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#Education #MentalHealth

This is the time of year when i get phone calls from parents about promoting child to next academic year.

In most cases children are asked by school to stay back for a year and parents are opposed to it. Sometimes it is the other way round.
Ideally child should have had 6th birthday before starting Std 1 in India. Rules vary according to state and board and this causes lot of turbulence.

If given a choice, being the youngest child in the class is to be avoided. Because a child if squeezed into such class
can be as much as 13 month or more younger than oldest kid in the class. That's almost 15-20% of their lifetime. It is a lot of developmental time esp for a young child.
Most parents are anchored by child's intelligence judged by use of mobile phone, ability to identify numbers/alphabets, naming ability (use of baby picture books). Most of this is only one dimension of development - Memory.
And we know that in India intelligence = memory.
Not only this is wrong way to assess intelligence, many other things are important for development. e.g. gross and fine motor skills, receptive and expressive language, emotional expression, self-help, social skills,
ability to spend time away from family, instruction following ability and more. A lot of stuff that is overlooked in traditional decision making about school education.
When in doubt, choose extra year for your child esp if they had any developmental hiccups like speech delay, gross/fine motor delay, absent/partial toilet training, etc.
Now we move to the most important question - this question is always "most important" for parents but children seem to be least bothered by it. - "how will this step (repeating a year) emotionally affect the child? won't they be traumatized!"
Now, no matter what answer i give, some parents have already made up their mind against it. So no point in saying that your child will be more relaxed, happy and confident if they get extra developmental time.
in last 20 years of practice, i have observed that about 20-25% parents accept this advice. This proportion is getting better every year. That's good news.

That's all folks.
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