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US and UK first school years - anyone transferred in either direction?

(8 Posts)
worstofbothworlds Wed 09-Mar-16 10:05:45

I am an academic and due a sabbatical at some point in the next few years. I had a sabbatical in the past where I went to a US lab and worked very productively and we're thinking of doing that again.

For a number of reasons, we don't want to go till our DC2 is in school (big one being not having to pay full time child care over there!). But I am aware that during the UK Reception year children there would be in pre-K which isn't school in the same sense. I am also aware that in our Y1 they'd be in Kindergarten.

Has anyone transferred recently? Either direction would be helpful to know about. I've heard so much from colleagues over there about how Kindergarten is now really academic in the US that I'm wondering if it IS now more like our Y1 (or possibly even more structured? There seems to be a lot more emphasis on sitting in rows and getting straight into reading/less small group work and pre-reading etc.).

We'd have two transition years obviously if we spent a year there. I'm not so worried about DC1 as I know things even out once they get older (DC1 will be two school years ahead). The only worry there is not waiting till DC1 is in secondary.

So I guess we'd be looking at YR here, then Kindergarten there, then Y2 here OR YR and Y1 here, then 1st grade there, then Y3 here.

ReallyReallyReally Wed 09-Mar-16 13:59:26

Hello. We moved overseas after my DS had completed his reception year in the UK. He attended an international school, but it followed the US curriculum. Because of when his birthday fell (the cut-offs were different in the 2 systems), he went into 1st grade (he would have been going into Y1 in UK). 1st grade was very similar to Y1 comparing to the friends he left behind in the UK - Kindergarten was definitely not equivalent to Y1 academically. Most of my British friends ended up putting their kids up a year in the international school. We ended up coming back to the UK after 5th grade, he returned into Y6 and was ahead in most of the subjects, which helped him as he had to re-adjust to being back home socially. Of course this is only my experience and not one based on being in the US.

worstofbothworlds Wed 09-Mar-16 14:20:57

Thanks, that's helpful - I imagine the international system will be ahead of your average US school so Kindergarten is going to be more or less a repeat of Reception I imagine.

A quick Google shows that our DC2's birthday means they'd be in Y1 or Kindergarten in the same year. It seems to vary by state but their birthday is in the portion of the year when it's the same as the UK (spring/summer). And putting ahead to 1st grade when they are young for the year would not be ideal either...

SenecaFalls Wed 09-Mar-16 14:26:27

OP, I'm sure you know that much is going to depend on where you are going in the US. In the US, people often ask the same questions you are asking when moving from one state to another.

worstofbothworlds Wed 09-Mar-16 14:47:38

Very true I'm sure! We aren't sure yet but there are several options which are mainly left or right coast, or Great Lakes or Southwest.

I am aware that basically leaves almost no stone unturned but we really don't know, plus I also know that even within one state things vary hugely from city to city and stating a few possible cities may well out me.

I have a good resource that can help with most US cities once we know more but it's not one that can help with the transatlantic part of the process.

ChipsandGuac Wed 09-Mar-16 14:56:43

It depends when his birthday is. My son did Y1 in the UK and then went into Grade 1. It was basically a year long redo. He got bored and frustrated. We could have bumped him up a year but were worried about him socially.

As SF said, it also depends where you live. The schools around the TriState, for example, are going to have different expectations than, say, the middle of Iowa.

worstofbothworlds Wed 09-Mar-16 15:28:49

Actually I think neither DC would get into a higher year based on their birthday, whatever state it is (birthdays between Jan and July). But the system/requirements will obviously be very different, I appreciate, depending on state/area/city.

It is fairly unlikely to be middle of nowheresville. More likely to be a big city.

DC1 might cope with being bumped up a year but it is less crucial if we are talking grades 2 and up, which we are if DC2 is K and up.

worstofbothworlds Thu 17-Mar-16 10:58:39

Coming back to this and having had some talks with work - looks like they are keen for me to take a shorter sabbatical now and a longer one in several years' time. This would be at a point when DC1 would be in about US 5th grade/DC2 US 3rd grade which sounds much easier than "repeating" Reception.

Probably loads of unnecessary testing in the US but then if they still have SATs in the UK we might miss them. Swings and roundabouts. We may just go for one semester and we may or may not rent out our house (I am hoping that if we do go for just one semester and we don't rent out our house we'll be able to apply for a secondary school place from our current address, but places where we live are not too tight so we should be OK moving back in the summer anyway).

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