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Christine Jolly, Owner and Parent Coach

Hobart, Tasmania

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To send, or not to send?

 

Parents of autumn-winter birthday kids often face a tough choice.

Chances are, you are like me and wondering if your child is ready for school come next January. This decision can be an agonising one as we are often given conflicting and inaccurate information.

Truth to be told is that you are right to be concerned. Research shows that children who enter school but should have stayed back another year have been to shown to:
•    do less well in school
•    develop a dislike for learning
•    experience difficulties interacting with their peers
•    more likely to worry more and feel less comfortable in their environment
•    more likely to suffer from low esteem
 

 

Holding back your child another year when they are ready to move can you’re your child bored and de-motivated at Preschool

Don’t send a child to school thinking that they can repeat if they have to. We want the first year of school to be exciting, successful and not just one where the child attempts to ‘cope’ and then has to do it all again. Repeating a child at a later stage has been found to have negative outcomes for the child in terms of their confidence and social skills.

This makes the decision to begin school a very important one to get right.

Deciding whether your child is kindergarten ready is an important parenting issue that is more complex than chronological age or simply being able to recite letters, numbers, shapes and colours. In reality, very few children are equally competent in all these areas, especially boys. Many children who are considered to be bright may experience anxiety and difficulties with socialising with others, while children who are very sociable and aim to please the teacher all the time or sit quietly in class may be slower in terms of language development or/and thinking abilities.

A number of people are able to give you an indication if your child can do all these things or need further assistance to reach these milestones before they start Kindy the following year.

Teachers are one source of feedback about your child’s developmental milestones. This feedback may not always be accurate as it depends on teacher’s level of experience, how much time they spent with their child one-on-one and sometimes a child’s difficulties may be overlooked because of their friendly personality. In my experience when assessing children at a primary school or high school level, many parents reported that their child’s difficulties were first noted very early on in their education but they and the child teacher hoped that the child will grow out of it or just put it down to their child being different.

Health practioners such as Educational Psychologists are another source of feedback as to your child’s ability to fit in socially, emotionally and academically into school. A two hour consultation is all it takes to assess your child’s ability to keep up with the work, work independently and have the emotional maturity to cope with such a big change.

Psychologist will be able to provide you with a comprehensive report and recommendation as to how you can support your child’s learning, their strengths and areas of development that you and the teacher can address before you child starts school. Assessment usually takes several hours and could make a difference between a happy child who enjoys all aspects of school or a child that could struggle academically, possibly become anxious, experience behavioural difficulties or have difficulties with their peers.

It’s a big decision for all parents, so for all those anxious parents the answers are only several hours away.

Ida Shapievsky
Loving Parent and Registered Psychologist
ida@assessmychild.com.au

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Disclaimer: Articles on our website are for education purposes only.  Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.