For generations, schools have opened their doors to young students, most especially in Kenya; where parents are forced to make their children start school early, given the economic situation in the country. A lot of time and efforts is focused on making ends meet and children are left to be nurtured in schools. Starting school late provides a considerable amount of time for play to children.
Over the year’s emphasis has been made on the importance of child play.
This may not really appeal to the majority of Kenyans who depend on little incomes. However for those with the ability to keep their child a little longer before school this may just be the way to go.
Reasons for Encouraging Play in Children
Here are some of the benefits of holding on to your child for a little longer:
- Play helps develop skills in areas such as; Physical, communication, cognitive and emotional. During play children are able to practice and reinforce these skills in a way that cannot be achieved through the curriculum.
- It promotes healthy habits for the children. It lessens problems many children face in the world today for example obesity.
- It exposes children to new ideas and acts as a link between their previous experiences and their current investigations.
- Play assigns a certain degree of responsibility to children. They are able to make their own decisions during play and can establish various consequences of their actions and choices made.
- The nature of play encourages risk-taking among children. The sense of the unknown helps children develop mental flexibility and can later perform executive functions.
Dangers of starting school early
Making your child start school early is not the best decision as it is encouraged nowadays. Once they start school there are number of expectations to be met; which indicate that learning has taken place.
For instance, a child may be expected to start reading at kindergarten level. If they fail to do so other interventions are used which pose more harm than good. This may strain them and eventually affect their ability to learn other things in future.
Schools are characteristically rigid in nature and tend to consume childhood. Most children are unable to meet unrealistic academic and behavioral expectations which are forced on them at very young age. Medicating for such inabilities only extends their troubles which only apply to academic environment. It is best to consider that children are not the problem, and the school system is.
Other things parents should consider
Determining the appropriate age your child gets to start school is as important as providing for the basic essentials for learning. With regards to this parents have the responsibility of providing for play materials. Hands- on materials such as bricks, balls, child rumps and small shovels provide a better experience for children. Whether the purposes of the objects are clear or not the child will be able to figure out a way of making it useful.
Further-more the presence of an older adult alone allows for meaningful play to happen. All this may go along well, if parents are able to regulate the distractions presented by modern day technology. Reducing screen time and other devices that may be essential for increasing children play time.
Parents should provide for their child’s needs in the best way possible; with their best interest at heart. The old system subjects a child to early hardship which may continue up to when they are older. It can be argued that its one way of preparing a child for the competitive nature of the world today.
However wouldn’t it be so good to equip your child with unique abilities that he or she may have little or no competition. Picture all you would have wanted as a kid and using that decide for what is best for your child. This may just be what determines whether or not they will be successful at any point of their lives.