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Can we start our children in school at an earlier age?

I started school when I was 6 years old. However, I have heard of kids in other countries starting school at age 4 or 5. We honestly did not learn much in those earlier ages but I feel like by the the time I was able to learn, I was not learning enough from school. I know there are many flaws in the American education system and nothing can be changed overnight but this is just an idea I had...

benefits:
1. Children will have a head start learning not just knowledge but growing with other children

2. Parents can go back to work sooner since a lot of mothers can't go back to work until their children are in school

cost:
1. higher expenses for the government
2. possible negative effects on children (being away from their parents at an earlier age?)

I'm not a pediatrician nor a mother so those with insights, please share how you feel about this?

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    Jul 19 2013: Check out Deb Roy's talk "Birth of a Word" for a vivid example of the richness of learning that happens just in the home when children are very very young.

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