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?

Beamur Sat 25-May-13 23:19:36

I'd noticed on the LEA website for where I live (Calderdale) that full time education was not compulsory for under 5's (although the schools have discretion) but I was the only parent who requested a reduced week.
My DD wasn't particularly young for her age, but I just felt that she was too young to be doing 5 days and I wanted her to have a little bit more time at home, pootling about, before being caught up in the school machine.

cece Sat 25-May-13 23:19:47

How are you going to orgainise his chilcare if you are working and he is part time at school?

DS2 is just 4 and still not fully potty trained. He will be going full time asap. Plus his behaviour can deteriorate when tired/hungry. However, as I work, there really is no option to go part time for us. If he is problem then at least I'd hope they would get him some extra help.

apatchylass Sat 25-May-13 23:20:57

OP, both my DC were summer born, and it was the school's policy to have them part time until the term they turned five. This worked well for them physically as they were exhausted and both still napped all afternoon. They wouldn't have managed a whole day at that age.

But I've sometimes wondered if it wasn't great socially. There was only me and one other mum picking up at lunch time and they didn't get invited back to other people's homes because they weren't around at pick up time. Strong friendship groups got formed and neither of my DCs were ever part of them. Both are popular enough but on the fringes not the inside of the core clans that continued right up to Yr6 . Instead they have tended to make friends with people who started school after reception (which has been fine. I love their friends.)

Not sure if that really is the reason, or they are both just slightly eccentric and never would have been part of the in-crowd. But worth considering the impact of not being included in after school socialising.

ImagineJL Sat 25-May-13 23:22:42

No he wouldn't get picked on. The other kids would just accept it, as they accept all the other rules at school.

And yes, I'm sure reception teachers are expert at dealing with afternoon meltdowns, tiredness in young children etc. But why put your child through that when you don't need to?

Chigertick Sat 25-May-13 23:24:30

Why not suggest to the school that he could build up the time over the term? e.g. Start with just mornings for a couple of weeks, then add lunches - as another poster said they're very important for social development. Then maybe add 1 day at a time over the term so that by Christmas he's had experience of the full time week before continuing this in January.

Gah. Why didn't I think this through and have a September baby?? grin

It's just I look at how far he's come on since last November say, and I think six months more and you'd probably be ready. I'm just not convinced he is.

I started him at nursery in September aged just 3 and he struggled.he really really struggled. And he never settled, he cried every singly morning before he went, he asked every night if it was nursery in the morning and when it was he cried then too. The nursery rushed him in, although he only did three mornings (long ones though,five hours) they didn't give him a settling in session and wouldn't let me stop even for the first session. So basically he was abandoned with strangers somewhere completely new. I think he never settled because he was put off at the start. I'm worried school will be the same if he is pushed in too soon.
In the end I pulled him out until February half term, started him at a preschool and he loves it. No problems at all.

luckyclucky Sat 25-May-13 23:25:17

I was in your position this time last year. I chose to send DS part-time & the school provision for that is 3 full days. Our LEA made it clear at the time we applied for a school place that summer born babies could either defer starting til Yr1 or go part time in YrR.

The school would ideally have had him full time (due to funding) but I was convinced full time wasn't right for DS at just turned 4.

It has been absolutely fine, I do a bit of reading/writing with him the 2 days he is home & he is meeting all his targets.
My greatest concern was the social side (he is the only p/t attendee) & whether he would find it more difficult to form friendship bonds but that hasn't been the case.

It seems at that age the boys all play together in groups & don't seem to pair off as is often more common with girls.
He is greeted by the rest of his class with great enthusiasm on the days he does attend & it does seem that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' because they seem to flock to him more having not seen him for a few days. grin

Ultimately he's your DS so your decision & I would suggest if you are wavering towards p/t then you start him like that because when you want to go full time I imagine the school will welcome him with open arms but if you start f/t & its not right for him it could be much harder, if not impossible, to reduce his hours.

Every half term my DS' teacher asks what I intend to do for the following half term & so in our case it certainly wasn't a year long decision, or it needn't have been.

Ultimately he's your boy & you know him best.

TheChaoGoesMu Sat 25-May-13 23:26:03

I'd probably send him full time tbh to give him a chance to settle in properly to get used to it and form solid friendships. Children do notice if their friends are only there sometimes. They all get tired, but they do get used to it. You are only delaying the inevitable. At this stage the school are used to dealing with children who aren't used to doing full days. I can't see you are doing him any favours if the rest of the class are attending full time.

Wuldric Sat 25-May-13 23:26:42

This sounds like precious cobblers to me, frankly. My DCs started school at 4 - five full days a week and revelled in it. Both April birthdays. Absolutely standard in the private sector.

You say that your preschool describe him as "forward" and "advanced". I say this problem is all in your head.

Cosydressinggown Sat 25-May-13 23:28:23

If I had a summer baby I would do this. I don't think starting school struggling sets a good precedent for the rest of their education.

My son's school has nap time in the afternoon in the reception year for those that need it, though, so check.

I'm not working at the moment - sahm. Was teaching before ds but have only worked some supply since then.

I think I will write to the school to see what they say. At least if they will agree to part time we have options. I would feel happier starting him in September and then if needs be continuing part time until half term or Christmas.

If they won't then I don't know. Either start him full time or defer him but neither seem ideal.

I hadn't thought about the after school invites I must admit. But then would he likely be going in first term anyway given that he's likely to be exhausted?

ImagineJL Sat 25-May-13 23:31:24

OP my DS was the same as yours with nursery. He loved pre-school though, which was where I sent him in the first term when he "should" have been in reception. He went just 2 mornings a week.

I think, before you get too bogged down with all this, you need to find out what the school can offer. It may be that they don't do part time for example, so you need to know what the score is before you start thinking too much about what you want to do.

But I can't stress enough that you should go with your instinct. Nobody here knows him like you do.

But wuldric they see him for 12 hours a week. They are describing how he is verbally and academically. I don't think than has any basis on how tired he will be.
He has always had sleep issues, maybe that makes me overlay cautious. I know that he will only be a tiny cog in the education system and they all have to get used to it etc etc. But he's my tiny cog.

MammaTJ Sat 25-May-13 23:36:01

My DD2 was due Sept 10th, was born Aug 22nd. She was 4 years and 2 weeks when she started school and has taken to it really well,

luckyclucky Sat 25-May-13 23:36:02

And when it comes to after school invites, just be the one to do the first inviting!
I forgot to say I did make the effort to initiate 'play dates' in an effort to help with friendships.

ImagineJL Sat 25-May-13 23:36:41

Wuldric your children were 4.5 when they started school presumably, if they're April birthdays and started in September? Very unhelpful post by the way, but I guess this is AIBU so you expect some people to pop on with a bit of gratuitous nastiness.

And as for my DS - he could have been invited to play after school by the entire school every day in that first term, but he wouldn't have gone once, as he would have been too exhausted. After school play didn't start for him until about April.

DewDr0p Sat 25-May-13 23:37:05

OP I think it's natural to have these concerns - I felt exactly the same about ds1.

But I notice in your OP you talk very much in terms of "he will" do this and "he will" do that when the truth is you don't really know.

I've got 3 summer born ds's, 2 of whom did half days for the first term, the third did full days as school/LA policy had changed in the meantime. There wasn't much difference in tiredness levels tbh - I think the mornings are by far the most full on part if the day. The afternoons are very chilled in comparison ime.

Yes they were all shattered to start with. But by half term they were all in the swing of it and so was I.

ImagineJL Sat 25-May-13 23:41:35

Can I also add that I have a DS2 who is an April birthday. He is starting school this Sept, but had he been required to start in April (when he was just 4), he would have been far better able to deal with it than DS1 would have been. All children are different. So this isn't just me being a precious mum, it's about knowing your individual child.

I think then, having read the advice, what I should do is approach the school re part time attendance and hope they agree. As someone said up thread it it probably easier to agree to part time but then go for more hours than to start full time and drop down.

If they no then I'm not sure. It is not just me that has these concerns about ds. Dh is in agreement as are my parents and inlaws (rare we agree so makes a pleasant change)

CloudsAndTrees Sat 25-May-13 23:46:41

As far as I know, the school can't legally stop you. My school strongly advises against children only attending in the morning after the initial settling in period, but we can't stop it, or do anything about it if a parent wants to do it. It's entirely your choice.

But like I said, it doesn't work well for the children who only do mornings when they are actually at school. I don't mean in any major way, I just mean the little things that an anxious parent is likely to worry about. When they start doing lunchtime, or the afternoon, it becomes apparent that there are little routines and things that go happen that they are playing catch up on. Like what we do when getting changed for PE, or tidy up time, or when we change our books, and the little things we talk about that consolidate learning and are particularly good in the social and emotional area of the EYFS.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 25-May-13 23:50:30

You seem to have your mind well made up anyway OP smile I FULLY remember the pain of sending my own DD to nursery when she wasn't keen too...it was horrid and I also agree that we send them ft too young in the UK...BUT....remember that sometimes he will be missing out on fun things too...afternoon activities vary and what are you going to do when for example, the DC have filled their pebble pot and a much hyped event such as a picnic or film is scheduled for their treat? Send him in for that? Keep him off and let him miss out? I don't think you're being very wise to delay the inevitable really.

goldenlula Sat 25-May-13 23:56:12

I sent ds2 in part time to begin with, the school offered part time if we wanted, ds2 did a couple of weeks at half days, firstly until 12 but he was keen to stay for lunch so he stayed until 1pm. Then we increased half a day a week so that the week before half term he did a full week. I have no regrets doing it this way, ds2 has struggled and still is unfortunately (possible dyspraxic traits, under assessment with various people) so I think the slow and steady start was the best way. He was 4 years 2 months at the time.
Dd is a May born child. When she starts school I have the feelin that she will go full time from the start as even at just 2 I can see a huge difference in her an ds2.

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 26-May-13 01:25:13

Ds3 used to have a little nap in the afternoon when in Reception. Teacher was happy to let him - he just used to take himself off to the quiet corner, curl up with a cushion and nod himself off. He wasn't the only one, I gather there were two or three of them, and it wasn't teacher-led: they just decided they'd had enough and wanted a kip for half an hour or so.

If you feel better about him only going part time then that's up to you, but Reception teachers are quite used to having tired 4 year olds and are very accommodating.

MummytoMog Sun 26-May-13 01:25:18

My DD is a late August baby (why didn't I hang on another damn week) and although she's been quite keen on nursery, she gets exhausted, just with the afternoon session. I'm dreading next year - she's not an early riser, she's vile when she's tired and although the nursery class have been pretty good at letting her nap when she's tired (she doesn't sleep in the afternoon at home generally) I don't know how accommodating reception will be. It's one of the things to be discussed at her next IEP meeting. The other thing I find I have to constantly emphasise is that she is a lot younger than the other children. For whatever reason, she is the only August baby, and the next youngest is a May born. She's not advanced socially or developmentally (in fact quite delayed) and has only really just caught up now with where the other kids were in September (potty trained, playing with other kids, able to ask for drinks/help). The staff have her on school action plus which has been a help, but I do wonder if she'd gone a year later, if anyone would be worrying...

Anyway, derail. I think that we will try for a phased introduction to full time to help her body clock reset to an earlier start and to ease her in. The other nursery kids never seem to have noticed or cared that she is a bit 'different' and I don't think it will make any difference to how she integrates with the reception class.

scottishmummy Sun 26-May-13 01:37:11

think you're overthinkin it.your boy will get by like everyone else

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