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Starting school early

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#1 Charmzy

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:41 PM

Has anyone had experience with a child starting school early?  

Hypothetically speaking if your child was less than a month AFTER the cutoff for school entry and kinder decided they felt the child was ready to start school a year earlier than intended... what would you do?  

If child is deemed ready socially, emotionally and academically.

#2 MummaDiva

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:49 PM

My best friend at primary and I were both started early - both were about one month after the cut-off date.  This was over ummmmmm, heaps wwhistle.gif of years ago, so maybe not so relevant nowadays ... we had a great time, I loved going to school (when the work was challenging enough for me!), we both got into very competitive selective schools, and both achieved high marks in our HSCs.  The older kids (and some kids were two years older than us) tended to "look out" for us, and we were always the "little cute" ones (not so much any more ... happy.gif ).  
We were just laughing the other day about how we never had the chance to really get into the booze culture, because everyone was sick of it by the time we became of age, and we were chauffer driven just about everywhere, so are both really defensive old grandma-type drivers.

I would start my child early if it was clear that they were socially and emotionally ready, absolutely.

#3 sydney75

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:53 PM

what is the cut off date?

#4 noname2

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:54 PM

What State are you in OP?  I looked into this for DS (planning ahead!) and down here in Vic you have to prove that your child has an extremely high IQ before they'll let them in early.

#5 tibs

Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:56 PM

I have a child born in August which is just after the 31 July cutoff we have here.  The schools around here pretty much laughed at me when I asked about early entry even though preschool thought it would be a good idea.  Apparently it isn't the done thing and I would have needed to have reports from educational psychologists recommending early entry - waiting lists to see one aside it was $900 for an assessment and report and even then it was at the school's discretion.  Needless to say said child is now at preschool for the third year.

#6 baddmammajamma

Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:05 PM


I am active in a parent forum for G&T kids, and this issue comes up all of the time. As tibs indicates. and from what I understand from the many situations I've seen on the other forum, schools tend to require cognitive (IQ) testing and a recommendation from the educational psychologist that the child is not only ready for school but actually could be hampered if not allowed early entry.

The scenario that seems to be common (although I'm sure it could differ from school to school or state to state) is that kids have an IQ at at least the 99% level. And even then, early entry is still at the discretion of the school.

You might want to approach your intended school and ask them what they would need to see (in terms of objective validation) to consider a child for early entry. From what I've seen, it is usually MUCH more than the parents & preschool saying "She's/he's ready."

Good luck!

Edited by baddmammajamma, 22 February 2012 - 11:07 PM.

#7 Bam1

Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:16 PM

It is worth asking, I did and my August child was assessed by the school counsellor as ready for school (but not a genius - obviously that testing was wrong biggrin.gif) although the school rejected our application they spoke with the principal of another school and passed on the assessment. This school (which I would have applied for initially but because we were out of area, I didn't think we would have a chance with early entry as it has a huge waiting list) accepted her and she has thrived in Kinder (just like my older DD who as a June child).

Obviously each school will be different but it is possible.

#8 itfinallyhappened

Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:37 PM

I know at an independent school I am familiar with (in WA) they could not and would not start a child early in kindy. They would, with IQ results, ed phyc reports, etc accept a child into a higher year level when they entered school or accelerate them into a higher year level after they started but would not take them into kindy early if their birthday was after the cutoff date. They said that they were obliged to follow strict guidlines set by the ed dept in regards to this. I know off a few students who were accelerated, the policy was that 2 years rather than one was preferred and needed to be backed up by lots of info as stated by the PP but a child was never placed into kindy until their birthdate was within the cutoff. I know there were at least a dozen parents who enquired about this and this was the information they were told every time.

#9 Charmzy

Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:13 AM

Thanks for the replies.

We are in VIC, cutoff is end of April and her birthday is Mid-may.  This has been mentioned to me a few times now but as it is way ahead of time (her birthday puts her at a 2015 start for prep) I have so far said we will discuss it further as time goes on.

I just wanted to put feelers out there to see if anyone has, or was told to by kindy and chose not to and why/whynot.  

I might go have a look in the G&T section also as I have some more questions.

Thanks again everyone original.gif

Edited by MummyCharmzy, 23 February 2012 - 08:14 AM.

#10 mum850

Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:57 PM

Hi MC,
In exactly the same position. My three year old can read a bit, siblings gifted, very advanced verbally etc and childcare has put her in 4yo kinder this year instead of 3yo where she should be. They also advised me to look into early entry.  We are Vic, cutoff 30 April, she is very early June, so misses by 5 weeks. She is due to start school in 2014, in two years' time.
To get her in we would have to have an assessment done by the area Department of Education and she would have to score at 99th centile. I am undecided as to whether to pursue this at this stage. It's annoying IMHO that there is so much flexibility about holding back and NONE about starting early. I would prefer that there was a soft ceiling of (say) two months either side, rather than 6 months one way and 0 months the other way.

#11 Genabee

Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:21 PM

We are looking into alternative schooling for this reason.

I know not everyone has the facilities or means to do this. And it is frustrating that we have to go to such extreme measures to ensure our child gets what she needs.

I don't want to be getting phone calls all the time because she is being disruptive, out of boredom...

#12 JuliaGulia

Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:32 PM

Yes, we have done it this year.

We had DD assessed by an education psychologist who specialises in school readiness.  As BMJ wrote, IQ has to be in the 99th percentile, plus the social/behavioural assessment has to show readiness (in most areas DD was assessed as being around 7-8 year old range).  In my view, and in the view of the ed. psych, it is appropriate to start early only if not starting school would be detrimental to the child.  

We then had to apply to the Catholic Education Office (Catholic school in our case, otherwise Dept of Education, but the standards are the same) and include the psych report and observations from the kinder teacher.  It was approved very quickly so she has started this year.  The principal also needs to approve the application, which ours did purely on discussion with us, without even meeting DD.

When I asked the principal if he had had many students starting early he laughed and told us DD was the first.  Apparently, plenty of parents ask about it but once he shows them the forms he doesn't hear from them again.

#13 barrington

Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:40 PM

A friend's child started school early last year.  Like a PP, she had reports from an educational psychologist and a wad of forms to complete.

But it was on the recommendation of the school that she started early (her DD attended the on-site pre-prep program the year before) so it was quite smooth from that end.

#14 Charmzy

Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:45 PM

Thanks for your replies original.gif

#15 No girls here

Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:52 PM

I looked into doing it for DS1 as we thought we would be moving to the ACT where he would miss the cutoff by 6 days.

If he was going to attend a government school, there was no discretion for the school to let him start without going the whole gifted and talented route.  However, private schools didn't have to follow these rules and I was able to find a private school that would take him without me having to get him assessed.

#16 becanne

Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:34 PM

Move to QLD - our cut-off is end of June.

#17 cira

Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:46 PM

For those of you who started children early - did you skip kinder or skip prep?

Also if the FYOS class is a composite prep/grade1 is it likely that a child will skip from prep to grade2 if she achieves at the same level as the grade 1 students throughout the year?

#18 JuliaGulia

Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:19 AM

Kinder is pre-school here, and prep is FYOS.  DD did her kinder programme in a child-care setting, and all children over 3.5 years were put into the kinder class so she actually started kinder early as well, and really skipped neither.

She is in a Prep/1 composite, and I fully expect her to finish the year ahead of most of the Year 1s, but would really not want her to skip into Year 2 next year.  I am hoping that by starting her young we have given her a couple of years at least, and if we have to look at skipping I would prefer to do that in middle/upper primary.  I would prefer not to skip another year, as that will make her so much younger than everyone else.  If we can have her needs met without skipping we won't.

#19 Apageintime

Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:26 AM

I started school early, It was brilliant. I had graduated from my first degree at 19, and then I took a year off, I am the youngest at my level in this organisation by far.

Now I feel like I can take a few years off to have kids and come back to work ahead of the crowd, so long term implications for super etc are very in my favour.

#20 mum850

Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

QUOTE (cira @ 08/03/2012, 11:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For those of you who started children early - did you skip kinder or skip prep?

Also if the FYOS class is a composite prep/grade1 is it likely that a child will skip from prep to grade2 if she achieves at the same level as the grade 1 students throughout the year?

No, it's not likely. In our kids' school there are heaps of kids (as in half the maths class  for example) working on the year above. It is an unusually strong cohort though.
There is a kid working 5+ years above in maths and the same in literacy and he is not skipped.
I would expect that if you were working 2+ years above it could be considered. If you skip, you should be at the top ish of the grade you skip into, I have read. SO if you are in grade one, and working at middle of  grade two level cohort, no you would not normally get a skip.

#21 Taff

Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (cira @ 08/03/2012, 11:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For those of you who started children early - did you skip kinder or skip prep?

Also if the FYOS class is a composite prep/grade1 is it likely that a child will skip from prep to grade2 if she achieves at the same level as the grade 1 students throughout the year?

My child skipped Prep ( 5yr olds) and went straight into Grade 1  ( 6 yr olds ). We are in QLD. he was born  no where near the cut off date. The reason for him starting school in Grade 1 instead of placing him in prep was down to the Principal's decisions. The Principal  thought he would be bored in Prep , which he would have been . He was not assessed by psychologists, and didn't have to show any reports or IQ tests, as it is  pretty obvious to anyone who meets him that he is academically advanced  (although he was assessed by the gifted and talented teacher at the school)
This is a private school, maybe they are more flexible than state I don't know

I don't think they would skip a prep child (5yr old) to Grade 2 (7 yr old) here - there are too many differences in their social skills at that age   . My child is in grade 2 now , he finds the yr 2  maths boring , far too simple for him   ( I'm going to have sort that one out )   even though he is academically advanced and he is on top with his subjects ,  he  has difficulty with the social aspect of it . He acts so much younger than his classmates; you can tell he is the youngest there. He gets upset more easier than they do, he tires quicker than they do, he is more childish in his behaviour than they are , and he's always last in sport. It breaks my heart sometimes , it's not an easy ride- he really should be with classmates of his own age , but can't as he wouldn't be learning.

#22 Charmzy

Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

QUOTE (becanne @ 08/03/2012, 10:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Move to QLD - our cut-off is end of June.

If only it were that easy!  

#23 libbylu

Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:31 PM

My Mum tried to get me in early in VIC in the 70s.  I was 5 weeks after the cut off date and already reading and writing etc.  They wouldn't do it.  I don't actually know of anyone else who has tried to do this.

#24 threelittlegems

Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:42 PM

I would be really concerned about the child's age compared to the rest of the class.

In our school, the trend is to hold kids back. DS1 started prep aged 5 turning 6 in November, and he is one of the youngest in his class. The majority of his classmates turned 6 by March, and some turned 7 later in the year.

Academically he is fine, but socially he plays better with the kids the year level below him and it is quite an issue for him.

Before this experience, I would never have dreamed of holding a kid back, but when everyone else does it, it forces your hand. Never mind starting early!

OP - you need to find out whether a lot of people hold their children back at your chosen school, ask the average age of prep in June, (years and months).

#25 KSparkles

Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

I knew my DD needed to start school early at a little over 2yo. She scored on 99.6 percentile. The ACT education department make the decision centrally and provided us a letter to use with her enrollment. As we knew very early on (as in the dept accepted her early entry application just after her 3rd bday) she never skipped a year. The hardest time was when she was 2yo and daycare could not put her in the preschool class because of the staff ratios for the under 3s being higher. DD was only happy when they mixed in the playground with the older children.

I personally believe that you know very early on your child is "different"(not a great term but) as they find it difficult to play with other children their own age etc, its not just that they learnt to read early.

I got alot of stick for being a pushy parent.

DS on the other had will be the eldest in the year and although he could be told to knuckle down and read (and he'd be good) he doesnt want to, so I am letting him go to Kindergarten next year.


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