Monday 18 December 2017

Ask the principal: Should I send my son to school or wait?

We need to foster a love of maths in primary school children
We need to foster a love of maths in primary school children

Sean Cottrell

MY SON will be four in June and the pre-school he attends wants to know within the next month whether I am reserving a place for him for September or not.

However I have been getting different advice from various people who know him about his readiness to start school this September. What advice can you give me to help me make this decision in my son's best interest?

Seán replies: There are many issues to consider when making this important decision. Perhaps, one of the most important is how well your child has developed a range of social and independence |skills.

These include: being able to take turns with other children of their own age when playing with toys and games, being able to go to the toilet independently, able to eat simple food independently, use crayons and markers to colour pictures, turn pages in a picture story book while you are reading to them, sing along with children's songs and recite nursery rhymes.

This is only a sample of a wide range of skills. Few children will have all these perfected but it is a useful way of thinking about your child's readiness for school.

Most children become aware that they will be going to ‘big' school, or some other such term.

Does your son talk about it?

Is he showing any excitement about going to school?

Has he started describing what its going to be like as though he plans on being there?

 If a child is not talking about going to school you should start probing with questions about their friends, buying their school bag, lunchbox etc.

Finally, make an appointment to meet the Principal of your local school to seek his/her advice and ideally to meet the teacher of the current Junior |Infants whose experience should be of benefit to you in making up your |mind.

Above all, observe and listen to your child carefully and by the month of June there should be more than enough signals coming from him which will help you do the right thing based on your own parental instinct which will prove to be far more accurate than most of the well intended advice.

  • Seán Cottrell is a founding member of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network.

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