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  1. #1
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    Default Parents with kids starting school at less than 5yo

    My ds will be starting school (kindergarten in nsw) when he is 4.5. He is born in July.
    It seem like lots of parents are keeping their kids back the extra year and after watching 60 minutes on Sunday about the "danger" of the age gap I am starting to question my decision.

    I know every child is different but I would like to hear from other parents who started their kids at under 5 and what has your experience been eg
    - were your kids behind older kids academically and physically
    - did they catch up by around year 3
    - and if anyone has older kids what was your experience when they were in year 12 and only 17 yo? Back in my day there were lots of other 17 yo in year 12 but it looks like these days most kids will be 18.

    Thanks in advance.

    Edit: would love to hear from teachers too. Did u find the younger kids struggle much more than the older ones or was it really dependent on the child ?
    Last edited by Jontu; 25-01-2016 at 07:28.

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    I can pick a younger boy from the first lesson, I'm a secondary teacher and they are super obvious, in most cases. Im sure that plenty of kids who are ready to go earlier do fine though I think it's less about age and more about readiness.

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  4. #3
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    I had 2 daughters start school at 4 and 1 that started at 5. My eldest two who were 4, have been fine and breezed through school. There's been absolutely no problem sending them at 4 however DD3 who started at 5 has struggled. She's fine socially but hasn't picked up the curriculum and still can't sound out words properly after a full year. So for me, I think it really is the child and you, as a parent, generally know how your child will cope. We knew DD3 was going to struggle but she couldn't be kept back a year due to being 5 already.

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  6. #4
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    Subbing. DD will be 1 month off turning 5 when she starts next year.

    I'm more worried how she will go with older boys as she already finds them intimidating at child care, than academically and learning wise.

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    @Jontu I agree it's very stressful. I started DD2 when she was 4 (she turned 5 in April) and second guessed myself constantly. Her kinder teacher assured me she was ready.

    To be honest it was a bit of a disaster but she also had a profound anxiety condition which the school she was at was in complete denial about. We eventually changed schools midway through her preprimary year.

    Once she was in the right environment for her she soared. We have never questioned it since. My son starts preprimary next Monday. He is 4 in March. He's #3 in our family so I'm completely comfortable again he'll be ok.

    I would just keep an eye on how he's settling in and if you think he needs any extra help follow up with the teacher.

    Just to clarify preprimary in WA is the first full year of schooling.

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    Subbing.
    My ds2 starts kindy next week and is only 3.5yrs old (in WA so kindy is part time at the primary school) Here we don't have the choice to hold them back a year. If we did then I would hold him back as I'm sure he isn't ready yet, he is still so little, physically and mentally/emotionally. I'm nervous that problems will arise in a few years time and apart from extra tutoring, there will be nothing we can do as it will be his age holding him back.

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    I'm a primary school teacher and I've taught most year levels from Prep to Year 7. I agree that readiness depends on the child and can be influenced by lots of factors e.g. place in the family, prematurity at birth. Many 'younger' students are more ready than their older peers and outperform them academically. Having said that, there can be a noticeable difference in Prep (mostly socially - sitting still, getting along and in their motor skills) especially in some boys and the curriculum is quite demanding so there is a risk of children disengaging really early if they aren't ready. I think it is much better to hold your child back from Prep than to have to repeat them later on. There is an interesting book about the age gap called 'Outliers' that is worth a read. I would consider whether your child seems ready socially most of all. Trust your instincts.

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    Default Parents with kids starting school at less than 5yo

    My DS1 started at 4 years... I found socially he was a little behind (thought throwing sand, kicking up dust etc. was a great idea). Academically he was the highest in his class. I had many many concerns in year 1 as he didn't seem to 'get' how to behave. He also still laughed like crazy about words like 'bum, poo and fart' and was a class clown. He had the highest reading level, 100% on all maths standardised testing etc. so I just made his behaviour my number one focus rather than academics.

    I'm happy to report he is going into year 3 this year and apart from being physically smaller than his mates (his best friend is born the year before but same grade) you wouldn't know he started younger. He has FINALLY figured at the way to behave at school and has really engaged in great playtime activities like Soccer.

    My DS2 is also starting as a 4 year old this year. He seems to have the expectation of behaviour downpat much better than his brother did but I think that's because he went to daycare from when he was 1.

    I was also a year 1 teacher and I was often surprised at who the youngest and eldest in the class were. It was no indicator in terms of academics or behaviour. I honestly think it's a personality thing and they find their way at their own pace regardless.
    Last edited by Theboys&me; 25-01-2016 at 08:28.

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    2015 was the first year we had one intake at our school. In SA now, children have to turn 5 by May 28th (I think?) to be eligible to begin school at the start of that year.

    Oh my gosh we noticed the difference between the four year olds and the five year olds, particularly where the boys were concerned. This was socially, behaviourally and also academically - they simply weren't ready to begin learning yet. Now we have a situation where the four year olds have honestly barely learnt anything in terms of 'subjects' like literacy and maths (although have learnt to be at school and everything that means) and will be behind going into Year 1.

    It's too early to tell if that will be something that is caught up over time but it has changed the whole culture of our school.

    Some children are ready, don't get me wrong, but I think it is definitely about whether a child is school ready more than their age - are they fully toilet trained? socially capable? curious and wanting to learn to read etc?

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    I started my eldest daughter when she was 4 (5 in March) & it was the worst decision I have ever made! Still to this day I regret it.
    She was bright, smart & my husband & MIL assured me she was ready. My gut instincts told me otherwise.
    Anyway she seemed to do great throughout the year. I was constantly asking her teacher if she was where she should be & I was assured she was. Fast forward to the 1st week of Year 1 & I get a phone call saying she is offered a spot in the reading recovery program. Man was I annoyed! Her kindy teacher never once told me her reading wasn't where it should be.
    Anyway, reading recovery was fantastic! She excelled & got to where she needed to be really quickly. Which was great.
    Then last year she was in Year 3 & was in a 3/4 class & boy was that a mistake. Kids these days know a lot more then I ever did. She would come home & ask all sorts of questions. There was so much *****iness & drama & she has a horrible year. Came home & burst into tears multiple times. There was no way she was ready to interact with girls in a higher grade, especially as she was one of the youngest in her grade. My husband is so regretful he pushed me into sending her when we did & wishes we didn't. We are seeing how she goes this year & if the same thing happens we will be changing schools & possibly repeating her with kids her own age.
    My son starts kindy this year as well & he is already 5 & will be 6 in June. There was no way he was going until this year. Not after the drama we had with our daughter & they say girls are more mature then boys.
    Basically, only you know your son & if he is ready. Listen to your gut instincts because I guarantee you will be right!

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