What is the best age for boys to start school? post image

Parent decisions

For many parents, the first day of preschool is a milestone in their child’s life. It is an emotional event that marks the first step on the long road of education. It’s also a very important decision that must be made. It is a commonly accepted fact that boys develop at a slower rate, especially in the early years of life. Parents are often faced with a handful of important questions:


  • Should I start my son early so that he can have a head start?

  • Should I wait and let him be one of the older ones in his class?

  • What is the best age to start preschool?

These are very important, and difficult, questions for parents.

School requirements in Algeria

 In Algeria, the Ministry of Education and Sports sets standards for school policies. They do not have a rule that children must attend pre-school education, what we call nursery school. Their role is to delegate this decision to head teachers, school management committees and local authorities at the district level.

Things to Discuss:

What do you think is the best age to start school?

Should the starting age be different for boys?

What reading implications are there for boys?

What are things like in your country?

Posted in: Content

{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Elizabeth

    I have 2 sons ages 6 and almost 4. We love reading in our house! I didn’t start my older son in Pre-K until he was 5 and he went to Kindergarten just fine. He has always had a hard time separating from us and was shy. He is completing his Kindergarten year and has done really well. He is reading and very well behaved. He was not ready for Pre-K when he was 3-4, so we waited and it did not hurt him at all. In addition, I always read with him at home, limit TV time, encourage learning games and activities and lots of playing outside. I think this was the right decision for us.

    My 4 year old will not start Kindergarten until he is turning 6 because the school system has changed the cut-off date for turning 5 to enter Kindergarten. At first I was not happy about it, but after seeing the difference between my older daughter and my other son in Kindergarten I think it’s best that he will start a little later. He is super smart already and will be the oldest in his class…possibly the smartest as well.

    I like having options of when to start your child, because every child is different!! If you don’t feel your child is ready for Preschool, then wait. From my experience I think it’s better to wait for school and have a positive start to your child’s school experience. You don’t want them disliking school because they get in trouble a lot or because they think it’s too hard, etc… Wait until they are ready, and READ to your kids at home, play educational games, go on Field Trips, etc… You will always be your child’s best teacher!

  • dina

    casey has been in preschool since age 3. he is doing really really well and i will not hesitate to put him in kindegarten when he is 5 (his birthday is in july). i know it is common to say that girls mature faster than boys..but i think this thought puts all of us into a nice pretty box. before school we spent a lot of time in moms groups with lots of kids. my son was speaking proficiently at the same pace as the girls and often times better than girls his own age. what i think is; the schools lack the ability to deal with a boy’s physical energy and therefore say it takes longer for them to focus and develop.
    i am glad i put him in school when i did, i am not a great educator and am not disciplined with teaching him at home, although he has been influenced by my love of books since he was in the womb. I believe boys more than anything need to start learning the structure of school at an earlier age not a later one; so they are prepared for it when they get into kindegarten and they are ready to learn.

  • alice

    this is a very interesting discussion and very timely too since I’m in a sort of a “crossroad” of whether to put my son into Prep or enroll him in the first grade…thanks very much, very enlightening!

  • kck

    I feel this is a such a complex decision that needs to be based variety of factors. It depends on the child, his temperament, his academic readiness, and the particular program you’re looking at. A sad fact IMHO is that many of our early elementary programs are not designed for active boys to feel successful and accomplished.

    I have an 8 year old who did 3 years of preschools starting just before age 3. He did fine at a play based preschool. He is just a naturally extroverted and confident kid. He went to kindergarten a month before he turned 6. We found out in kindergarten that he was highly gifted when he hit the ceiling of an IQ test. He was reading at 4-5th grade level by the end of kindergarten. He was doing probably 2nd grade math before kindy. Now, as a 2nd grader, he reads early high school level and is in general working 3 years beyond grade level.

    Academically, he needs MORE. He hated first grade, learned nothing, and we had to pull him to homeschool. But socially and physically, he is an 8 year old who is small for age. He would have flown academically in kindergarten a year earlier, but probably would have been shamed and punished all year for behavioral problems, like many of the younger boys in his all day kindergarten class at a very high achieving school.

    This is just one example. I wish our schools were more flexible to meet the needs of individual children.

  • Andrea

    In Minnesota, we have a really great program called ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education). We did that instead of preschool. It involves a parent/child time as well as a preschool-like class and parent education/discussion time. I had August twins, a boy and a girl. We did the early admission testing, as though they were born when they were due (late September). The district recommended that they start kindergarten at 5. My daughter really needed to go. She was already reading and has always been all about school. Her brother has done “fine”. He is an A student, but there were definitely some rough spots– having to do more with emotional maturity, size and fitting in than with academics. They are frequently in class with kids (boys) 15 months older than they are.

    I do not think that we should have boys routinely starting later than girls. While they might not be as ready at 5, they tend to be more confident and outgoing at 13… do we want classes of middle schoolers filled with confident mature boys and hesitant girls who are a year younger? I think that the ages and stages that boys and girls go through their developmental rough spots are different and we can’t ignore the effect on girls as we make choices about boys and school. In my opinion, there should have to be a justification for “holding” any child from starting school in the same way that there must be testing and justification to start a child early.

  • chopin9

    Great topic! From my experience, there is no one-size-fits-all age because it depends on the boy. Some are ready earlier than others. My son was born in January, and he was ready to go to kindergarten this past year. I, on the other hand, was born in October (in Illinois…some time ago) and I was put in school early when it might have been better for me to wait. Other posts emphasize structure for boys and, while it is probably usually the case, it again probably depends on the boy. Yes, for both me and my son, however.

    Thanks again for the interesting topic!

  • boolagunilla

    This is a very interesting topic. My elder son is 5 when I sent him to school..with the program that we have here in the Philippines, we have nursery kinder 1 and kinder 2 before they get to grade 1…good thing he was accelerated and didn’t have to go through kinder 1, he’s 8 years old now and in grade 3. I think my decision back then was influenced by the fact that I was sent to school early myself and while I enjoyed school and excelled back during my days, I did not have a good experience when I was about to enter grade I, the school rejected my application saying I was too young and they would only accept my application if I would repeat my kinder II. I was number one in class and of course my parents didn’t like the idea of me repeating a level. The school I ended up with was another good school but they made me take a special exam to determine if I was ready to take on the challenge of first grade.

    Honestly with my son, he has gone through it smoothly. Now I am again worried on what age should I send my second son to school? I really think the appropriate age changes with time…and its really hard to determine the perfect age. I guess I’ll go with observing my baby, it would show when he is ready and that would be the perfect time.

  • Siobhan

    I’m from Ireland, my oldest son started big school when he was 5, he turned 5 in the July and started in the September – my youngest will be 5 in the feburary and start in September, which will make him just gone 18 finishing secondary school, i think this is a good age, as he has room to repeat his leaving, give them time to discover who they are themselves before they fly the coop!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve found this page very informative, as I have a son as well as two daughters. I understand this webpage is for boys, but your advice was so goo I can’t help but wonder what your views are of the ideal age for girls to begin school / reading etc. My daughter is turning 6 early this year, and is registered to begin Grade R (reception unit/before first grade). She will be much older (by up to 10 months older) than many of her peers, and seems to be more intellectually advance. She has already able to read basic words and sentence, having learned the letters at her pre-school, and then following books, and doing word puzzles.

    In South Africa there is some confusion about the correct age to begin school. When I was a child up until quite recently, t was always that you had to turn 6 in your first grade. Then when the new government came into place, the age was escalated to 7 in the first grade. Subsequently this law was slackened, and now children turning 6 in the first half of the year, are able to go either into Grade R (Reception grade before fist grade), or can go into Grade 1. So it is a bit of mess as you can imagine, with some children now being much older / younger than their peers. I don’t think I would push my son into Grade 1, but am very concerned that I’ve made a mistake by not sending my daughter into grade 1 this year.

    Can you by any chance offer any advice?

    Many thanks

  • Juan

    I’m from Sta.Mesa, Manila. My Kid turns 3 last November 2009. Can you please give me ideas on what’s the best School I can enroll my Kid, or what are the qualifications do I need to look, for a good School ?


    Juan Manga

  • sunny

    hi there….unlike the people who have shared their views above,i am not a parent….i am a student from India…20 years of age and very much interested in this topic…
    according to me, and my very recent school experience,i think boys mature much later than their female counterparts and this proves to be harmful to boys’ verbal skills…take for example handwriting…
    i’m sure all of you are of an opinion that most boys have worse handwriting than girls…this is precisely b’coz we tend to develope the ability to hold a pencil at or after the age of five,and since,in most schools,kids are forced to write at the age of three or four,we end up having really screwed up writing skills…same goes for the reading part..
    in my opinion boys should start formal schooling at the age of 7..and by formal i mean getting them to write…before that, they should be taught using visual methods that interest the boys and girls alike..in this way they won’t have catching up to do later in primary and secondary schooling….
    hope this helps…
    Sunny James Toppo

  • daisy juquiana

    Decision whether to send one’s kid/s to school is answered by just one word – READINESS. There are parents who get pressured by other parents who sent their children at an early age. Do not look at it as a competition or a race. The important factor to consider really is a child’s READINESS.

    I remembered myself being pressured by my sister to send my daughter to school at the age of 3. So during her daughter’s summer/tutorial class, I let my 3-year old daughter go with her to test if she’s ready for school by the next school year. My daughter kept on walking and playing with everything her eyes could see inside the classroom. The teacher told the nanny who accompanied the 2 kids to just enroll my daughter by June. I did not follow her advice. I waited for some signs before my daughter showed me that she was indeed willing and ready for school. I was so happy to hear from my own daughter that she wants to go to school. She was 4 then. Now she is already a Nursery pupil. She was 4 ½ years old when I enrolled her as Nursery pupil. She’s the top in their class. The School Administrator even told me after a meeting which I attended that her capabilities is that of a Kinder or Prep. But sometimes I am still being pressured by the fact that my niece was in Grade I at the age of 5 because she got accelerated. She attended Nursery and Kinder at ages of 3 and 4 respectively. However, I always remind myself that LEARNING IS A LIFETIME PROCESS. After Preschool, you attend Elementary, Secondary, Tertiary, Graduate School, and Post Graduate School.

  • Gabriele

    There are a lot of arguments from both sides (advocates of earlier or later admission). No one should forget, that parental care, especially in early years of young human, is something that could not be overestimated. It is not only the matter of education, but also emotional development of child.


  • Gabriele

    There are a lot of arguments from both sides (advocates of earlier or later admission). No one should forget, that parental care, especially in early years of young human, is something that could not be overestimated. It is not only the matter of education, but also emotional development of child.


  • Igor

    That is one more case when many people refers to editing services online for help, instead of getting unexpected result risk. That is difficult but obvious to make decision.

  • lindsay

    Timely. My son is 3 1/2 years old this coming school year of 2010-2011. Me and my husband will send him to the day care center for summer education and then in June I will send him to the regular classes. I am in paper writing service. Maybe I’ll quit to my regular job to guide my son in his first year of schooling.


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