Should I cut out my family

School the child or postpone it?

Play instead of training

Instead, parents should be aware of the skills their child needs for school and then promote them in a playful and diverse way. So rather speak counting rhymes together instead of checking syllables, reading out stories instead of practicing ABC. Ideally, the initiative often comes from the child anyway: For example, at some point they might want to write their name under a picture they have painted. "Parents can suggest adding the date as well," says Inckemann. "This is how the child relates to numbers and learns what a date is."

It is best for the child's development if the parents do something with him in their free time - play, go out, go on excursions. "This is a relief for most parents," says Inckemann. "You then say: We'll do that anyway." In addition, parents should talk to the child a lot. Because in school it is important that they like to communicate, can speak in full sentences and understand what you are saying to them. But not only the support of mother and father is important, a lot also depends on the child: They will do well in school if they are interested in learning new things, are enthusiastic about writing and numbers and enjoy doing handicrafts.

Prepare for the large group

Nonetheless, the situation at school is completely different from that at home: there, a group of 20 to 25 children with only one caregiver has to find their way around. "You need a certain emotional stability, otherwise you will be overwhelmed all day in such a large group," says Inckemann. "Younger children in particular often have problems there." Elementary school children should be motivated and independent, for example looking for a solution themselves when the teacher does not have time. It should also have a certain stamina and be able to concentrate for some time. "Of course, nobody expects first graders to be able to sit quietly all the time," says Inckemann. "That's why elementary school teachers take a lot of exercise breaks."

In order to get the child used to larger groups with only one caregiver, it makes sense, for example, to register them at preschool age in a sports club or in a handicraft group. "It is good when parents and daycare centers have optimally supported the child in its development," says Inckemann. "But it is then also the responsibility of the school to take up the skills and tackle individual points again. Nobody should pass the responsibility on here."

The deadline decides on enrollment

If the child develops normally up to the age of six, it will start school in accordance with the legal regulations in the respective federal state. According to the so-called Hamburg Agreement, all children across the country who had turned six by June 30th went to school in the autumn until the end of the 1990s. In 1997 this regulation was softened and now differs from state to state. In Bavaria, for example, it was planned to gradually move the school entry age to December 31. "But it turned out that it doesn't make sense if the children are too young," says Inckemann. That is why the cut-off date for school enrollment in Bavaria has now settled on September 30th. "Other federal states are also leaning towards this date, but some have stuck to the June 30 deadline," says Inckemann.

If a child is ahead or a bit behind in development, there is the option of bringing schooling forward or postponing it by a year. "But these are always individual decisions," says Inckemann. "Experience has shown that children whose birthday is close to the deadline are most likely to be considered."

Assess long-term development

Whether the child is ready for school or, better, is ready for school is usually revealed over a longer period of time. The pediatrician regularly checks the baby's development during the preventive examinations from birth. Around the fifth birthday, the so-called U9 takes place, during which the doctor examines various skills that are also important for school. "He usually checks physical abilities, seeing and hearing, lets the child draw something and takes a language test," says Inckemann. "But that differs from pediatrician to pediatrician." Parents must present the U9 certificate when they enroll in school. In the course of the last year of kindergarten, the parents receive a notification that their child should start school as well as invitations for information evenings. There the primary school teachers explain to them, among other things, exactly what the child should be able to do when they start school. If the parents are unsure about any point, they can ask the teachers for their assessment.

The school decides in consultation with the parents

Most schools invite preschoolers for trial lessons. Teachers then observe how the child finds their way in the school situation. As a rule, they ask them to tell something, to write the name, to play clapping games and to do little math exercises. "The educators see which children are not expected to have any problems and which children they should take a closer look at," says Inckemann. "They then invite you to a separate test." The school itself decides on the test, mostly language skills, the number concept and precursor skills for reading and writing are checked. The school then usually decides in consultation with the parents whether the child is to be put on hold or to start school early. In very rare cases, a child can be postponed or started school within the first six weeks of school. "But that is extremely problematic because then the kindergarten place could be gone or the admission rituals for school might be missing," says Inckemann. "In order to avoid something like that, one looks very carefully beforehand."