To send ds part time in reception?

(121 Posts)

Ds should be starting this September. He will be 4 and 2 months, and I suppose because he was six weeks prem in some ways I still think of him as being less than that (crazy but true).

Although I think he will cope academically I'm worried about how tired he will be. I know they are all tired and I know that some children go to nursery full time from a very young age. However, I think school is very different because there are so many additional expectations and a level of independence which is not expected at nursery.
Ds has never been great sleep wise. Generally the more tired he is the less he sleeps. He will not nod off for a little nap in the classroom. More likely he will become extremely tearful and emotional or aggressive and hyper.
He will then be told off which will upset him further.
I do have some concerns about his emotional maturity but generally I think he will be ok...provided he's not so exhausted that he doesn't know what to do with himself.

I cannot see the benefit of making him "cope" with a full week when that is at best what he will be doing, coping and hanging on by the skin of his teeth. He won't concentrate well so I'm not sure what value it will be to him. I'm hoping he will be able to go mornings only for the first term. The mornings are when they do the bulk of their learning, he could stop for lunch as it would be social and then come home. Some of the energy he uses is nervous energy (quite an anxious child) so by January it will be familiar to him and he will be better placed to attend full time. I am concerned that if he starts too early it will put him off.

Has anyone done similar with their child? I'd rather not delay him until January but if the school say no to part time I will consider it. All the children are in mornings only for one week but that's it. Then full time. I didn't know whether to take a flexi schooling approach (I am a teacher) whereby the school could mark ds as educated off site in the afternoon and we could do something calm and undemanding in the afternoon (Library, phonics, puzzles).
I have visited reception in the afternoon. It is manic. It is the opposite of calm. If ds is tired and overwhelmed he will meltdown. Am I doing the right thing going for part time?

Snazzywaitingforsummer Sat 25-May-13 22:55:37

I'm not up on the ins and outs but legally you don't have to send him till the summer term, from the sound of it, so can the school object to him doing part time at the start? I would make enquiries as the first thing before you then commit yourself to anything.

I think that legally he doesn't have to start until the term after he is five but once he has started the hours he attends are at the schools discretion. I can't see what good it will do anyone (ds or teachers) to have a crying four year old in the classroom.

He won't need to be marked as educated off site, he'll be getting a mark that states he is under 5, until he's not and those figures don't count for Ofsted (though do for funding, but that isn't your problem).

I would absolutely keep dd off or part-time (HTs can refuse but they cannot make you attend full-time iyswim) if I thought it was in her best interests. However she is 5 on the 1st of September and should have been in school a long time ago by her level of independence etc. She's looking forward to it and will be bloody cross if I delay anything.

Smartiepants79 Sat 25-May-13 23:00:06

I'm not sure school can stop you if you believe that is what's best. You have very valid reasons.
All I would say is that if he is the only one doing it he may feel singled out and not want to be different to his peers.
On the other hand he may love coming home at lunchtime.
I would let him have lunch with his friends though as it is a good time to cement relationships.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 25-May-13 23:00:14

I had a similar fear with my oldest DD (now 8) she was and still is young in her year...she's late July. However...she was fine. If you do send him part time, (if the school agrees) then he will doubtless miss out on a lot of activities and will also stand out to his peers.

As a teacher I am sure you're aware that reception is very free...lots of play, some quiet time...I honestly think your worries are natural but that your DS will surprise you.

He won't get told off if he gets aggressive/hyper...if it kept happening he may get flagged for assessment ...but a good reception teacher won't tell a 4 year old off in a mean way...he'd be led to a quiet area to cool off.

You say you think he's socially immature...but lots of them are at this age. Some can't do their coats up, some can, some aren't fully toilet trained, others are...some can't manage in the playground...it all comes together in the end but by pulling him out in the afternoons I don't think you'd be helping him in the long run.

If ds goes and loves it and surprises me I will be happy for him to attend full time but I would like to know whether or not he can go part time before he starts so that we have that option. I think another six months at home and he'd be ready. My gut instinct is that he probably isn't ready yet.

IneedAyoniNickname Sat 25-May-13 23:02:17

Ds1 was 4 and 2weeks when he started reception. I was the same as you, worried he was too young, he wouldnt cope etc.

I sought advice from his nursery (which.is attached to the school) and a couple of people I know who are teachers. They all recommended full time.

Could you ask the school/nursery he attends now what they think for him?.

Beamur Sat 25-May-13 23:03:28

My DD did 4 days a week until she was 5 and then went full time from the next term after her birthday.
The school were fine - they had a few minor concerns, but weren't obstructive.
DD made the transition to full time easily, she in in Yr 1 now and doing well.

The thing is neo is that he is a completely different child when he's tired. Completely different. It's that I'm worried about really. He won't be getting any enjoyment out of the afternoons and to be honest if he's done three full days I can't see him being much good all day Thursday and Friday.
At least if he does mornings and lunchtimes he gets the phonics etc and the social part of lunch and then can come home to calm down ready for a new day.

Will other children pay much attention do you think? If he goes earlier?

Preschool describe him as "forward" and "advanced" (I loathe the word advanced) but they only see him three mornings a week so he isn't shattered. If they saw him tired they'd have another opinion I suspect!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 25-May-13 23:08:51

Sweetness all children are completely different when they're tired and I mean that kindly. My Dds are both utter shits when they're over tired, especially my 5 year old.

You can of course try to protect him but he needs to get used to the routine and the early part of reception is when he will get most support...later on, there is more work focused stuff going on and less leway for "settling in" issues.

By the time he goes full time when you deem him ready, his peers will be well used to it and be steaming ahead in the energy stakes and the academic stakes as well as socially.

ImagineJL Sat 25-May-13 23:10:12

DS1's birthday is end of August. He would have been 4 years and 5 days old when he started in reception, and he was 5 weeks prem, so should have been born at the end of September. I knew he wasn't ready for full time school, there was no doubt in my mind. I wasn't too concerned about the academic aspect, as he's quite bright, and reception is pretty low key academically isn't it. But I knew that emotionally he wasn't mature enough to deal with full days at school.

I asked about half days for a term, and initially his teacher agreed, but the head teacher over-ruled her and said no.

So I deferred his school entry until January.

It was absolutely the right thing to do. By then he was more mature, and although he was still very tired at the end of the day and had frequent (and painfully embarrassing) meltdowns on the way home from school, he settled in very well and really enjoyed it.

He had no trouble making friends or keeping up with the work, and I honestly think that if the kids had been asked in February which child had started later than the others, they wouldn't have known! Kids that age really live in the moment!

He's now in year 3 and doing very well. People thought I was being totally precious and pathetic about delaying his school start at the time, but they have all acknowledged that in retrospect it was the best thing to do. You know your child best and what they're capable of.

Do what feels right for you.

Beamur Sat 25-May-13 23:10:31

Most reception children are beastly with tiredness and hunger after school grin

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 25-May-13 23:10:53

Also if he is advanced academically, that will help him. Some DC struggle with reception as they don't take to reading etc...that's hard...I know as DD2 is this way...I can't protect her from that...I have to send her knowing it's another day where she feels tired through the extra effort she puts into reading.

Your DS will in my opinion need to get on with getting used to it all and as I say, early years are very relaxed about problems in the first term...that's when he needs to be making his "mistakes"

Pixel Sat 25-May-13 23:11:56

I thought part-time at first was normal, but then I've only really had experience of dd because ds isn't in mainstream. When dd started reception we were asked if we wanted her to do mornings or afternoons for the first whole term up until Christmas. We weren't given the option of full-time.

Heavywheezing Sat 25-May-13 23:14:48

I did this with my son. Actually he's not 5 until July.

I didn't think it was appropriate for him to go full time like every child did from October. I think, that 4 is too young.
So I agreed with his school that he could go part time basically until the start of the summer term.

He still comes home for luncheon, and likes it. But take him back 10 minutes before end of lunch. We live opposite the school.

I couldn't care what other parents or children think. It's best for my son.

No, he has more of the academic skills, less of the independent ones. Rather it was the other way round in someways.

He is also something of a perfectionist. And a tired perfectionist is not a great combination.

I don't know, I don't know what to do for the best. I wish he was an autumn birthday! The problem is that I think ALL children start too young. When I was teaching the reception teachers used to write off Fridays and quite often the afternoons. Which begs the question - what's the point of them being there?

Beamur Sat 25-May-13 23:14:56

I have no regrets about sending my DD part time at first. I thought it was the right thing for her.
But I also agree with Neo - any decent reception teacher will be well equipped to deal with children of this age and help get them ready for more structured learning the next year & much of the skills they learn in reception are about social behaviour and adjusting to the rigours of school.

Smartiepants79 Sat 25-May-13 23:14:58

Children do notice, yes. If your best friend suddenly went home and wasn't there to play with, you'd notice! wink

Yes, some schools I think do part time or offer it as a matter of course for all those born after march. I wish ours did!

But would it likely be an issue for them? The friendships tend to be quite fluid at that age generally and they're quite egocentric so even if they noticed - would they care?
What I mean is would my ds be likely to get picked on?

ImagineJL Sat 25-May-13 23:18:06

Can I just add that no-one in RL (or on MN!), apart from my Mum, supported my decision at the time. No-one. I got all the "he'll be behind, friendship groups will have formed, he'll feel different from the others if you defer his start date", and the reassurances that if he went in Sept "he'd be fine, they always are, he'll adjust, he'll cope" etc. But I just knew it wasnt the right time for him, and I didn't want to throw my son into the deep-end and hope for the best.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 25-May-13 23:18:45

Unless your ds is significantly behind his peers in his emotional development, I don't think it will do him any favours to keep him part time when all or most of the others are going full time. It has never worked well for the child while they are actually at school in my experience.

He might be tired, but that isn't the end of the world. You just dedicate the couple of months it will take him to fully adjust and settle in to his starting school. Have quiet evenings and weekends. If you do still find he's getting over tired and it's having a negative effect, then keep him off for the odd day here or there. Otherwise he is missing a whole different part of the day, and there are things that go on in that time that your ds should be a part of.

Children often adjust better than their parents think they are going to. Reception in a good school is a nice place for children to be. It is designed around children who are four/rising five, and they are well looked after.

crumblepie Sat 25-May-13 23:18:58

its all very well for us to say mine coped , but you know your child better than anyone , if you think he isnt ready or wont cope its up to you , i dont think a few months will make much difference to his schooling considering the amount of years they do in the long run .

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