Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back to school

As expected, I am ready for the school holidays to be over. It's a two step process, since Charlie goes back to pre-school tomorrow but Ben's teachers need a day to get their heads around the fact that they signed up to teach infants school, so he doesn't go back until Tuesday. It doesn't bother me much - it's Charlie I need to get back to pre-school.

I knew pre-school had been good for Charlie, but these holidays have really highlighted how much he needs that structured environment. By the first Tuesday of the holidays he was already starting to be unhappy, and take that out on the rest of us. We have had two weeks of shouting, stomping, throwing things and, consequently, time-outs. Tonight he was telling me he doesn't like the end of the day (a very standard complaint), and I told him that the end of the day made it much closer to time for pre-school. He was much, much calmer after that.

And so I start another round of "what am I going to do with him next year?". It would take a evolutionary change to make him ready to start school, but I really think he's going to need five days of structure. We can't get five days of pre-school (and we couldn't afford it anyway), family day care is not cutting it for Charlie, and so it looks like I am going to have to look at long day care.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with a kid who turned five in June/July and needed a more formal environment but wasn't ready for school at four and a half? Does a long day care/pre-school combo work well or cause confusion? I love the pre-school he goes to, and wouldn't like to have to abandon it completely, but it is 3 days max, and even then it isn't a good 3 days for us work-wise.


  1. We also experience the school holdidays blues towards the end...and always that extra pupil free day which I loved as a teacher but now loathe as a parent. As for Charlie, I know a lot of parents caught in that limbo of too young for school too but needing more than 3 days. In Qld they offer a full-time pre-prep year, which is before the first formal prep year of school, that again preceeds year one. This has been a godsend for some parents and their July, August, Sept children.

  2. Translating a bit from Southern to Northern hemisphere....Eve's birthday is in January and no way would I have sent her to kindergarten at 4.5. She was always in full-day care and the year she turned 5 she was in pre-K with "school" from 9-3 and day care for an hour before and 2 hours afterward. Worked really well for her - a nice balance of structure and freedom.

  3. I have never heard of full-time pre-K here or in the US. That is pretty much exactly what we need. Especially Jay's version with the extended care.

    I started at 4 and a half, but my birthday was in May, not July, which helps a wee bit. I have always been a bit defensive about people condemning starting school early (very common in pre-schools), but in Charlie's case I really don't think he'd benefit from it.

  4. Ariane, Little Kid went to "prep-reception" last year (he was 5 in March, but I didn't think he was ready for full time school.) Prep-Reception is like full time kindergarten (or pre-school in NSW). It was at school, during school hours but more like a pre-school program. Obviously the school you are going to send him to doesn't offer this, but maybe there is another school in the area does? If so you could enrol him for just the year. Our school is a private school but the fees for "prep-reception" were cheaper than long day-care.

  5. I just realised that my post was a little contradictory! To clarify, he went to a full time program - same as school hours - but it was less "academic" than the normal Prep year (first year of school here in Victoria.) Sounds very much like the program described by aztec-rose.

  6. @Lisa: There are a couple of schools kinda sorta in our area that have pre-schools. I don't know what the vacancies are like, or whether they do 5 days, but I will ring and find out. Thank you all for the ideas, I didn't know anyone offered such a thing.

    The private school closest does have one, but it is boys only and $12k a year + $12.5k enrollment + +....

    But I will investigate it further.

  7. The school I taught at in NYC had class from about 9-2 for the 4/5's. I don't think they had any afternoon or early morning care though. I guess that wouldn't help you though...unless you want to move to NYC.