotional growth.
As a counsellor, I come across hundreds of parents every year looking for nursery admission having anxiety and concern. Some come up with really serious issues which if not addressed timely, can lead to delayed development. I remember one incident where a parent reached us for nursery admission and during interaction we found the child exploring everything in the room with a smiling face but making no sound.
When discussed in detailed the parent admitted that they have noticed that the child has picked up only two words ‘bye’ and ‘office’.
The reason behind this is the parents leave for office saying bye every day and the entire day the child is with the housemaid and left with toys and kitchen items to play with. Realizing their fault, they started approaching schools as well as visiting speech therapists. They changed their working hours to give more time to the child. I have seen those parents in tears and requests for admission. They were advised to enrol for Pre-nursery immediately and start working with the child on developing vocabulary with different activities.
It is necessary for all of us to express our feelings. Crying, yelling, scribbling, throwing things, showing anger; all are natural feelings that a child must express.
One must observe things like how curious is the child to explore things. Is he playful or shy? Is he comfortable with strangers? Is his vocabulary adequate for his age?
As parents, if you feel that your child is getting exposure at home and you are able to fulfil his social, emotional, and cognitive needs. Then, you can certainly wait for a year or two because no one knows your child better than you!
– Antara Roy