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Zippypeaks

School Readiness Assessment

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Zippypeaks

Has anyone paid for an independent school readiness assessment?

 

My son is a late Jan baby and is currently on track to attend prep next year, where he will just turn 5 as he begins school (we're in VIC).

 

He only attends sessional kinder 3 mornings per week and I've flagged him repeating kinder, given the weeks he's missed/will miss due to Covid (Kinder have asked all children who can stay home, to stay home).

 

The thing is, kinder don't really have much of a reason to have him repeat, despite being advocates of delaying school entry, though they agree that it's too early in the year to make that assessment just yet. They suggested that if I had an independent assessment done, it could give them some supporting information to justify a repeat. He hasn't had any early intervention to date.

 

I've looked into having a child psych complete a School Readiness Assessment, but it's $1200.

 

He's a bright boy, and cognitively quite intelligent (can read independently, add, subtract, speaks a second language), but is a highly anxious introvert and currently can't name a single friend.

 

If you have had a report done, did you find it beneficial?

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Jenflea

What do you think another year of kinder will achieve?

 

I don't think you can change a person's basic personality.

You can't make an introvert become an extrovert (and there's nothing wrong with being an introvert!) and he may well be just as anxious next year in kinder.

 

 

There's a LONG time between now and next year so I'd be hesitant to get an assessment done just because he's anxious now.

 

DD cried at every drop off for Playschool, preschool, kindy and half of year 1. She was more than ready to go to school though. She didn't have many friends in the early years either, they all just played together mostly.

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Veritas Vinum Arte
Posted (edited)

I had one done - preschool field officer came out and assessed DS2. It was done as preschool insisted because they wanted hom to repeat. Report was biased and very emotive. DH in the exit interview ripped the report and their findings apart as being emotive and baseless (DH assesses and writes reports for a living).

 

We did not go with their recommendation (for DS2 to repeat 4yo kinder due to social skills problems- result of hearing issues and severe delayed speech). Instead we did social skills speech pathology groups to get him prepared fir school. He had zero friends at preschool.

 

He started school well. Very bright boy. We did have one hiccup when he came hone saying he had no friends- I asked teacher to watch and what was happening was others wanted to play something he didn’t want to play. So a talk about compromise and maybe the boys could take it in turns to choose the game sorted it all out. By the end of term 1 there was a wonderful bromance between the boys and DS2 was also very popular with the girls too.

 

He is now grade 7. Looking back it would have been a hinderance to hold him back. He has a small close knit group of friends at high school who are very similar. He found his tribe. I do think the small group at Kinder were not his tribe. He is getting A’s at school and in advanced and extension classes. Also he is doing puberty very early - voice broke grade 6 and shaving by end grade 6. Imagine if that had been mid grade 5. What a way to feel different.

 

I would suggest looking into social skills courses to help him transition on time.

Edited by Veritas Vinum Arte
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Meepy

I have a January child who started just after she turned 5 in Vic - she's in Grade 6 now. Academically your Ds is way ahead of where she was. I would say they he probably needs to go to school or he will be bored repeating kinder. Introverts sometimes thrive at school as they find their tribe. With his reading and maths skills he may already be ahead of most of this years prep kids.

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Lost_In_Australia

Wouldn't he be bored to death repeating kinder? He already knows how to read and he might be with children who don't even know the letters.

 

Is he anxious about school, school work, the class vibe or because he feels alone?

 

Building a friendship takes time, maybe you can have a role in this once the lockdown is finished. Inviting children over for a playdate at a park, a lake, or maybe your back garden.

 

We have moved countries many times. My eldest at 11 had changed 4 countries, 4 languages and 4 educational systems. You leave a lot of friends behind and my role, every time , was to help build friendships. With lots of crepes and chocolate cakes.

Building friendships took longer here, because of the language barrier and at school there isn't that much time to play anyway.

 

Once school starts again, give your a handball or even a couple, one for him and one he can gift another boy/girl who he believes are nice and fun. Let him bring a soccer ball at school , so he can play, and even extra chocolate biscuits or crisps he can share.

 

A person is introvert or extravert by nature as a previous poster has rightly said, you can't force someone into being something he is not. However you can help build confidence.

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Veritas Vinum Arte

I should also add that DS2 started at school where no one from his preschool attended. So he basically knew no one (I will point out that as DS1 was in 2nd grade DS2 was familiar with the school grounds - but doing school orientation usually helps most students anyway).

 

Handball and kicking a Soccer ball have been the methods my boys started to make friends. DS1 is not remotely sporty but does acknowledge handball and soccer basic skills are important.

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Kiwi Bicycle

I thought to access a 2nd year of 4 year old kinder in Victoria you had to show delays in two different areas for example, speech and emotional regulation?

I find most boys don't have " best friends" like girls tend to do, they just have groups they hang out with for what they feel like doing at the time. It hasn't been until Grade 1 that the boys now name and talk about specfic people exclusively. It took my guy 2 terms of preschool before he could remember anyone's nane when I asked.

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Bearynice

I think there’s a bit of time to make the decision. Do you know which school he might attend? Sometimes the school will have some sessions assessing where first year of school kids are at, so it might provide some guidance.

 

Is it him being anxious and shy that has you concerned?

 

You can get the pre school field officer to do an assessment, but it might just have some ideas for strategies for your son around his anxiety.

It’s going to have recommendations/ suggestions.

 

I’d wait a bit and reassess

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ineedmorecoffee

I would wait till Sept-Oct and re-evaluate the decision to hold him back. Like pp said, its a long time between now and next January for a 4 year old.

 

You will get a better understanding closer to the end of the year.

 

Academically he sounds well advanced for a 4 year old and may just need more chances to socialise with other kids, when the shutdowns end anyway. Maybe through art classes, some kind of sport, etc.

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AllyK81

I have a friend who is a Prep teacher who did with DS the start of year assessment and had a chat with him. So not a 'proper' assessment. She said he was fine. He is November though so not quite so young.

 

One of his friends is March and is very bright. He is totally fine. All kids are different. Can't hurt to get an assessment to put your mind at rest.

 

DD has done two years of kinder. She is July but she did 4 year old kinder when she was 3 because she is bright. She is doing her second year at an ELC and she has really blossomed with a second year of kinder.

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nom_de_plume

I don't think there's any reason you need to make a decision just yet, and nothing stands out as a potential reason for repeating kinder.

 

Most children who start Prep next year will have missed out on this time at kinder due to the pandemic. They'll all be in the same boat.

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blimkybill

Goodness, I actually feel this is not a good development in the whole "when to send children" debate. Your child does not have developmental concerns so paying for an expensive psychological report seems like a waste of time and money.

I would wait then make your own decision. Hopefully he will get plenty of time at Kinder this year and will have a friend or two by the end of the year (introverted children may not be as focused on friends as ohers, they may be more interested in the other aspects of Kinder). You already know your Kinder is in favour of holding kids back so that's probably what they will recommend. But there's no one right answer and I would make your own decision unless something very significant turns up.

If he had developmental concerns I would answer differently.

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PhillipaCrawford

Veritas Vinum Arte had a Preschool field officer visit her one child several years ago, it was obviously a negative experience for her so she posts about it often. That was her experience, I am not saying it didn't happen or that she is wrong. however just because that PSFO didn't work well for that child doesn't mean every visit is the waste she implies. I have worked with many over many years of teaching and in general can't recommend them highly enough.

They will conduct a school readiness assessment at no charge during a kinder session

 

To obtain a second year there must be two areas of deficit in the 5 learning areas

Identity

Community

Well being

Learning

Communication.

 

While it is far too soon to make a definite decision the standard procedure from the Education Department is to start paperwork for it at the beginning of term 3. You will also have to re-enrol for kinder just in case you do want to return.

 

At this stage it is all about keep your options open. I always weight social readiness above cognitive skills, however a child who is already reading at this stage willbe 2 years ahead of his peers if he delays entry.

 

I would hope schools would be making huge changes to FYOS in 2021 to acknowledge that this years kinder kids have had very different experiences from the norm, so perhaps ask the school.

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*bucket*

I would think about what you consider an extra year of kinder would achieve. If I had waited for my eldest DS to meet the school readiness criteria, he probably still wouldn't be there (and he's 23 now).

 

Although my DS wasn't as young as your DS, he could have been described in similar ways. Very intelligent, reading, way ahead in maths, but an introvert, shy, socially distanced (before it was trendy!), and couldn't name any class mates, let alone a friend. My DS was diagnosed with ASD, but even with that we didn't think an extra year of kinder would make any substantial difference, and could hinder his learning. Basically we used all of primary school to work on skills other than learning - his social skills, his physical skills etc. He much preferred the structure of school (high school was even better than primary).

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Zippypeaks

Thanks everyone. It's just a bit of a tough one, because the school we have in mind and the kinder he attends have a bit of a blanket unspoken, "he's a boy, give him another year" approach. It's his social skills in the back of my mind that's making me second guess; tears at drop off, he eats lunch with the teacher, and every time I pick him up, he's sitting on his own.

 

Sport is not his strength (though we keep trying), he's not keen on the idea of school - our local is walking distance and we talk about it. He's painfully shy and I just wonder if another year will encourage him out of his shell.

 

I like the idea of a social skills group, might explore this before going down the path of an assessment.

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FuzzyChocolateToes
Posted (edited)

You could be describing my son, except his birthday is early April. :) We were encouraged by the kinder to hold him back, on the basis of social and emotional issues - he often played alone. However he was already reading and we were reluctant to hold him back. We enrolled him in prep transition and I made sure to get feedback from each of the prep teachers after each session. They were all happy for him to start school at 4 turning 5, and that's what we did. He did just fine.

 

We learnt later on that he is gifted and we were encouraged to grade skip. Imagine if we'd held him back?

 

I am surprised they are asking you to get a school readiness assessment at your cost. It wasn't suggested to us. Your ds sounds like he is academically advanced to me.

 

Have you thought about enrolling him in a long day care with kinder as well, once the Covid situation settles down? That would give him a trial at longer days. I found LDC were great for encouraging independence.

 

ETA: you posted while I did. With the additional information a Social Skills Group is worth investigating. Have you thought about some input from a psychologist re: his anxiety?

Edited by FuzzyChocolateToes

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Dianalynch

Ds is late March, we didn’t decide until late term 3 if he would go to school the next year or do another kinder program - by that stage it was very obvious, he needed to go to school. It was unanimous- the kinder teachers, the school principal, the parents and the kid. It was very unclear before that. So I’d say wait.

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Prancer is coming

We don’t do the hold back, choose when to send your child in my state. But good grief, $1200 for an assessment! If I was paying this, I would much prefer to get a cognitive assessment done by someone with no agenda to the starting school thing,

 

Your child sounds academically ahead. If you send him next year it sounds like he will still be ahead. Keeping him back could make it even harder for friendships given he will be further ahead if he waits another year. Also going next year will allow him to be around children his own age that will model appropriate social behaviour. Keeping him back will expose him to the same, are they expecting age only will suddenly have him more mature?

 

Personally, if you are concerned about the social skills, I would be investing the $ into a social skills program. Kinder is meant to prepare them for school isn’t it? If it hasn’t, what will another year do?

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Heather11

Save your money on the school readiness assessment and instead invest in a social skills group.

 

He could very well just spend two years of preschool sitting on his own if he doesn't get some targeted help in the area he needs and academically he will be way above the other children.

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José

Thanks everyone. It's just a bit of a tough one, because the school we have in mind and the kinder he attends have a bit of a blanket unspoken, "he's a boy, give him another year" approach. It's his social skills in the back of my mind that's making me second guess; tears at drop off, he eats lunch with the teacher, and every time I pick him up, he's sitting on his own.

 

Sport is not his strength (though we keep trying), he's not keen on the idea of school - our local is walking distance and we talk about it. He's painfully shy and I just wonder if another year will encourage him out of his shell.

 

I like the idea of a social skills group, might explore this before going down the path of an assessment.

 

What about cubs? Or something similar.

 

I wonder if the cool little kids program might help. It's for parents who have a child with symptoms of anxiety.

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Lost_In_Australia

Thanks everyone. It's just a bit of a tough one, because the school we have in mind and the kinder he attends have a bit of a blanket unspoken, "he's a boy, give him another year" approach. It's his social skills in the back of my mind that's making me second guess; tears at drop off, he eats lunch with the teacher, and every time I pick him up, he's sitting on his own.

 

Sport is not his strength (though we keep trying), he's not keen on the idea of school - our local is walking distance and we talk about it. He's painfully shy and I just wonder if another year will encourage him out of his shell.

 

I like the idea of a social skills group, might explore this before going down the path of an assessment.

 

Well this is certainly upsetting, especially the bits with him eating with the teacher.

Not sure if this would be solved by an additional year of the same thing. Proper school might be more interesting.

 

If he is not into sport, don't force it into him. It would be worse to be pushed into something he is not. Does he like hot wheels cars? Would the school allow them at school? Or every year, there are some trendy cards, from Pokemon to NRL players? Or a super cool book he likes ? Coloured chalks to draw in the playground?

 

Why is the teacher eating with him? Aren't all the kids eating at the same time at a dedicated area or table? I am not sure how kinder works in Victoria, but isn't there a buddy system in place? A buddy bench ?

 

Of course, this lockdown isn't helping. Do you have family with cousins his age, or friends from mother groups to open his social circle?

 

I understand your concern, I am just not sure the solution lies in making him repeat.

 

We are in May, there is a lot of time and six months at that age might surprise you.

 

Do you have a dog? If not would you consider one if he is keen? Pets help with anxiety and stress.

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PhillipaCrawford

Reading your update I would ask for the Preschool field officer to visit - if your kinder is allowing extras in during the current crisis. This is a free service, gov't funded and PSFO is employed by your council.

It sounds as if he already has some anxiety and everyone could benefit from strategies to assist him to feel more involved.

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Toby123

Council should offer a free preschool officer to do an assessment.

 

Kinder has suggested my child repeats and said they can organise it for free. They won’t come up at the moment due to corona but she said should be ok to visit in term 3.

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OliviaVivian
Posted (edited)

My daughter is a Jan Bub. She was very bright however terribly shy, clung to me at drop off, didn’t really talk at kinder (though chatterbox at home!), played by herself and was quite anxious.

We decided in July that year that she would benefit from another year of kinder to gain more confidence and work on her social skills, and it was the best decision for her.

During her second year she blossomed ❤️

Edited by OliviaVivian

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jessiesgirl

I had a good experience with the preschool field officer for both my kids, there was no report just a sensible in-depth chat at the end of the session. I also suggest asking the kinder about it. My kids both have ASD diagnoses but especially in the case of DD we were encouraged to think about what she would get out of another year of kinder, like Bucket said above, my DD is always behind the 8 ball socially, so another year would not have helped her get skills up to the level of the NT children. Paed recommended keeping her with her peers. She is quite bright as well.

 

If you do decide to do another year, I would suggest going to a different kinder, unless there is a compelling reason to stay. DD’s teachers were adamant that if she did do another year, it should not be with them.

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