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mumof3girls2019

Pulling out of prep

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mumof3girls2019

Hi,

 

As the title says!

 

We have a daughter who turned 5 in February (but was due April - ex 32 week premmie).

 

She started off this year in Prep at a local catholic school (Queensland) and handled it well for the first 2 weeks. However after this, she started coming home and having the most intense tantrums - 4-5 tantrums lasting 20 minutes with screaming, violence, overall overwhelm. This lasted from week 3 to the end of the term.

 

Come the school holidays, (after a couple of days to decompress!) she is now a totally different girl. Very happy and obliging, not too much backchat, not getting worked up as much (maybe 1 tantrum every few days). Very easy to be around.

 

This has lead us to question whether she really was emotionally ready for Prep. So we are considering pulling her out and sending her back to kindy for the rest of the year and then restarting Prep again in 2021 (at the local state school which has a bit more inclass support for struggling kids).

 

Has anyone else been in this position?

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FuzzyChocolateToes

My dd is a March baby. We started her age 4 turning 5 (in Vic the cut off is end of April). She started great but did get some separation anxiety after a few weeks. I did wonder if we'd made a mistake but I didn't contemplate withdrawing her from school. It all settled down pretty quickly.

 

Kids in FYOS get very tired and need a lot of down time. What do her teachers think? I would set up a meeting, if you haven't already.

 

Was she at preschool last year? Did she have similar issues there? I'd be pretty reluctant to take a child out of school personally. I'd prefer to do everything to make it work.

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blimkybill

Those tantrums sound extreme and are not what most children experience when adjusting to school.

And on top of everything you have mentioned, your daughter and everyone else is missing out on quite a lot of the prep year this year, and that socialisation and adjustment process has been disrupted. Which is fine for some but not for all kids.

So (although I have not been in this position myself) I would absolutely recommend pulling her out. Does she have any developmental delays, has she been checked out all round re her development, especially social/emotional? I would consider also using this year to do that.

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mumof3girls2019

Those tantrums sound extreme and are not what most children experience when adjusting to school.

And on top of everything you have mentioned, your daughter and everyone else is missing out on quite a lot of the prep year this year, and that socialisation and adjustment process has been disrupted. Which is fine for some but not for all kids.

So (although I have not been in this position myself) I would absolutely recommend pulling her out. Does she have any developmental delays, has she been checked out all round re her development, especially social/emotional? I would consider also using this year to do that.

 

Thanks for replying. I just accepted that it was normal so I am grateful to hear that it isn't!

 

She has always been a high needs child ever since birth and has trouble with emotional regulation and separation anxiety. We have worked with a fantastic psychologist off and on for 3 years on strategies to manage this. She probably has some mild anxiety that is brought on by the school environment, which manifests as these extreme tantrums.

 

She is able to hold it together quite well at school (as the teacher reports - yes we met with her and the principal last week and they told me that it is just her being tired and it is normal.)

 

She is fairly clever and social which is why we sent her to school this year but we always knew that perhaps emotionally she could benefit from being delayed. She is quite tall which also made the decision difficult.

 

Thanks for your insight, we have a tour of a local kindy tomorrow and we'll hopefully decide by the end of this week.

 

I feel like part of the problem is the school as there are a few kids with behavioural issues in my daughter's class and the teacher's aide and teacher are flat out attending to them so when DD needs emotional support, they simply aren't able to give it. There is no inclusion support officer in the classroom I believe.

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Ho Ho No

In your situation, I think I would be considering the same option, and chat with her teacher (and her psych if possible).

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mumof3girls2019

In your situation, I think I would be considering the same option, and chat with her teacher (and her psych if possible).

 

Good to know I'm not totally crazy in thinking this! Thanks for your reply :-)

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Crombek

She wouldn't even be in Prep until 2021 in my state (calendar year they turn 6). I would not hesitate to keep her in kinder if you had the option, especially this year.

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MadMarchMasterchef
Posted (edited)

Just another suggestion that may or may not be related. My DD had low muscle tone which means she gets more tired by sitting up straight in class, handwriting etc. Until we had this diagnosed by an OT she was having epic meltdowns at the end of the week due to tiredness. If your DD has similar issues being older will definitely help, as well as lots of rest, early bedtime and also lots of exercise to build up strength (we had specialised OT exercises as well).

 

ETA - DD also one of the youngest and started school at 4.9

Edited by MadMarchMasterchef
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Mumsyto2

Another seconding a chat with her psychologist and taking it from there.

 

I had one who had similar issues but has ASD (subsequently diagnosed Aspergers back then, after a few years in school). Prior to the diagnosis though they were challenging with a lot of what you describe - note, I am in no way implying your child has ASD, and saw a psychologist to try and assist them with anxiety and behavioural issues.

 

In our case, even though they were young and turning 5yo soon after starting school the psych felt that we may as well send them as we would be in the same position no matter how many years we left it. Other kids may be different though with different development and needs so expert opinion combined with parent knowledge of child is best.

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mumof3girls2019

Another seconding a chat with her psychologist and taking it from there.

 

I had one who had similar issues but has ASD (subsequently diagnosed Aspergers back then, after a few years in school). Prior to the diagnosis though they were challenging with a lot of what you describe - note, I am in no way implying your child has ASD, and saw a psychologist to try and assist them with anxiety and behavioural issues.

 

In our case, even though they were young and turning 5yo soon after starting school the psych felt that we may as well send them as we would be in the same position no matter how many years we left it. Other kids may be different though with different development and needs so expert opinion combined with parent knowledge of child is best.

 

Yes your last paragraph describes where we are at right now, in terms of will that emotional dysregulation still be present next year anyway? However, we have found in general that her ability to manage her emotions has improved somewhat organically year after year just with getting older anyway. Although using the strategies to manage her emotions has also helped.

 

Yes we have also wondered about ASD but the psychologist seems pretty adamant this isn't an issue and is more likely anxiety, perfectionism etc. I have another appointment with the psychologist tomorrow and will bring this up with her.

 

Thanks for your input!

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Freddie'sMum

If you can do it, I would keep her home. I don't know the schooling that QLD does - but can she go to pre-school or daycare (for a few days a week) - do this for the remainder of 2020 and then start proper school next year?

 

Our DD#1 is a May baby - when it was time for her to start proper school (First Year of School) here in NSW - she could have started at either 4 and a half or 5 and a half. We chose the latter option. She just wasn't ready at 4 and a half for a number of reasons and I am glad we started her at 5 and a half.

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mumof3girls2019

My dd is a March baby. We started her age 4 turning 5 (in Vic the cut off is end of April). She started great but did get some separation anxiety after a few weeks. I did wonder if we'd made a mistake but I didn't contemplate withdrawing her from school. It all settled down pretty quickly.

 

Kids in FYOS get very tired and need a lot of down time. What do her teachers think? I would set up a meeting, if you haven't already.

 

Was she at preschool last year? Did she have similar issues there? I'd be pretty reluctant to take a child out of school personally. I'd prefer to do everything to make it work.

 

She was at Kindy last year (the year before school) and she didn't really have as many extreme end of day tantrums, which is I guess why we are concerned.

 

She did have issues last year with drop offs but this improved vastly in the first term. However this did not improve at all in first term of Prep, owing to a very strange morning routine that the school had implemented from week 3 - the whole school meets every morning in a big undercover area for assembly (yes every day!) and then they are taken to their classrooms by the teacher. Very overwhelming for her.

 

I guess the thing for us is, she has always been a high needs kid with trouble with emotional regulation but she apparently holds it all in very well at school - although the teacher reports that she cries at least daily in the classroom. She's always been quite sensitive too (much better on the school holidays though!), so how much of this will still be present next year anyway?

 

We're all in such a peculiar situation right now with coronavirus as, by the time school goes back here in QLD, DD would have missed just as much (physical) school than she would have attended! So although I think I would normally be pretty reluctant to pull her out of school/change schools, given that she hadn't formed that closer friendships and hadn't even gotten into the routine of school 100%, we are seriously considering it as a logical solution. As we most likely wouldn't be risking as much as we would be gaining, if that makes sense.

 

Our minds are not quite made up yet though!!

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CrankyM
Posted (edited)

What states are you in? She wouldn’t even be considered on the younger side in my state (WA and they’d basically say you couldn’t do this). If you think it will benefit her then pull her out. Just be aware the same issues may present themselves next year. Getting older doesn’t always help with these problems. It could be a multitude of things are impacting her. It could be sensory related. It could be anxiety related. It could be developmentally related.

 

Both my kids found prep hard. It was too unstructured and “busy” for them. They hit year 1 and things improved significantly. Home time meltdowns usually were the result of overstimulation, anxiety, tiredness and the constant demands and expectations on the kids. This then fed into dysregulation. I should probably say both my kids are neurodiverse (older asd/adhd and learning difficulties, younger severe adhd). Even anxiety alone can cause huge issues with dysregulation and meltdowns from being in school. So if you choose to pull her I would be making sure interventions and possibly assessments are undertaken to not only give her strategies but to make sure there ain’t something else triggering behaviours. And OT can be massively helpful in this as well as a psych.

 

ETA: have a look at Ross Greene’s work. He wrote the explosive child And raise human beings. His collaborative and proactive approach is wonderful and I find it works so much better then anything else we have tried.

Edited by CrankyM
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~LemonMyrtle~

Can she go part time for a while and start full time in the last term or in year one? Like, maybe take wednesdays off like they do here for preps in the first few weeks. And if she still isn’t ready, just repeat prep?

 

This might give you some more time for her to mature a bit without having to go back to pre-school. And will also allow you to see how school progresses this year with Coronavirus.

 

If a lot of kids get behind due to home schooling etc this year, year one will be a big rehash of prep anyway, or a lot of kids will have to repeat.

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mumof3girls2019

What states are you in? She wouldn’t even be considered on the younger side in my state (WA and they’d basically say you couldn’t do this). If you think it will benefit her then pull her out. Just be aware the same issues may present themselves next year. Getting older doesn’t always help with these problems. It could be a multitude of things are impacting her. It could be sensory related. It could be anxiety related. It could be developmentally related.

 

Both my kids found prep hard. It was too unstructured and “busy” for them. They hit year 1 and things improved significantly. Home time meltdowns usually were the result of overstimulation, anxiety, tiredness and the constant demands and expectations on the kids. This then fed into dysregulation. I should probably say both my kids are neurodiverse (older asd/adhd and learning difficulties, younger severe adhd). Even anxiety alone can cause huge issues with dysregulation and meltdowns from being in school. So if you choose to pull her I would be making sure interventions and possibly assessments are undertaken to not only give her strategies but to make sure there ain’t something else triggering behaviours. And OT can be massively helpful in this as well as a psych.

 

ETA: have a look at Ross Greene’s work. He wrote the explosive child And raise human beings. His collaborative and proactive approach is wonderful and I find it works so much better then anything else we have tried.

 

We are in Queensland and thankfully any kids born Jan to June can start when they turn 5 or 6, its entirely up to the parents with no formal certification required. I had heard that WA is very strict and I do feel like this is a bit unfair for some parents whose children are definitely not school-ready.

 

For us our daughter was/is ready for school but it's that emotional readiness that we always questioned.

 

I agree about having those interventions in place - we are going to do this now even if we keep her in Prep this year. I'll chat with the Psych tomorrow and see if she thinks referral to a Paed and OT is recommended. My concern is that the current catholic school doesn't have enough support-staff in the classroom for kids with special needs, whereas the local state school does (the deputy principal of the SS called me to discuss this at length, very impressed as when we had the meeting with her current principal he didn't mention any of these strategies.)

 

And yes we knew about the lack of support for kids with special needs at her current school, even before we started her!! I just didn't realise that practically it would affect a child like ours as she doesn't have a definitive diagnosis like ADHD or ASD. But apparently there's more to interventions than just helping out those kids with overt behavioural issues. Feeling very silly!

 

Thanks for the recommendation about the Explosive child, I have read this before and found it quite helpful in a lot of instances, explains a lot about why they are resistant etc. However when she was having those intense meltdowns after school, nothing helped except repeated validation, reassurance and de-escalating of the situation but there's only so much I could handle this with two other younger children to take care of. This was the main issue (strategies not working due to massive sensory/cognitive overwhelm.)

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mumof3girls2019

Can she go part time for a while and start full time in the last term or in year one? Like, maybe take wednesdays off like they do here for preps in the first few weeks. And if she still isn’t ready, just repeat prep?

 

This might give you some more time for her to mature a bit without having to go back to pre-school. And will also allow you to see how school progresses this year with Coronavirus.

 

If a lot of kids get behind due to home schooling etc this year, year one will be a big rehash of prep anyway, or a lot of kids will have to repeat.

 

Part-time Prep sounds great! I'll bring it up with the school and see what they say although I know in QLD it is usually not allowed, but who knows these days!

 

And yes the home schooling is another concern of mine as with two other younger, totally dependant, children at home, we are lucky to get 30 mins of schoolwork done a day with Miss 5. I am concerned with her getting behind but the teachers reassure us that it's not a big deal.

 

It will be very interesting to see how the curriculum changes (if it does) with all the kids missing out on schooling. I think the older kids might miss out on less as they can at least read the instructions from their teacher/operate a computer!!

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mumof3girls2019

If you can do it, I would keep her home. I don't know the schooling that QLD does - but can she go to pre-school or daycare (for a few days a week) - do this for the remainder of 2020 and then start proper school next year?

 

Our DD#1 is a May baby - when it was time for her to start proper school (First Year of School) here in NSW - she could have started at either 4 and a half or 5 and a half. We chose the latter option. She just wasn't ready at 4 and a half for a number of reasons and I am glad we started her at 5 and a half.

 

Thanks for the reassurance. She can go back to Kindy 2.5 days a week (same as preschool in NSW) as there is a spot at our local one. I am concerned that she perhaps will be too old for Kindy but funnily enough she loves playing at home with her younger sisters, and when we visited another kindy, she didn't mention anything about the kids being younger and her perhaps standing out being the biggest kid. Perhaps kids notice these age differences less than we adults do? Anyway the kindys here are very good at extending the more advanced kids so that makes me feel at ease.

 

DD is fairly flexible either way no matter what we decide but our inability to decide is weighing on her. Fingers crossed we make a decision over the weekend - leaning towards kindy for the rest of the year with numerous interventions in place but we will visit this other kindy and see what we think!

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CrankyM

Thanks for the recommendation about the Explosive child, I have read this before and found it quite helpful in a lot of instances, explains a lot about why they are resistant etc. However when she was having those intense meltdowns after school, nothing helped except repeated validation, reassurance and de-escalating of the situation but there's only so much I could handle this with two other younger children to take care of. This was the main issue (strategies not working due to massive sensory/cognitive overwhelm.)

 

I believe most of the strategies are not about dealing with the meltdown but helping put in supports and strategies so it doesn't get to that point. Once you hit that point, very little actually helps, as they are not able to control themselves. And what you have described sounds very much like a meltdown, not a tantrum. It's like a release valve for the body both physically and emotionally. And yes those sorts of interventions are available for anyone. You don't need a diagnosis (though that can sometimes make it easier.)

 

I'm actually not surprised about the support service difference between the state and catholic school. It isn't that unusual. Our regional actually has OTs (they are actually prac students) go into most of the schools and they support multiple students who don't have diagnosis but needs some support in different areas like emotional regulation, fine/gross motor skills etc. Actually having talked to some of them most of what they do is around emotional regulation, understanding how emotions are impacting and finding different ways of balancing emotions.

 

Regarding WA, to be honest while it is frustrating at times that they don't allow much leeway, it also means that most kids struggling with this sort of stuff are supported. It isn't just a single child and they have support strategies in place. Both my kid's had issues identified and strategies put in place to allow them to thrive within a few weeks. But they also attended the school as 4yr Kindy students. So everything was very familiar.

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mumof3girls2019

I believe most of the strategies are not about dealing with the meltdown but helping put in supports and strategies so it doesn't get to that point. Once you hit that point, very little actually helps, as they are not able to control themselves. And what you have described sounds very much like a meltdown, not a tantrum. It's like a release valve for the body both physically and emotionally. And yes those sorts of interventions are available for anyone. You don't need a diagnosis (though that can sometimes make it easier.)

 

I'm actually not surprised about the support service difference between the state and catholic school. It isn't that unusual. Our regional actually has OTs (they are actually prac students) go into most of the schools and they support multiple students who don't have diagnosis but needs some support in different areas like emotional regulation, fine/gross motor skills etc. Actually having talked to some of them most of what they do is around emotional regulation, understanding how emotions are impacting and finding different ways of balancing emotions.

 

Regarding WA, to be honest while it is frustrating at times that they don't allow much leeway, it also means that most kids struggling with this sort of stuff are supported. It isn't just a single child and they have support strategies in place. Both my kid's had issues identified and strategies put in place to allow them to thrive within a few weeks. But they also attended the school as 4yr Kindy students. So everything was very familiar.

 

Yes you are very right in that the strategies don't work in the heat of the moment, and I guess that our problem was that she went from 0 to 100 so quickly after school that we simply couldn't implent the strategies. Definitely meltdowns absolutely. However now that she's much calmer while school is off, most of the strategies work so well, it's incredible, and also have the benefit of encouraging independence (I found that the advice from the Explosive child did anyway! Very helpful - ie daughter refused to put on shoes and socks herself but once we taught her she was totally fine with it.) I must rehash myself with more of the Explosive child but the main things I took were that kids resist for a reason - ie they are actually asking for help.

 

You sound like you know a fair bit about emotional dysregulation so it's good to know I'm not the only one! Feels like it sometimes I must say.

 

I very much feel that we still need to change schools either way owing to their lack of classroom support and the fact that the teacher and principal simply grossly underestimated the situation (they called it preppie tiredness....AS IF!....no mention of support for anxiety/emotional dysregulation despite the fact I brought this up at the meeting.) It doesn't help that she has the 2 other ADHD kids in her class that take up all the teacher and teacher's aide's time and attention.

 

Thanks for your input!

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MsLaurie

Sounds like there might be two separate considerations- whether to move schools, and whether to repeat a year.

 

Would the state school be able/willing to take her from mid year? All the current preps have had such an odd year so far that they probably would barely realise she was new. She could still repeat next year if needed, but potentially with a better school fit plus OT/psych/whatever support she might be okay?

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Grrrumbles

I would also consider switching to the public school this year. They often have smaller class sizes and sound really supportive.

 

It is not unusual in my experience with my children’s classes that people move schools a lot in FYOS for a variety of reasons.

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.Jerry.

In the state school system in Qld our department has already advised us (principals) that some parents may wish to push pause on prep for this year and re-enrol next year, given the dodgy start to the year.

 

I also had a premmie (mine a 27 weeker) and prem babies can have higher anxiety rates which can certainly lead to meltdowns. (though the study was based on babies born prior to 30 weeks)

 

If you do restart prep next year I highly recommend she engage in Kindy for a few days per week. It is in my opinion an vital preparation for the formality of prep and we note a big difference in those who haven't been to kindy.

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José

 

Thanks for the recommendation about the Explosive child, I have read this before and found it quite helpful in a lot of instances, explains a lot about why they are resistant etc. However when she was having those intense meltdowns after school, nothing helped except repeated validation, reassurance and de-escalating of the situation but there's only so much I could handle this with two other younger children to take care of. This was the main issue (strategies not working due to massive sensory/cognitive overwhelm.)

 

The motto of the author of the explosive child is kids do well if they can.

Essentially they are doing the best they can

The explosive child is based on the strategy collaborative and proactive solutions. Key word is proactive. Its teaching you how to plan ahead so meltdowns don't occur. It doesn't give you anything for whar to do in the middle of one.

I.think it might be worth re reading it and discussing with yoyr your psych.

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lost_eb-er!

Just coming in to say that if you were in Vic, she wouldn't even be in prep until next year (I know this has been said by PPs but worth repeating).

 

My DD is 5 in June, was born at term and didn't have any of the challenges you've had with your little one. And I am still so glad I didn't have to send her to school this this year like my nieces and nephews of the same age in different states.

 

So, no experience and not a recommendation as such, but your DD will be fine if you hold her back for a year :)

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Grassisgreen

If it were me I’d do another year of kinder. I’d see if maybe she could do a bit extra kinder though, maybe 3-4 days.

 

You mentioned worrying that next year won’t you just have the same problems. I’d think it will be easier. She will have another year for emotional maturity. For you to work with her on some struggles.

 

It sounds like the school itself is not a great fit.

 

I would also see a developmental paediatrician just to be sure.

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