By: Kyle Lasalita
It’s perfectly reasonable to see parents stressing out on whether their kids should start school or not. There are also parents who try to push their kids to learn how to count, to sing the alphabet, or to learn a new language without considering their readiness for it. While I understand that preparing your child for kindergarten is a part of your parenting process and that there are also children who show a natural interest in these things, some kids can be overwhelmed by all of these preparations.
When Should A Child Start Kindergarten?
The general rule for children starting school in the Philippines is 5-years-old. Children who will turn five within the school year can also be admitted, provided that they pass the Philippine Early Childhood Development Checklist. If you’re worried that your child isn’t developing adequately, you can also administer the test to your child.
The Phil. ECD checklist isn’t used for medical diagnosis, but it can give you an overview of your child’s preparedness for school and if their experiencing developmental delays.
There are no hard rules about a child’s readiness for kindergarten, but there are signs that you can look for to help you identify if your child is ready.
Signs That Your Child is Ready For Kindergarten
Takes Directions Well
A child not ready for kindergarten will have a difficult time managing daily school activities. Even at the kinder level, your child will be required to follow instructions often at school.
It’s vital that your child can take directions well and knows why it’s important to follow directions. While they may not be able to comprehend complicated directions, they should be able to follow simple instructions like sitting still or keeping quiet.
Another vital sign to look for is their level of independence when using the toilet. Your child should be able to know when it’s time to go for a bathroom break. They should also be able to at least manage it on their own.
You don’t want your child doing the number two in his underpants because he was too shy to tell his teacher.
Knows Some Letters And Numbers
The keyword here is some and not mastery. It’s okay for your child not to know some letters and numbers. As long as they can recognize a few of them, they’re perfectly fine, there’s no need for you to panic and worry about developmental delays.
According to early childhood specialists, there is no specific number of how many numbers or letters your child should be able to recognize before kindergarten. Once they start recognizing a few of them, the rest of it will eventually follow.
Shows Good Social Behavior
Part of going to school is interacting with other kids. Your child should be able to relate well to other children. They should understand the value of sharing, taking turns, and how to play with other kids. Social interaction is a skill that you should be developing in your child at a very early age.
Can Control Their Emotion
More than being socially capable, they should also know how to manage their emotions well. Kids get upset, and it’s natural for them to whine and cry, but they should know how to cope during an upsetting situation. However, avoid putting too much pressure on them. When they feel emotional, let them whine for a while, and once they’ve calmed down let them know what you think about their behavior and why it’s necessary for them to regulate it the next time.
A child who can also handle their emotions will handle separation from you a bit easier as compared to a child who is not.
Lastly, this is the most important sign of all — shows interest in learning. They don’t have to show signs of extreme eagerness or intelligence. Interest in learning could mean that they listen attentively to you when you tell stories, they’re inquisitive, or they show signs of curiosity whenever you’re explaining something to them.
As a parent, you can sometimes lose perspective, and you won’t be able to discern the signs accurately. Talk to people that regularly bond with your child; this could be a relative, a friend, or even your pediatrician. Ask them if your child exhibits some of the signs mentioned above.
This list isn’t meant to dictate your decision. It should only serve as a guide. If you feel that your child isn’t ready for school yet, there’s no need to be ashamed of it. Make a plan for it. For instance, if they lack good social behavior, it’ll be worthwhile for you to look at pre-kindergarten programs to expose your child to other kids and the environment.
My name is Kyle and I’m a father, a writer, and a struggling entrepreneur. I believe that dads are just as awesome as mothers, only cooler. When you don’t see me changing my son’s diapers, you can see me on my blog – Daddy Set Go.