Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
In Ecclesiastes (Chapter 3:1-9) we read “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven”. This is an important learning for us to remember when we think of our aspirations for our children.
It’s highly seductive as a parent to think that your child is seen as really talented and able to play at a
higher level at a younger age, or be the youngest in their class—but still be able to work at the same level or even higher than those of an older age. But research, anecdotal evidence and my own experiences urge caution when presented with the concept of promoting children either in sport or academia.
In physical sports, such as rugby, size is obviously important but so is maturity. When I was in the old Third form at St Kevin’s I was a member of an invincible under 48kg rugby team. The stars of our team were two Seventh formers (Year 13) boys who were the same weight as everybody else but were much stronger and more mature. Size even in a physical game like rugby, is not the only way to measure what is a fair match or an appropriate team for a player to be in.
In more skill focus sports such as cricket or hockey while the physical component is not so paramount it is still a key factor. I have seen young cricketers promoted early by their parents intimidated by bowling too fast and hostile for their skill set, put off the game, mainly due to their inability to succeed. Everybody be it child or adults need to experience success.
Continual failure tells us simply that we are in the wrong place doing the wrong thing. The same rules
apply to placement for academic purposes. NCEA is form adjudicated—that is you sit Level One in Year Eleven and Level Two in Year Twelve etc. Age is not a factor. Promoting a child means that they are sitting exams with less time to prepare than others. The social component also needs to be examined, do you want your child to be oldest or the youngest in their peer group as they become young adults?
Have a great week