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 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 ( 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 .

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 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

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

Oblomov Sun 26-May-13 09:36:29

All the mums of summer borns say that or our school looks after the young ones, not just a little bit, but a huge amount.

I haven't met the teacher yet, believe it is a male teacher but not sure. It was last year but they may have moved things round again I guess.
Ds would be going in to a reception and year 1 mix. So he will be nearly two whole years younger than the eldest in the class.

If ds starts and is ready and wants to go full time I wouldn't stop him! I'm being very positive about school with him.

knackeredmother Sun 26-May-13 09:45:00

Trust your instincts, don't listen to anyone else. You know what is right for your son.

Saski Sun 26-May-13 09:53:43

I think it's insane how early kids are shipped off to reception in this country - I would keep mine home til as late as possible.

I was fortunate in that my kids were relatively old for the year (my oldest son is THE oldest, and my youngest one of the oldest) - which might not be great for them academically - but some kids are still wobbly toddlers!

Smartiepants79 Sun 26-May-13 10:18:15

The problem with deferring for a year in England is that he would not get a reception year at all.
He would go straight into year 1. They have to stay with their peer group. Children do not get kept back a year unless there are some very serious special needs or background issues.

CalicoRose Sun 26-May-13 10:19:55

Have you got any UK data to say that ADHD is more often diagnosed in summer borns?

In this country (unlike the US which is very different) it's very hard to get a diagnosis of ADHD even if you do have it....

It's certainly not common to get a diagnosis without years of extreme stress and anxiety and problems.

Alligatorpie Sun 26-May-13 10:24:53

I teach kindergarten (not in the UK) and I would not want one part time student in my class. All children are tired when they start school, and in the first few weeks of class we have quiet time with a story, soft music and students lying on cushions after lunch. This continues as long as the class need it, (sometimes until Christmas), although I have colleagues who do this all year.

What if you need to talk to the teacher - will you interrupt her teaching or supervising the children to do it? I often have several projects on the go at once, we might spend 15 minutes after math to continue with a writing / colouring project we started in the morning, you dc would miss that completion time. It would also mean you child might consistently miss library, computer class or PE if they were scheduled at a time he would not be there.

If I have planned a (say) language arts class and the students are hyper or unable to focus, I will take them outside instead. That means the LA lesson is taught at a different time. With a K class, you just go with it and I would worry that one student is missing a lot of curriculum. It would also mean he would need a lot of one on one attention to make up the lessons. Time a teacher can fit in if it is a one off absence, but frustrating if it is a daily occurance. Also, you might find it is disruptive for the other children to have someone coming and going at different times. Aos, what would you about assemblies? Buddy classses? Field trips? These are all important aspects of building a classroom community.

If you have the option of deferring his entry, I strongly encourage you to do that, if you truly feel that full time is not an option for him.

I know it is hard to send you pfb to school. Despite being in the same school as my dd, I still struggled with it. But I really believe part time is not the solution.

Good luck.

Alligatorpie Sun 26-May-13 10:28:13

Also - bfing and typing on ipad- not a good combo.

Casey Sun 26-May-13 10:29:33

Ds1's yr2 teacher told me that when he daughter was this age, she would pick her up to take her home for lunch then she'd have a nap. The she took her back into school just in time for afternoon play at 2.30 followed by story time. The dear child was oblivious to the fact that she was missing part of the school day!

See this is my issue with reception. On one hand people say oh it's very relaxed, they don't learn much etc but then on the other people say they'll really miss out if they don't go.

I think I will have to see what the school say and what ds is like come September.

Saski Sun 26-May-13 11:48:42

Reception is important for kids who don't have a stimulating home environment.

scottishmummy Sun 26-May-13 11:52:51

I think the posts are predominately your anxiety,your anticipation and stress
your ds snt first kid go school at 4yo and there will be other youngsters too
you need to think about regulating your response and not making this a big deal

I know that scottishmunmy. I know he won't be the only one. But he's the only one I'm worried about!

5madthings Sun 26-May-13 11:58:26

i sent ds3 part time until easter in reception. it was fine, he didnt miss out.

ds4 is march born he went full time straight away as he wanted to and was ready for it but i do give him the odd day off if he is too tired for school.

scottishmummy Sun 26-May-13 12:05:10

you need to be calm,upbeat and positive about school to support son.not a stress bunny
look he's not first youngster,he won't be last you need to reign this in and be more stoic
being a parent is about letting them becoming increasing independent and doing big need to support this,not get all angsty.

fuzzpig Sun 26-May-13 12:05:57

My June baby only did half days on Friday for the first 2 terms in reception. It was our choice, I simply went to the HT (she stands at the gate every morning so very approachable/informal smile) and said I was a bit concerned about her getting tired (she found nursery very tiring) and would it be ok to just pick her up at 12 on one day a week. No problem whatsoever. It was HT who suggested Fridays as she knew that there wouldn't be phonics/numeracy during the session she would miss.

She is in yr1 now and has always done brilliantly both socially and in her school work so it didn't cause any problems IMO. I never considered doing this more than once a week though.

DS will be 4 on 30th August! Nursery (attached to school) have said they recommend a very slow start with lots of half days, he has a significant speech delay (although he is improving). I'm actually concerned this will make it worse particularly socially, as I know some of the other children call him a baby because he doesn't speak properly. There is a parent induction meeting after half term though so hopefully we will get more information then.

fuzzpig Sun 26-May-13 12:07:27

BTW we only started doing half days on Fridays after she had been at school for a while (ie once we knew there was an issue with tiredness, rather than anticipating one that may not have occurred IYSWIM)

lljkk Sun 26-May-13 12:14:34

I don't think you can decide this until you try it. I would try sending him full time and see how it goes.

lottieandmia Sun 26-May-13 12:26:33

I have this problem too - dd3 is not in nursery full time - she goes 3 days a week but will start full time school in September and will have to get used to a 8.30 - 3.30 day Monday to Friday from the outset and I am worried about how tired she'll be. Even though she was 4 in April she still gets very tired in the afternoons and her behaviour seems to get very challenging and she can't be reasoned with at these times. I am a bit worried what she will be like when I pick her up tbh. My other children were not napping much after the age of 3.5 really.

HotheadPaisan Sun 26-May-13 13:01:36

DS1 was half-time for most of YR, he said he wanted to go FT towards the end of the year so he did. He has ASD and I regret sending him at all to pre-school, he just wasn't ready and it was awful. In a ideal world I would do 2/3rds school and a 1/3rd at home for him.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 26-May-13 16:04:24

Ask the school what sort of things they do in the afternoons to see if you are happy with him missing those. If you don't mind him missing out on getting to know the afternoon routines and are ok with him feeling a bit like he doesn't know what's going on when everyone else does when he does start doing afternoons, then that's your decision.

Academically it will make very little difference. Socially and emotionally, it might. You have o think about the areas that concern you most.

Samu2 Sun 26-May-13 16:46:31

My four year old should be going up full time in sept as well.

I say should because they have to do three weeks of half days then there is a meeting between the teachers and parents to decide whether or not they feel the child is ready for full time school.

I think this is a great idea but my 4 year old is ready for full time school for sure.

JerseySpud Sun 26-May-13 16:54:23

personally i think yab a tad u

He will miss out on so much, friend making, play time etc in reception if he is part time and will stand out if he is the only part timer.

JerseySpud Sun 26-May-13 16:55:06

and my youngest is a June baby and small for her age.

pooka Sun 26-May-13 17:06:13

Our lea still offers sept/jan starts but when dd was reception age they either started in sept or in jan depending upon age - dd has July irtheay, so was a January starter. I am thankful for this, because I would it be happy with a just 4 year old starting school.

Luckily ds1 and ds2 are early September birthdays. Ds1 started on his 5th birthday and ds2 will be 5 and a week (1st sept birthday). Ds1 would have been lost emotionally although fine academically if he'd started just after his 4th birthday. The extra time at home/preschool was invaluable.

samu that sounds like a great system. The children will have started and it should be easier to tell whether or not they will manage full time.

In not a great fan of shove them in at the deep end and then try and sort it out later.

Quite mixed responses. Obviously I don't want to hold ds back socially. He is quite a socialable little boy and quite confident. It's just the exhaustion. I cannot stress enough how much tiredness affects him. I know it does to a degree with all children but ds seems to really struggle when tired. Noticeably more so than others.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 26-May-13 18:18:24

Have you seen the GP about his response to tiredness? It sounds quite extreme and I can see why you might worry....but really, if you're that worried about it, pop to the GP and have him checked over. Does he eat well etc? Is he a good weight?

bigkidsdidit Sun 26-May-13 18:23:58

we've just moved to Scotland and here deferring a year is very common, particularly for boys. My DS is January, which is the equivalent of an August child in England because cutoffs are different, and I will be deferring him so that he starts at 5y8m. You get 2 yeards of preschool funding instead. It is very common and almost universally (among teachers and parents I've talked to) agreed to be much better.

It's such a shame you can't do that. If you defer a whole year would you lose the place?

I'd go part time and shove the doubters, personally!

CloudsAndTrees Sun 26-May-13 18:28:52

If you can think of other ways o combat the tiredness, my advice would be to do that rather than send him to school differently to the rest of the class.

If a more than at least three others are planning on only doing mornings for a while too, then it might not make much difference. But if your ds will be the only one, or one of two, then the disadvantages might well outweigh the advantages.

You have a point about 4 being very young to start school, but this is the system we have so it's we have to make the best of it.

Your ds is likely to be more tired than usual whenever he starts full time school, doing half a term or a term of mornings only isn't going to make that extra tiredness completely disappear.

Couldn't you just plan to do nothing in the afternoons and have quiet weekends at home for the first few weeks instead?

Yes, he's tall and fine weight wise. Fussy eater in that he will only accept certain foods but reasonable range of foods and I give him a multi vitamin. I always worry because I am diabetic and know that tiredness can be a sign but I check him fairly regularly and he's ok touch wood.

Re the tiredness I think a lot of it is nervous energy. Generally he is on the go all the time from the second he gets up until when he goes to bed. He sleeps for 13 hours a night and now sleeps through, although that has only been the last few months. I find he is easily overstimulated and the more tired he is the harder he finds it to sleep. He has been the same since he was a baby. As a baby he'd only sleep in his cot, not in the car or pram. He'd be howling and howling because he was tired but would refuse to sleep unless there was absolutely no stimulation. A bit like a budgie. Although I don't think he fits the asd profile he is in many ways what you would call a 'spirited' child.

I suppose my thinking is that if he started gradually he'd be less overwhelmed and would probably cope much better.

I've noticed when tired he shakes his head from side to side a lot. Other children do comment on it. He only does it when tired and again, it's something he's always done. It's quite manic.

big he has to start sometime in reception to keep the place.

Beamur Sun 26-May-13 18:40:07

You're always going to get polarised opinions on this issue.
In my personal experience, part time was ideal for my DD, she missed out on very little at school, has made good friends and is now doing well. She was never teased or singled out in any way for being part time - another poster made the comment that her little boy (?) was always welcomed with open arms by the rest of the class when he attended and that was our experience too! I was happy that she got to spend just a tiny extra bit of childhood with me at home.
I think under 5 is very young, regardless of their developmental stage to be in full time education.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sun 26-May-13 18:47:53

At age 4, the 'social' issues parents worry about are groundless. Kids would tolerate a child being off for medical or whatever reasons, at age 4 they don't notice in the way an older child would.

gummybear13 Sun 26-May-13 18:52:18

My little boy was 3 years and one week old the day he started at school, full time. He was fine.

Flobbadobs Sun 26-May-13 18:58:30

Would the school let Ds start part time and maybe look at it again at Christmas?
DD is the oldest in her year bit I did have the same worries in a way, they all look too little to be starting school at that age! grin
Don't forget that he should have a gradual admission at the start of the new school year, he may not actually do a full week straight away, it might be 2 or 3 weeks in before he stays for a full day, giving him a chance to get used to a new routine and you a chance to monitor how he is settling in.
If pushed I would say your are a wee bit U but only a smidge!

They have one week part time and then should be in full time. It is not long...

Yes I would probably hope for him to be full time from January.

FullOfChoc Sun 26-May-13 19:15:13

I kept my 4 year and 3 month old in her nursery for the autumn term, so she started in January. I would have sent her part time for spring term if I'd felt it was necessary.

It sounds like you have thought this through and you know what's best for your DS.

In your place, I would defer for a year. That way he'll start in reception in a really strong position, being a year older with more stamina, better sleep - he'll be able to take on the world. If your instincts are saying that he's borderline now, then trust yourself, and make it easy for him by letting him start when he's bigger.

Looking at my 4 yr and 4 month old DD now, there's no way I'd let her do 5 full days a week. She only stopped napping about a month ago!

formicadinosaur Sun 26-May-13 19:22:15

DS now in reception. We did part time till Xmas (although no one else did) and more recently DS just has two afternoons off a week now in the last term. We also did this with my eldest now in Y6 and in the long term it makes no difference what so ever.

I do know my know child much better then a new teacher who has 25 other kids to look after. Putting my childs needs first is most important, above learning numbers to 20 or reading. The learning and social aspect is not something either of my August born sons have stuggled with though. The Reception year should really just be play - other countries don't even have 5 year olds at school!

You can by law have your child in full time, start after the term after thier 5th birthday or do reception part time. Not many schools make the parents aware about the last option.

You need to do what ever is best for your child. He needs to have a positive expereince of his new school.

I knew many parents said to me 'he'll be fine' but their children had different genetics, better stamina, didn't need so much sleep, were older and where quite a bit bigger. You are the best judge.

formicadinosaur Sun 26-May-13 19:23:53

Notyournaan - it's hard to defer for a year and start Reception the following year in England. Often a statement is needed

CombineBananaFister Sun 26-May-13 20:11:43

I think you know your child best and you seem to have thought it out with valid reasons and not just rushing into it. I don't think you seem overly anxious OR pfb about it.

In most other areas of life we anticipate potential problems and try to minimize them with forward planning but when it comes to this subject i think people can be scared of doing what they know is best for them because it's not the norm or not everyone else's doing it. So what?

Trust your instincts and if it turns out better than expected, up his hours. He has MANY years in education to make friends and catch-up BUt only 1 first time to start school and like it instead of hating it.

Smartiepants79 Mon 27-May-13 10:15:49

In England deferring for a year is NOT an option unless he has severe special needs.
Part time is a good solution if you are concerned and school will agree.

posthoc Fri 21-Jun-13 08:20:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

posthoc Fri 21-Jun-13 08:21:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

posthoc Fri 21-Jun-13 08:22:32

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