Friday 23 February 2018

Family Life: Is my four-year-old son too young to start school in September?

David Coleman

David Coleman

Q Our son will be four in May. Our dilemma is whether to start him in school in September.

He is an only child and was born two months premature and suffered some illness for a year or so after he was born. He is quite healthy now.

He is a happy, talkative but timid/quiet boy and appears to mix fairly well. Unfortunately, he doesn't get the opportunity to play with other children except when he goes to montessori three or four days a week.

He enjoys playschool when he is there but we have just finished a two-month period where he cried going into school every day. There was no problem with the school; he just wanted to stay at home.

When not in playschool he spends all his time with either his parents or grandparents. He is toilet trained well for weeing but still won't poo in the toilet. This is also causing stress as we have tried everything to resolve it.

He seems clever and very talkative but we wonder is he emotionally ready for big school.

A Most parents who judge their child to be ready will not even question their decision because it feels right at a gut level.

If you look again at what you have explained to me about your son's maturity, both physically and emotionally, I think it becomes clear that he is not likely to be ready, by September, for the challenge of primary school.

Indeed, I wonder are many four-year-olds really ready for big school.


It is always my preference to allow four-year-olds, especially those who will not even be four-and-a-half, an extra year before considering sending them to school.

Readiness is about so much more than simply being clever, or appearing bored or under-stimulated at home.

If it just doesn't feel right to send him, then it is probably not right.

I think you will do your son more favours for his overall development if you give him another year at home and in the montessori school.

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