Bear with me as this is going to be a long one. I never thought I’d seriously consider this as an option but due to a unique set of circumstances, I’m pondering if skipping a grade would be a good option for DD.
DD is in Grade 3 of a 3/4 class in a small country school (150 sts). She started at the school this year. In her mid-year report she was marked 12m ahead in Reading, Number and Statistics, 6m ahead in Writing, Measurement and Thinking Skills and at level for everything else. (This is consistent with other years) She had a tough year for writing last year due to her teacher not being a great ‘fit’ for her and lost a lot of confidence, but seems to have it back so I will be curious to see how that reflects in her school assessments at the end of the year. In Naplan she was in the top of Band 6 (not in the arrow) for Reading, Grammar and Numeracy, on the average dot for spelling and above the ‘average’ shaded area for writing (high Band 5).
DD has already made friends in grades 2, 3 and 4. The friends she spends most time with are in Grade 4 and one in grade 3, however there is one of these grade 4 friends that she is trying to distance herself from as this girl is very manipulative. DD has my height and, at 8 (turning 9 in Dec) has hit the beginning stages of puberty at the same stage as I did, so I’m assuming AF will arrive when she is 10-11 (started for me in Grade 5).
She often comments about how people in her class think she is a grade 4 because she is as tall as them and does all the grade 4 work.
She has good fine motor skills, is a fantastic swimmer and is becoming quite good at sports too. She’s a real artist, very creative and always collecting, making and creating out of found materials.
Her weaknesses are that she gets upset if she can’t do something ‘right’ the first time. She’s always been quite emotional and has come a long way with building resilience and not sweating the small stuff. She can also be shy at first and seems to have inherited a bit of my anxiety. She’s also very easily distracted. We haven’t really helped these things by moving so much.
She did Kindy in WA (4yo, 2.5 days PW) but moved to a new school for Pre-P and the start of Grade 1. Then we moved to Vic so she completed grade 1 and 2 at a school there, then changed again at the start of this year. So despite being on to her 4th school, she is still performing well academically and has always made a close little group of friends within a couple of months.
So she’s not ‘wow – that’s miles ahead’ academically, but considering all the moving and everything else she’s doing pretty darn well. My concern is, if they keep the grades the same next year she will be a grade 4 in a 3/4 class. She has some grade 2 friends already from OSC, so socially it won’t be an issue, I just worry about her being unchallenged. She’s not especially mature minded and, while she stands out as a little immature against some of the grade 4s, she’s about on par with others (the ones she is friends with).
A bit of background that may or may not be relevant. DH was ‘skipped’ at the end of primary school and academically coped fine but does feel it led to some bullying, but he was very short so would have stood out as younger starting high school. I was always a straight A student but had a close group of friends, so even though skipping was common back then it was never really an option for me as I wanted to stay with my friends.
The high school she will probably attend has a SEAL program but I don’t predict that many of her grade 3 friends would get in as none of them are in the same reading or maths groups as her.
Before I speak to her teacher about how she sees the school will be able to extend DD next year if she’s in a straight 4 or a 3/4, I thought I’d seek some opinions and advice here. Does anyone here have recent experience with grade skipping? Pros or cons that I’m not looking at? Is it just not worth it?
I feel like, as a teacher, I should just know what to do. However I’ve only taught children as ‘ahead’ as DD in grade 6 when they are about to start high school, so I’ve had to do a lot of in-class extension but skipping hasn’t even been on the cards. Therefore this isn’t something I have professional experience with either.