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My two kids

Changing up a year level during the year

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My two kids

My dd has just moved into mainstream schooling. She is in prep (Qld) and has had no formal academic exposure prior to a week ago when she started. She is grade 1 age, but we thought it would be cruel to drop her in there without having done the required work. Her prep teacher today tells me that dd is very bright, has the necessary fine motor skills and appears to be able to organise her thoughts and express them in picture form and has most of her letters down pat. Her counting skills are ok. She just needs a little more exposure to sorting and problem solving situations and needs to learn some strategies she could apply. Her teacher thinks that very quickly she will have met all the prep outcomes and will then move to grade 1. There was no specific timeframe mentioned but it seemed it would be soon.

 

I'm concerned that she will then find herself in a bewildering environment where she is 6-9months behind her peers. Socially she will be happy, but her current enthusiasm and hunger for learning might be replaced by an it's-too-hard-and-I'm-overwhelmed feeling.

 

I'm interested to hear experiences of anyone else who's child has been in a similar situation. Did it work out? Was it too stressful? How did the school/teachers manage the transition for your child and support them?

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just roses

So she's just started halfway through the year? Has she had any previous exposure? Daycare etc?

 

If she stays where she is, grade one is only six months away anyway. Why not keep her where she is and let her go up with her peers? Otherwise, she'll start to make friends within her current cohort and then have to make new friends among her new cohort.

 

Success at school is not just about academics. How happy she is and how well she does can also be contingent on how she does socially. What's she like in that area?

 

P.S. How old is she?

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fairymagic

I probably would have just interpreted that she would go up to Year 1 next year?? OP were you thinking the same or that the teacher was intimating that it would be during this year.

 

In answer to your question if you mean going to Grade 1 next year - my children started school in Term 2 Reception here in SA so only did three terms of Reception. They are classed as young for their year level but from a social, academic, behavioural etc you would not know it. My youngest DD at 7 (in April) is going to a party this Sunday for her classmate who is turning 8.

 

If the teacher thinks she is ready to move up to Year 1 next year then go by what the teacher is saying and how you feel your daughter is going. From what you're saying re her progress she sounds like a typical Reception child - learning her numbers and writing etc. She may be on the brighter side but nothing you've said jumps out as her working at a Year 1 level now.

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Expelliarmus
appears to be able to organise her thoughts and express them in picture form and has most of her letters down pat.

 

This is not 'ready to move to year 1'. She sounds like where she should be for halfway through FYOS and on track to go into year 1 in 2014.

 

I would clarify with the teacher.

 

 

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My two kids
So she's just started halfway through the year? Has she had any previous exposure? Daycare etc?

 

If she stays where she is, grade one is only six months away anyway. Why not keep her where she is and let her go up with her peers? Otherwise, she'll start to make friends within her current cohort and then have to make new friends among her new cohort.

 

Success at school is not just about academics. How happy she is and how well she does can also be contingent on how she does socially. What's she like in that area?

 

P.S. How old is she?

 

Hi Roses,

 

She is 6.5. She'll be 7 in January. She has done 1.5yrs in an alternative preschool. Socially, the kids in the prep class she is in are a lot younger, and while she's made friends in the week she's been there, the difference in their maturity is marked. I think socially she would be better suited to grade 1 now. It's the academics I'm concerned about - joining in more than halfway into the year means she will have skipped a lot. What do they learn in semester 1 of grade 1? Is it possible to catch up?

 

I wondered about requesting they put her in a composite 1/2 class next year and seeing where she ended up at the end of the year, but that's not necessarily an option. This all just came out the blue today from her prep teacher so I'm considering the cons and whether they are significant enough for me to put my foot down, or just go with their suggestions.

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Heather11

I can't imagine why you would put her up before next year unless she was way above her peers. Especially as there is only 6 months to go in the year.

 

As the PP stated, your DD sounds like a typical FYOS student.

 

Maybe the teacher thought you were thinking of keeping her down in Prep next year as well seeing that she had only undertaken half a year.

 

 

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My two kids

Sorry, to clarify, I think the teacher is intending on moving her to grade 1 this year.

 

The teacher believes within a couple of weeks she will have raced through all the outcomes for prep.

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My two kids

What is FYOS?

 

Sorry, i'm new to mainstream schooling. My older child learnt through a different system and I'm just reorienting myself now!

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fairymagic

FYOS = First Year Of School

 

I would clarify with the teacher that this is what she in fact meant. She may have been, like PP suggested, reassuring you that she would be ready to go to Yr 1 next year even after spending three terms in Reception.

 

 

I tend to agree with PP though - moving her up in the middle of the year might be a lot for her to deal with - work she hasn't done before and friendship groups that have already been established during the first part of the year. I would personally leave it till next year - maybe ask about a composite 1/2 class if you can and see what happens next year.

Edited by fairymagic

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Expelliarmus

FYOS is prep/Reception/Kindergarten/Pre-Primary depending on the state you are in. In the Australian Curriculum it's called Foundation Year.

 

She must be able to do more than have her letters down pat if she's ready to move to year 1.

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Heather11
She must be able to do more than have her letters down pat if she's ready to move to year 1.

 

Agreed.

 

 

DS#2 knew all his letters and sounds before he even started school.

 

What is her reading and writing like?

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just roses

OP, I would definitely clarify with the teacher.

 

And I wouldn't be inclined to move her up until next year.

 

My son is in grade one in Queensland. He's at the lower end in terms of where kids are up to, and he can read. In his cohort, the kids had their letters down pat in Pre-prep (the year before FYOS) and then in Prep they consolidated this learning and started to read.

 

In grade one, kids are expected to be becoming independent readers. If your child really hasn't had exposure to mainstream schooling (what did they teach at her preschool?) then I wouldn't be rushing it.

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My two kids

Yeah sorry, I'm not explaining well. At the alternative preschool there was no "academic" learning. She's only had a week of prep and in that week she has gone from no academic knowledge to being more advanced than the other prep kids who've been there for 6 months. Her teacher believes that her age and hunger for learning will see her meet all the outcomes within a couple of weeks. She is extremely motivated and quite the sponge.

 

Before this afternoon I assumed she'd spend the rest of this year in prep and start grade 1 next year. After being pulled aside by the teacher this afternoon, I am now trying to envisage what it might be like for her if she does meet those outcomes quickly and they move her up this year. My questions are around will it be possible for her to "miss" half of grade 1 but cope and catch herself up. I expect that would not be without challenges.

 

I would love to hear experiences where children have actually done this and whether it worked out or not, and if it did what support was required to make it work without the child feeling stressed.

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Expelliarmus

I personally wouldn't move a child up to half way through year 1 if they met all the achievement standards of Foundation year, no. I would want them to be working at a 'halfway through year 1 level'. In other words I would expect them to have exceeded the achievement standard for Foundation year and met some of the achievement standard for year 1 already.

 

This happened to me in Prep and while academically I coped fine I was out of my social comfort zone and too young for my year level. This however would not be the concern with your daughter as she is older.

 

I would want evidence that she was working *at* year 1 standard and not just 'met Prep outcomes'.

Edited by howdo

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My two kids

What if they demonstrated they were able to meet all those foundation standards within a matter of weeks, from start to finish. Would this not indicate they potentially have the ability to get the first half of grade 1 caught up quickly and then just move along with their peers?

 

What if they demonstrated they were able to meet all those foundation standards within a matter of weeks, from start to finish. Would this not indicate they potentially have the ability to get the first half of grade 1 caught up quickly and then just move along with their peers?

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fairymagic

Can I ask (I know you're looking at people that have actually experienced this and Im not), if you do move her up in the next few weeks, what is the plan for the end of the year?? Have her move up to Yr 2 then in which case she will have been in three grades in less than a year or will they repeat her in Grade 1 but perhaps set her more challenging work??

 

If she is that bright and once she has reached the level the teacher deems good enough to go up, can't the teacher give her some individualised learning whereby she gets some extra work to challenge her and give her some foundations for Year 1?

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Expelliarmus

Not necessarily. It's possible, but in order to support the transition without stress as you asked, I'd want evidence that the child was already working at year 1 standard, not just met the outcomes of Prep.

Edited by howdo

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cira

Its a different system but mid-year grade skipping is fairly common in NZ - children start in Year zero (called new entrants) whenever they turn five and then move up to year 1 when the teacher feels they are ready.

 

It sounds like your daughter would have learnt social skills in the preschool regardless of her academic skills. I imagine her fitting-in to the class would be just the same as any child transferring into the school for whatever reason. And for academic progress, I would trust the teacher's judgement and be prepared to offer home-schooling support if your daughter needs it - eg. extra handwriting practice, reading, reading eggs online programme.

Edited by cira

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My two kids

Double paragraph.....! :unsure:

 

Well I guess that's what I'm wanting to know - what I need to be thinking of in terms of the school supporting her with that missing grade 1 first semester. Experiences with what support is required to cover it off and how/where is it given. I'm very aware that if they push for it and its not handled correctly it could/would have a significantly detrimental effect on her.

 

If this happened to your child, how was he/she assisted by the school in the transition?

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just roses

It's only been a week, OP.

 

It's great that your child is doing well and progressing quickly. But what you've described below just isn't consistent with being 'ahead of all the other kids who've been there six months'.

 

"appears to be able to organise her thoughts and express them in picture form and has most of her letters down pat. Her counting skills are ok.

"

 

As I said, my child was at the above standard before starting school and he's at the lower end of his cohort in terms of achievement.

 

I think you'd be better of just continuing to help her settle into her class and make friends and support her learning. As has been mentioned, a composite class next year (if there is one) would probably be good. But for now, just let her get used to school. As I said, the kids in grade one (who've been in grade one for six months and have had a year of prep behind them also) are already reading and becoming more confident readers. They know their numbers and they're counting in fives and tens. They're doing addition and subtraction.

 

Just let her stay where she is for now and settle in :)

 

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My two kids

It's :ph34r:

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Julie3Girls

I don't think you will actually find many people with experience of completing prep in a couple of weeks and skipping up to grade 1 :)

 

Personally, I think that would be a pretty huge jump.

I'm in nsw so maybe slightly different. But I know that even with a very academic FYOS that we have, the step from kinder to yr1 is pretty big. The expectations of the kids is much higher.

A lot of the work in FYOS, while it is academic, is still the sort of thing that a lot of kids pick up in a non formal learning enviroment. The basics of reading and writing, simply maths etc. I think it is also hard to judge because some kids pick up some things really easily, then slow down. Others might move more slowly for the first part of the year, and then have everything click into place and zoom ahead.

 

That said, i think you are in a hard position ... the idea of getting her back with her own age group would appeal to me, particularly if she turning 7 at the start of the year ... That puts her 6 months older than anyone currently in FYOS with her, particularly in qld with their stricter cutoffs. Socially, it could be a really good thing for her. And the sooner it is done, the better from the point of view of making friendships. But I would definitely have concerns about the pressure academically.

So that is going to come down to what the school is prepared to do, how they can help. It certainly wouldn't be impossible, particularly if you and your dd accept that she will be behind and are willing to work on things at home. And really when it comes right down to it, there will be kids in year 1 who are a long way behind, even having done a full FYOS and the first half of this year.

You know your child ... Will she stress over being behind the other kids to begin with? If she doesn't cope or catch up, how would she cope with possibly staying in year 1 again next year?

 

 

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just roses
Its a different system but mid-year grade skipping is fairly common in NZ - children start in Year zero (called new entrants) whenever they turn five and then move up to year 1 when the teacher feels they are ready.

But it's not at all common in Queensland ;)

 

A few years ago, Prep was very much play based. And optional. Back then, it would have been far more feasible to skip Prep and go straight to grade one. Now, the Prep curriculum (or Foundations year curriculum) is very prescriptive and so much is covered.

 

I think if I were you, I'd be giving her a few more weeks and keeping an eye on how she goes. If you do get the offer to move her up, I'd take her to a psychologist and have her tested. They can do a school readiness test and also you might do a York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension. Not major (expensive) tests, but less subjective than just going by the teacher's assessment.

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My two kids

Thanks for your response Cira.

 

As mentioned earlier, I'm new to mainstream schooling and all the list of curriculum outcomes. The teacher talked about many over the course of this afternoon's discussions. I wasn't writing them down so can't add them in here to better classify dd's level or backup the teacher's judgment. I do appreciate the responses so far, but I would really like to hear about actual experiences of children jumping year levels.

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just roses

The only experience I know of is a friend whose daughter went from third term in Prep (QLD) to third term in Grade One. She's gifted. Reading at a high school level. Her maths is upper primary/lower high school. Really, I think you will find it is extremely rare. I've not heard of any other child skip ahead like that.

 

The thing is, your daughter is the right age to be in grade one. But it's only been a WEEK. Give it more time. Why not let her finish out the year (supporting her as she goes), get her into a composite 1/2 class next year AND if she ends up at a year two level, then let her move up to year three with kids from her class.

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