Friday, March 23, 2007

    Life Decisions for a 3yr Old

    I can't remember being so daunted since that whole Yr.12 / 17yrs old / What and Who Do You Want to Be for the Rest of Your Life, and once you make your mind up, there's no going back Scenario.

    Which I resented with my whole being, by the way.
    How the hell did I know ?

    People tell you to do what you know and love best. Ok, in my limited years, I knew study .. and I loved my pet cat. I'm 17, FFS, in a small town with strict parental units. I'm crap at sport, and besides Netball ( girls ), and Surfing ( boys ), i'm not sure there was much else to love ?

    Anyway, enough about me. I should be over High School by now ...


    I've put in applications for 4yr old Kinder. My boy is not yet 3.
    I was actually SUPPOSED to have the application in LAST MAY ( here, in my parts, the Kinders work on a first-come, first-taken basis. Applications are taken from the 1st May in the year your child turns 3, and some Kinders are more popular than others ).

    Unfortunately, I want the popular kinder, as I can walk to it, and I want to foster the whole 'walking to school' thing, as it's something I really enjoyed myself. Smelling the roses, lost in my own thoughts, chatting with friends.

    Hmmm - me again. How'd that happen ?
    Oh yes, it's all about me. How silly that i'd forget.

    Now, what's been keeping me up at nights is this:
    For some strange reason, the intake year for Kinder is May - May.
    The Master is born in April, and therefore only makes the cut for 2008. Kindy websites warn about 'readyness' and ask those with children born in from Jan - Apr, to perhaps consider holding the kids back for a year.

    Ok. Now we're all born in late April here ( bizarre ), and the Hubs and I were both "youngies" in our year. I quite liked it, and Hubs can't remember/has no opinion.

    My boy is as smart as a whip, and keen to go to 'school'. I think he'd love it, although who can tell - it's another YEAR away, and at this developmental age, anything can happen. He was only a baby a year ago, he's a young man now, and judging from the 4yr olds at Playgroup, he'll be 7ft tall and 'bored' next year.

    And he's a boy. I'm obviously not.

    Will he be too young ? Should I hold him back ? Should I decide this when and if I get an offer ? If I decline, does this then make me late for applications for the 2009 year ?

    Arrghh !!
    It's too soon to think about problems in advance - puberty, maturity.
    Will it matter ?

    Opinions sought.


    Anonymous said...

    Hi There

    Also a melbourne mum. I have three children (one born in March). We did hold her back & it was the right decision for her. Having said that one of her best friends is a full 12 months younger than she is. I think that it is horses for courses. I would recommend that you try to hear Kathy Walker speak on this issue. She is BRILLIANT. I really enjoy your blog & hope this helps.


    Uli said...

    Don't have kids, but have a much younger brother who is also an April child and they held him back and it worked really well for him too. And he was certainly a mature child, and rareing for school, and it was still the right decision to hold him back.

    Stomper Girl said...

    I agree that it is a confronting choice (because you don't want to retard their growth!) This is my 2 bobs worth. Based on the starting school thing which all the kinder stuff is a lead-in to if you know what I mean.

    ~Kids are at school a LONG TIME!!
    ~Emotional readiness is just as important as intellectual readiness.
    (because there will be some level of emotional manipulation from other kids who may be 6 and over when he is 4&1/2)
    ~He's just *yours* now. He won't be when he goes to school, others will be shaping him. Which is a little bit about where you feel he's up to in terms of his early childhood, the real age of innocence. If he's left it behind anyway, then it's not an issue. But if you're worried about rushing the end of his early childhood then it might be. And only you can know this.
    ~The kids who started as "oldies" in Climber's year didn't ever seem bored. They seemed to achieve really well.

    Having said all that, Climber started Prep having JUST turned 5 and he did well. And he did cope with all the 'being younger' thing, it was just more of an issue than I would have thought. Because he's always been quite mature so I didn't anticipate the difference a year makes...

    Sorry for being a bit incoherent. Too hot today for proper brain function.

    h&b said...

    Thanks everyone.

    It was such a sudden thing I had to do, and I haven't had the time to compute .. I *hate* being pushed into things like this !

    Stomper, you hit my issues on the head though - yes, I want control in formative years, yes, this is the only time he will be mine.

    Selfish, sure .. but I think we're doing ok .. and the thought of domineering, bully types and strong personalities in the schoolyard just about breaks my heart ( he still thinks everyone is good, his friend, and has pure motives )

    I think i'll hold him back.
    What a relief.

    jorth said...

    Don't know if this helps any, but I've put Grumbles name down on every kindy around, just in the hope she gets in (places are VERY popular around here). I'd really like her to do three year old kinder (since she was born in June, that'd be next year), and as she's destined to be an only child, I figure the social interaction wouldn't hurt.

    You could always try it, and if it's not working, try again next year?

    Joke said...

    If it's any use, *I* was sent to school one year early (different systems, naturally, but the principle is still the same) so that I was starting at the University just a few weeks after turning 17.

    I hated it, I know it cost me, and I wouldn't do it.


    muser said...

    Well I'm in NSW and my 3yo is a Feb baby so it's all whacko for me. Well, for you. ;)

    I didn't feel any ill-effects at being the youngest in my year - i'm mid-late April too.
    however, my boy goes to daycare/pre-school anyway and will stay there until school years. So my biggest drama is figuring out how I'm supposed to put a 5 year old on a long bus ride to a school in one of 2 towns.

    h&b said...

    What b'date are you, Aprill ?
    We could be twinsies :)

    Ouch! about the bus ride.
    We had busloads of kids from neighbouring towns to attend our HIGHschool .. but they all had their own Primary schools.

    I feel your pain :(

    Lazy cow said...

    The Boy was 4 in December and is doing 3 yo kinder this year. I'm so glad I held him back. He's a bright kid, but last year he would have been lost with some of the older, pushier, louder boys. This year he is still quiet, but no one is going to push him around! And he absolutely adores it, and I love the knowledge that we have that extra year at home together before he starts school.

    h&b said...

    Thanks Lazy. Thanks everyone.

    I called the husband today and told him my mind was rested.

    The boy will be waiting a year.
    Mummy and bubby both need more cuddles before setting upon the path of Gordon Gekko....

    Em said...

    My kids fall smack bang in the middle of the school year so I've never had to make this decision... but my mother did with me (I started school at four and then I skipped a grade so I was much younger than everyone else). I always felt at a social disadvantage... I think I would have prefered to be the oldest rather than the youngest.

    Muzbot said...

    I was born in Jan and throughout my school life I was one of the oldest in my year. This never bothered me as a kid. It wasn't until high school where this little fact seemed to make any difference. You see, I was the one who everyone else would ask to go to the bottle shop because I was (and looked) the oldest. I was never be questioned for ID. Now, that's probably not the sort of thing you want to hear, but I remember really enjoying being the oldest in those final years at school. The girls would often give me $10 for a few bottles of Passion Pop and I would naturally be told to keep the change. Passion Pop was $1.99 a bottle! Oh, I think I've gone off the subject a little...

    h&b said...

    Thanks for the alternative viewpoint, Muz.

    Now, who doesn't want their son to be the 'popular boy', even if it does involve dubious PassionPop dealings ..

    ( Christ though, these days apparently 12yr olds can get ICE )

    So yeah, in the scheme of things..


    Janet said...

    I am so interested to read this because I've been thinking about three year old kinder for Grace next year, except that would set her up for school before she's five (born in April too). She seems to be eager for much more kid interaction than she's had recently. But I think reading this is tipping towards looking for some new activities to supplement our fast fading mothers group and casual socialising.

    Oh, the decisions.

    Violet & Rose said...

    And just to put my two bobs worth in. Ditto Kathy Walker. If you can pull up her website, she lists where she is talking and it would be really worth listening to her school readiness talk.

    I would say, on the face of it, you have made the right decision. Just from what I see at school and kinder. Sometimes the younger kids can really struggle. Because they are also in with kids who have been held back and who can be around 18 months older. And that is a big gap to contend with.

    I SOOOO love that we walk to school and kinder. Nothing better. That hold hands and swing talk time is precious. It also gave me an excuse to buy a polka dot umbrella last week. Apparantly sometimes during Autumn in Melbourne it can possibly rain! Who would have thought! But keep hassling the kinder enrolment officer if you miss a place at the kinder you want. Familiarity may breed contempt, but who cares if you get a place!

    And while we are talking kinder, can I just tell you I picked up Miss A today from 3 yr old kinder to be told by the teacher that I have a real little hussy on my hands. She had to be moved during story time because she was planting kisses on the cheeks of the two boys sitting either side of her. Not sure whether to laugh or cry?

    shopper said...

    I think you've made a good decision. I always say that another year is usually a good thing. Generally I see more confidence and success with ones that have made your decision. Motor skills have come along too, there's SO much to factor in. Our dividing line is September, that's intersting to thing of the difference. It's a big thing jumping into big kid school. Speaking as a parent, it's true, they change forever once they start. That's not always a bad thing. BUT that extra time you'll be getting with him is priceless. ;)

    joanne said...

    My daughter is the youngest in her class - she started prep this year. I never entertained the idea of holding her back although I am not sure why. I wouldn't have made that decision until near the end of her kinder year anyway because I would have waited for her to guide me. Put your spunky boys name down for everything and heaps of people make their decisions at the last minute so don't worry to much about that. As for missing out for the next year I am sure he will get in somewhere - may not be your first choice but I will go out on a limb and say that our Kinders in Melbourne are of a good standard ( ofcourse some better than others )I do believe they use a bit of a scare tactic in getting you to put your childs name down. All fun and games from here!!!!!

    joanne said...

    I realise that you had already made your decision - scrap my comment then!!!!!! Man I must be the pushy "go forth child" parent.Ill start saving for the therapy bill now!!

    posiepatchwork said...

    Wow, you are all really caught up in this issue. Hello, first timer on this site so I hope it's not too bold. While I was a Sydney girl, I'm now a Darwin mummy & we are blessed without overcrowded preschools. Kindergarten/ preschool is nothing, they can do 2 or 3 years of it. Starting big school (transition in the NT, kindergarten in NSW) is the big question. If it helps, my 1st born is July, we held her back, then she skipped a year. Go figure. My twins are December - perfect age. Number 4 is end of March, so I feel your March/ April pain, however, he started a few weeks before Christmas as a place opened up for toilet trained 2y.o. & I fully plan for him to complete 3 FULL years of preschooling in the NT & ACT - our 2008 destination. Big school is the big decision, preschool is all about fun, they are so loved & cared for there, the teachers will tell you if he/ she is not ready & hold their place for the next round. I hope a super relaxed opinion helped. PS we also ride bikes & walk together to school & preschool & it's just delightful. Jennie

    Cellobella said...

    The really cool thing is that it doesn't matter what you decide - it will be the right decision for you.

    Had a similar dilemma this year as to do we go private high school or public high school. Eventually you just have to bite the bullet and make *any* decision.

    With pre school I avoided all decisions and simply sent my two to Montessori which starts them age three in staggered intakes throughout the year.


    muser said...

    I'm a bit late in getting back to your Q.

    My birthday is the 19th. Does that make us birthday twins? ;)

    GLad you've settled on this issue.

    Suse said...

    Interesting to hear you've made the decision to keep him at home another year. (Very wise).

    All three of our boys are Jan/Feb babies and we kept them all home an extra year. I was talking to a bookgroup mum last week whose child is in prep and she said people are now holding their Sept/Oct kids back!!! Which is just ridiculous. But true, so it makes it even more important to hold the April babes back or they'll just be soooo disadvantaged in the classroom.

    Anyway, you've made the decision, so you can relax! It's fraught though, isn't it? I remember it well.

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