My twin boys have just turned five years old. Five?! On so many levels… yes, I can believe that it’s been five years since they came into our lives and left their indelible mark(s) upon it. The months of twin breastfeeding and complimentary feeding, watching them ever so quickly take their first steps at the tender age of 9 months, mushing up food and weaning, waiting forever for them to say their first words, living the cycle that is prepping meals and cleaning up after meals, only to prep the next meal and to clean that meal up.
In so many ways, the last five years have been simultaneously the slowest (think groundhog day), and fastest five years (so much change in such a short span of time). As they approached that four year and five year mark, the big milestone that faced us ahead was schooling. There are so many questions about Primary/Elementary School – e.g. private vs public, big Primary/Elementary Schools vs small Primary/Elementary Schools, would we be willing to travel further to school or attend our local school, etc? The immediate big question that hung over our heads was, when to start Primary/Elementary School.
In New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, children can start Primary School (Elementary School), if they turn five before 31 July in that year (for Public Schools; Independent schools have different cut off dates). By law, all children must be enrolled in school by their sixth birthday.
Were our children ready for school? We weren’t alone in wondering this. I received an email from a friend asking me, “Is my child is ready to start school?”. I shared with her my thoughts, but thought it helpful to have a sounding board about the topic. I caught up with some other ladies who are also mothers, teachers (and bloggers), to discuss the topic of school readiness and when to start school.
P.S. If you’re reading this in an e-mail or reader, click HERE to watch our hangout.
We decided to give our twin boys an extra year of preschool before starting primary / elementary school. The decision for us to hold our twin boys back a year was difficult to embrace at first; (especially on difficult and tiring days with four kids at home, and there was also the extra year of preschool fees). However, we wanted to give our boys an extra year to play, to learn and to grow. A year later, seeing how much they have grown, how much more socially ready they are, how excited they are about starting big school next year, cements in our minds and hearts that giving them time is helpful; that the decision we made is one we won’t regret.
How did you know when your child was ready to start Primary / Elementary School? I would love to hear your stories and experiences.