Opposition leader Olive Crane has given the government a failing grade for not consulting with Prince Edward Islanders before announcing a change in the age children can start school. (cbc)
Olive Crane said letting children start younger goes against recent research.
The Liberal government has stressed the need to consult on issues such as where people can smoke, and Crane can’t understand why the government was so quick to change the age at which children can start school.
“This is really a big shock as to why cabinet and the premier would be making a decision like this without consulting parents, the department of education, the early childhood educators themselves,” said Crane.
“You can imagine the stress on kindergarten teachers to try and do a readiness program with five-year-olds now to have them ready for school in grade one.”
Last week, the government announced children who turn six before Oct. 31 can start school in September. The previous cut off was Aug. 31.
Crane said the decision flies in the face of research done a few years ago that supported a later age for children to start school. Last week’s announcement has left parents wondering whether to put their children in school at the earlier date or hold them back a year.
While the decision allows about 300 more children to attend grade one in the fall, the Department of Education is cautioning parents against sending children too early. At the same time it has asked kindergartens to prepare special readiness programs for children who will now be moving into grade one.
Crane said the three-month readiness program simply won’t be enough preparation for most children.