IS MY CHILD READY?
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide whether your child is ready for the next step in their education; whether that be entering three or four-year-old kindergarten or starting school. Below is some important information to help you make an informed choice. If you have concerns or would like to discuss this information with an educator at Lipscombe Park Kindergarten please give us a call on 9723 2456.
DECIDING WHEN YOUR CHILD SHOULD START KINDERGARTEN
What an exciting time in your child’s life. When making a decision about the year your child should start kindergarten, it is important to look at your child’s skills and abilities.
The Department of Education and Training (DET) states:
It is important for children to start school when they are ready to learn in a more formal environment. It is also important for you consider when it is best for your child to start school as this will help you determine the best time for them to begin kindergarten.
Victorian State Government Policy states that a child is entitled to funding for ONE year of a 4 year old kindergarten experience only. When applying for kindergarten, parents need to carefully consider the age of their child and whether they will be ready for the demands of kindergarten. Your local kindergarten teacher is available to discuss these matters.
Things to look for when considering whether your child is ready for kindergarten or if you should defer kindergarten entry include
- Separation issues – how does your child separate from you?
- Does your child ask for help when required?
- Is your child easily understood most of the time?
- How is fine and gross motor development?
- Is toilet training established?
- Does your child still need a daytime sleep? Tire easily?
- Is your child willing to try to understand reasons for sharing and turn taking?
- How does your child respond to simple instructions?
- Is your child comfortable in a group setting?
- Is your child easily upset/distressed?
- Can your child wash hands independently and find their own belongings?
- Can your child move from one activity to another without constant adult supervision?
Deferment can assist the child to
- Become more confident where they may be more comfortable to take on the role of a leader rather than a follower.
- Allows children to have time to make their own decisions
- Takes the stress and anxiety off the child to try to be like peers when they need to develop at their own rate.
Second Year of 4 year old Kindergarten
The kindergarten teacher, in consultation with yourself, may observe your child demonstrating delays in key outcome areas of their learning and development. Furthermore, if they believe your child would benefit from another year of funded kindergarten, a second year of kindergarten funding may be applied for when evidence is shown in two areas of delayed development. You should not enrol your child, to commence kindergarten, with the assumption that they will meet the criteria for a second year. This cannot be assumed. It is best for your child’s learning, development and confidence to make an informed decision prior to your child’s commencement. Many parents who have children with birthdates between February and April choose to commence 4 year old kindergarten in the year they will turn 5.
HOW TO ASSESS YOUR CHILD’S READINESS FOR SCHOOL
Government policy has changed in regard to children’s journey toward school readiness. As teachers we have been told that children will not be able to access a second year of funded four-year-old kindergarten unless we can prove developmental delays across two areas of development. Proof needs to consist of systematic documented observation and assessment.
Our role as teachers is to look at the following factors in assessing readiness:
Child has a strong sense of Identity (Emotional Development)
- Copes with change and manages transition time
- Is able to separate easily from parents
- Listens to and learns from others
- Takes only his/her fair share of attention and time
- Has reasonable control over emotions, can self-regulate and self soothe when stressed
- Is willing to persist and try again when disappointed
- Relates well to people
- Is confident
- Is persistent and finishes tasks
- Has confidence in own abilities & will explore new and different activities/ experiences
Child is connected with & contributes to their world (Social Development)
- Functions in a group with other children
- Is happy in the group
- Goes to the toilet independently
- Can stand up for himself/herself in the playground
- Plays with a variety of children
- Initiates, joins and sustains play
- Contributes to the group in ideas and actions
- Listens to the teacher and others
- Makes own needs known
- Takes turns and shares
- Takes responsibility for own possessions
- Play is well organised, planned and follows a story
- Engages in shared play experiences
Child has a strong sense of wellbeing (Physical Development)
- Has a normal amount of energy
- General good health
- Vision seems normal
- Hearing seems normal
- Has muscle coordination necessary to control the body well
- Has fine motor coordination necessary to hold pens, brushes
- Able to draw a recognisable person
- Can cut reasonably well with scissors
- Has good balance
- Physically strong enough for a whole day at school
Child is a confident & involved Learner (Intellectual development)
- Can work independently at an assigned task
- Able to complete tasks
- Has normal curiosity about things and places
- Expresses interest in signs and labels etc
- Able to maintain attention in groups for the same amount of time as others
- Can see relationships between objects
- Uses reasoning powers
- Can sort and match objects according to simple attributes
- Can distinguish between fact and fantasy
Child is an effective communicator (Language Development)
- Has a fairly wide speaking vocabulary
- Can repeat form memory as rhyme or song
- Can tell a personal experience in logical sequence
- Can re-tell a short story read to him/her
- Understands concepts such as big, small, behind, in front
- Can communicate needs
- Has relatively clear speech
- Speaks in sentences of more than five words
“The key areas of maturity and development are the social and emotional areas of development. Contrary to what most people believe, reading, writing and knowing colours and numbers are not readiness indicators. Whilst some schools may suggest this is necessary, that is reflective only of a particular schools’ position and not reflective of a child’s readiness for school” Kathy Walker- Educational Consultant
Parental role is to decide when you want your child to attend Primary school and ensure that funded pre-school is accessed in the year prior to school. The aim is that once children begin four-year-old kinder it is anticipated that they will attend school the next year. Being developmentally young will not be considered as a reason for a second year of funding. A child should not start four-year-old kindergarten young with the thought that they can just do another year.
If you are deciding which year to start your child in three or four-year-old kindergarten or if this information has set off any alarm bells for you please talk to your kindergarten teacher. We have many years of experience and training in assessing these factors. Please draw upon our knowledge. If you are advised to consider a second year of three-year-old kindergarten please think very carefully about your choices, because our hands will be effectively tied without documentable evidence.
NEED MORE HELP OR INFORMATION TO ASSIST YOUR DECISION?
If you have concerns or would like to discuss any of the above information with an educator at Lipscombe Park Kindergarten please give us a call on 9723 2456.
If you require support making your decision, Maternal Child and Health nurses, Early Childhood Educators, Prep teachers, Preschool Field Officers and other professionals involved in supporting the development of the child can provide assistance.