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International Bilingual Kindergartens and Nurseries KIDS&CO
2.09.2019 r.

Is it time for school? About school maturity

If you do not have a school-aged child, the moment of starting school seems so far away. The mothers focus on the needs of their children. We try to compare the kids to us when we were their age.

At first it seems that they have more than we did, but it is not exactly like that. Our children are a completely different generation – in terms of both emotional development and intelligence. Social and family conditions come into the picture. Today parents focus on child’s growth and earlier it was not a priority. There was no so broad access to information about child’s upbringing, health or their rights. Nobody analysed using iPads, choosing extracurricular activities in the nursery or immunity boosting diets.

Let’s look at this from the child’s perspective. Going from kindergarten age to a preschool age there is a change in the basic form of activity. Until now there was fun, and now – learning. Achievements in education will now be a basic criterion to assess the child. However, for a kid to meet the school requirements and fully develop, it needs to reach school maturity. But do you really know what it is?

We might say that it is the child’s readiness to start school education, depending on reaching a certain physical, emotional, social and mental developmental state that will allow to fulfil the school responsibilities.

In case of most children in kindergarten or in a pre-school class the readiness to start school happens unnoticeably and does not need any special action neither from the parents nor the teachers. The kindergarten’s pedagogic work – from the youngest groups – aims to provide the child with a good start in school. Despite this it happens that some children do not achieve school maturity in their seventh year of age and their school obligation is postponed. These children need specialised care and help. Among kids who go to school there sometimes are some with so-called incomplete school maturity. Also in these cases a specialised care is necessary (e.g. correctional-compensational), because the children are prone to serious failures in school. The decision if the child goes to school despite the lack of maturity or stays in kindergarten is always made by parents after consulting a psychologist and a pedagogue. These difficult but necessary decisions must be preceded by a thorough diagnosis of the child, allowing to determine its mental, physical, social and emotional maturity.

A new situation and all of the factors connected to it form a difficult task for child’s nervous system. Sometimes come up fears and neurotic states related to going to school. Often their core are the mistakes unwillingly made by the parents themselves.

The most common mistakes:

  • Frightening using school – the child will treat school as a sad responsibility, and perceive the school itself as a horrible place.
  • Hiding toys – sometimes also a complete disruption of life organisation at home. Causes a loss of sense of safety that is replaced with uncertainty and even threat. Child is required to be too responsible and adult.
  • Showing fear by the parents – unfortunately, there are more and more situations where the parents show fear school and just transfer it to their kids.
  • Attitude towards grades – remember that children do not realise the value of grades. It is shaped by their home and family. A trauma of a seven year old might be caused by excessive ambitions of the parents, who are set to achieving the best grades by their child. Receiving any other grade will cause tension, fear and, in time, will lead to undermining the children’s faith in their abilities and having low self-esteem. The possibility of consequences because of bad grades will surely cause fear of going to school.

All of the elements of school maturity are equally important, however, they don’t always develop harmonically. If anything concerns you, seek advice from a specialist.

I hope that now as a parent you will calmly await this important event – your child’s first day at school. But surely there will be others anxiously thinking about it.

If you notice that your child makes little progress in kindergarten and you are concerned about your son or daughter’s ability to learn in school, you should take advice from a psychologist, pedagogue or speech therapist. They will determine the reasons for these difficulties and give learning recommendations. Sometimes it happens that the teacher notices the problems first and – because he cares about the child – indicates a need for testing towards assessing the school maturity.

I would like to encourage you to carefully listen to teachers and to consider their suggestions. The teacher does not know the child “since forever”, but though observation and work will professionally assess your child’s progress in growth. Regular consultations and talking to teachers is a guarantee of an objective evaluation of the child’s development. Let’s use opinions of the teachers – they will happily share their vigilant observations in order to eliminate every problem.

Writen by Ola Wasiak for Kids&Co. Originally posted here.

Sandra Mróz

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