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Doing an essay for child psychology and I need to analyse in terms of psychological theory, a recent topical event reported in the media, concerned with child care or education.


Anyone out there who would like to tell me 'when should our kids start formal education?' Four and a half, five, six or seven? Why do you think this? Do you have any experience? Can you relate it to a psychological theory? Also linking it with the stages of development at these ages.


Help Please

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I think there needs to be flexibility in any system which involves the ages of children; education is particularly important. Some children are by no means ready to start school at 5, but others are raring to go.


Different countries have different ages: Sweden starts their children at 7, I think. Are you able to draw from the experiences of other nations in your essay?

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Yes have got some of it down on paper but can't get into finding the research. Scandinavian countires send children later. Why? What are their reasons? Needin to find research or reports from researchers who have investigated this topic, but not succeeding. Telegraph/Scotsman ran stories on this issue and mentioned American research, but can't find it. It has all to do with play. Children learn more from play and working with what they already know. Why are boys less ready for school at five than girls. Trying to link it to Jean Piaget, unfortunately don't know how :?

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In Norway they start school at 6, this is after nursery and then one year of pre school which they start at 5. Pre school is aimed at getting them ready for their school years.. by teaching them basic numbers and alphabet etc, but also they are given some responsibility towards looking after the younger members of the nursery. to teach them some values that will help them in life in general. No actual reason to this other than it is felt that they want to give their children more time to be children.


Also in Norway it is still felt very much that mum will stay at home till the children has gone to school. Not so much now in the cities but still in rural parts.

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The starting age for school in Lithuania is seven; however, there are preparatory schools available beforehand. You may find this article of interest:


Early Childhood Care and Education in Lithuania Compiled by UNESCO


The other goals of children’s education in kindergarten are:


•to develop most favourable conditions for adopting the basic principles of the nation’s spiritual culture (moral, aesthetic, communicative, etc.);


•to protect and strengthen children’s physical and mental health, to cherish their natural abilities and satisfy their essential needs for moving, physical and mental security, communication, cognition, self-expression and self-respect;


•to cultivate the mental capacities (intellectual, emotional and relating to will-power) of the children by stimulating the formation of their character and also cherishing their individuality, initiative and creativity.


One aim of pre-primary education is to help the child acquire competencies necessary for everyday life and successful studies at school:


•social competencies necessary to live in a community;


•health care competencies necessary to lead a healthy way of life, move and act safely;


•cognition competencies necessary to explore and discover the world;


•communication competencies necessary to listen, to speak, to try reading and writing, to be able to communicate with others and express oneself;


•artistic competencies necessary to imagine, feel, create and admire.

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Trying to link it to Jean Piaget, unfortunately don't know how :?


Not able presently to search for old textbooks but I would attempt to compare the differences in school starting ages with Piaget's "four stages of development".


The core component of Piagets work centred around Sigel's theories so I'd search for him too. It was all to do with construction and re-construction of knowledge in the learning process if I mind right?!



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I'd like to recommend also a look at Rudolf Steiner's methods, having spent a good few years at a Steiner school. The children start in Kindergarten at three-and-a-half to four, but start formal education around seven - and IMHO the education they start then is very good, more centred on the individual child than the State system in the UK. Worth a look.

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