As parents of a child born between January and April you are in a unique position of having two options when your child may commence 3 year old pre-school. This in turn will affect the age at which your child starts 4 year old pre-school and of course school.
It can be a difficult decision and the right choice will be different for each child. It is important to remember that being ready for pre-school is not about a child’s intelligence, literacy or other academic skills but rather about a child’s emotional and social development.
Option A: Commence 3yo pre-school next year (in 2021)
You may choose for your child to begin pre-school next year, after they turn three. This option will mean your child will start four-year-old pre-school the year they turn four and begin school the year they turn five.
- If your child was born in February, March or April, your child will miss a number of weeks of pre-school. This is because under government regulations they cannot commence pre-school until they turn three. The other children will have had a number of weeks to become familiar with the routine and establish relationships. Your child will need to be capable of settling into this established group.
- Your child could be 12 to 16 months younger than the oldest children in the class, who may have waited a year to begin.
- If you think your child is ready for something extra in their week but choose not to commence pre-school in 2020, you may wish to enrol your child in our Gumnuts Activity Group instead. More information is available on our website.
Option B: Wait a year before starting pre-school (in 2022)
An alternative is to wait a year before sending your child, so they will commence pre-school around the time they turn four and begin school the year they turn six.
- Whilst in the past children were automatically sent to pre-school as soon as they were eligible, these days some parents choose to wait a year. Many educators recommend this option.
- Some parents favour this option because they prefer their children have an extra year of maturity which may help them thrive, not only when they start school but when they finish school and begin a career or higher education. Some people use the phrase ‘thrive rather than survive’ in this context.
How do I know which option to take?
The decision whether to send a child to pre-school is different for every family. As well as the factors above, you may like to consider whether your child shows signs of being ready for pre-school; whether they have reached the social, emotional and developmental milestones that will enable them to successfully negotiate a kindergarten session.
- If confronted with social challenges can they handle this independently without you?
- Do they have the verbal skills to help solve an issue?
- Would they be able to complete a task without lots of prompting and help from the teacher?
- How independent are they?
- Can they deal with basic level of conflict without you?
- Can they separate from you without a great deal of distress?
- Will they be able to talk and respond to the teacher?
- Can they follow simple instructions?
- Do they show some interest in peers?
- Can they take responsibility at a basic level for their own possessions? e.g. help pack up?
- Will they cope with transitional change, such as stopping play for mat time?
- Would your child just cope with these things or would they be able to really manage themselves well?
If you would like further resources to inform your decision, look for ‘school readiness’ information on the websites of the National Childcare Accreditation Council, Early Childhood Australia and KidSpot.
Please note: Do not assume your child can automatically repeat three-year-old pre-school as this can only be undertaken on the recommendation of the child’s teacher. (For further information, see Rangeview Pre-School’s ‘Repeating Policy’, available at www.rangeviewpreschool.vic.gov.au).
What should I do now?
If you choose Option A: Commence 3yo pre-school next year (in 2021)
- You need to accept the offered position as per the instructions in the letter, including paying fees by the 26th of October 2020, regardless of your child’s starting date.
- If you change your mind and withdraw your child after this date, fees will not be refunded until another family accepts your child’s place. Deposits are non-refundable.
If you choose Option B: Wait a year and start pre-school (in 2022)
- You need to decline this offered position. To do this, please contact our Enrolment Officer on email@example.com.
- You will also need to advise the Whitehorse Pre-School Association (WPSA) of your decision. This will ensure your application is updated to apply for a pre-school place in 2022.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact the
Pre-school by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9874 5874.