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Start School at 5 ?

Keith #5083
post 28.Oct.2005, 10:16 AM
Post #1
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 25.Oct.2005

I'm now 61, English and happily living in beautiful Sweden.
Yet, puzzled that in Scandinavia children start school so late.
I was actually not quite 5 years old when I started school in
1949.An ordinary state school.
In India I know of poor schools (charity schools) where all the
children speak and write 3 languages by the time they are
8 years old. In South Korea parents were put in jail for making
their children work too hard with homework. In Thailand the
government had to pass a law to say that not less than 50% of
school lessons be in the Thai language.
This is some of the world competition that Sweden is up
'Show me the boy at 7, and I will show you the man* is an
old folk saying in England.
I believe modern psychology confirms this.
School at 5? I don't think I have ever suffered as a result of it.
Perhaps my social and communication skills where improved
by it...
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E J Reklam
post 28.Oct.2005, 11:36 AM
Post #2
Joined: 29.Sep.2005

I concur, keith. I also started school aged 4 (back in the swinging 60s). When I mention this to people they say "oh, you mean Kindergarden(sp?). To which I reply "no! Real school!". But they never believe me...
This is prime learning time in a child's life and should not be wasted playing video games at home or in dagis. I can still remember my first day at school (the tears...) and remember the pride when progressing from Ladybird book A to book B. The thrill of reading...! Ah...I've gone all misty eyed just writing this and re-discovered some happy memories - thanks Keith.
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*Nigel E.j. Griffiths*
post 28.Oct.2005, 11:49 AM
Post #3


Boy your old, but thanks for reminding me of when as a kid of 4 or 5 yrs and having to go to school, at such an early age and so many years ago, did it do any good, you bet. If nothing else, it was the learning of social skills at an early age. I feel its great for kids to go school when they are 4 to 5 years of age. At least they are out of mums hair during the day.
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Rachel F
post 28.Oct.2005, 12:35 PM
Post #4
Joined: 12.Oct.2005

I'm English and I too started school at the age of 4 and have very happy memories.

However, my oldest child also started at the age of 4 back in the UK and struggled for the first few years to grasp the concept of reading and writing. There is apparently a really big ability/ development range with primary school children ( plus or minus three years) until a child is about 7 when everyone begins to catch up with each other. This poses a big problem for early years teachers and can make some children's formative years a frustrating experience. Many teachers feel that they are merely glorified child minders in a system which doesn't have any care alternative for young children.

Therefore it would seem to make sense from an educational perspective to follow the Swedish method. We musn't forget that the strictly academic side of things is only one angle to schooling - the dagis system here means that very small children learn to socialise with others and have a degree of self sufficiency which will stand them in excellent stead when they get to big school. They will also have had the time to learn about all sorts of things, through nature trips, theatre outings etc without the pressure of having to apply themselves in areas which they may not yet be mature enough to master.

I am very happy to have my other children educated in this method...I'm sure that they'll find learning less stressful and that they'll be able to pick up the three Rs within a couple of months of being at big school.

A really interesting topic - I'd love to hear a response from any primary school teachers out there...
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post 28.Oct.2005, 01:05 PM
Post #5
Joined: 29.Aug.2004

I think one of the nice things about the Swedish system is that kids don't start until they are 7. Kids are allowed to be kids and I have never understood why it is so important to rush them into school at such an early age (unless it's being used as an alternative to daycare). As an American, I began school at age 5 along with all other Americans and my brother in London sent his kids to school at age 4. But in the end, I don't see how the end product is any better and isn't that really the point, how educated an individual is after they get out of school?

The American school system through high school is more or less shit where teachers act a social workers first and educators second, where acedemic rigor is nonexistent because they don't want to hurt the feelings of those less inteligent and motivated and extra curricular activities such as US football or the glee club are the real reasons most students go to school. Whether they start these programs at the age of 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 is really inmaterial because chances are when they graduate from high school they will still have a hard time reading, doing math or thinking critically about problems.

So to me the issue of the age when one starts their education is wholly inmaterial. What is important is what are they learning during their 12 years in school, being paid for at the tax payers expense. In America at least, it is sadly not much.
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