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Help, DS, aged 4 not coping well since starting reception class two weeks ago

(24 Posts)
jillyrg Sat 17-Sep-11 21:23:58

Hi, Can anyone offer any advice?

My DS who was 4 in june, started Reception class two weeks ago, it was not staggered entry, just 9-3.15 straight off from the monday.

As a scot i'm used to children starting school when they are 5 - 5 1/2, So i had issues with him starting at 4 and i did express my concearns to the nursery and the school on visits, i was assured that he was ready for school.

His first week was great, he enjoyed it, had a few hiccups with the lunches and the dinner ladies not ensuring that he was eating anything from his lunch box!! but was recitified by day4. He was coming home with stickers.

Second week was different story, he had terrible weekend, acting up, ignoring me, hitting brother, screaming and crying - all things he does when he is exhausted or over-whelmed. He told me he didnt want to go to school on monday morning - its too long mummy, i want nursery. His behavior at home got worse.
Thursday came and i was invited into class at home time, he'd Bit another child (a family friend, whom he plays with reguarly, but they do rub one another up the wrong way occassionally) however biting has never been an issue with My DS so was shocked. I told teacher my concerns, he was like this last year when father was deployed in afghan, he didnt settle til his return!
Friday - teacher had to take him out of PE as he just couldnt stop crying and was emotional all morning, teacher was going to call at lunch for me to collect him but said he was okay in the aft, i so wished she'd called cos clearly he needed a cuddle and his bed! he slept from 3.30 - 6pm on friday aft, bed at 9pm til 7.30 then fell asleep at 12pm today!! He is just shattered.

Is it reasonable to ask the reception teacher if i can stagger his entry for a few weeks to ease him in? I would like to suggest 3 &1/2 days for two weeks then 4 days for 3 weeks then into 5 days. I do think it would help theres no way he's learning when he's this tired. He has a good routine, bed at 7pm up at 7am. Good healthy diet, i dont give him chocolate or baked beans as his behaviour is as i described above! Drinks milk or water.

many thanks, and sorry if this is really long, im really worried and this is my first post.

Tgger Sat 17-Sep-11 21:31:37

I feel for you. I think I'm extremely lucky my son's birthday is October as think this could easily have been him otherwise and it seems so unfair on the younger children. So obvious that they are not coping because they are TOO YOUNG for the demands being put on them. GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (on the system!).

I would be tempted to ask for staggered entry as you suggest and then tbh I would just keep him off school if he's exhausted- it's only this year at our school that the younger ones have started in September rather than January and the law is not to have to go to school till 5 isn't it?

Schools are funny- they have to have a "policy" (ie that the kids should go full time), but I think they will turn a blind eye to absences etc if it's in the kid's interest- at least I hope so!

Dozer Sat 17-Sep-11 21:32:07

Hiya, no experience, but think that the rules (outlined on another thread) would allow you to send him for part-days for a long while yet, which might help.

Poor wee mite.

dikkertjedap Sat 17-Sep-11 21:35:41

Sometimes the first few days are fine and all exciting but then when it sinks in that this is how life is going to be from now on (e.g. without mommy close most of the time) they can get very tearful and quite distressed. I would be wary of starting part-time. I would either totally defer until you think he is ready (he doesn't need to go yet, he is not five yet) or go full-time. The risk of going part-time is that you create an expectation that you may water it down even further and hence reduce the chance he tries to settle AND he might have more difficulty making friends. Is it a big school? If so, could he be in a different class instead of being with the little boy he bit? Also, does the school have resources to deal with your DS when he is distressed, e.g. a free person to distract him, take him away from the other children for a while to settle him before taking him back to the class? It often also helps if the teacher can team him up with another child. Even some four year olds love taking care off another child and they can be really good at it as well! Good luck.

lesstalkmoreaction Sat 17-Sep-11 21:37:16

My ds now aged 9 is a june baby and when he started school I happily kept him home on fridays for the the first few weeks absolutely no point sending him if he's falling asleep in the quiet corner after lunch, then I would pick hime up early if I thought he wouldn't cope but he was fine by October. Most of the important work was done in the morning, more arts and crafts or pe is done in the afternoon.
School were fine with it but if they hadn't been frankly tough as legally he didn't have to be at school and I just rang in on the friday and he was booked out as poorly. This is a small village school so possibly more open to it, but don't feel bullied into sending him in if he's not up to it, but I would only do it on the friday as I didn't want him to think if he just yawned then I wouldn't send him.

acsec Sat 17-Sep-11 21:42:32

As he is not actually statutory school age your DS doesn't have to be there.
here

Compulsory school age
Starting school
In England and Wales, most local authorities have a policy of accepting children into school at the beginning of the term during which the child becomes five. However, the child does not have to attend school until the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday.

In England, from the school year beginning September 2011, local authorities must accept children into primary school in the September following the child's fourth birthday. However, parents may request that their child does not start school until later in the year or until reaching compulsory school age. A parent will also be able to request that a child attends school part-time until compulsory school age.

jillyrg Sat 17-Sep-11 21:46:34

Thanks folks.

Its a small school, if he hadnt got into this school, theres no way i would of put him to the bigger schools. I cant take him out, the two good nurseries are full. And i wouldnt want him to think he's done something wrong.

He's not a clingy child, never has been, makes friends with anyone. I only want to stagger entry to ease him into in, i done this last year also when funded nursery started so he could cope easier, and i have to say it worked. He knows alot of the children, but mainly girls and older kids too who are in the playground at lunch. I have tried to strike conversations with the mums of the other boys but only had joy with one so far and she told me that her son already sits with my DS at lunch time. I feel really angry at myself and full of guilt that ive sent him too early.

jillyrg Sat 17-Sep-11 21:50:15

ps i didnt want to send him, was told by nursery he is more than ready and i'd be holding him back by not sending him.

thnk you so much for your help i will request a meeting on monday to stagger entry, failing that i'll just keep him off sick, lol!

I will learn to trust my instincts in future

sleepwouldbenice Sat 17-Sep-11 21:52:35

Dont dont dont feel guilty. You tried, he was happy at first, its now getting too much for him, you are now sorting. Thats excellent parenting to me

Your plan sounds ideal - go for it and good luck

dikkertjedap Sat 17-Sep-11 21:53:45

If he knows some of the girls, you could ask the teacher to team him up with either one of these girls or a suitable boy in his class. If the teaming up is done consistently, he is much likely to settle quite quickly. Try not to feel distressed yourself as he may pick up on it and it may make it worse for both of you. Try to be really positive, he is such a big boy now, going to big school and you are so proud of him etc.

Dartfordmummy Sat 17-Sep-11 23:31:23

What baked beans got to do with his behaviour!!

jillyrg Sun 18-Sep-11 08:13:04

They make him act up!

Runoutofideas Sun 18-Sep-11 08:30:28

Jillyrg - I've been having similar feelings to you. My dd2 (turned 4 in Aug)started school last week - luckily for her she is only doing mornings for the first three weeks, but even just doing that she's shattered. In another 2 weeks she'll be expected to go full time and I just don't think she's going to cope. I will take her out for random days "sick" to help her through it. I'll just tell her that school say she doesn't have to go in today - that way she doesn't think it is her or me making the decision. I'll try to vary the days off so she doesn't get in a pattern of say always being home on Wednesdays, plus she won't miss the same thing every week. I just don't want her to get so tired that she starts saying she hates school and doesn't want to go. She's cried every morning so far anyway, but that is more of a moment of separation thing.

jillyrg Sun 18-Sep-11 12:08:29

Aw the poor wee Thing, they're just not ready at 4. There's a huge difference between a 4 and 5 year old. I don't know how they are expected to learn together at same rate, teacher must find difficult. Luckily my ds at small school for my area and the teacher is lovely so I'm hoping I won't get met by too much resistance to my proposal of staggering him in.

Good luck

Tgger Sun 18-Sep-11 17:20:33

I wonder why the government decided that the younger children should all start in September this year? Anyone know??

goinggetstough Sun 18-Sep-11 17:27:45

I think the govt decided that the younger children "could" start in September. They still don't legally have to start until the term after which they are 5.

LucyLastik Sun 18-Sep-11 17:32:38

We had a "choice" this year. September or January intake. One of our parents at pre-school wanted to keep her summer born girl back until the January, but the HT of the school she was going to phoned her daily and put pressure on her, saying her child would find it very difficult, wouldn't settle well, would find it hard making friends etc. The poor mum gave in in the end. She came to visit pre-school last week, broke down and cried at how difficult her child was finding the whole school transition and she wishes now she had stuck to her guns and sent her in the January.

It is so sad to see these little ones struggling like that.

drkej Sun 18-Sep-11 20:53:51

Am not sure you can say "they're just not ready at 4" - some are.
My son is a late summer runt, he has done full days from day 1, 2 weeks ago and is fine. Yes he is exhausted but goes to bed prompt at 7pm & is ready for more the next day.
I may be very lucky but I do think perhaps the odd day off here or there (which was always my plan) rather than being singled out as the only one doing half days is better.
He has also been helped by transferring with a load of his pals from his private day nursery - may have been a different story if he was on his own.

Tgger Sun 18-Sep-11 21:00:17

Yes, "could" start, but then they send letters to all the parents saying that there will be only one intake- and I presume no places in the nursery (that they used to stay in until January, as the nursery now takes them younger as well...).

Also, I think the expectations will have to be different now there are younger children starting (both in nursery and reception). I was impressed with the school nursery when DS started- he was just off his 4th birthday and the expectations were geared for children this age as they were at least 3.5. This will no longer be the case, same with reception to a degree....

nomorelego Sun 18-Sep-11 22:37:20

Myself and my friend were putting our children to bed at 6pm last September - her DS had started school and mine was only doing an extra session at pre-school but they were shattered! We literally got home and had tea at 4 and bed by 6 and I don't think they'd have coped otherwise. Would that be a possibility for your DS?

I'm sure he'll settle in soon enough, it's a big change for them.

acsec Mon 19-Sep-11 22:00:21

I wouldn't advocate taking your DS out for whole days randomly, as opposed to him just doing mornings, as he will miss quite alot. The majority of the teaching input will be done in the mornings when the children are at their best and most awake. Hopefully you DS's school will agree to him just doing mornings until he's ready.

jillyrg Tue 20-Sep-11 21:16:45

the teacher agreed!!!! it is only until half term, to ease him in more gently and allow him to adjust. I doubt any of the children in his class would even notice he isnt there so he wouldnt be 'singled out'!
Acsec - They have PE in the mornings here so not ALL the teaching is done in the mornings, clearly all schools are different. It isnt randomly either, its a friday, teacher agreed this is best day to do it as he wouldnt miss anything on this day that isnt done on another day anyway. Theres no way he is learning by the end of the week, standing crying in class through exhaustion isnt good for the rest of the class, surely!!

DS is in his beddie asleep by 6.50 and he gets up 7 to 7.30am.

Elibean Tue 20-Sep-11 21:23:05

Good for the teacher smile

They would have done the same at dds' school, and fwiw I agree absolutely.

allbie Tue 20-Sep-11 21:30:07

My DS is summer born and I kept him part-time when everyone else was full-time until he was ready and asked to stay longer. I went with the flow and did what worked for him. He always has had plenty of friends and several parents said they'd wished they done that too. I have older DC's and have experienced schooling for sometime so knew he would be fine part-time. What's the big rush?

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