Monday, October 18, 2010


Oh my littlest one, things just don't always come as easy for her.

I've been worrying about this for quite a while now, months, but thought perhaps, perhaps, the issue had resolved itself. I realise now though that it hasn't, but the answer is still unclear to me.

3 year old kinder has not been a resounding success for us, not this time around. We started off well but in mid 2nd term during a bad spell of illnesses for teachers as well as children, she had an unfortunate incident with her teacher. It was a case of being unwell and a little impatient on the part of the teacher and not remembering to recognise the differences in children's reactions to situations. As a result Leila did not want to go to kinder for a long time, a long time. It was very distressing for all of us. We spent 1 1/2 terms staying at every session of kinder, as I personally am not a supporter of the "leave them crying and they'll get over it" approach.

I then had it raised with me that perhaps another year of 3 year old kinder would be a good idea. She is on the younger end, with an early January birthday, but another year, well I wasn't sure that was the answer either. Then things started to pick up, but then last week we had an incident with an older sibling, very nasty and it shook her (and me to be truthful).

So, I don't know what to do. Today wasn't a good day and I've come home obviously thoughtful about what to do and what's best. There are only 6 girls in our class of around 20 children and none of those girls are very outgoing or confident. There is one girl that she is friends with and they both seem to need the other there for support to make them able to cope, but I'm not sure they are really good friends. Then there's the issue of schools moving forward, most of the children in her year will feed through to the other main primary school, I've had that conversation with our teacher, so whomever she may befriend won't follow her to school.
I'm wondering if another 3 year old year would help. She needs more confidence in how to hold herself in that type of social setting. She's certainly not shy, not at all, she's funny, charming, entertaining and really a happy girl. The only way I can think to explain is that she's socially insecure, in that type of setting. It doesn't stay all session or all day, but it's there.

Ideally I want her to meet more children with whom she feels secure and valued. Unfortunately it hasn't worked that way this year. Perhaps staying back another year, a new group of children, but what then. She'll be a year older starting school, I don't know.

If you know the answer, or faced (or are facing) the same issues for your babes, I'd love to hear any pearls you have to share.


Cindy said...

Ohhh, here is some 'suggestions' not advice (if you know what I mean). How does she go in other social stiuations (swimming or dance or anything else). Do you think that some social skills would help, I have found that specialists can really help especially in going into the school and watcing how the interaction is going and giving you and the teachers feedback. We have sent Caleb to 3 prep schools to find a right fit and I think that is really important if you think it isn't working. You could always change for 4 year old and if you still feel she is not ready then have her do 4 year old again. Claeb also went to a kinder away from our alloted school, so knew no one when he started and then we changed him a further 2 times and he was fine. Just a few extra play dates was a great help. both my kids have had to see a psychologist for different reasons (Caleb for aspergers and Poppy for seperation anxiety) and while I am not saying that is what you need to do, I think that proffesional help early is invaluable to help. Hope that kind of helps in some way. I always find the making decisions for my kids the hardest part of parent hood.

Jo said...

I don't have any advice for you, we've been so lucky with both our kinder and our kids, but I just wanted to say that I feel your pain, making the 'right' decision is so hard sometimes, mostly just the figuring out of what is the 'right' decision. Good luck with this. Jo x

flamehair said...

The SA system must be very different to your state as we have no 3 year old kinder. Our kids start 'pre-entry' kindy at 3 3/4 years old and then proper kindy at 4 years old, and then start school at 5 (and there is an intake each term so each kid starts the term after their birthday.) My eldest wasn't ready for kindy even at the pre-entry point. She never joined in with kids, always choosing to sit back and observe everyone else. I wasn't sure if she was just taking her time to warm up, or perhaps assessing the situation before heading in but she never took that leap. It wasn't until she was 4 that she finally seemed to 'fit in' with other kids her age and we were able to send her off to kindy. I have no idea what it was that changed and I doubt it was anything I did but suddenly she was ready. No longer interested in being the one 'standing on the outside looking in' she decided to join in and eventually became the kid that the teachers paired new kids with. She was very good at helping other kids join in and looked out for those who looked lost, perhaps because she recognised herself in them.
If I place Daisy in the position your little one is in then doing 3 year old kinder again wouldn't have helped. She just needed time to grow and spread her wings, but still stay with her own age group. But I have no idea if that is the best option for you too.

two little buttons said...

maybe 4 year old kinder will be better. i know for hugo, three year old kinder was hard but once he started 4 year old being there a little more regularily he "grew" into it, its still hard for him in social situations, but he likes his peers and has mde some good friends, it almost taken till now in grade 1 for him to grow into social settings. its so hard.
but maybe these incidents that have happened in three year old kinder are now in her thoughts about three year old kinder, so moving on might be better, new teacher, fresh start ... only you know best and gut feel is the best way. good luck, in my other life i am a preschool teacher so if you need anything i'm happy to have a chat..

Kristi said...

i could feel your heavy heart through out this entire post. i had a parent teacher conference not so long ago that i left in tears. the only thing i heard was your son is not confident. heart wrenching words for a mother to digest.

keep her with the same ago group, they all blossom at different times.

Anonymous said...

oh I am sorry this is such a difficult time for you and your little one. I honestly dont really have any idea what to do as we homeschool our children but all I could think was maybe she just isnt quite ready for it all yet? She is still so so young and maybe just needs some more orgaised playdates to really get he hang of the social scene? I realy dont know, I hope you don take offence to what I say, I do feel for you both, such hard decisions this parenting gig entails huh!?

Jeana Marie said...

Hi (I am here still,quietly, but always reading :) I am not making any suggestions, but sometimes when you write about L I feel as though I am reading about a personality very similar to my eldest. She is quite vibrant at home but can be very reserved in other social situation. She has a Feb. birthday and we have held her back a year (so next year she will be starting school as she turns 6). We have changed kinders once and used support services such as a preschool field officer (I am thinking about the first comment here) which just gave us a bit more confidence that she was doing ok. I believe she just needed extra time - the way she interacts with other children and her teachers now, compared to even the beginning of this year (4yr kinder) is amazing. It was a change that seemed to happen all of a sudden as well. I am really happy we made the decision to wait a year. But I can understand the difficulty of the decision and for us it did not go without a bit of criticism from family and otherwise. But I still feel we did what was best for my daughter. Wishing you well!

Sandy said...

For me the best thing I could have given my son was more time to mature and to gain confidence in himself and around his peers. He is now one of the oldest in his class as I have started him a year later than most of his peers. I don't regret my decision one bit. He is thriving, but while he still remains to be on the shy side, that is just his personality. However, he does have an underlying confidence that shines through. Maybe a bit more time for Leila may be good for her type of personality, for her to grow a little more and gain confidence in herself and her surroundings. I think playdates are a plus too, socializing and having fun with her friends. Best to you always!

lilredsquirrel said...

I hear you. My eldest was January baby and as one of the youngest he sailed through kinder. Now my twins are in 3 y.o. and one is struggling. Benji has some kind of language delay which makes communicating difficult. He is not on the spectrum, but it is not easy for him. They are December babies. I have decided to put them into 4yo next year and see what happens. Children at this age grow and change so quickly, that it is my feeling that a new teacher and program, while it could be challenging, come February it should be a challenge they can meet. It is a funded program too, with usually more hours which can help with socialising - 3's are often such quick sessions. My feeling is at this time next year, if they are not ready for school, then we can assess whether we repeat 4 yo, or even do a pre-prep. Really what you want is for your child to thrive, not just survive. Good luck - it is such a hard decision. Nic

manda said...

Hi Victoria
My littlest, Amelie who is 6yrs old and in prep is struggling right now too. She has been sick for a long time(an annoying cough/flu that wont go away completely) and she has had her teacher missing for half the time and it has really upset her year. She has returned to clinging to me-where she feels safe and loved. I don't see any problem with keeping her home and just listening to her and what she needs right now. I know things will work themselves out as she grows but right now she needs her mumma and im not going to deny her that. p.s my son quit kinder half way through the year because he really unhappy being there, and the teacher was hopeless.....and then in grade prep he had separation issues at the end of term 3 so we decided what was best was to not force him to be there, but to listen to him and keep him home. He's now in grade 3 and perfectly happy and wonderful. Just listen to your little one and give her what she needs. You know her better than anyone. x

Christie said...

Ryder is a March baby & he did 2 years of 3 year old & there was a huge difference in him 2nd time around. Basically the 2nd year he was 'himself' at school, more relaxed & confident & much more social. The flip side of this situation is that we now have a 5 and a half year old in 4 year old kinder who is getting bored. He was REALLY ready for prep 1/2 way through this year, but even taking that into consideration I think the second year was the right decision for him.

Then we have our Willow who was dying to start kinder after coming & going from kinder for almost 2 years & we were so confident that she would hit the ground running & yet she didn't. It has taken most of the year for her to settle in & make some friends & only now as the year winds up, do I feel confident about sending her to 4 year old kinder next year.

I guess you just need to make a choice & see how she goes, at the end of the day it is just kinder!

Cherry said...

Just wanted to say that I have a friend with a little girl who has had very similar issues to you. She is a January baby, is quite timid, and like your little one has had a spell od being sick and the teacher is quite tough on her and seems to forget how sensitive she is. Her mum, like you, stays for many of the kindy sessions as she doesn't like to see her daughter sobbing, and the teacher won't comfort her. In the end she has made the decision to let her little girl repeat 3y.o kinder, but she is also moving her to another kinder where they have a more nurturing feel rather than the harder line approach, so it will suit her daughter more.

Good luck with your choice!

Anonymous said...

this is such a tricky one. Matilda is also a Jan baby and after doing the same with my Feb and March kids, she'll start 3 year old kinder when she's 4 (2012). As it turns out I would've been disappointed if I'd tried for next year as our kinder works on enrolment by birthdate and only took children as far as Oct.

From all of the advice I've asked for at kinder and school about holding my kids back I've been continually told that I won't regret holding them back but may well regret sending them early.

We've had a similar girl ratio for Amelia at both 3 yr old and 4 yr old this year. She is one of 7 girls and not all will go to same primary. She has some lovely friends who are boys and I see this as a real positive that we may not have expereinced in a balanced group.

Is there any chance of a kinder swap, maybe to the one that feeds into your primary? I'm just wondering if both L (and you!) can get past this bad experience, or will it always be at the back of your mind. It may even be possible to still get a 4 yr old place at another kinder and then the teacher can advise/form fill for a second year of funded 4 yr old if required. I know it's easy for me to say, but a change of scenery might make the world of difference for L's confidence and whole kinder experience.

I agree wholeheartedly with Cindy that decisions like this are the most difficult. I feel pressure to defend mine on a regular basis, even though often I've felt a distinct lack of information and reliance on gut feel to make them.

I guess I'm saying to follow your gut. Has L said anything??

All the best with this one.