Mums worry kids in class too early

Tom Huntley

THE issue of "the right time" to send children to school has been cast into the spotlight this week, with Southern Downs parents raising concerns over the present system.

In Queensland, children can start Prep in the year they will turn five years old, before June 30.

One Warwick mum, whose daughter completed Prep last year, said she believed start dates should be based on their birth year, regardless of the month.

"I don't think it's a good idea to have the cut-off in June," she said.

"I think they if they are all born in say, 2006, then they should all start together and everybody should at least be five.

"There is always going to a youngest and an oldest, but it just makes sense to base it on the year of the birth, not half one year and one the other," she said.

The mother-of-four said she didn't believe primary school education should begin before five, as there was already a lot of pressure on Prep students.

Prep is not compulsory, but the curriculum is based on learning and involves skills such as reading and writing.

"It used to be a lot more play-based, but now the Prep kids are working just as hard as the Grade 1 students," the mother said.

"It seems like every time we turn around there is another change to push the littlies harder and get them learning something new before they are ready.

"We need to stop pushing our kids to grow up and just let them enjoy their childhood while they have it."

Trisha Grayson, recalling her own daughter's experience with starting school, said she thought five was the ideal age.

"She is loving it and think it was the right age for her to start," she said.

"Even though she wanted to go last year, she wasn't ready, in my opinion."

Natalie J Bartholomew went onto the Daily News Facebook page yesterday to express her own concerns about her son starting "too early".

"My son was four-and-a-half when he started Prep; I so wish I would have left him for another year," she said.

"I believe whole-heartedly our children are starting school way too young.

"As far as I'm concerned, I think there is way too much pressure on children to grow up when they should be allowed to be what they are - children."

How early is too early for kids to start school? Have your say in the comments below.