About our twins
Our twins were born six weeks early, right in the middle of June. IN QLD, the cut off for the school year is 30 June. We immediately made the decision that they were NOT going to school ‘the year they were meant to’. If they did they literally would have been the youngest in their year. I’m so pleased that we made this decision right from the start as it removed a lot of the angst later on. I saw so many of my friends struggle with this decision, but for us it was an easy decision. Of course there were some moments when I questioned if we were doing the right thing, but we stayed firm and stuck to our original decision. We have now completed our first year at school, and I am grateful for our decision.
Making the decision to either repeat Kindy or delay entry to Kindy
We decided to do two years of Kindy (in QLD, Kindy is the year before school), at the same kindergarten. We chose to send our children to a stand-alone Kindy (as opposed to them attending a Kindy program in a long day-care setting) and they started the year they were first ‘meant to attend’. My reason for that was to get them used to being with the exact same kids every day, just like at a school. And wow, the difference in those kids in their first year of Kindy as opposed to their second year of Kindy was amazing. They were so much more confident, so much happier and so much more developed. By the end of the second year I could see such a huge difference between the kids that were at the youngest end as opposed to our two, who were now at the older end. There were four children (including our two) who repeated in their Kindy class. It was lovely to watch these four shine and take some of the newer, younger, kids under their wing and show them where things are and how things work.
We also decided to stay in the same room with the same teacher and assistant. Having the same teacher meant she knew their strengths and weaknesses, and she focused a bit on this in order to make them as school ready as they could be, whilst in a 100% play based environment. Our twins are also only children, so they don’t have older siblings to learn from, which was another reason why we thought that keeping them back would be beneficial.
Some people choose to delay Kindy, some people choose to change Kindy after the first year and others may decide to do their first year in a day-care setting and their second year in a stand-alone Kindy. This decision will predominantly come down to personal circumstances, such as finances and if you require specific hours of care for work.
We did find the last month or two of their second year of Kindy, plus the school holiday period prior to them starting their first year at school, quite challenging. They were very ready to start school, and it was quite tough ensuing they had enough stimulation to satisfy their inquisitive minds.
Our first year of Prep
All in all Prep (first year of school in QLD) has been fairly smooth sailing. I just know that if they had started a year earlier they would have really been struggling. While I suspect they would have held up their own academically, there is just no way emotionally they were ready.
I am lucky enough to spend a bit of time in the classroom with the kids (our twins are in the same class). I look at some of the youngest children in the class and see how much they are struggling with their emotional maturity. People generally immediately think of academic readiness when looking at school readiness, but emotional readiness is far more important, just ask any teacher. The teacher is qualified to teach them, regardless of their academic level. As a side note, there is one girl who is one of the youngest in their class, and academically and emotionally she is doing exceptionally well. However she is the youngest of 4 children and has been exposed to school life from almost the day she was born. So there are other aspects to consider than just date of birth.
In today’s society, many families are choosing to hold their children back a year. It is now widely accepted and not many people will question your decision. I have spoken to many people regarding this topic and I have never had a single person say they regret holding their child back. But I have had countless people say they wish they had held their child back.
Things to consider for the future
The only two things that I can see that may possibly cause a problem, but these can also cause problems if they were on the younger side, is the fact that they will possibly be driving while they are still at school and some of their peers won’t be. Some may also be of legal age to drink alcohol and others will not be. However, I was schooled in NSW and this was the norm, and we all survived. The other issue is that stage I’m not looking forward to (but this is regardless of what year they started school!!) the development of sexual maturity between 11-13 years. However, as with every other aspect of parenting, we will cross those bridges as they appear, along with any other that may crop up along the way.
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