Starting school, what is the best age?

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Thanks Shell for the inspiration on this one!

It comes up every year, how old should my child be before they start school? It’s a great question. 4? 5? What if they are an “October baby” and the cut off is Nov 1? Or what if school is cheaper than daycare? What if…

Well here is my $0.02! As a retired special needs middle school teacher the majority of my kids in the “assisted learning programs” were the YOUNGER ones in their grade and the “gifted” kids were the older ones. Coincidence? Possibly one could have said that maybe in the first couple of years, but after 10 years… it was still the same.

There is a wonderful part in the book The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell that talks about hockey players’ birthdays. It is fascinating to note that the older the child, the better they performed. Now of course there are always exceptions, but generally, that is the case. Why you ask? It’s the same for school as for sports, older kids (even by a couple of months) are generally, bigger, stronger, faster, more experienced, have a higher thought process, quicker with analysis etc…the list goes on.

So my advice? Wait, if there is no life and death reason to start early, wait until you absolutely have to enroll your child. One more year being little may make all the difference to their entire educational career…and so much longer after that!

PS: Personal proof: My oldest just turned 16 last month and is in the 10th grade. Many of her classmates just turned 15. She is in the top of her class both academically and socially.

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