How to teach a five-year-old?

“They are so young!” I kept thinking to myself when I finally started teaching my own Year 1 class. Children in England start school after they turn five. By law children need to be in education by the September after their fifth birthday although many children enter the reception class already at the age of four. The current school starting age was introduced in the 1870 Elementary Education Act and made compulsory in 1880[1].  So starting school at five is the norm and has a long tradition for a Brit, but not so much for a Finn. We tend to take pride in the fact that in Finland children go to school only at the age of 7 and until then “children are let to be children”. At the same time Finland relies on a compulsory and professional pre-education system to lead the children to primary education at a later age. I still see a lot of value in the later school starting age, but in the past year I have started to see that just because children go to school at the age of five, it does not mean that they are not let to be children.

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