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Qld Prep
Level of pressure on kids

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#1 Threelittleducks

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:41 PM

Hi there

Prep is still a few years away for us. If sent on time, our two will start at 4.5 years and be the youngest in the class. My understanding was that Qld Prep was play based and a preparation for school.

A friend of mine was saying today that she has heard that there is actually quite a lot of pressure on the kids. For example she mentions formal homework (learn a letter) being given in the first week of school.

I'm keen to hear other's experiences. I'm happy for our duo to start on time if it's a play based curriculum which teaches them to love learning. I'm not keen for them to be the youngest in the class if they spend their time being hot housed.

Would love any feedback.


#2 2bundles

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:44 PM

Under the National Curriculum prep now has academic outcomes.  In the past it was up to schools what they did in Prep and some were very play based.  

Don't make your decision yet.  See how they go at Kindy.  Some kids are totally ready to learn letters, reading etc.  It is hardly "hot housing".

#3 roses99

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:59 PM

It is no longer play-based in Queensland. It is a formal year of school. Whether your child gets much homework will depend on the school, but the state school curriculum is very prescriptive.

My son did Prep last year at an independent school and it was a full-on year of school. He was 4.5 when he started. While he coped ok (he is very social and lived for the breaks) I think he'd have benefitted from starting later. Based on his experience, my daughter will be starting at 5.5 instead of when she's eligible at 4.5.

My view is that - unless a child is very clearly socially and academically ready - there's more to lose than to gain from sending them at 4.5.

#4 barrington

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:13 PM

QUOTE (myfamilyrocks @ 20/02/2013, 09:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They will be changing the age again so all children will be 5 prior to starting Prep. I believe this will coincide with NC rolling out in all schools, which it has not yet done.

Love to hear where you heard this?

DD1 was in prep last year - even though it was obviously more academic than when DS did prep a few years earlier, it was a long way from hot housing.  DD2 will be starting prep at 4 next year and I have absolutely no concerns about her starting at that age.

#5 .Jerry.

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:18 PM

QUOTE (myfamilyrocks @ 20/02/2013, 09:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They will be changing the age again so all children will be 5 prior to starting Prep. I believe this will coincide with NC rolling out in all schools, which it has not yet done.

Very interested to hear how you know about this.  I am a Qld principal and haven't heard even a whisper about this.

As for OP, I think you should wait until closer to the time to decide.  Your child may be very mature and ready to start.

#6 liveworkplay

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:26 PM

I am not in QLD, but wanted to say that, even though prep here (Tas) has always been the FYOS, it  still has a lot of "play" to its learning. Yes, our kids learn to read and write and simple numeracy (along with lots of other stuff) but it is not "sit down at your desk" type stuff. In fact, after the morning literacy sessions I have heard kids ask the teacher " So when are we starting real work?" Play based can still mean academic learning.

In saying all that, I would hate for my child to be starting schooling in QLD atm after reading many threads on here about it all. They seem to be really struggling in the implementation of the new curriculum to the detriment of the poor kids.

#7 Bella_a1

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:27 PM

DS started prep this year, he turns 5 in April.  If I had held him back he would have been very bored this year in kindy, he already knows all his letters, sounds and can read basic books.  You need to wait and see what your child is capable of socially and academically closer to the time before deciding to or not to send them.

#8 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:27 PM

Not to put too fine a point on it, but learning letters is what FYOS kids have been doing in other states, at this age, for years ...

#9 Julie3Girls

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:35 PM

They really only be doing what kids in other states have been doing for years.

FYOS NSW is definitely learning, reading writing etc.  But it's not that hard to do it s fun interesting way.  Still plenty of play. Plenty of art and craft, singing, dancing. Story time etc etc.

Actually, my dd yr1 class this year is still very much like that original.gif. They still meet the academic outcomes, and the kids can still have fun while learning.

#10 Guest_Dinah_Harris_*

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:40 PM

My DD1 is in kindy this year, aged 4.  She is learning numbers, letters, how to write her name etc this year.  It is a C&K centre.  So I'm expecting prep will be even more advanced.  Wouldn't this be the norm?

#11 Princess Bubblegum

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:46 PM

I teach Prep in a Qld school, and we do a lot of play based learning. The c2c (Qld's adaptation of the Australian National Curriculum) has a quite a lot of play based lessons in it's English, Maths and Science units. But it really does depend on the school and on the teacher who teaches the class. I have 5 June babies in my class, so they are really quite young - for some it's quite obvious they are the 'babies' and for others, they are coping really well, so there is also the factor of your child's personality, abilities and understanding of the world to take into consideration.

Don't stress too much about it - unless you are considering private schools - then you may have to enrol early. State schoola take enrolment whenever you turn up - usually (well, my school does!).

#12 Monket

Posted 20 February 2013 - 09:59 PM

I had a child in QLD prep last year and one this year.  They were both 4 when starting, DD will not be 5 until April.  I am quite happy with the prep program as it really tries to follow the interests of the kids, with heaps of fun stuff mixed in.

I don't see any advantage to starting them later, if you don't send them to prep, they will start in year one and miss prep all together.  I see this as being a distinct disadvantage as most of the kids will already know each other and will have done all the preparatory work to make starting year one a breeze.

#13 Threelittleducks

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

Thanks for your replies.

We've started to look at schools and enrolment and that's why we're thinking about it now.

We have boy-girl twins so that complicates things. In the sense that I won't hold one back and send one, so we have to consider the needs of both and hope that they are both ready to go to school.


#14 mum850

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:12 PM

Sorry, but in my view "learn a letter' in first year of school at ages 4 or 5 is not "hothousing".

#15 Swelle

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:29 AM

Holding back in qld at a state school  is not a simple decision like it is in other states where starting ages are more flexible. Currently they start prep if they are 5 or turn 5 before July that year. If they are older than the cutoff you have to apply for delayed entry to grade 1 for them to have a prep year. My ds2 is a late June birthday so being young was on my mind however he thrived at kinder and is going really well in prep. Its very individual as to the childs disposition, maturity etc.

He is enjoying learning to write and some basic words. He has had simlple homework (an oral book report) and while he finds the day long the work is not hard for him. in his class they use a variety of media like IT, music, art, craft, groups and exploring the school gardens and environment to learn.

Edited by meagum, 21 February 2013 - 06:30 AM.

#16 Dub74

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:35 AM

My son was the youngest in his class last year, starting at 4.5 yrs. He could read, count etc prior to starting so had no issues... The only thing that was hard was the formal structure , eg sitting for lunch, lining up etc but that was expected. The only thing I didn't like was the huge range of ages in one class - I think the starting age range should be tightened up.

#17 PrimaryEducator

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:41 AM

As a teacher I'd caution to be very careful about starting your child "early".  I have seen a number of children who, although academically ready for school really struggle emotionally and socially(and sometimes physically) with school and this has a detrimental impact on their self-esteem and their ability to enjoy school.  In NSW, particularly in the higher socio-economic areas many children turn 6 in the first few months of kindergarten and so if your child starts at 4 they can be more than 1 year younger than a number of their peers. Even well-socialised, bright young children can lack the subtlety to thrive in the playground when dealing with older children.

#18 Mercurial

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:44 AM

DS was in prep last year.  Homework started term two and was based on learning sight words and then reading later in the year.  Most kids only reading at level 3-4 by the end of prep which was the aim.  

There is learning, and even text books but it is still very play based.  The amount of art work they produced was phenomenal.  And always lots of fun activities.  

They work on a lot of basics like writing their names, counting, learning the letters and their written form.  But usually done with a lot of play.  Formal sitting down writing would only last for 5-7 mins at a time so nothing too much to stretch their patience.  

They can always repeat prep if at the end of the prep year they aren't ready for year one.  I'd prefer my child to do that rather than start prep a year later.

#19 Grumpy1

Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:23 AM

As the others have said the NC now means that Prep in Qld is no longer fully play-based as it was in previous years.  Although this doesn't mean the play is entirely taken out of it but much more academic work is expected of them.  My oldest DD did a fully play-based Prep year and my younger DD did a half and half as they were begining to implement it in her year but it was still largely play-based.  So yes if your child is in the younger age bracket then they may have more issues than the older kids but as you know in Qld we have no choice but to send them unless we can prove that it is somehow detremental to them.  

Both my kids were about 4 3/4 when they started school.  I did think that was a bit on the young side to launch into academics.  I like the more soft approach for such young ones.  Then it's more like another year of Kindy with perhaps a bit more expected of them.  The benefits of starting when your child is older is an area of contention and debate.  Some say it makes no differences others seem to think that is does.  My feeling is that it can make a differences as sometimes yo have children 6-9 months older than your kids in the class.  9 months is a full school year!  Yet no concessions are made regarding the vast differences in age.  I was interested in what the teacher had to say in her post advising that it is often best to wait but we don't have that option.  

Interestingly I wsa speaking to my younger DD's grade 1 teacher the other day, she is now in year 2, and I asked if he saw a big differences with the kids coming through Prep under the NC guidelines and those that had a play based Prep year.  He told me that in fact this year his grade 1's, who had done the more academic Prep year, were not nearly as advanced as the previous year who had only a partial one.  But he said he may have just had an exceptional bunch of kids that year...

#20 Indi

Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:34 PM

QUOTE (howdo @ 20/02/2013, 10:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not to put too fine a point on it, but learning letters is what FYOS kids have been doing in other states, at this age, for years ...

QUOTE (mum850 @ 20/02/2013, 11:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, but in my view "learn a letter' in first year of school at ages 4 or 5 is not "hothousing".

Exactly.  It is about time Queensland caught up with the other states.  DH's nephew moved to Victoria at the end of his first year at school.  He ended up repeating as he was so far behind the Victorian kids.

#21 Threelittleducks

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

QUOTE (Indi @ 23/02/2013, 05:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Exactly.  It is about time Queensland caught up with the other states.  DH's nephew moved to Victoria at the end of his first year at school.  He ended up repeating as he was so far behind the Victorian kids.

I agree with you, Qld should catch up with the other states....but, and correct me if I'm wrong, the current age cut-offs in other states make it unusual for kids to start school at 4.5 years of age. Given Qld's strict June cut-off, my two babies will start school at 4.5 years and this does make me nervous.


#22 mum850

Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

QUOTE (Twolittleducks @ 24/02/2013, 05:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree with you, Qld should catch up with the other states....but, and correct me if I'm wrong, the current age cut-offs in other states make it unusual for kids to start school at 4.5 years of age. Given Qld's strict June cut-off, my two babies will start school at 4.5 years and this does make me nervous.


I think NSW is end of July?

#23 mum850

Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

sorry duplicate post

Edited by mum850, 24 February 2013 - 05:43 PM.

#24 mum850

Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

duplicate post sorry!

Edited by mum850, 24 February 2013 - 05:42 PM.

#25 Ritaroo

Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:02 PM

I am a prep teacher in Qld and I have to say, there is a lot of parents out there that think prep is a year spent getting ready for schooling in year 1. Therefore, not as much importance is placed on prep like the other years. Students have days off, students turn up sometime after 9 whenever they are ready etc. This annoys me. With the introduction if the NC, prep is the first formal year of school. If it is not taken seriously, students have gaps in learning. It is full on and intense and students need to come to school. In saying that, if your children are young or are struggling, the teacher will make adjustments in their program to make sure the students cope. There is no research that I am aware off that states repeating or holding a child back is beneficial. It is playing catch up and those students are going to always be playing catch up. It is my belief that a good teacher will make adjustments so all students are working at their level. Don't hold your kids back. Send them when they are supposed to and trust that the teacher will make it a fun and engaging experience. I also would like to know where a pp heard that the age will be changed to 5. That's news to me.

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