Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Editorial: A big day in little lives

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Kelly Makiha.
Kelly Makiha.

I've been told that starting primary school can be the most traumatic time in a child's life.

With that in mind, it's important to get it right.

Some children breeze through this big change in their lives. They count down the days until they are a big school kid and skip off happily on day one eager to meet their new friends and teachers. But I suspect for a majority of youngsters it's all very daunting and scary.

There are new surroundings, a bunch of new children and new adults surrounding them and their little brains are being filled with so much information.

There could be a change for new entrants with a proposal to start 5-year-olds in groups rather than individually on their birthdays.

The change suggests having group intakes on set dates for children starting school and is part of the first update of the Education Act in 26 years.

While schools can already opt for cohort entry, parents can legally insist on their child starting on their fifth birthday. But under the proposed change, children would have to wait to enter school at the next cohort date. I think for smaller schools there seems little point changing the status quo but the proposal has merit for larger schools.

When my girl started school last year, she was lucky to start on the same day as her friend who she'd been to early childhood care with since she was one and another friend she had already made at dance lessons.

The familiarity of those faces made all the difference to those three girls who all enjoyed a textbook start to school.

I also remember seeing the frightened face of one dear boy who stood in front of his classroom when the bell rang and wet his pants.

I suspect starting in a group with other new kids would have made all the difference for him.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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