Kindergarten, prep, school ... its all coming around so quickly


Our big boy E was born in late June and at just on 3, we have already submitted applications for Prep (months ago) and have finalised kindergarten offers for next year ... you read right, applications over 18 months in advance! This is cutting it pretty fine in comparison to some of the prestigious Sydney schools that require you to enroll at conception to be considered but the Gold Coast is not quite there - yet.

So applications for Kindergarten were made early 2014 and offers have been sent out with orientations taking place as I type. We had decided on two preferred kindergarten options for E next year, one being a pre-prep long daycare program at my alma mater and the other, a classroom type 5 day fortnight at a local Community Kindergarten.
S is very happy for me to keep him in the loop but to make all the main decisions around schooling so to be entirely honest, my preference was (and is) for the Community Kinder because of the program structure, replicating of 'school' with the same class for the entire year and the excellent learning and social outcomes they produce.

Earlier this year after submitting our application, I was contacted by my former school to advise they were deferring E's application to a place the following year due to his birthday being so close to the June 30 cutoff Queensland has. They advised it was policy to not consider enrolments for children with birthdays after March the year they are due to start and to defer them for the following year. So essentially they were telling me E wouldn't be ready or eligible by their policy to start Prep the year he was due (2017) and I would need to hold him back. I was furious initially... that they didn't consult with us or ask our plans and intentions around E's schooling first and foremost or even request to meet him and assess his readiness.

Here's where the dilemma can kick in ... in my experience and circle, many parents are now being told that if children are too close to the cutoff, they should be held back and start school a year later to give them time to get school ready and gain the necessary maturity, particularly in the case of boys.
From what I can tell, and this is a personal observation only, this is causing a massive skew of the system that was never intended where in some cases there are almost 6 years olds starting in a class with 4.5 year olds. The system was designed for a natural range of 12 months that would eventually even out over the years not the 18+ months we are starting to see and there is an expectation now that children have a level of maturity and school readiness that was previously thought to be gained by starting school.

With this all in mind, and I understand we all only want the best for our children, we have decided we would be disadvantaging E by holding him back a year at the rate he is tracking. His carers and educators have informed us he is a keen learner and clever little boy with an excellent vocabulary and memory. His learning is at the higher end of his peers and having him repeat a curriculum like the kindergarten program would do him no favours at this time.
Thankfully he has been offered a place at the Community Kindergarten and after his orientation last week, we enormously impressed by the facility and especially his lead educator. We feel it will provide a positive opportunity to help get him as 'school ready' as possible and from there, its on us to choose the right school community to nurture him with our input regardless of his age.

Now we wait with bated breath for Prep offers to come in around February next year ... we have made 3 enrollment applications and I have put a bit of groundwork and effort into our first preference with opportunities that have presented but we would be happy with any of the 3 ultimately.

Its scary in some ways to be making such enormous decisions around our child's future and the pressure to get it right and set him up for a bright future. In other ways, its exciting to be planning his next step forward with anticipation to watch him grow and learn so much more than he already knows.

What is your experience with choosing your child's pathway to the education system? I know some exclusive schools in our capital cities require enrollment at conception even along with non-refundable deposits in the thousands of dollars so I guess we're pretty lucky here that while its competitive, its not insanely so.

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  1. Renee

    Thanks for posting about this and being so frank about your personal experience. Really happy that you've found the right place for E. Best of luck with prep offers.

    It's crazy in Sydney. The madness is about 18 months away for us...

    Much love

    SSG xxx


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