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Starting them young taking a toll on kids

Parents are worried that their three-year-olds may be too young to start formal school. Joyeeta Ghosh reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 21, 2010 23:43 IST
Joyeeta Ghosh

Amid the frenzy of planning out when and which schools to apply to, something else is worrying Bindu Mishra.

Her three-year-old twins can barely hold a pencil properly but they are readying for the upcoming nursery admissions in Delhi.

"At home, they can write any which way they want to but at school they have to write properly. I think they are too young for formal schooling," she said.

"I think four years is the right age for them to go to school," said added.

Many parents agree with Mishra's view but are left with no choice.

In February this year, Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal had proposed increasing the age for nursery admission from three years to four years for students in the Capital.

But the Delhi government had shot down the proposal, saying the age limit should be increased throughout the country and not just in Delhi.

Nursery student Samaira Gupta participated in 'science week' at her school recently. She is not yet four years old and can barely comprehend the meaning of the word 'scientist' but was expected to dress and act like one.

"She is expected to write from A-Z in cursive, which is a specialised form of writing.

She often writes in the opposite direction. Also, commuting to school sometimes takes a toll on her physically," said Meenu Gupta, mother of Samaira talking about the pressures her daughter goes through.

Child psychologists, too, feel that four years is the ideal age for a child to start schooling.

"At three years a child suffers from separation anxiety and is not mature enough to handle formal situations and environment. Also, we end up hastening the growth of a child's personality," said Bhawna Burmi, a senior clinical child psychologist.

She also added that at three years the fine motor skills, which aid a child in holding things such as pencils, are underdeveloped.

"Besides physical exhaustion, sometimes the children are not toilet trained and a situation arising out of that might embarrass him/her so much that it could hinder their personality development," added Burmi.