Alberta teachers call for standard school age
Teachers are pushing the Alberta government to standardize the age for starting Grade 1.
The Alberta Teachers Association says that different cut-off dates in different school districts mean that some children suffer from interruptions or delays in their education if their families move.
Currently, some school districts allow children to start Grade 1 if they are six years old by March 1, while in others, children must be age six when school starts in September.
Calgary kindergarten teacher Joy de Nance told CBC News that she has heard of cases where children complete a few months of school only to move into a different district where they are not allowed to continue.
"A standardized entry age is not about their skill level; it is not about their appropriateness for school. What it's about is being able to start and finish your education without a blip, no matter where in the province you move, no matter where nationally you move," she said.
Edmonton Grade 1 teacher Tabitha Lyon has seen the opposite kind of "blip" in schooling, where children end up missing a year.
"I've had students that have come to me skipping kindergarten all together because where they've come from, they weren't old enough to go to kindergarten," she said. "All of a sudden they are old enough to go to Grade 1, so why not put them into Grade 1 instead of putting them into kindergarten? So they've missed a vital year in their education."
Lyon described the present system as "ridiculous."
The Association is suggesting Dec. 31 as the provincial cut-off.