A few days ago I met my neighbor while she was bringing her 3.5yr old daughter, Aliza, back from school. She told me that her daughter is having a lot of issues at school. Aliza is unable to pick the course work which she is supposed to and as a result she simply refuses to go to school. She also complained that teachers scold her frequently for not catching up. The mother was very much worried that Aliza won’t be promoted to the next class.
During our discussion Aliza kept digging the soil with the toe of her foot with her head down. I could clearly see a child whose confidence is being crushed at such a young age for not matching up to a so called “normal” standard.
I couldn’t take out that girl out of my mind for many days. She is just 3.5years old and she has already finished one year of preschool. I also want to mention that preschool in Pakistan nowadays is very much like kindergarten of our time. In the majority of schools there is quite lot of work for 3 year olds nowadays whereas we used to only play when we were three. I really feel for today’s children.
Implications of Inappropriate Early Schooling
The implications of inappropriate early schooling are long lasting. If your child has not encountered right environment at such young age it might affect his/her:
- Self confidence
- Self esteem
- Learning ability
- Emotional and physical health
- & perception of studying.
I think parents should look into following points when they are deciding to start schooling for their children.
- Your Child’s Age
In Pakistan sending your child to school early is sort of a status symbol as a result day by day younger children are inducted in schools. This is also a reason that many children are not producing the required results. They are so young that it is out of their human capacity to write and memorize certain information. I have myself seen children who cannot talk properly and they are sent to schools.
As a parent you must realize that earlier doesn’t always mean better. Assess your child’s situation before deciding to start schooling. Always resist the peer pressure of sending children to school early. If you think that your child is ready only then you should decide in favor of starting school for your child. And if you think that your child is not ready then delay their schooling for a year. During this year work with your child and you will have a clear picture what the actual situation is.
2. Make Sure Your Child’s Schooling is Not Too Expensive For You
Every parent wants the best school and the best education for their children. In the pursuit of the best, at times parents choose a school for their child which is very expensive for them. This adds a burden on their pockets and as a result puts extra pressure on the child to excel in his/her academics.
I will suggest choosing a school which you can easily afford. Work with your child at home, get help from online educational resources and your child will be equivalent to any expensive well reputed school going child.
3. Syllabus of The First Year of School
If you think that your child is ready for the school then visit the school and check the syllabus for the first year. It seems that there is not much taught formally in preschools but believe me there is a lot to digest for a young child. Having a look at the syllabus will also give you a clear picture whether you should take the plunge or wait a little.
4. Know Your Child’s First Teacher
If you have decided to give preschool a go then make it a point to be constantly in contact with your child’s teacher. You won’t be able to only discuss your child’s progress but also have another opinion to consider regarding any issues or points of concern in child’s behavior.
Any learning or behavioral issue of the child can easily be sorted out in consultation with the teacher.
5. Know About the Environment of The School
Sadly verbal and physical abuse is very common in our schools. I have myself seen teachers shouting, scolding and yelling at young children. There are many parents in Pakistan who are OK with scolding, yelling and even hitting of children by teachers. Any physical and emotional abuse at this tender age leaves big scars on the personalities of children. If your child is starting school tell your school administration and your child’s teachers categorically that they are not allowed to do it in any circumstance. If there is an issue they should approach you first.
6. Consider Homeschooling for Some Time if Required
If your child, is not ready for school yet or is having issues at school and you feel that that the school is harming your child instead of helping him/her then I definitely recommend considering homeschooling for some time. In homeschooling you can move as per your child’s pace and learning ability. You will better understand the learning needs of your child and will be able to better tackle it at a one to one setting.
7. Remember Academic Excellence is Not Everything
It’s every parents’ wish that their child excels in school. Having said that academic excellence is not everything. At times parents put so much pressure on the children to get good grades that the child starts to hate learning. Such attitude is counterproductive in the longer run.
Deal with your child in such a way that learning is not a burden for him or her. Trust me if the child’s desire to learn is healthy and alive he/she will succeed eventually.
8. If You suspect a Learning Issue Seek Professional Help
At times there is in fact a learning issue with the child, but the parents are in denial. In such situations parents put pressure on the teacher and the child to produce desired output. This is a futile struggle. If your child’s teacher is telling you that your child might have a learning issue then there must be some weight in her argument. Give it a serious thought and consult a professional to have appropriate advice.
Parents love to see their children reach different milestones, schooling is no different. Every parent wants to see their child excel in school. Having said that at the time of starting school parents must consider a few points like child’s age, learning ability and the syllabus of the first year of school. If the parents can fully trust the schooling only then they should decide to send their child to school.
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