Give Me a Child Until they are Seven
Our school age is to dictated by a decision made by Victorian politicians back in the 1860s. It has more to do with economics than education.
As James McEnananey writes: “We should raise the school starting age to seven. Just 12 per cent of countries send their children to school aged four or five, and all of them have links to the British Empire.Evidence shows there is no educational advantage to such an early start, with Britain consistently out-performed by nations where children start school at six or seven.
Sending children to school too early is associated with a variety of social and emotional issues and plays a role in entrenching the gap between rich and poor which plagues our approach to education. Increasing the school starting age and setting up a universal play-based kindergarten system for all children from the age of three would represent a massive, progressive step forward for Nicola Sturgeon. Such a policy would likely attract cross-party support in Parliament and prove she is prepared to pursue radical, evidence-led reforms.”
As the National reports: “Only 12 per cent of countries require children to enter the classroom before the age of six, while 22 per cent set the minimum age at seven. This includes those with the best results such as Finland, where the state supports emotional and educational development through play in a popular kindergarten system which began in the 1970s.” And crucially:
“A growing body of evidence suggests play is crucial to human development on physical, emotional, social and cognitive levels, while both teachers and health professionals continue to raise concerns that youngsters are not getting enough exercise.”
The ideas behind this thinking are explained at Upstart Scotland: a movement to introduce a kindergarten stage for children aged three to seven: