While we're on contentious issues of over-under parenting, and you dear readers are weighing in to the discussion, let me put another one to you.
Both Bear and Mitts are at the younger end of the age spectrum in which they can enter their designated years, to the point where their entry is considered optional. Presently they are on the conventional track, but we're certainly giving it some thought.
There is quite a bit of literature about suggesting there are advantages to starting school a wee bit later than the present 'standard', particularly (see for example Steve Biddulph in Raising Boys) for boys. I didn't need to read this to have my own view that it isn't great being at the younger end of the year. I was. Coupled with being a lateish developer and rather skinny anyway this left me feeling small, underdeveloped, overwhelmed, and unconfident.
The case for getting them in and through school in a hurry has never persuaded me either. But on the flipside I found school slow and intellectually boring until about year 11 (when my lack of study habits slammed up against a suddently ramped-up curriculum) and don't want to inflict even more boredom on my kids out of a desire to overcompensate for my own miseries.
As with the public school debate, this quandrary has an element of public good versus personal interest: if everyone holds their kids back, even when they are a fine age for normal school entry, then this just pushes some of the problems out a year for kids at the younger (or smaller, or less developed) end.
School planning is also listed as a reason to stick to 'the program', although given the state has planned so badly for our own kids and is only just starting to catch up on the baby boom(for example the kinder expansion now belatedly being built at a centre in Northcote) this argument doesn't persuade me.
Reflecting on what a good child care centre we have has softened some of the Kinder angst expressed in previous posts. This starting age question isn't a teeth-gnasher, it's simply a choice we are faced with and an interesting dilemma. And we simply can't tell whether such a choice might have a minor, or a profound, impact.
A tribute to Fred Gruen - A few weeks ago, I gave the FH Gruen lecture, on the topic After reform: the economic policy agenda in the 21st century. Thanks to sound editor Simon Kravi...
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