Scottish Greens: Kindergarten can help tackle attainment gap

Scottish Green plans to move the age children start formal schooling to seven, and instead introduce a play-based kindergarten stage for the early years can have a vital role in reducing the attainment gap.

Studies show that all children younger than seven respond and develop better with play-based learning, while formal assessments in literacy and numeracy in the early years can put some children off learning. 

Education and child wellbeing outcomes are far higher in Finland than Scotland, which has in part been credited to their kindergarten system and primary school starting age of seven.

Commenting, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “The poverty related attainment gap in Scotland has persisted, and the clearest way to tackle this is by tackling poverty itself. That’s why the Scottish Greens have worked to deliver pandemic relief payments and ensured all primary pupils will get free school meals.

“The SNP were wrong to introduce standardised testing for primary ones, when international studies show younger children learn through play. The Scottish Greens believe Scotland should ditch the British model of starting school at four or five and instead look to our Scandinavian cousins.

“Finland is renowned for its education system, and it is recognised that kindergarten leads to better outcomes later in a child’s school career. The Scottish Greens would introduce this system in Scotland as part of our plans for a green recovery from the pandemic.”