What’s the right age to start pre-school?
Pre-school marks the beginning of formal education for young children usually after they leave creche (for those who attend, due to parents at work). While a lot of parents in this modern-day may assume their little ones are pro in some areas and would need a speed-up in their tender age, Founder, Le Poshe School, Ikoyi and school administrator, Mrs Ronke Adeniyi, says it is important to have children grow emotionally, to match with academic development.
This conversation between a parent and school administrator, Mrs. Adeniyi, gives justice to what parents must consider before enrolling their wards in pre-school:
Parent: “Goodday dear Administrator, I am Mrs Kolawole and I would like to register my two-year-old twins in your Nursery 1 class. I have heard so much about your wonderful school.
Mrs. Adeniyi: “Did you say, two-year-olds madam?”
Mrs. Kolawole: “Yes, I did. And I know you will say they are too young for Nursery 1. I agree they are young but that is just a mindset. My children are very bright. They can count 1 to 100, they know all the letters of the alphabets, animal sounds, colours, and shapes. I even think they are geniuses!”
Mrs. Adeniyi: “That’s excellent and quite impressive.”
Mrs. Kolawole: “I would still recommend that they start from the Playgroup and they can join the Nursery class when they become three years old in May. Providing a child turns three before the 31st of August, they can join the Nursery class but not after that date. They will need to wait until the following year.”
Mrs. Kolawole: “I don’t understand you, my dear Administrator.”
Mrs. Adeniyi: “I’m sorry about that Mrs Kolawole, let me make it clearer. Children under the age of three are typically in a daycare centre which many call a creche or playgroup in Nigeria, I’ve even heard it being called pre-nursery.
“The naming convention does not matter much as long as we are guided. Nursery classes are often called Kindergarten in the United States and Australia.
“If you remember clearly, many of us started Primary One at the age of six; some couldn’t even be admitted if their right hand did not touch their left ear when passed over their heads and vice versa.
“These days, we have five-year-olds starting Primary one and some parents still want to register their four-year-olds.
“There really isn’t any need to rush especially as mental/cognitive development (what many parents call academic smartness) does not equate to personal, social or emotional readiness/maturity.
We need to allow the kids to enjoy their childhood and their early learning years.
“As a guide, the minimum age recommended for a child to start Primary school is age five and they should be 11 years old by the time they get to secondary school. Primary six is highly recommended, please do not skip it.
“The parents and children pay now or pay later because any good secondary school running the British curriculum in Nigeria or abroad will insist a child is 11 years old before he or she starts secondary school. Let us be guided. You can have this little slip that will serve as a summary of what I’ve just explained.”
Mrs. Kolawole: Oh wow! Thank you so much for this thorough explanation dear Administrator. I didn’t realise that it mattered that much. I just wanted to promote them like some of my friends did for their children. Now I know better. Thank you so much dear Administrator.”
Mrs. Adeniyi: “You are most welcome Mrs Kolawole. Let’s proceed with the registration process.”
Mrs. Kolawole: “Straightaway dear Administrator, I cannot wait!”
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