I agree 100% with @BigRedV on this one. I am an Early Childhood trained prep teacher. Kids are just so much more ready for school at 5-6 than at 4-5. It's not 'holding them back', school is compulsory in Aus from age 6. So starting them when they are 5 turning 6 should be perfectly acceptable for "society". Speak to any teacher, & they will always tell you that little bit older is better for the child. Why make them struggle when they don't need to? A prep class should be able to expect children to engage in classroom activities. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to teach 4 year olds who are too young to learn reading, writing, sitting at a desk, or holding a pencil. They should be outside playing in the sandpit at 4.
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26-05-2016 12:36 #41
26-05-2016 19:24 #42
I held my Feb DS back and he is an older child rather than a younger one. We are in Vic and started Prep 5 turning 6. Do not regret one thing. They're only little for a short time and he matured so much last year making learning easier for him. I feel it's given him an extra year of innocence n childhood something that can't be given back.
28-05-2016 06:47 #43
My point is that the lack of consistency is an issue and the Education Dept needs to sort that out. There shouldn't be 4 and nearly 6 yr olds in the same Prep class (apart from genuine required exceptions). It's not right for the kids, the teacher, the school or community. The disparity between the states is also ludicrous!
There needs to be an actually firm date/cut off for kids to start school (and 5 is right in my view). Since school starts in Jan there will always be kids who are younger or older than the median. That's life. That's how it's done elsewhere and the kids all survive.
And if there are genuine developmental concerns then the child should be assessed appropriately and a decision made. That assessment should be made by an appropriate professional. Not parents and not kinder teachers. A qualified developmental psychologist. And I don't see that as being a huge burden on the system if it's the exception not the norm. If there are appropriate guidelines and referral systems in place, not every parent would be able to have a formal assessment as they feel their child is just not ready.
I know my view is not the popular one. If it was, there wouldn't be an issue to discuss. And the demographics of people on forums like this mean I'm even more likely to be in the minority. That's ok. You don't need to write a spiel about why I'm "wrong". It's just a different view to yours. And I'm not in charge of the Education Dept
I'm sure nothing will change soon!
28-05-2016 07:15 #44
I think Victoria has an OK system with April cut off and Jan-Apr being negotiable. I think it's great I have the option to send my turning 5 on 7th Feb girl to school even though she won't be 5 on the first day. But I'm also glad that the friend from mothers group whose little boy is born on the 8th Feb, who despite being very clever has taken a little longer emotionally to mature has the option to hold her son off for another year. What I hate is the push that I am wrong for sending my daughter 'early' when she isn't.
We did a tour of our local public school the other day and I asked a teacher her thoughts and she said it is entirely down to the individual child, some years they have kids who struggle and some years they don't. She actually said watching my confident bright daughter she didn't think she would struggle.
28-05-2016 07:26 #45
And I'm sure she won't struggle! You know your child best. But yes, with the current trend a lot of parents will assume you're making the wrong choice. But who cares? It's not their child!
For what it's worth, I started school just after 4, and thrived both socially and academically. Other kids may not have but my mum knew best
28-05-2016 07:50 #46
To parents in Vic (or schools with prep starting age 5/6)
The only one I agree with is the child if they are young. They too young at 4. It doesn't matter how ready anybody thinks they are.
From memory you're from the uk where starting age is usually 4 anyway.
28-05-2016 08:08 #47
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.
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Green Cheese (28-05-2016)
28-05-2016 09:00 #48Senior Member
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My daughter's bday is in May and she will start pre-primary at 4. She is required to do so, I don't believe I have an option with this. We are in WA and the education department states that pre-primary is compulsory and all children who turn 5 by 30 June must be enrolled. I've never heard of children being held back because of being born in the last few months before the cut off in WA, although seems to be common over east. Therefore the pre-primary teachers teach in an appropriate manner for the age group. I might think differently if there were going to be much older children (6 year olds) in her class but because of the strict cut off, there won't.
28-05-2016 09:04 #49
28-05-2016 09:15 #50
I don't think it's fair on kids to be starting school with kids who are so much older or younger tha they are.
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.
All of these things have a flow on to us in the community. Those who want to start their kids at the earliest opportunity feel that they cannot do so, as they don't want their kid to be in a class with kids 18 months older than theirs. And I believe the segment about this on the Project said that the vast majority of families who "delay" are from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, probably because they can afford the extra year of daycare or kinder or whatever. That's not right or fair.
And I know this will be a wildly unpopular view but I find the idea of kids being 18 and just starting year 12 really weird. And I think that means some kids could be turning 13 in primary school? Again... Weird. Far too old I my opinion. But kids do tend to be "kept" as kids longer in Australia than elsewhere.
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