Kids could soon start school at four years old under radical proposal

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The latest spin on the cohort entry debate has four year olds starting school. Media tend to paint these pictures as black or white, even though we know it isn’t. Never the less, anticipating that a child at age four is ready for school, for school classes of 30 or more, for the rough and tumble that can and does occur with children aged 5 to 8 in mixed playgrounds, raises some serious concerns. I’m not saying that because a child turns five they somehow miraculously become ready for school overnight. Children develop, learn and mature at different rates. We all know that. Having some flexibility around when a child can start school and acknowledging when they are not ready is one such flexibility I support. But making it easier for a four year old to start school because it suits the school administrators to do so beggars belief.

I thought the focus of the reforms proposed by the Minister was to be centred around the child, not the bricks and mortar of the institutions? Pandering to schools and making changes at the expense of a clear risk to a child’s development doesn’t sound to me like child-centred policy.

On the positive side of the cohort entry debate, I look forward to seeing greater opportunities for ECE-trained teachers taking up new entrant roles in primary schools, since it sounds like this government’s intention is to deliberately blue the line between ECE and primary schools anyway.


Peter Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer

Early Childhood Council

Phone 0800 742 742 option 3

DDI 04 471 0392

Mobile 028 2582 2322

Skype peter.ecc


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