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Thread: Can we choose when our children start school?

  1. #1

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    Default Can we choose when our children start school?

    I am really confused... I have been reading so many posts where people say that they are only starting their kids in Prep/grade 1 etc, if they think they are ready for it.
    Which makes me assume that parents are free to make the decision of when their child can start.



    However, I know, and have heard stories of a few Mums up here in Qld, that were not given an option to start their child a year later, even when they *know* their own child will not be ready, Education Qld still says no?

    What is the go with that? Is it really so easy in other states for parents to hold their child off a year before starting school?

    I'm just worried about Aidyn because he will be one of the youngest in his year (being born in May, and the year cut-off is June 30) and I do not want there to be any extra pressure on him than necessary, and if I feel that he's not ready, then I want the option to be able to start him later.

  2. #2

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    As far as I know in SA there is no choice they have to start when it is their time. However they do make special allowances for kids that need help with stuff ie Kameron who is being kept back for 6 mths to continue with speech therapy in a smaller setting. I don't think you can keep them back just cause you feel like it....not here anyway

    ETA - when he starts kindy they should be able to tell you exactly when he is due to start school.

    Love
    Last edited by Astrolady; December 4th, 2006 at 01:29 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Kat... Yeah I think I am referring to the cases where the child actually is behind in areas such as speech, social skills etc. But I'm guessing as a mother your judgment wont be seen to be enough and you will have to have them formally assessed for them to be able to start a year later?
    Its just that I have heard so many people say that they started their kids one year later because they knew that they werent ready... which is why I am confused!

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    Hi Ambah - Does or will Aidyn be attending a Kindergarten before he goes to prep? I know that one of the teachers at my daughter's kindy was writing reports for those children that she did not feel were ready for grade one ( the parents agreed of course)
    I think if you want to hold your child back - you have to get reports from your child's teacher, and a representative from Education Qld needs to do an assessment.
    It is possible though, so I'm sure if Aidyn isn't ready at the time he's due to start prep, you should be able to do something about it.

  5. #5

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    I think in any situation you can have input. I don't see how putting your child into school when he is not ready is in any way beneficial. But I'm only speaking from a Victorian parents POV I am really not sure how it works in VIC.

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  6. #6

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    yeah Ambah, Kameron's speech issue was picked up in Kindy, even though I made them aware that there was an underlying problem back in Term 1 it took them to this Term. Term 4 to really action it.

    Kameron had to have a speech assesment done (was done in term 3), and then a pysch assessment done which was done a few weeks ago, in order to be allowed to stay back another 6 months. The pych report states that it is recommended (by the person that did it) that Kameron continues on with kindy for a maximum of 2 terms. A copy of that is sent to the education department as they dont' really like kids being kept back in kindy.

    Kameron staying back two terms means that he will then have 6 terms of reception (the year before grade 1 here in sa but done at school) and will then move to grade 1 in 2009.

    If all is well with Lachlan during Kindy (ie no speech issues etc), he will start grade 1 in 2010, so even though there is 2.5yrs difference between Kameron and Lachlan they will end up only being a grade apart during the school years, cause of Kameron being held back.

    Love

  7. #7

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    I believe it's next year the first year of Prep which they are being most strict on - which is ridiculus as they don't even have full classes but anyway. I believe usually you will be able to discuss whether your child is ready for yr 1 and they may repeat a year of prep however this year they are being very strict about not allowing a child who has or hasn't attempted preschool to go to prep they must go to year 1. they are also being particularly strict on the other end of the scale, ie we wnated DS to start prep next year but they are not allowing any ealy entry which is stupid, instead you are encouraged to apply next year for early entry into yr 1 meaning they miss out on prep altogether. i understand why they felt changes were needed but I think the whole system is stupid!

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    Jillian, thats really disappointing to hear. I really do not understand why some education systems focus purely on academic skills, its not just about that, its about social and emotional readiness too. Academics can be learnt easily in no time. That is shown by the fact you look at a group of 3 y.o. kinder kids some can draw, some are only just scribbling and others have never picked up a pencil. By the end of 4 y.o. Kinder everyone can draw a picture of themselves (some more artistic than others of course) and every child can write their name or at least attempt it (even if it is all in upper case LOL). And the same goes for the start of prep. BUT you take a child who can't interact socially, can't say no when someone does something they don't like, can't function easily in larger groups etc (these are just some examples of some social skills necessary for school) then forcing them into that environment isn't going to help them to learn those skills instantly, in some cases it could be even more detrimental if they aren't feeling secure iykwim. I am really glad that the Victorian govt takes emotional and social maturity seriously when it comes to school enrolment. Luckily for Lachlan he has a wonderful mother who I'm sure will help him out in those ways and from the sounds of how amazing lochie is I'm sure he'll do fine. What worries me are people who don't have things like BellyBelly available to them, or community support.

    Goodluck Ambah! Maybe you can get help from external sources like child psych/speech therapists etc like letters to the govt if you feel Aidyn isn't ready?

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  9. #9
    kerry Guest

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    From family/friends experience, in Vic it depends on the suburb. Most schools in my area would prefer a child to repeat kinda (at the parents expense, no governement funding) than repeat prep or grade one, this is for social reasons not acaedemic.. infact I know of one school where if a child needs to repeat prep they have to go to a different school for a year then come back.. stupid in my opinion but their rules. You can hold your child back a year but you have to pay for the kinda/pre-school the following year as there is no government subsidy.
    I know different states have different rules.
    Then there is the other side of the equation, kids getting promoted to the next year for social reasons not acaedemic like my xss... he repeated kinda so is 1 year older than most, he is going into grade 2 next year and has barely reached the prep-1 progression level, yet because of his age he has to progress for social reasons.

  10. #10

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    Thanks everyone! Its beginning to make a bit more sense now... and I am planning on going in prepared when Aidyn starts kindy and prep.
    Not sure about the kindy as he may have to do it at his ABC centre if I am still at uni, and I dont know if the workers for the kindy there are qualified to give their opinions on his development/readiness for prep? I guess I will have to rely on the teachers at Prep, and be prepared to go through the assessment etc if I really think he isnt ready. He will be 4 when he starts prep, and 5 when he starts grade one... I just hope he will be ok, but honestly things might be fine, as a lot can happen in 2 years with his development etc!

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    btw Jillian I just wanted to add that it still makes me so angry that they wouldnt let you start Lachlan later... I cannot imagine how frustrated you must feel.
    I really hope everything goes well for him next year in grade 1, he is such an amazing little boy!!!

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    Hi everyone, hugs Jillian - I know how you feel.

    I refused to send Layla to school next year. She turned 5 in November. She will go to an early intervention class 2 afternoons a week. But as most of you know she is autistic, so they may be more lenient with kids with special needs.

  13. #13

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    Ambah,
    I really understand your question and your concern.
    My son turned six this year and did prep (he goes to an independent school). He could have gone to grade one but I really am a believer that kids need to play a bit more. He is a sensitive little soul but academically advanced for his age - I wanted him to just play and have fun (prep is play based learning). I made the right choice for him and he has loved every second of prep. I have seen many little boys especially begin school earlier than when they were ready for formal education and that has been to their detriment.

    So, being in Qld I do know there is some scope for choice - well at least that was my experience... I hope that helps.

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    My sister works in childrens services and told me that DOCS will come and get you and make you put your child in school if they are not there by a certain age. I think she said the age was 5.5 or 6 or something, and this is for kids that dont have special needs. Thats in NSW so I dont know if that sort of thing happens in QLD.

  15. #15

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    My understanding is that you have to enrol them by a certain age (or get an exemption if you're homeschooling). In SA I believe you need to do this by the time they turn 6. The "usual" ages for starting school are generally lower, but I don't think it's compulsory to start them at the lowest age.

  16. #16

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    I was born on 26 May and was "old" for my year. My Mum is a gifted and talented teacher, and has always said that it's better, both academically and socially, for children to start school at five-and-a-half rather than four-and-a-half.

    Alex was born on 20 May, and he will be going to school at 5.5. Ned will be 5 years and 4 months when he starts school.

    Here in Victoria, children must be in formal schooling by the time they turn six. So if your child turns six in December, you can actually send them to prep the FOLLOWING year, ie they will be six years and two months in Prep. The actual legal cut-off is 30 April, so your child must be five years old by 30 April in the year that they start school. So technically, children in prep can be between six years and two months old, and four years and nine months old.

    My personal preference (and I know I am a little soap-boxy here) is for children to start school later rather than earlier. Especially boys, as their social and academic development is later than girls, both as children and as teenagers.

    Academically, a youth in Year Twelve who is eighteen at the start of the year, is generally more self-aware, world-aware and better equipped to deal with the stresses of Year Twelve than a sixteen year old.

    The research recommends children starting later rather than earlier.

    However, all my comments are based upon "generalities". Each parent must decide when each of their children is ready for school. Children with "issues" (I'm trying to be politically correct here, please don't jump on me!) can require more input from teachers, social workers, speech/behavioural therapists, and psychologists.

    Here in Victoria, you can apply for an extra year of government-funded kindergarten if your child MUST attend school the following year, provided that the child meets certain guidelines set down by the Department of Education. The kinders generally approach the parents to talk to them about it (at least in my area).

    Best wishes with your decision, Ambah!

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    I do agree with that, Shannon!

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    kerry Guest

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    In all honesty I would have handled VCE better at 15/16 than I did at 17/18. I found that by the time I hit year 12 I had become jaded with the whole education system and was too busy questioning everything to study as I should where as at the younger age all I cared about was learning more and impressing my teachers. At 17 &18 I was too busy trying to assert my self and realising that my opinions were just as valid as a teachers, the only difference was a few more years at school and age, most of my teachers could not answer the questions I raised and 1 even banned me from her class (ethics) and banished me to the library during said classes... so socially I would have been better off as a younger student.

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