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?

Bogeyface Sun 26-May-13 02:30:37

He'll be fine. I have a late summer baby too, and she did just fine.

He is going to have to go full time at some point so you would do better to just let him get through it with the other kids rather than flagging him up as different.

Is this about him going full time, or about you needing to let him go and accept that he is growing up?

Mutley77 Sun 26-May-13 02:32:33

Just another thought. If I were you I would send him full time so he can experience the routine and be part of his peer group. But if he is really flagging by the end of the week keep him off on Fridays every now and then. I certainly wouldn't send my child part time or defer their start date if they were the only one, not fair as it puts them at a significant social disadvantage in my opinion.

Also remember we are only in may. You are nearly four months away from the reality of this and children can change significantly in this time.

You can also think about strategies for weekends and after school to help him manage the tiredness.

Bogeyface Sun 26-May-13 02:45:51

But if he is really flagging by the end of the week keep him off on Fridays every now and then. I certainly wouldn't send my child part time or defer their start date if they were the only one, not fair as it puts them at a significant social disadvantage in my opinion.

And starting out with the knowledge that Fridays are optional doesnt put him at any disadvantage?

I dont think the OP should do the part time thing at all, but if she is then it should be school sanctioned. Keeping him off for a full day just because he seems a bit tired and without the schools ok is not showing him the right attitude to school (after 5 it is not optional), and isnt helping him academically or socially.

CAF275 Sun 26-May-13 02:47:43

It's quite common in Scotland to defer for a year - would that be an option?

Not so much for academic reasons, but the social ones. My MIL is a retired primary head teacher and she also advised me that kids can cope very well moving up a year if they are deemed academically and socially suitable, but if they start too young and have to repeat a year they very, very rarely recover and it can cause all sorts of confidence issues.

If you don't think he's ready, you should seriously consider deferring for a year if you can. It may be the making of him.

jacks365 Sun 26-May-13 02:58:09

You can speak to the school with regards to part time but that is at the heads discretion but what you can do is defer starting till either the january or April and in the meantime use the early years provision to provide part time nursery place. If you defer for a maximum of 2 terms the school have to keep his place open but if you delay till the following september you would need to reapply and no guarantee you'd get a place.

You know your ds better than anyone else so do what you feel is right for him.

BookieMonster Sun 26-May-13 02:59:08

Send him to school next year instead. We did this with DS, delayed his start for a year, and it was the best decision we ever made.

CrimeLab Sun 26-May-13 04:14:21

I'm the opposite of pp and had no choice. When my DC1 started school they did staggered intake with the youngest being held back a term so DC1 didn't start until January term so stayed in the school's nursery class for an extra term (so basically majority of his friends moved up). So term 1 the reception class had about 22 pupils most turned 5 by January term. The reception teacher got to know these older children well, the children got to establish relationships, basically overall IMHO they had a head start.

So DC1 only had 2 terms of reception before jumping into year 1 and it was obvious the year 1 teacher favoured the older children (merit charts etc) which was frustrating! although he is all caught up now and excelling (year 2) year 1 it was tough.. Staggered intake has now been scrapped at our school but do think about it...

Full time school might just be what helps with him sleeping better, children are resilient, maybe try it out full time give it a month then take a check point...

ll31 Sun 26-May-13 07:06:51

Can you defer him for yr ? Otherwise I'd go full time from start so he doesn't miss anything or feel/look different.

I'd also be v matter of fact to him about it ie,don't act as if you expect him to be exhausted etc.
You do sound a bit overly pfb about him with all grand parents involved etc...
Have to say I tend more towards the wuldric approach...

FWIW my ds would have hated missing any part of school in first yr.
Good luck whatever you decide.

lainiekazan Sun 26-May-13 07:17:48

I sent dd part time for the whole of reception. End of August birthday, and premature to boot. I just turned up at 12 every day to collect her. actually I would have liked to skip reception altogether, but being a very oversubscribed school, I had to bag the place.

And no academic problems whatsoever.

VinegarDrinker Sun 26-May-13 07:24:38

My (teacher) Mum did this with me <cough> number of years ago smile (I'm an Aug 31st birthday, was a couple of weeks early)

I actually used to go to my preschool in the afternoons "to help" wink Certainly did me no harm, socially or academically.

You know your DC best. All the nonsense about friendship groups is given as a reason why kids have to go to the school nursery, too. It's pure nonsense at that age. Kids in private nurseries regularly do different days/hours with no issues.

sillyoldfool Sun 26-May-13 07:27:04

Dd1 went part time till ag

sillyoldfool Sun 26-May-13 07:28:40

Dd1 went pt till after Xmas, she's in y1 now, doing very well, loads of friends etc. it was the right decision for her and the school were happy with it.

ImagineJL Sun 26-May-13 07:39:45

All this stuff about kids not settling in if they miss out on the early weeks or months is rubbish. What about families who move to the area mid year? Do those children never make friends and settle in, cursed socially and academically until secondary school? Of course they don't.

thegreylady Sun 26-May-13 08:02:04

Remember it is 5 months off September so he may surprise you. I would ask about the option of half days but I bet he will be fine. At 4.2 he is unlikely to be the youngest in the class.

LiegeAndLief Sun 26-May-13 08:15:51

I did exactly that with my prem August born ds. He went two full days and the rest mornings to begin with and then built up gradually. It was absolutely the right thing for him and we had none of the problems other posters have mentioned.

Having said that, this approach was very much supported and offered by the school and there were a fair few kids doing it. We have been very lucky with ds's school which had the attitude that you could do whatever you thought right for your child, so if they were born 31st August and were ready you could send them full time, if they were born in April but not ready you could have just sent them five mornings.

Dd goes in September, she is a July baby but full term. I'm not sure what to do with her yet as she is much more ready than ds.

Incidentally I think from last year schools have to offer some kind of part time provision for children not yet 5 - look into it if the school are unsupportive.

Thank you for all advice and suggestions.
I know the reception teachers are used to children being exhausted. However, there is no way ds will nap in the classroom, no way. He is also extremely tall for his age (in age 6-7 clothes) and I do think people forget how young he is. When we went to preschool parents evening I mentioned that I was concerned about him coping at school and what did they think and they had forgotten that he wasn't even 4 yet.

I don't know. I will speak to the school and see what they think. I know that it is fairly common at the school for children to defer a term or two so maybe he wouldn't be the only part time one. Perhaps other children will do that too?

And yes, he is my precious only born, so what? He is precious, I just want him to be happy. grin

HollyBerryBush Sun 26-May-13 08:21:04

Will the school hold his place for however many months? If it is an over subscribed school, is it fair to deprive a child who could have been having an education of that place?

Two of mine are summer babies and didn't struggle at all.

This whole culture of looking for problems before they arise does my head in. People seem to want to stagger from one state of high anxiety to another for no reason at all.

They will hold it until Easter.
I don't really want to delay him. I just want the option of less hours if he's struggling.
Is it so bad to not want your just 4 year old to be struggling? No where else in Europe sticks them in full time education at 4. It doesn't seem to work either as it's not like the uk is particularly far ahead in levels of literacy and numeracy.

It is madness that they have to go so young if they are blt ready and quite a few people that teach reception agree!

CalicoRose Sun 26-May-13 08:38:21

Firstly you need to talk to school, because you don't know what your options are until then.

If they're happy for him to start part time, then take the offer. He can go full time from day 1, but it'll give you the option not to if you don't want to.

(it is still a long time between now and Sep. he will mature and grow up a bit anyway....)

If they won't let you go part time then you have a hard decision - which again I don't think you should make until Sep.

There is no crystal ball. No one can know what is the best thing to do. So you need to either trust school or trust yourself.

And given that school don't have your DSs interests at heart in the same way you do, I know which I trust.

Loulybelle Sun 26-May-13 08:52:31

My DD is a summer baby, youngest in the class, shes not a good sleeper, but she makes a full week, and loves it, you can only see how he gets on before you really know if he can cope with.

WipsGlitter Sun 26-May-13 09:09:02

Is he your only child? How long is the school day. My DS finishes at 2 so it's not that much longer after lunch and I think it's mainly free play in the afternoon. He then goes to afterschool for another couple of hours!!

A few things, work on the sleep in general. What's the problem - frequent waking? Try and establish some friends and do weekend play dates. Don't mess the teacher about, it sounds like you want him to try full time but might then go part time if its bit working?

Oblomov Sun 26-May-13 09:25:22

I admit I did not have this problem with ds1, and I have it even less with ds2 who starts soon, is very old, in the year.
But I think you underestimate the social aspect, of being there at the end, going to tea, and the whole of the afternoon session which is more relaxed, thus friendships formed, when there is more games, less phonics for eg.
And whilst boys do group, best friends are also formed from day 1, within the group. This is a crutial part of school. If you asked my ds1, THE most important one.

I think it is partly influenced by what I saw when teaching. There would be some children each year - mainly summer borns, mainly boys, who really really really struggled. And the reception teachers would say another few months and they'd have been ready. And then sometimes they were so fed up by the time they were ready that they'd already decided they hated school and that they were 'naughty' or 'stupid.'
It is telling that summer born children are much more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Why? Simply because IMO they are just less ready to sit and learn like their elder peers. I'm not denying the existence of ADHD, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I think schools look for a reason for the behaviour and it is largely maturity. I can't see any other reason for this skew towards summer borns being more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis.

Oblomov Sun 26-May-13 09:33:48

Plus, have you met the teacher? Do you like her and respect her? Have you told her exactly how you feel, like on this thread?

our reception teachers are fab. She had ds1 sitting next to her for weeks, she told me later. I love her and thought she had done a Superb job with ds1. Then he got his confidence and she said he just flew.

They have seen it all before. What % of reception children are young? Lots. She will have dealt with this hundreds if times. Do you not believe that?

zipzap Sun 26-May-13 09:36:26

Why not talk to the teacher and agree to beflexible about it?
Bit of a pain for you as you won't know when you're going to need to pick him up, but that way he gets to experience it and can see what it's like and ease himself into it.

To start you might find you are picking up early regularly but after a week or three you might find that he wants to stay because they are doing something he particularly likes, then a week or two more and he's staying for mindset and Tuesday, then not long until it's only Friday afternoon that's a problem.

If you start out giving your ds the ability to stay if needed you might just find he surprises you, but it will also help to give him the feeling of control over the situation

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