On this week’s ‘Parenting’ segment on the Moncrieff show, one listener sought advice about when to send her daughter to school.

Joanna Fortune, psychotherapist specialising in Child & Adult Psychotherapy, joined Moncrieff to answer this and other listeners’ questions.

The question:

“My 4 year old due to start school in September, she will be 5 in December. Her play school said she is not ready and she was recently diagnosed with sensory issues.”

“I don’t know where to turn or what to do? Where do I turn to for advise? Should I send her to school?

“I feel another year in play school could hold her back.”

Joanna’s advice:

“I think this is such a relatable one at this time of year. There are so many parents doing this dance – will we, won’t we? – particularly those often at this time of year with ‘awkward birthdays’, “

“In terms of are you holding her back, that really jumps out at me as an interesting question because from what? What is the fear about holding her back.”

“Generally when it comes to readiness for school, parental instinct is the best one to follow. Trust your gut, but your pre-school teachers are experts in this area.”

“They prepare children for school every single year and they know the difference between readiness and who would benefit from an extra year.”

“The fact that you say she was recently diagnosed with sensory issues is another thing that’s flagging for me that she may well benefit from an additional year to work on those sensory issues.”

“Not that they’re going to go away, but to work on strengthening her in mastering those and in coping with those so that she’s not learning that while in school when there’s so much challenge and change going on already.”

“Generally I would say, if in doubt, wait a year. If there’s even a question, wait, because the difference between being four and five years old starting can be huge.”

“Waiting a year now is only going to mean she is more ready next year, whereas starting her too early could give her a little struggle that will last a number of years before she catches up.”

Main image shows a little girl walking along a bridge in a playground. Picture by: Janos Zanin/Alamy Stock Photo