When Are Children Ready For School?
Many parents think that the only aspect a child needs to enter primary school is the cognitive aspect which includes the ability to write, read and count and being able to send their child to primary school (SD) at the age of 6 is extraordinary. Of course, we often see this, don't we? if this is still the main reference for determining children's school readiness, then it is very unfortunate.
In the daily practice of psychologists, it is often found that parents complain that children cannot be released from studying on their own when they enter elementary school, they still look like kindergarten children who need help to organize clothes and school supplies, they still need to be waited on to complete homework, there are still children who are shy and afraid to say to go to the restroom, some even wet their pants in class, and many more.
Seeing this, it turns out that preparing children to enter elementary school does not only focus on cognitive aspects, but considers other aspects.
ASPECTS OF SCHOOL READINESS IN CHILDREN
• Motoric aspects: skills that involve coordination of physical movements, including gross and fine motor skills
• Cognitive aspect: thinking ability, such as remembering, capturing information
• Social-emotional aspect: skills in regulating emotions and interacting with the social environment
• Aspect of independence: try to do it yourself without asking for help from others
An example of a case regarding school readiness in children occurred with Alina (disguised). At the age of 5 years and 10 months, Alina can already read, count and write words. However, other abilities, such as concentration, endurance, emotional regulation, and independence are still not well seen. When you have a wish, it must be fulfilled, otherwise it can hurt others (hitting, kicking).
The behavior that occurs in Alina can become an obstacle if the child enters elementary school (SD). Therefore, these aspects must be optimized in advance so that children are truly ready for school.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT AGE TO ENTER CHILDREN IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?
Regarding when children enter school, new children are required to continue their education at the elementary level at the age of 7, because at that age children are considered mature.
This is in accordance with Law Number 20 of 2003 concerning the National Education System article 6 paragraph (1) which reads: "Every citizen aged seven to fifteen is obliged to attend basic education."
Regulation of the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia Number 51 of 2018 concerning Acceptance of New Students which states that the requirements for prospective new students in grade 1 (one) SD are 7 or at least 6 years old on July 1 of the current year except for the minimum age requirement of 5 years 6 months on July 1 running which is intended for prospective students who have potential intelligence or special talents and psychological readiness as evidenced by written recommendations from professional psychologists and not carried out by teachers.
Piaget, in his theory of development at the age of 7 years, children's cognitive development is at the concrete operational level and begins to use mental operations and think to solve a problem. At the concrete operational level, children are able to:
• Doing more than one aspect of a given task or set of tasks
• Classifying an object into a group or sub-group
• Remember and think logically
• Make statements with consideration
• Doing spatial learning related to space
However, many parents enroll their children in Play Groups from an early age (around 2-3 years old), then proceed to Kindergarten (TK) so that when their children are 5 years old, parents feel worried and think that their children are too old if they have not been included. to SD.
Even if the child is still or is under the age of 5 years, it is better for parents to consider it first and re-check whether the child's ability in all aspects of his development is really mature to continue his education to elementary school. Don't let parents feel that their child's school readiness is ripe, but in reality there are still aspects that need to be re-optimized for children.
SCHOOL READINESS TEST FOR CHILDREN
A readiness test for entering elementary school needs to be done to determine maturity in children by conducting assessments in the several aspects previously mentioned.
This can be done with professional assistance from a psychologist who will interview parents regarding child development, information from teachers in kindergarten, and direct observation and interaction with children.
In addition, intelligence tests can also be carried out to determine the cognitive abilities of children. Thus, later from the readiness test to enter SD, information can be obtained regarding the child's self-development and recommendations whether the child can be said to be mature to continue his education to the SD level or not.
In general, children are mature or ready for school at the age of 6 or 7 years. Except for children who have problems, such as cognitive barriers, developmental problems, or so on, they need to get special treatment first.
However, you also need to know that individually the level of maturity in children is of course different. This can be affected by:
• Level of cognitive abilities
• Parenting patterns
• How children learn
• Emotional maturity
• Surrounding environmental factors
Assessment of all aspects of the readiness test for entering elementary school is very necessary so that not only one aspect is assessed. If a child is said to be mature/ready to enter elementary school, but there are still notes regarding a number of aspects that are not yet mature/ready, then parents need to work with the school to optimize those aspects that are still lacking.
For example, if the independence aspect of the child is still not ready, then the task for the parents at home is to provide a role for the child to be independent by giving him daily tasks at home, such as carrying the dirty clothes of all family members to the laundry basket every day.
This can become a habit that fosters independence and responsibility in children. While at school, teachers can also assign roles to children in class, for example being in charge of leading prayers in the morning. That way the child's school readiness can be more mature.
From an early age, parents really need to pay attention to aspects of child development and determine learning that is appropriate to the age, potential and abilities of the child.
That way, children can feel that learning is fun and interesting, just like playing activities. In addition, children can also be better prepared from all aspects to go to school when they are old enough.
On the other hand, you shouldn't always serve your child until he can't do anything because he's used to being helped. Teach children to start being independent so that children's dependence on parents is reduced.
Parents must also be prepared to let their children go to school. If you are afraid to let your children go to school or are not responsible for it, it means that you are not ready to send your children to school.
So, when your child is showing signs of school readiness and is old enough, make sure you are also ready to let him go to school. In addition, carefully plan the preparation for entering elementary school, for example, school location, school fees, or learning curriculum
Faqumala, DA & Pranoto, YKS (2020). Readiness of Children to Enter Elementary School. PT. Nasya Expanding Management. NEM Issuer - Member of IKAPI
Finda Diftrianita. When Are Children Ready for School? This is the Child Psychologist's Explanation. https://www.sehatq.com/artikel/memahami-keReadan-School-anak-berdasarkan-psikolog-anak. Retrieved 27 May 2023
Rudangta Arianti Sembiring. () Readiness to Enter Elementary School in terms of NST, Emotional and Social.
Satya Wacana Christian University.