Renewed claims that children should start school at the age of three to give them the best start in life.

Lobby groups are urging the Federal Government to boost funding for more children to have access to school earlier to stop Australia falling behind Europe and China, leading experts claim, shared Daily Mail.

More and more private schools and early learning centres are offering ‘pre-kindy’ which exposes children to play-based learning so they are better prepared for when they start school.

Many programs have lengthy waiting lists and now an initiative led by the Early Learning Benefits campaign wants extra funding so more children have access to pre-school education.

‘We have some children already having access to high quality learning, but many are missing out … equity is a big issue,’ Early Childhood Australia CEO Samantha Page told The Courier Mail.

Statistics show only 58.5 per cent of three-year-olds in Australia are enrolled in pre-school programs, compared to 95-100 per cent of children in France, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Spain.

University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer Dr Ali Black, said international research showed children introduced to high quality education earlier were more likely to go to university, gain better jobs and even own their own homes.

They were more resilient, had better social skills and had fewer behavioural issues.

We recently shared a post from a mum who was regretting keeping her child back – read more on that here

Dr. Nadia Louw, an Educational Psychologist says that when you are in doubt, keep them back.

She says that as parents you might feel like you are giving your child an academic edge, but it can cause untold damage if they are not ready for formal education. “It is like forcing a little fledgling from the nest before its wings are fully developed.

The impact on the child’s academic self-concept and ability to learn can be great. So parents have to think carefully when making this decision.” She also says every child is different and it really depends on them.

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  • I think 3 is way too young. A lot of kids aren’t properly toilet trained at that age, who is going to help them with that while at school? A lot are also still having a sleep, so what happens there? I think 14 years is enough time at school already and also think they never should have changed starting high from year 8 to year 7.


  • If there was more funding into 3yo Kinder then more parents would put their children into it won’t they?
    I’m looking at putting my daughter into 3yo next yr and I’m looking at an easy $350 a term for one three hour session a week.
    A bit much but still cheaper than daycare for me.


  • In Scandinavia they don’t start school until 7 or something and they are way better adjusted than we are.

    • Yes but they start early learning at a young age, which is actually what this article is referring to. Its just confusing reporting.


  • The way things are now is enough, lets not go overboard!


  • expensive and unnecessary. Kids don’t have the mental capacity at that age. My children have been in family daycare and this is perfectly adequate.


  • I think day care is also educational, so this is good


  • Let kids be kids. Pre-school time gives toddlers/young children the opportunity to explore, have unstructured fun, use their imaginations before they enter the structure of school for the next 13 years (at least) of their schooling lives. More parenting needs to be done at this stage, and less external teaching. Once your children start school, parents lose control over much of what their kids are doing and learning. I wish I could have some of that pre-school time back now.


  • Having access to pre-school or kindy is very much different to it being law to start a three year old’s schooling. Having access usually means having the funds to do it and not all parents can afford the cost of pre-schools or daycare. All comes back to money. All children should be able access some sort of pre-school learning through play. It helps to build social skills and can boost the child’s confidence. Forced learning can do more damage than good if the child isn’t ready emotionally.


  • Far too young! My 4 year old has started Pre school this year and attends 3 days a week. I’ve seen a huge developmental difference in the 3 months that’s she’s been there that reassures me 5/6 is the correct age to start their primary education. Pre school however is fantastic for them to prepare for the start of school and is just enough to get a taste of what life at school will be like.


  • No way, too young. Even my twins who were 4 turning 5 in June had to do an extra year in Kindy because they were too immature. Crazy idea. My March and April children, I just held them back because I thought they were too young.


  • This is an awful idea. Both my daughters started kindy when they were still 3 (they have March birthdays and so “had” to start kindy the year they turned 4. My oldest only toilet trained a month before starting.
    My youngest is an October birthday, so he gets to have an extra year home before starting kindy next year – and he has needed it. He toilet trained this summer holidays and so would only have just trained if he had had to start kindy this year. He is also just not ready with regard to his speech!
    If Finland and other European countries can hold off compulsory schooling until kids turn 7 then why cant we change our educational values and let our kids have more of a childhood and be kids before we force them off to school and into learning.


  • Some three year old’s are not even properly toilet trained yet, give it a break why do we have to have strangers spend more time with kids then family, you miss so much. Sounds like Governments wanting to control and brainwash kids earlier and earlier, we already have play groups and family day care or occasional care or mothers meet up groups.


  • Children should start school when they are ready, not at a prescribed age.


  • 3 is way to young too start school. Think of the teachers, those toddlers having tantrums etc. My daughter will be 6 when she starts school & I’m sure she’ll be better for it, as my son is.


  • Hi Tracy,
    Ali Black here, you have quoted me in the piece above. The focus is on making sure kids can access KINDY. Can I please outline that what you have read and interpreted as truth (media headlines saying there is a push for ‘3 year old SCHOOL age start’) is completely incorrect. That is not what ‘experts’ are recommending at all!
    Like many others, you have believed a media headline designed to sell newspapers, and have not found out what the facts really are, and then to make things even worse, you have written something that perpetuates something that wasn’t true to begin with.

    This is so disheartening as what we want is for every child to be supported in their learning, to not be rushed, to not be pushed into structured school-like learning, but to have opportunities to experience wonderful early childhood education, with beautiful environments where play and curiosity and children’s interests drive everything.
    The recommendation is for universal access (ie. access to KINDY for EVERYONE – not just kindy for the families who can afford the fees). It is NOT about school of any kind. It is about wanting the government to recognise that the first five years of life are critical – it is where a child gets a sense of belonging, a sense of identity, learns whether they can trust the world around them or not, where their language develops, where the strong attachment relationships they have shape their confidence, it is a critical time of brain development. The research around the world shows that quality early childhood experiences and early childhood education (play-based learning NOT SCHOOLING) makes a positive difference to a child’s life outcomes. So, we want the government to ensure that every child, no matter where they live, or how rich their parents are, can experience two days of a wonderful play-based kindy program.

    Currently one in five kids in Australia and two in five Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island kids are developmentally vulnerable in their first year of school because they haven’t had any access to a quality kindy program at any stage of their life. So, like you all, we know that play is important, that caring knowledgeable adults (be they parents or kindergarten teachers) are important, that being read to is important, and so on. There is NOT a push for structure or tests. The headlines are media outlets who haven’t even bothered to read what the recommendation are and are using sound bites to jump to the WRONG conclusions. I would be happy to talk to any of you about any of this. This valuing of kindy for every child has the backing of organisations that care about children and families – like Early Childhood Australia, C&K kindies: ARACY – Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Please take the time to do some research and get behind the early years. They matter. They last a life time.


    • Couldn’t agree more! We need more play based learning, exposure to learning from peers and developing friendships, learning to be independent and free access to all these kids!


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