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Lisa Marie opts for the American approach, but what age is right to send your children to school?

26 SEPTEMBER 2012

She has swapped the Californian sunshine for the somewhat cooler climes of East Sussex.

But when it comes to education Lisa Marie Presley is staying true to her American roots.

Last week she revealed her decision not to send her three-year-old twin daughters to a local nursery school.

 

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Instead she said she is delaying their entrance in to the education system until they start school aged five or six "as that's the age they start in the States".

Speaking to Radio 2 host Jo Wiley, the daughter of rock god Elvis Presley said: "I am reluctant to send them to school. I don't want to shove them off so early."

And the 44-year-old admitted to being "stunned" at the age education starts in the UK.

"I understand working parents need to do it, but I don't want to lose them that quickly.

"I'll go crazy when they all go to school as I won't know what to do!"

While children don't legally have to start school until they are five-years-old, many parents send their little ones to some form of nursery care.

And it's not a decision that always sits well, with many working mums and dads left feeling guilty about handing over the reins at such an early stage.

But some academics believe that toddlers actually benefit from spending time away from home each day.

 

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In 2010, Kathy Sylva, professor of educational psychology at Oxford University, made headlines when she stated that children who attended nurseries of an average to higher standard were able to form better relationships once they started primary school.

Her claims were based on data collected from the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project, the largest study in Europe focused on the impact of the early years of education and care of children's development.

It had followed the progress of 3,000 children since 1996.

Professor Sylva's findings put her at odds with other experts including Dr Penelope Leach, who claims that children under two develop better, socially and emotionally, at home and preferably with their mother.

And clinical child psychologist Oliver James believes that while nursery care "may do no harm to about two thirds of children, there is undeniable evidence that the experience is highly stressful and can be harmful."

Of course for most working parents there is no option but to send their children to outside care.

And according to Dr Sylva there are ways they can ensure their child thrives in that setting.

"They (parents) can check the quality of the nursery care, speak to other parents, visit the nursery unexpectedly, make sure staff turnover isn't high and talk to the people actually caring for their child, not just the director," she said.

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