WA kids from age 4 getting home tutors for literacy and numeracy

WA kids from age 4 getting home tutors for literacy and numeracySunday Times 1

CLAIRE BICKERS, Education Reporter, PerthNow
August 28, 2016 12:00am

WA children as young as four are being sent to tutors to ensure their literacy, numeracy and fine motor skills are up to scratch before preschool.


Kamini Muthukumaru has turned to tutor classes for her son Isaiah, 4, to get him ready for pre-primary. Picture: Stewart Allen

It’s part of a trend of parents employing private coaching for their children from a much earlier age.

Gary Sudran, the owner of Progressive Home Tutors, which has about 900 teachers nationally. He said demand for home tut­ors had ballooned over the past 20 years.

While some parents wanted their children to be baby Einsteins. Most were anxious for their sons and daughters to be as prepared as possible for school, he said.Sunday Times 2 - w.a kids home tutors

It was a “complete reversal” of the trend two decades ago when parents were more likely to hire tutors for high school-aged children.
Isaiah Muthukumaru, 4, is learning to read with help from home tutor. Picture: Stewart Allen

“We’re taking more and more children in those early years, up to Year 3, and within that, there is a trend to start tut­oring from aged four now,” Mr Sudran said.

“It’s really the basic things like getting them used to school work.

“It’s all about literacy, the sounds and the recognition of numbers. For some of them to be reading as well.”

Mr Sudran said some families would employ a tutor for two or three years while their child gained confidence.

Dawson Ruhl, chief executive of Perth-based advocacy and child care group Child Australia, said it was part of a wider trend of “schoolification”, where academic expectations where being placed on children at an increasingly younger age.

Mr Ruhl said equal emphasis needed to be put on a child’s social and emotional readiness. As much as their reading and writing ability.

Kamini Muthukumaru’s son Isaiah, 4, has been doing a one-hour session each week for a couple of months. His tutor focuses on motor skills, letters and numbers in interactive, play-based sessions.

“It was just a panic thing — I didn’t have the time. I have a busy lifestyle and I didn’t want him to go to school next year and be completely behind every other child,” Ms Muthukumaru said. “If they don’t pick up the basics and have a good foundation, I just feel they struggle all the way and it’s not a good start.

“Obviously it depends on your family and how much importance you give it, but for us, it’s very important.”

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