We're into June and Adrian is nearly three and a half years old. Most of his peers have started Cycle 1. By 'peers', I mean the toddlers that he went to the once a week,mother and child, Montessori environment with. Cycle one is the first cycle at Aaron's school and its classes are for the 3-6 year olds.
We chose not to start this year and have been targeting the beginning of next year. Thank goodness for that decision! As he grows older, I am often asked why he isn't in the school yet and very often, I find the other parent doesn't quite understand why I would hold my child back this way. They think I can't let go of him. (Some shake their heads and wag their fingers at me.)Whereas, I think I can give him a much richer and definitely more loving environment for the stage that he is at now, than the classroom can. Adrian is thriving at home. He doesn't miss out socially because he plays with the same kids that he would have been in class with, every day when we go pick Aaron up. And, we do get around to many similar activities as his class would have offered.
He is cheeky but so funny to be around once I'm giving him 100% of my attention. Its always a worry if I am trying to get other things done and often, frustrating because he's making a mess at one end of the house while I'm cleaning up the other. He is playful but is also very willing to learn new things - he sees it as play.
Lately, I've been wondering if I should start him when he turns 4. Why not when he is 4.5 years old? Thats when Aaron started and I thought that instead of a sudden burst in knowledge from being in an 'educational' environment, there might have even been a little bit of a slowdown in knowledge 'uptake' from the distraction of it all.
Why not skip the whole pre-school and kindergarten phase and just start in primary school? After all, we're not talking about a neglected child here. But no, I won't go as far as that. And its not because I think he needs to learn to socialize either. Its more for learning how to be self regulated and also carry out some independent work in an environment away from me.
So, I'd better take full advantage of the next 6-12 months because after that, he'll be off on the long (and increasingly questionable) road of 'formal education'.
p.s. I recently watched this very interesting talk by Sugata Mitra, an education researcher, about child driven education. http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html