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Each year I’m discovering more and more parents pushing their children to begin KG1 before the
developmental age of 4 years old. I’ve had parents attempt to place children who have recently turned 3 into Kg1. Although I can understand the parents eagerness to get their children started early believing that somehow they would have an advantage over other kids their age. But in reality most often these
students are placed at a disadvantage; I’ll explain how. Due to their younger age in comparison to
classmates entering KG at the normal age, this particular student may be developmentally slower than the other students. They may not be able to memorize as much, hold a pencil or crayon correctly, or even sit for prolonged periods of time. As a result the child’s teacher may label the child as a slow learner, when in reality the child isn’t, he or she is simply significantly younger, and has yet to develop the skills necessary to compete with his other classmates, who may be several months older.  This negative label in turn lowers the child’s self confidence, and the child may develop a sense of inadequacy which affects his or her learning for several years to come. So I do not advise nor typically accept students who are not developmentally ready for KG.

Parents wishing to give their students an edge or advantage in education are advised to place their children in preschool classes which is typically referred to as (Baby Class) in Hurghada schools. Most schools have requirements that the child be at least 3 years old by September or the beginning of the school year to be accepted in this class. You must inquire with the individual schools to see what their age requirement is. Although several schools have age restrictions, exceptions are typically made when the child shows knowledge and ability beyond the norm for their age. For instance if you have a 2.5 year old who already knows how to use the toilet and eat without assistance, hold a pencil, knows all the alphabet and counting, they are more likely to be accepted than one who can bare complete a sentence, and still needs long naps during the day. This little sleeping beauty is simply taking up space.

So parents, while you may have a little genius on your hand, it is advisable for you to allow the schools to test the child if they are younger than the typical age for KG1 before pushing for the child to start school younger. As mentioned earlier, you could be doing irreparable damage to your child’s own self-esteem, and may even discover that they need to repeat a grade at some point or another. Remember children develop at different rates, some walk before their even one year old, while others take a few months longer. Others develop language skills, eating habits, and toileting habits at different rates as well. Remember there is more to a child’s overall development, than simply memorizing the alphabet song. I’ve seen 1 year old children sing the ABC’s, but it doesn’t mean they are ready for KG1!

Lahoma Williams is an independent Columnist who specializes in Childhood Education and
Development. For questions, please email her at [email protected]

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