Educators in India agree that formal education should ideally begin at the age of five. This is also the pattern followed and accepted across the nation. However, with many schools operating their own nursery grades, the definition of the term ‘formal’ education has been slightly altered. Generally, parents prefer that children start their education at the age of five, though there is a scope for some leverage in different parts of the country. However, rather than being obsessed about the age at which children start school in India, parents should also address issues like —

• Good Preschooling

• Helping the Child Start School

As the terms suggests, preschool is all about making a child prepared for his formal education. A child graduating from a preschool has better cognitive and learning skills and can easily adapt to the setting of a structured schooling programme. Skills taught at a preschool are essential before the beginning of statutory education.

Preschool is addressed by different names. A preschool could be called a playschool, day-care, pre-primary, pre-nursery or kindergarten. Young parents are prone to be concerned about the age at which children should start school India, but they should first take care of the preschooling aspect as this gives the child a structured foundation for further learning. The basic skills developed at this age last throughout a child’s life.

Helping the Child Start School
Most children find it difficult to acclimatize themselves to the proper classroom setting of a school. This is because the environment in a school isn’t as liberal and fun-focussed as that of a preschool. Thus, once the parents are through with the headache of gaining admission to a good school and the anxiety pangs of the correct age at which children start school in India have subsided, they should concentrate on helping the child with getting ready for school.

Some tips for parents have been listed below –
• All the supplies mentioned by the school including things like books, school bag, crayons, etc. should be bought beforehand.

• For the sake of the child’s safety and to make easier for others to guide him/her in the school premises, make sure that some of the items like the child’s clothing, lunch box, etc. are labelled with the child’s name/class/section.

• The child should be made aware about the commuting plan, inclusive of the drop-off and pick-up details.

• The parents should also prepare a hand-out for the school teacher or nurse, in case the child depends on particular medications.

The night before the first day at school is very important for the child. Most children are very apprehensive and may ask a number of questions. The parents should —

• Discuss the most probable morning routine with the child, including things like bath-time/bed-time/waking-up. Make the child aware that sticking to the schedule is necessary.

• Try and talk to the child about the things that should be expected on the first day at school.

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