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4 yr old not ready for school

(16 Posts)
Clare123 Tue 30-Aug-11 21:33:52

My ds was 4 last week, so he is the youngest in the school year. I feel he is not ready for school, and that I am setting him up to fail.

He is quite a hyper kid, his behaviour can be challenging and he has absolutely no interest in anything academic (won't pick up a pen etc). More worryingly I can see he doesn't have huge self esteem, and will say he can't do things even before he tries. He doesn't make friends easily and often says other kids are mean to him, but it's more that he doesn't know how to join in or play.

I spoke to his teacher and the head teacher about deferring, but they really were against the idea, saying he would be the only one starting in January if he did.

On he plus side, he is very independent on getting dressed, using toilet and eating.

How can I help?! What can I do to help him?

onepieceofcremeegg Tue 30-Aug-11 21:37:02

I am in a similar situation but I feel my (just) 4 year old dd is ready.
Ime (I also have a child about to start year 3) Reception isn't really academic, it is a lot of learning through play.
Many 4 and 5 year olds have "challenging" behaviour as you describe, and struggle with learning to socialise etc. The teacher/TA are likely to be experienced in addressing all of these things.
I think you have to try and be optimistic and positive, and give it a chance. It is great that he is independent with getting dressed etc.
Give him a few days/weeks to settle in and see how it goes before worrying too much.

TheOriginalFAB Tue 30-Aug-11 21:38:47

Sounds like a normal child to me.

The fact he has the independant skills will be great for the teacher.

Work on building his confidence, do colouring and try not to fret.

candr Tue 30-Aug-11 21:42:10

Don't stress, we teachers are used to dealing with late birthday children and all types of behaviour. Once he learns the rules he will settle and they will have lots of tricks up their sleeves to aid this. You have made the staff aware of his personality and age so they will expect him to be more immature than others in class but he really will find it harder making friends if he goes in Jan if it something he already finds hard. I am sure you will be surprised at how quickly he adapts though he will be very tired for the first few weeks so go easy on the social activities.

onepieceofcremeegg Tue 30-Aug-11 21:44:21

The Head at dd's school told me they are always aware of the "summer birthday" children. Some of them do their initial visits/settling in when they are still only 3! (that's what happened for us)
Personally I would be a bit more anxious I think if we weren't so happy with the school and our older dd has thrived there. smile

An0therName Tue 30-Aug-11 21:47:39

honestly learning to get on with children is what reception is about - most of the time they can choose what they do,and any good reception teacher will build up confidence -my DS had a bit of this and his teacher really helped him

headinhands Tue 30-Aug-11 21:53:12

My ds started fulltime reception in January at just 4.4 yrs old. I was worried too, he has gross motor delays and other bits and bobs that make him seem much younger and I was in tears about the thought of him in the playground. Suffice to say he enters Y1 next week and although he is still obviously less physically/socially accomplished as the average child in his year group he has settled in well and clearly gets a lot out of school. Starting school is a bid deal for the parent of even the most ready child, which is something that helped me handle my feelings about ds and ensure I didn't pass them onto him, not saying that you are at all of course. And for what it's worth being independent with regards to dressing, toileting etc are probably the biggies anyway. Reluctance to write are what teachers are trained to deal with, they are very good!

Saracen Wed 31-Aug-11 03:46:23

I'd wait, especially because of his low self-esteem. However much the school may understand that he is less mature than others and that it's to be expected that he won't manage to do many of the same things as others in his class, will he understand that? He is going to be spending many hours being asked to do things he can't yet do, alongside others who can do them. That is bound to take a toll on a child who already feels that many things are beyond him.

If you keep him in preschool, he can work on his social and other skills there and have the experience of being the eldest. There will be others who can't manage everything he can, and he will have the experience of being the big boy who already knows his way around.

It's true that whenever he starts primary school he will have to adapt, but adapting will be easier if he is older and more confident as the result of having been a big fish in the small pond of preschool for a while.

By the way, you can defer longer than January. With his birthday, he would need to start Reception by the end of the year in order to keep his place at school.

prh47bridge Wed 31-Aug-11 07:42:11

You have the right to defer. It is your decision, not the school's. As Saracen says, you can defer until next Easter if you want but you cannot defer a full year or you will lose your place at this school.

Having said that, I would also point out that Reception is intended to be a gentle introduction to school. If he goes to nursery they will use exactly the same curriculum as Reception. The emphasis is on learning through play and preparing children for the more formal schooling that starts in Year 1.

Chestnutx3 Wed 31-Aug-11 12:58:36

Alot of my friends found that the first term of Reception was even gentler than nursery in many respects. I think its much worse in terms of friendships to defer entry. Going to nursery where he will not make friends in his year group is not great IMO.

SenoritaViva Wed 31-Aug-11 13:05:35

You do have a right to defer, however, I guess the school are concerned that he will be 'even more left out' if he is the only one starting in January. It is not legal for him to be in school and therefore it is your right to make the final decision.

There are many children who start reception like this - teachers are used to it. Reception is about learning through play and less about the academics. It doesn't matter if he doesn't join in, he can play with something he is interested in alone and can be encouraged to join in with other things. IME a good reception class will have staff that are good at encouraging this and possibly giving them a whole year to develop this skill might be in his best interests.

spiderpig8 Wed 31-Aug-11 16:53:22

I would defer.Full time school is not the place for a lively just-turned-4 yo boy
He will be the centre of attention when he starts after xmas or easter and they will all vy to be the new kid's friend.The school just want his funding I'd guess!

prh47bridge Wed 31-Aug-11 19:06:02

spiderpig8 - No, the school are not after his funding. Their funding for this financial year (to March 2012) is already set. Their funding for the next financial year will be set based on the number of children on the roll on a particular date in January. It therefore makes absolutely no difference from a funding point of view whether he starts in September or January. Indeed, they may actually be slightly better off if he does start in January as their expenditure will be reduced a little.

As I have said before, if the choice is between school and nursery it really makes no difference. The curriculum will be identical with the emphasis on learning through play. Schools are used to dealing with lively just-turned-4yo children of both sexes.

Lucy88 Thu 01-Sep-11 12:26:28

I wouldn't defer - it sounds like he actually needs to go to school.

Reception isn't just about the academic stuff. Its more about the social stuff. My son was the tyoungest in his class and I was worried about it and more so because he hadn't been in nursery with any of his class and didn't know anyone.

He was well behaved, but not very confident. What a change a year made - it really was the making of him.

Same with my Nephew. His behaviour was challenging to say the least and going to school really improved it. He had no concentration at all, didn't mix well, answered back, threw things etc. School really did make the difference.

Sounds like it is just what your child needs.

lesstalkmoreaction Thu 01-Sep-11 12:33:51

Send him he'll be fine and if he isn't or is tired by friday then take the day off and do something together. You do not have to send him in to school until he is aged 5.
I kept my ds off school some fridays as he was so tired it was pointless sending him in, we would go and have a swim or do something fun together. He was an end of june baby and definately not academic but enjoyed the difference school offered him, he loved being around the older children at breaktime, he loved the laid back approach of reception but with more of a routine than playgroup. He was ready for a change and was happy to start with his friends, I don't think deferring to january makes much difference other than making him the new boy on his own.

PastSellByDate Fri 02-Sep-11 14:03:18

Hi Clare123:

I'm just a Mum, but having had two girls go through reception recently, I can assure you that although your child might be the youngest there will be other children closer to 4 than 5. Reception is genuinely about learning through play and giving children the opportunity to adjust to the school environment.

Give it a chance - but also realise that there are half-way houses. Potentially you could arrange for your child to attend half-days at first and gradually build up to full weeks, if the first weeks of full-time aren't going well. Let the teacher guide you.

I'd suggest introducing yourself to the teacher one afternoon and ask how your son is settling in. You may be surprised. How children behave at home can be very different from how they behave at school/ nursery.

Also remind yourself that at this stage they still often play alongside each other rather than with each other.

Encourage him to be kind and friendly, but don't worry about whether he has made friends in these first weeks. Eventually someone will invite him to a birthday party - and that will help solidify freindships.

Do bear in mind that it isn't always the age - I know of children closer to 5 that found reception very hard going at first. A lot depends on how used to being around other children they are.

It is all new, but eventually it will become familiar and your child will develop his way of navigating this new environment. Hang in there and keep positive.

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