Starting school is a big deal for parents and children, and we naturally want to do everything we can to help ensure our children get off to a flying start and build positive habits that will last throughout their schooling experience.
The path towards being ready for school starts from the moment children are born, and with research showing that up to 90% of brain development happens before a child enters school, this journey continues at rapid rate throughout their first five years of life.It’s for this reason that Goodstart centres in Western Australia have programs designed specifically for three year olds, giving them focussed support to develop the skills they need for school and later life.
But as parents with three year olds, not many of us are really thinking too much about getting our children ready for school – we’ve got enough going on with our energetic little ‘threenagers’ as it is!
Many Australian children though (over one in five) are starting school with a development vulnerability, which means they are behind their peers in one or more critical childhood developmental areas like communication skills, social skills or emotional maturity.
For these children, catching up to their peers isn’t easy and unfortunately the evidence shows that children who start school behind tend to stay behind.
What this tells us is it’s never too early to start developing the skills and abilities needed for a smooth transition to school.
Two years are better than one
One year of high quality kindergarten is known to halve the chance of a child starting school developmentally vulnerable, and recent research has shown that two years of kindergarten has an even more positive impact than one.
These findings were published by the Mitchell Institute, and it shows that not only do children benefit greatly from an additional year of high quality play-based learning, but also that government investment into an additional year of kindergarten helps to deliver future prosperity to the children themselves and the nation.
Children learn and develop at their own pace, and sometimes in the right circumstances an extra year of Kindergarten can be beneficial and we see some beautiful examples of this each year in our centres.