A Wollongong school is finding parents are erring on the side of waiting a bit longer before starting their children in kindergarten.
This increasing trend matches the findings of a recent study of 100,000 kindergarten children, which found one in four families delay their school entry.
The UNSW-led study of more than 100,000 children is the largest ever to examine who delays starting school in New South Wales, and how a child's age when they start school relates to their 'readiness' in terms of development.
The data also indicates a strong relationship between age and developmental skills in the first year of school.
This is the first time that the magnitude of this relationship has been quantified in the Australian context.
The analysis of the unique dataset, led by Dr Mark Hanly at UNSW Medicine's Centre for Big Data Research in Health, was published recently in academic journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
The Illawarra Grammar School principal Judi Nealy said most kids starting kindergarten at TIGS over the years were turning six-years-old.
"The majority are erring on the side of waiting a bit longer," Mrs Nealy said.
"I think it is a very individual decision but there is definitely an increasing trend to wait and it is more pronounced for boys.
"The benefit is we have to make sure the children commence school when they are developmentally and emotionally ready to do so.
"That is the most important thing and the age is the first indicator of that.
"We are really fortunate at TIGS though because all of those children we think aren't quite ready to start kindergarten say into 2020, they can remain in our TIGS prep.
"Our prep is a fully registered and accredited long day care centre, but it also has an educational program, which all good preschools have."
Mrs Nealy said it was important parents, early educators and the school meet up to discuss the readiness of a child to start school.
"Parents then need to say okay how is the school going to support my child. That is really important," she said.
"Any parent that is having concerns around that should first speak to their early educator and then speak with the school because that's your best way to make that call."
While the study makes no policy recommendation, it is highly relevant to the ongoing debate about school enrolment policies - and the potential impact of those policies on children's readiness for school, as well as classroom composition.
Researchers though say there's unknown long-term consequences of school starting age policies, and a more solid evidence base is needed.
"For example, raising the school starting age may place added pressure on families to provide pre- school care, or restrict work-force participation for parents. A later start to school may also have long- run effects on the age that young adults enter the workforce," said Associate Professor Ben Edwards from the Australian National University, who is also a co-author on the study.