Selection Should not be Based on Reading and Writing

Kompas, page 11

New student admissions in state primary schools does not prioritize the prospective new students’ ability to read, write, and count.  Selection is done by looking at the age range of prospective new students. Vice Principal of SD Negeri 02 Lebak Bulus, Jakarta Elanda Rostina said the computer system selects new students who are 7-12 years old. If the age is below 7 years or above 12 years, the system automatically eliminates them. All new enrollment processes of state primary schools in Jakarta this year are done online on 5-7 June.

Therefore, the ability of prospective new students in reading, writing, and counting is not a priority. After all, Elanda continued, when the children are in grade I, all are re-learnt from scratch.  In addition, simply learning to read and write does not directly make children’s analytical ability to develop.

Lecturer of educational psychology at Atma Jaya Catholic University of Jakarta, Debi Pristinella, explained, the readiness of children to enter primary school is not only seen from the cognitive side.  More importantly are the independence, emotional control, and social behavior of children. The purpose of early childhood education is to develop these factors.  She said, naturally, in children aged 3-6 years, their brains are not yet able to digest conventional lessons in reading, writing, and counting.

She added motor skills maturation, especially fine motor, is an important phase. Debi said there are various ways, ranging from sand games, clay, to doodling on paper with colored pencils or brushes. The muscles needed to write become trained without needing to stress out the child.

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