I was in the same spot as you (my son was a Jan baby) so we could have held him back a year or send him to school just as he turn 5.
After much thought and worry we have sent him. He is currently in grade 1 and loving it! He has had the most perfect transition into school and you would never know he was one of the youngest. It does worry me however down the road perhaps that gap may become bigger.
However, my advice and the advice of friends of mine who are prep teachers are - "If he is socially and emotionally ok, then he will be fine" Things like reading, writing, putting your lunch box or your jumper away will come over time. If he can take a tumble, brush himself off and just move on - great!, If he can move from task to task - great!
Prep is a huge difference from kinder i.e.: lots of people, big rooms, rules, long hours, boring, less playtime etc... so you need a little resilient person to start, you want them to do as well as they can.
Every child is different too - so don't worry what others are doing and go with your gut feeling.
Hope this helps.
It's a hard call. I was under prepared for how demanding prep is, my DS1 started prep this year, he is six in June. If he was born in April instead of June I would have still held him back till this year. He is very bright, He did four year old kinder in his long daycare place twice, he started early because he was so ahead. Even with all his brightness there was absolutely no way he would have been ready for prep last year. It is an extremely demanding, exhausting year. If I had a March-April baby, especially a boy, I would not hesitate to hold them back. It has nothing to do with your DS aptitude or ability, it's just that the cutoff is arbitrary, and for kids on the cusp it can be too early. If he was born just a few weeks later you wouldn't be sending him for another year.
Definitely get a second opinion from another educator in the kindy. Can you just finish up at the end of term 2 and then take a break? Your DS will be the none the wiser. He might be upset about not finishing this year of 4 yo kinder but he will be far more upset if he starts school before he is ready. Honestly I was shocked at how demanding, intense, and draining school is. I'm sure some Feb-April kids, especially girls are ready to start with their cohort but many aren't.
Also just on the wee accident thing, it is very hard to pick up if a kid has had an accident and doesn't tell anyone. My nephew is a year older than your DS and I watched him the other day and he had an accident and I had no idea. Up close he smelled of wee when I changed his pants, but we were out of the house and running around for hours when he had the accident and I just didn't notice until he told me. Prep is very stressful like that- unlike childcare, where a child can run to the toilet whenever they want, school has scheduled toilet breaks. The child has to time their wees around them or they have to hold on, and ask the teacher. Ds1 is nearly six and been toilet trained for 3 years and still finds wees at school stressful. if you are sending your DS next year just make sure you train him for that environment! I wish I had of prepared DS more, but I had no idea.
I am a former prep teacher, and while I can understand your concern, I can also understand the teachers.
It is very early in the year, you are right, but getting a second year of funding for repeating if need be is not all that simple. I have seen children enter prep who are socially capable and enthusiastic, but find ordered tasks and attention to task/instruction a challenge.
It really can effect their concentration and their self esteem when they are always 3 steps behind everyone else and feel like they don't know what is going on.
Its a tough one. I have a child who could go to kinder next year who is also on the cusp to go the following year. I always believe they are better off to be the older in the year instead of the younger, if they are not ready. That is not to say the younger in the year always struggle and the older in the year don't. Not at all. But I do believe that every parent wants to see their children do the best they can.
As much as it is the beginning of the year, and a lot can happen in 12 months, you should have faith in the professional giving you that advice, as they see and work with children of this age everyday and are in the best position to make a judgement. Really, they are.
My nephew repeated and that was hard for him at the end of the year when all his kinder friends went off to prep and he was left behind. You say your little one will be shattered now, but best now then at the end of the year when you have to explain why he can't go to prep and all his friends can.
Its a sad scenario for any parent but you want what is best for your child in the long run.
Hope this advice helps.
Let me know what you decided to do
Absolutely right! Prep is a tough year. From the first day we begin structured Maths and English. Its hard to see those not ready struggle. Its a big change. Especially for boys, you are right, its hard to see them play catchup all through primary school. I have seen way too many children pushed into Grade one and be so far behind. Some still struggle with writing their name.
My son will be 6 in June and is in yr 1 this year. He is less than 2 weeks before the cut off but he is absolutely thriving in school. It's not always as simple as 'he's a boy and a young one so you should probably hold him back'.
To be honest, I would maybe look at changing kindys? The teacher doesn't sound very helpful. If you really felt like he wasn't ready there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding him back and lots of kids thrive in those situations, but if you think maybe the teacher is not reading your son correctly I would probably look at moving him.
I'm crushed for you DS. I don't honestly know what I would do. Can you ask the principle to do some independent observations for you and talk to other teachers. Also spend some time there and observe yourself. My sister did volunteer time and my nephews kinder and she said after seeing him in kinder with the other kids it was blindingly obvious he was autistic. It was hard to see unt seeing him with the other kids and what they were capable of. So maybe spend a day or two there and see if he is lagging behind and if he is make a judgment call on how bad you think it is or if you think in a terms time it would be ironed out.
If you do decide to hold back maybe you could say that boys his age only go for 1 term as a practice? We always want to please our kids and don't want to crush them but if it's in his best interest you need to parent bit I wouldn't be just taking this teachers word for it either.
I think it's a tough one.
The bottom line is that children don't learn at school until they're ready. In SA we have moved to one intake in Reception (first year of school), which means for the first time ever that we have had 4.5 year olds at school. The difference between 4.5 and 5 year olds is huge. Really, really noticeable to us at a primary school level. For the first time ever we have students that aren't toilet trained!
It has made me realize that just because a child is of school starting age, it really doesn't follow that we *should* start them then, iykwim? Our JP teacher has said this whole first term has been about getting them ready for school behaviours, and that they haven't been ready for school learning yet!
I'd also be careful about assuming the teacher is being selfish and purely thinking about what's easier for them. The vast majority of educators want what is best for the child and will make recommendations based on the child's wellbeing. But of course, you should trust your gut instinct on that.
Having said all that, the examples that have been given about your son certainly don't seem abnormal to me in school starters who are 4.5, 5, and I even have a couple of students in my Upper Primary Class who can't follow three part instructions! We have students of all ages who struggle to sit on the mat for long periods, or who struggle to sit still, or stay in one place. It's normal child like behaviour.
In our school, the teacher certainly does have structured lessons, but she is also extremely flexible and puts a lot of time into social and emotional learning, which is so valuable for kids at that age. She works on these skills, like those you mention that have been singled out. Could you flip the question onto them, and ask what they are doing to help your son learn these skills? Have they tried visual timetables? Egg timers? Do they work with him to practise the procedures? Simply saying he can't do them is not enough IMO. We are all born with the ability to do basically nothing and everything else we learn. They should be helping you to make a plan together so you can support from home and together help him to learn what he needs.
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