Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Decisions on next year

Just a quick one tonight. I'm comming down with tonsillitis now :( Just a post for us. Just want to record:
#1 The chat I had with Liam's kinder teacher this afternoon
I just wanted to check with her that Leap was the best option for him next year, rather than another year of kinder. I've been doing lots of reading and downloading on the net as well as talking to quite a few girls from church who are either prep teachers themselves, or who are holding their kids back to repeat preschool. At this stage we were pretty certain he was not going to go to prep, but just wanted to make sure Leap was the better option. I was worried that preschool would not be enough for him. It's only 10 hours a week, and he'll be 6 late that year. But I also wanted to know whether it was more time away and preschool/school activities, or time at home - more bonding/security stuff, that would better help his development in the areas in question.

Also the leap teacher is not the one I met earlier in the year at the information sessions. I wanted to know whether his teacher had met her, or knew of her.

Liam's teacher agreed with me, that he will need full days next year. Particularly towards the end of the year. She told me how the class is so small that the teacher really gets to bond with each child, and learn their abilities, and the areas where they need assistance, and the best way for them to learn. I was lucky too that at the time we had our interview, there was another teacher from another local kinder visiting, and she is sending four of her students their next year, and has send four each year for the past three years. She was able to help answer a lot of our questions, including those about the teacher. The person taking leap next year, actually assisted the past teacher when she was a student teacher, but then left the school to work elsewhere. They approached her and offered her the position, when the current one started maternity leave. Just now. They had good things to say about her, and the whole program in general, and the school. It's not the school we planned on sending Liam to, but I quite like the idea that it is a small school. Only 250 students, compared to 600 at the school we were originally looking at. It does mean I have to drive him to school, but it's really not that far.

One of the main areas Liam still needs to develop in, is his ability to see a project through from start to finish. To recognise that there is a begining, a middle and an end. He tends to start things, but gets bored, and walks away, and it takes quite a bit of encouragement to get him to complete it. (I have noticed this when we do crafts and things here). Another area is his hand muscles are still quite weak, and he still finds it quite difficult to use scissors, and write/draw. Both of these things are maturity issues and will develop with time. His teacher is worried that if he starts activities at school and doesn't complete them, he'll end up with lots of unfinished projects as they rotate from activity to activity. She explained that either kids that fall behind either shy away in the hope that no one will notice them, or they become disruptive, noisy or the class clown. Given Liam's personallity, he's more likely to shy away and hope he becomes invisible... a bit like his mummy LOL

His confidence is increasing, and I noticed this morning at speech that he actually stopped and said "Lisa....." when he would still usually speak to me instead of another adult if I am there.

A few other things people have shared with me, or I found in my research is that:

Kids, especially boys, should really start school at 6, and do much better throughout their schooling lives when they do.

Victoria has one of the WORLDS (!!) youngest school entry age.

So after our chat, I'm confident and happy, that we are making the right decision for him, both for next year, for 5 years time and for 15 or more years time. Although his teacher did mention regardless of what we do, there will be times when we will question whether it was the right decision LOL

#2 Jack Buckley arrived today
Brett took the phone call, so that is all the information I have! Jack is Carol and Micheal's second baby. A little brother for Thomas. Carol and Michael are the couple whos wedding I photographed on New Years Eve in 42 degrees C heat! The photos are in one of my very first posts, back in I think Feb.


me said...

Good morning there miss Kate! What a good choice you have made & I have to agree with you, Boys should start later. All my kids have done a year of Transitional Preschool (like preschool but at a kindy) and then went into Preschool at their school.

My youngest Mitchell just turned 6, and he is in Preschool atm, should have been in yr 1. He has just thrived this year, doing loads of word & number recognition, adding in 2s, wanting to write. He has developed at his own rate over the lat year, instead of being forced because he was in grade one. My eldest Caleb, didnt click with the wanting to write until the END of preschool ... so I can only imagine him going into grade 1 that year, how he would have struggled along.

Mitchell Loves preschool and he is really demanding on things to do when he isnt there, he probably needs 5 full days lol But I am enjoying this last bit of time with him atm, baby leaving nest syndrome i think lol

(here in QLD our kids do Kinder, then Preschool 2.5 days a week - which is now turning into Prep 5 full days, then into grade 1.)

Alot of my friends have told me, you will really notice it when the kids are older, they will be just that bit more grounded in their final years of highschool

Have a good day now :)

NuttyScrapper said...

Katie - there should be more parents like you! As a preschool teacher (and one in Victoria) I see so many parents trying to hurry their kids on to school for so many reasons. The kids are already struggling with things (some minor, some major) and they expect that their kids will just cope. Why should they just cope? Why shouldn't they thrive and love school? And there are those kids that aren't really struggling but just need a bit of extra time. Unfortunetly in our system there just doesnt seem to be many alternatives in alot of cases but the government really needs to look at the early school age entry seriously. Don't they understand it actually effects the kids all the way along their journey? They will put in programs to help along the way but if they fixed th problem in the beginning alot of the extra programs would not be required :P
sorry, rant rant!

Jasmine said...

I know a lot of parents who've rushed their 4/5 yr olds off to school too, mostly because of convenience for the parents. We still have a couple of years before Lachie starts school but we've already decided he won't be starting until the year he turns 6.

You're so right Katie - no matter what parenting decisions we make, we're forever questioning whether we've done the right thing :s

Nat-Mardon said...

IT really sounds like this is the very best option for Liam and for your and Brett too. Especially if he's 6 at the end of the year, and he's a little behind in some of the development areas, it is most surely best for him to be that little bit older, but up with his classmates, than falling further and further behind if he is struggling.

We had a really hard decision to make last year regarding schooling for Jaidyn. As his b'day is at the end of the year, I was really worried that he would not be *mature* enough to handle the school setting. He is a very bright kid, but it was more attention span and such that I was worried about. We ended up putting him in grade 1 this year though, and really it was the best thing for him. Mind you, I didn't really have much other option as he was not allowed to repeat preschool except if I was to put him in a private prep. Now we didn't know where we were going to be living, and there were no places in private centres, let alone being able to pay for it. So we were really blessed that he has coped with grade 1 so well. He still gets very distracted at times, sometimes disrupting others, and not listening properly, but I think that might be a trait he inherited from his mother, heehee...

Listen to what God is telling you too Katie. He will guide you to make the right decision. But it really sounds like you already have.