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  1. #51
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    Default To parents in Vic (or schools with prep starting age 5/6)

    Quote Originally Posted by kw123 View Post

    I don't think it's fair to expect teachers to have the skills to be able to teach children in a Prep skill who are such different development stages. Which is therefore also an issues for the schools generally. As someone mentioned, 45 mins reading circle might not be ideal for 4.5 yr old whereas it probably is for nearly 6 year olds.
    Maybe this is why my opinion seems to differ so much from everyone else's. At my small school, every kid starts at 4. I don't know of any that have started at 5 turning 6. BUT our teachers are already used to catering to different age groups anyway as the whole school is made up of composite classes (k-2, 3-6 and secondary). Maybe if my kids were going to a big normal city school I might have different ideas.
    My eldest was academically ready but he was also socially ready and had the maturity to sit for decent periods of time and work and things like that. In fact, I often got comments about how the older kids would be off and running and he would sit there finishing his work. He sat at home doing those "pre-k" exercise books for fun. For an hour or so at a time. He really needed to be at school. If I "held him back" til the next year, he would have had a hard time I think. Especially as the friends his age would already be at school.
    I think being bored with doing work you already know, can be a huge deficit to an education too. My son was already doing basic maths (2+5 etc) and was able to write and was at the early stages of reading. He would have continued to learn during that extra year at home, but when starting school he would have had to sit through lessons of what he already knew. So he essentially would be wasting a whole stack of time, not learning anything new.
    I only have my own experience with this to go off and basically long story short, moving interstate and the new state having rules about what grade I should be in according to age, meant I was put in a grade lower than I should have been. My mother says that this was a very big down turn in my work. Again because I was bored and not being challenged anymore. So I sat twiddling my thumbs and not giving a crap.
    Last edited by Ahalfdozen; 28-05-2016 at 10:40.

  2. #52
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    I am a prep teacher, so I feel I am pretty qualified to comment on readiness for school. I have never felt challenged as a teacher by teaching 6 year olds who are 'too ready'. It is EXTREMELY challenging teaching 4 year olds who are not yet ready. The curriculum has to be brought was back down to a preschool level, & the first year of school becomes an extra year of kindergarten, instead of the first year of school. In my school, by the end of term 1, kids are expected to be able to read and write all single sounds, some multiple sounds, read 30-40 sight words, copy simple sentences & begin to write small sentences independently. Engage in a 30-40 minute assembly by sitting quietly and still and listening for that amount of time. Engage in structured and unstructured learning activities. Be able to complete a 3-4 step instructiom on their own (eg, sit at your desk, create an ABC pattern with the blocks,raise your hand when you are finished so I can check it, get your book out, draw the pattern neatly... etc) Many 4 year olds are just not ready to complete the requirements for school. Of course I can bring everything back down to their level, and I do so because they are not able to cope with a regular classroom situation - but 'prep' then becomes 'extra kinder' & it's a huge PITA. Luckily in SA,school is compulsory the year they turn 6.

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  4. #53
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    Default To parents in Vic (or schools with prep starting age 5/6)

    Quote Originally Posted by cheeeeesecake View Post
    I am a prep teacher, so I feel I am pretty qualified to comment on readiness for school. I have never felt challenged as a teacher by teaching 6 year olds who are 'too ready'. It is EXTREMELY challenging teaching 4 year olds who are not yet ready. The curriculum has to be brought was back down to a preschool level, & the first year of school becomes an extra year of kindergarten, instead of the first year of school. In my school, by the end of term 1, kids are expected to be able to read and write all single sounds, some multiple sounds, read 30-40 sight words, copy simple sentences & begin to write small sentences independently. Engage in a 30-40 minute assembly by sitting quietly and still and listening for that amount of time. Engage in structured and unstructured learning activities. Be able to complete a 3-4 step instructiom on their own (eg, sit at your desk, create an ABC pattern with the blocks,raise your hand when you are finished so I can check it, get your book out, draw the pattern neatly... etc) Many 4 year olds are just not ready to complete the requirements for school. Of course I can bring everything back down to their level, and I do so because they are not able to cope with a regular classroom situation - but 'prep' then becomes 'extra kinder' & it's a huge PITA. Luckily in SA,school is compulsory the year they turn 6.
    This is interesting as we are supposed to have a national curriculum yet my son, who is in 2nd term prep can't do any of those things you describe that I know of. He gets no homework not even readers as its all done in class. I have regular updates from the teacher that all is good and he passes his entry assessments.

    I struggle with this so much. If we'd stayed in Victoria the kids wouldn't have attended school for another year yet because we're here we had no (or nearly no) choice. Yet the school we chose (for my son) is very relaxed environments where the kids still spend the bulk of their time outdoors playing.

    When I look at the expectations on kids like you've outlined about I agree 5 or even 6 is the age I'd expect for that.
    Last edited by Sonja; 28-05-2016 at 11:11.

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  6. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja View Post
    This is interesting as we are supposed to have a national curriculum yet my son, who is in 2nd term prep can't do any of those things you describe that I know of. He gets no homework not even readers as its all done in class. I have regular updates from the teacher that all is good and he passes his entry assessments.

    I struggle with this so much. If we'd stayed in Victoria the kids wouldn't have attended school for another year yet because we're here we had no (or nearly no) choice. Yet the schools we chose are very relaxed environments where the kids still spend the bulk of their time outdoors playing.

    When I look at the expectations on kids like you've outlined about I agree 5 or even 6 is the age I'd expect for that.
    I think that's where it differs state to state. SA we start kids later, but then expect more of them. WA you start kids earlier, but they are not expected to do the same level of work. I wish we could get our sh!t together as a country and have a nation wide standard for preschool, school entry and expectations per year level. The national curriculum has brought SOME consolidation, but there is such a long way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeeeesecake View Post
    I think that's where it differs state to state. SA we start kids later, but then expect more of them. WA you start kids earlier, but they are not expected to do the same level of work. I wish we could get our sh!t together as a country and have a nation wide standard for preschool, school entry and expectations per year level. The national curriculum has brought SOME consolidation, but there is such a long way to go.
    It's ridiculous. We should be able to move kids around the country and not stress about schooling. I also think it's a lot different for my son because it's an all boys school so they have LOTS of breaks to go outside and play. My girls did prep at co-ed schools (my 2nd only for 2 terms) and the girls in the main coped fine but the boys were largely always in trouble for not sitting still and for rough play. Now I have a son in prep I can see why! He's great as he's a 3rd child so to some degree gets what's expected but I'm still thankful he's at an all boys school and is able to get out and play as much as they do.

    Ironically some parents complain they get too much play time. Can't please everyone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja View Post
    My son started preprimary this year and was 4. He's thrived. He loves it. He wants to go every day if he could.

    I think making generalisations about how anyone's child will cope with school is extremely unfair. In the right environment and the right school kids can do very well.
    You had no choice but to send your son as pre primary is now compulsory in wa.

    That's fine for you. I am glad I live in NSW where my May and July babies did not have to start school the year they turned 5.

    In my professional opinion (been teaching primary school since July 1998 and vast majority of teachers would agree) four year olds shouldn't be starting formal schooling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedV View Post
    In my professional opinion (been teaching primary school since July 1998 and vast majority of teachers would agree) four year olds shouldn't be starting formal schooling.
    I've never met a teacher who doesn't agree with this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedV View Post
    In my professional opinion (been teaching primary school since July 1998 and vast majority of teachers would agree) four year olds shouldn't be starting formal schooling.
    Why is this then not the law? If every teacher feels as you both do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja View Post
    Why is this then not the law? If every teacher feels as you both do?
    I'm cynical but I think it has to do with moving families out of government rebated childcare as soon as possible. Just like raising the school leaving age keeps people off the dole for as long as possible. I also know where I live that the private schools are still able somehow to offer a mid-year intake even though all schools allegedly moved to one intake a year. This has had a profound impact upon enrolments at the local state schools.

    I agree that all teachers I know of feel this way, and we are feeling the repercussions all through schooling. At our school we have Year 2s who are still 6 😳. The difference in capability from a few years ago when Year 2s were mostly 7 and 8 is extremely noticeable. Even capable 6 year olds are very different from capable 7/8 year olds. But the national curriculum hasn't really adjusted for that.

    Given that children generally only make advances in learning after they begin to lose teeth, it's really difficult to balance teaching kids where they're 'at' in terms of readiness to learn, with the demands of the national curriculum and the responsibilities of moving children through the school. We can't keep assuming the upper grade teachers will just 'catch them up' because the buck has to stop somewhere. What we are finding is that the level of differentiation we need to provide in our instruction is increasing, which can be extremely challenging logistically and can cause kids to disengage.

    Anyway, sorry, off topic rant there. But it is a serious problem IMO.

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    My daughter started at 4, she turned 5 in the March. She has ADHD so this impacts her learning to begin with, but since we have got her ADHD better controlled she is flourishing. She was very ready though, bored at home, loved kinder, had done daycare 3 days a week from 1yo because I worked so she was used to being away from me. It's u likely to hurt him if you do decide to keep him home another year though


 

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