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  • Prep readiness

    I’m interested in hearing peoples stories of their little ones starting prep (first year of formal school/ the year they turn 5 by July). DD1 will be one of the younger ones in her year (end of May birthday) but her kindy teacher feels she is ready for school.

    I worry that her peers will be up to 18 months older than her and while at 4/5 that won’t be a a huge deal it might be when she is 16 and her friends are turning 18.

    How had your young one gone starting school?

  • #2
    Mine have been on the older end so far. DD3 will be on the younger end. I wasn't sure about sending DD1 even though she's born in September.

    Different schools have different recommendations too. I've heard feedback that sooner private schools prefer kids start later. I wonder if it has to do with test scores.

    I don't regret sending Dd1. They have been able to meet her needs even though she is not so resilient and her social skills are a little behind.

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    • #3
      My kids are born feb and March, so we had the choice with both.

      DS we sent at 4 turning 5 in feb. I don’t regret it yet. He’s in grade 6 and very switched on. I can’t imagine him being in grade 5 as he is very tall and developed for his age. He does struggle not being in the same age group as his school friends for after school sports. Something we didn’t think of.

      DD turned 5 at the end of March this year, but we chose not to send her to school. Funny think is she was actually more ready than DS was and is very intelligent and pretty good socially. BUT I went off how I would feel with her being so young and facing issues beyond her in year 10, 11, 12 and uni if she goes. End of March just made her so much younger in my opinion.
      I feel like you’ll never regret an extra year of playing and letting them be a kid. DD would’ve absolutely been fine at school this year, probably excelled. But next year I know she will absolutely thrive and I won’t have a worry.

      Comment


      • #4
        I find as much as kindy teachers think children are ready, I feel they don’t fully understand the demands of formal schooling.

        I hear a lot of parents sending their kids because pre school said so.

        I know so many people who regret sending their child the year they turn 5 (not saying that all do regret it) but I’ve not met one who wished they’d sent their child earlier than they did.

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        • #5
          Prep readiness

          Originally posted by BigRedV View Post
          I find as much as kindy teachers think children are ready, I feel they don’t fully understand the demands of formal schooling.

          I hear a lot of parents sending their kids because pre school said so.

          I know so many people who regret sending their child the year they turn 5 (not saying that all do regret it) but I’ve not met one who wished they’d sent their child earlier than they did.
          How hard is it to hold back in say prep or year 1 both logistically and for the child emotionally.

          Comment


          • #6
            Prep readiness

            i’m definitely a convert to the send them later camp. we initially thought ds would be ok to start school this year (he turned 5 in feb, so one of the younger ones as our intake year runs may to april). his daycare seemed to see no issue. so he did 4 year old kinder last year and it was issue after issue, mainly around listening, following instructions etc. obviously he’s since been diagnosed with asd but last year (pre-diagnosis) his teacher did the paperwork for him to access a second year of funded 4 year old kinder. he’s thriving this year and they’re seeing much less of the challenges of last year, so i do put that down to maturity. his teacher this year is also much more direct and structured and i think he does much better when directed clearly (his teacher last year was lovely but just less directive and structured). anyway he will go to school when he’s 6. dd is late april and although she’s socially really good, i don’t think you can ever regret sending them later rather than earlier. i’ve also heard it’s much harder (for the child socially and emotionally) to repeat prep or grade 1, so the time to defer is kinder/prep. another thing that coloured my judgement, is in wa (where i’m from and my frame of reference), prep (called preprimary) is still play based, grade 1 is when things get more formal and structured. i didn’t realize prep here was so formal, hence underestimated what ds would potentially be entering at age 4, turning 5. there’s just no way he was ready and when we did school tours this year (between covid!), all the prep teachers said they can definitely see the difference between the younger preps and the older ones. i think your kid will always do better as one of the older ones and not the younger ones. of course there will be exceptions to the rule.

            so yeah, ds will be a “later” starter and we will plan to do the same with dd.
            Last edited by turquoisecoast; 05-09-2021, 11:25.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mum-I-Am View Post
              How hard is it to hold back in say prep or year 1 both logistically and for the child emotionally.
              I don’t know how it works in Queensland but in nsw you have a choice to send your child to school the year they turn 5 if they turn 5 on or before 31st July, however, you do not have to send them until the following year if you don’t send them.

              I have a May and July baby. They both started the year they turned 6.

              In NSW you don’t miss prep. I’m not sure how it is in Queensland. I do know they would go straight to year 1 previously but not sure if that’s the case now.

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              • #8
                I've taught in WA and Vic. And I would have different answers for parents in either state. I expect Qld will have its own 'uniqueness' that should be weighed into your decision.

                In WA, kids just get sent to school based on their birthday. If you want to hold them back, it's quite a process, so few parents do it. So a Pre-primary (first year of full time school) class has 4.5-5.5 year olds in it. BUT, as this is the way it is, schools are set up to support 4.5 year olds in full time school, including rest time after lunch, toilets adjoining classrooms, a full time aide in every class. Plus, preschool (kinder) is part of school, so they start already familiar with their surrounds, the routines and expectations. The schools I worked at were quite play based with many structured learning activities happening in small groups in rotation.

                In Vic, there is the Jan-April 'grey zone'. Trends can vary depend on the area, but on the whole the trend is to delay. BUT the demands on the children from day 1 of full time school are so much higher. Classes only have an aide if there is a child in the class with funding for support - this means you need to run your activities differently and rely more on 'behaviour management' to maintain calm amongst 20-25 5ish year olds all on your own. Toilets are usually close, but not a room attached to the class like in WA (where the teacher can stand at the door and still supervise their whole class at the same time). Additionally, as the kids tend to be older, the expectations are greater (behaviour and academics) and there is (from what I've seen) little sympathy for the younger ones.

                All that said, in any class I've taught, you would not pick the youngest and the oldest in the class based on their maturity, academic performance or physical size.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stretched View Post
                  I've taught in WA and Vic. And I would have different answers for parents in either state. I expect Qld will have its own 'uniqueness' that should be weighed into your decision.

                  In WA, kids just get sent to school based on their birthday. If you want to hold them back, it's quite a process, so few parents do it. So a Pre-primary (first year of full time school) class has 4.5-5.5 year olds in it. BUT, as this is the way it is, schools are set up to support 4.5 year olds in full time school, including rest time after lunch, toilets adjoining classrooms, a full time aide in every class. Plus, preschool (kinder) is part of school, so they start already familiar with their surrounds, the routines and expectations. The schools I worked at were quite play based with many structured learning activities happening in small groups in rotation.

                  In Vic, there is the Jan-April 'grey zone'. Trends can vary depend on the area, but on the whole the trend is to delay. BUT the demands on the children from day 1 of full time school are so much higher. Classes only have an aide if there is a child in the class with funding for support - this means you need to run your activities differently and rely more on 'behaviour management' to maintain calm amongst 20-25 5ish year olds all on your own. Toilets are usually close, but not a room attached to the class like in WA (where the teacher can stand at the door and still supervise their whole class at the same time). Additionally, as the kids tend to be older, the expectations are greater (behaviour and academics) and there is (from what I've seen) little sympathy for the younger ones.

                  All that said, in any class I've taught, you would not pick the youngest and the oldest in the class based on their maturity, academic performance or physical size.
                  yep, based on the feedback i’ve had from my mum (retired kinder teacher) and my sister (has a ds a year above my ds in school over there), what you’ve described above is very accurate. my family were aghast we would even consider holding ds back, it was like why? what’s wrong with him? its virtually unheard of over there to “choose” which year your child starts school. they also didn’t understand how much higher the expectations are on the formal schooling side over here are. i’ll admit it did colour my judgement at first but then i just thought no way, i need to make decisions in ds’ best interest based on the school system we are dealing with, not on my family’s perceptions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Prep readiness

                    I disagree re maturity etc.

                    I have taught kindy (prep) for a long time now. Guaranteed every year it’s the children who started at 4 years old who are still crying for mum half way through the year.

                    I am just out buying dessert for Father’s Day but I will comment more later.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We sent DD14 early (she is a end of June birthday) as we were told she was ready. ExDH thought she was ready.

                      Academically she's always been great! However, compared to her peers she has always been slightly immature and struggled emotionally. If I had my time again I would send her the year later (starting school at 5 1/2).

                      It's difficult when so many people are saying they are ready for school! I would not consider having her repeat a year as I repeated year 6 in primary school and it was hell. Still angry at my parents and it's 25 years later or so (very reasonable I know )

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BigRedV View Post
                        I disagree re maturity etc.

                        I have taught kindy (prep) for a long time now. Guaranteed every year it’s the children who started at 4 years old who are still crying for mum half way through the year.

                        I am just out buying dessert for Father’s Day but I will comment more later.
                        This was my experience with DD14. She cried every morning until the end of prep. Year 1 she was happier as she could stick with her sister until the bell went (neither being optimal).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've had one start as one of the eldest, who I could have sent the year before and she would have been fine but I chose to wait, and another that is one of the youngest and I would have preferred to wait but wasn't allowed to.

                          Personally, I started early. I excelled academically, and didn't have issues socially, but it did bother me as I got older and I had to wait so much longer than my friends to do things. As someone that played a lot of sport, my biggest annoyance with being younger than my peers was that I was always in different age groups for competitive sport, athletics and cross country carnivals.

                          If you have the option, I would most definitely wait. It will not negatively affect her by having another year of preschool, but issues with starting early may not become evident until the later years, and it can be hard on them emotionally to have to repeat. I'm not sure about QLD, but I know it's hard to get approval to repeat here anyway, so it's not really an option you can have in mind when making your decision.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BigRedV View Post
                            I don’t know how it works in Queensland but in nsw you have a choice to send your child to school the year they turn 5 if they turn 5 on or before 31st July, however, you do not have to send them until the following year if you don’t send them.

                            I have a May and July baby. They both started the year they turned 6.

                            In NSW you don’t miss prep. I’m not sure how it is in Queensland. I do know they would go straight to year 1 previously but not sure if that’s the case now.
                            They would still do prep. I just wonder how kids cope being held back but seeing their peers go up a grade. I thought it might be harder on then as they got older.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mum-I-Am View Post
                              They would still do prep. I just wonder how kids cope being held back but seeing their peers go up a grade. I thought it might be harder on then as they got older.
                              I think this is why it's not common for the Department of Education in NSW to approve repeating now, because of the emotional toll it can take.
                              Anecdotally, I can remember one of my best friends having to repeat grade 1. She was crying when she found out, and our little group were all sad thinking we would no longer be able to play together.

                              Comment

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