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Not ready for Prep

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#1 InAi

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:33 PM

Hi ... I'm asking this question on behalf of a friend.

Her DD started Prep (Vic)  this year aged 4 turning 5. She went to Prep transition last year and also attended a Prep assessment interview this year before starting school.

Now, six weeks into the school year, my friend was told by the school that her DD is not ready for Prep. They have indicated some issues and are claiming that was because of her "young age". They are offering her a spot in the Pre-Prep Program at the same school.

My friend is (understandably) upset, but would like to do the right thing by her DD. Her concerns:
  • One of her concerns about taking up the Pre-Prep spot is that the child will be aware that she has been stepped down; its a small school and the ELC area is fenced off and very close to where  Prep is.
  • Her DD has settled in very well into Prep. She has a few friends   and is very enthusiastic about going to school. No tears from day one.   She just took it all in with open arms.
  • She is concerned about this move affecting her DD's self-confidence and   possibly her developing a negative attitude about school itself.
  • It is a private school and she has spent a fortune on uniforms, stationery, etc. ELC has another uniform.
I suggested her letting her DD stay on in Prep this year and offer her additional support at home and make a decision closer to the end of the year. At least she wouldn't be disrupted during the year.

I've never heard of such a situation. Is it a done thing? I mean if a child is found to be struggling in a grade, could they send the child back to the previous grade after the year has started?

And please, this is about what best my friend can now do. Not about whether she should have "held back" her DD. She made the decision to send her child to school this year and did.

Edited by InAi, 07 March 2012 - 01:35 PM.

#2 barrington

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

What are the specific issues that the school has?

Did most of the children in her class do the pre-prep program at the same school last year?

#3 InAi

Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:33 PM

Issues were that with specific tasks, she had to be told and explained in more detail compared to other kids.

Re: ELC, I understand some kids are from outside as well. There are under 20 kids in the class.

#4 kyrrie

Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:27 PM

That doesn't seem like much of a reason to send a child back a grade. Especially if she has settled in socially and is happy there.

I have heard of a similar situation. DD had a girl in her yr 1 class who went back to kindergarten (FYOS) after a few weeks. The move was very successful for her and she developed so much confidence during the repeated year.

However from the information you have it doesn't seem warranted here. A child needing further explanation about tasks has nothing to do with age and with such small classes really shouldn't be an issue.  Perhaps there is more to it that she is not telling you.


Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:34 PM

All said and done I would do it.

The school obviously see a big difference between herself and the others.  Maybe over the xmas period the others have matured and she may not have so much and its only now they are seeing the difference.

I think its better repeating younger than when she is in grade 4 or 5.  Yes she may initially be put out, but its so easy for them to make new friends.  

Its her education and you want to make sure she is mature enough to learn and not disadvantaged in any way.

#6 becanne

Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:48 PM

Does your friend have the option of spending some time in the classroom?
Our school actively encourages parents to volunteer in the class room. I go one morning a week and usually do stuff like glueing things in work books or supervising small groups at set tasks. I'm starting to be asked to do some more one-on-one work with individual kids who need a bit of extra attention. At these times there will be a teacher and teacher's aide in the classroom, but some kids still need extra.
It has been really valuable for me to be able to see the standard expected of the class and to be able to gauge my sons performance. It has helped me see ways I can support the class work at home. My son is the youngest in his prep class- almost exactly a year younger than his best friend.

#7 InAi

Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:50 AM

becanne: Sounds like an excellent idea! I'll pass on the information. Not sure if the school encourages parent helpers, though.

Edited by InAi, 09 March 2012 - 09:51 AM.

#8 7girly-girls

Posted 09 March 2012 - 10:33 AM

That's a tough one.
We had a similar situation with our 2nd daughter and chose to keep continuing. She loved school, settled in well and adored the social scene lol however she had trouble following instructions, was easily distracted etc. We didn't want to change her back as we felt this would affect her attitude toward school, shatter her self confidence - the same reasons you have mentioned.  We persisted hoping things would eventually 'gel' but despite getting extra help she just fell further behind and ended up repeating Grade 2. In hindsight it would have been far better to leave Prep as repeating as an older child had a different set of problems. There is such a stigma attached to repeating and my poor dd suffered teasing from kids previously in her class and this followed her for a few years.
This was 10 years ago however and I think pre-school is more thorough now in the way they assess readiness for school. It is surprising that none of this was picked up last year.
It is still early days and a few weeks of term 1 to go. I'd be keeping in close contact with the teacher and make the decision before the terms ends.

#9 =R2=

Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:11 AM

I don't think the teacher's and school's concerns should be ignored by your friend. They must have seen something in her child to make them suggest going down a grade - and they won't just say that to anybody at random.

I agree with perhaps doing a session as a parent helper so she can see first hand the issues the teachers are concerned about and make a decision when the term finishes. She'll be doing her child a disservice if she keeps pushing her DD in an environment she might not be ready for.

#10 #tootired

Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:04 AM

Without knowing the full story - I would be inclined to follow the lead of the teachers and the school. They have taught and seen many children and generally wouldn't recommend her stepping back unless it was warranted.

I would also look at it from the child's perspective. I will be much easier for her to develop new friendships at this early stage, then say, if she did have repeat Grade 2 or something.
Maybe she could stick the rest of the term out and spend a bit of time in the classroom, to help her make her decision.

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