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Didn’t start school at 4 and 9 months

  • 02-09-2021 7:03pm
    Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    Hi Guys, I am not sure if we have made the right decision not to start our little guy in schools at 4years and 9months. He will be 5 in December. When we had our “parent and teacher meeting” which was done via a video call due to the pandemic after taking on board what the girls said and our own feelings we have decided that he is not ready.

    The girls assured me that loads of parents decided not to send their kids to primary school due to the pandemic and all the time they have missed. Now fast forward to September and our child is the only one left from his previous ECCE class that hasn’t started school 🙄.

    I know of two other girls that are the exact same age as our son that haven’t started yet but besides that all his little mates are in junior infants now.

    I was actually about to cry when he came home after his first day back at the Creche saying that all his friends are gone and that there are only some “little” kids in there. Now a couple of days have passed and he seems to be adjusting okay.

    We are not originally from Ireland and back at home kids don’t start school until they are 7. So the thought of sending a child to school not even being 5 always seemed strange to me. I still don’t think his English is quiet as good as it could be. I don’t see how he would sit down to do any type of homework. He is still very immature when it comes to certain things. On top of it we are thinking of going back home in a year maybe 15 months time and I don’t want him to have to start school twice. I just can’t help myself but think that we have taken the wrong decision and maybe he would actually be able to adjust better then we think he would.

    I guess I am looking for a bit of an insight from parents that decided to keep their kids in the Creche until they were over 5 and how do you guys look back at your decision now ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,699 ✭✭✭ Tom Mann Centuria

    We didn't start any of our kids until they were 5. Oldest in all their classes pretty much I think. But we don't regret it, blink of an eye they're nearly adults so as much time with kids when they're young is worth keeping them out until they're 5 imo. And also, at the other end when they're making college or career choices they're that tiny bit more mature.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    Thanks for that. Yeah when thinking ahead about college or career choices I do think that the older they are the better. I remember going to college here not even being 18 and it was though the first year. I also don’t think that he is board of the Creche. The girls in fairness seem the be really good and always have great ideas to keep them entertained. I also do realize that for a lot of people it’s really an only option to send their kids to school as soon as they can taking into consideration the childcare costs.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 12,311 Mod ✭✭✭✭ byhookorbycrook

    Primary teacher here with decades of experience, I work in learning support. I've never met a parent who regretted keeping a child until they were over 5 but have met dozens who regretted sending their child at 4. Primary classes are huge, as a very, very general comment, boys tend to be more immature emotionally and socially,so for a boy, in particular, you have many things in your favour that you held him for another year. Any pre-school worth its salt will be able to manage children of different ages and ability. You know your child best of all, you were happy that he needed more time, so don't start questioning yourself now. Children are amazing, he will settle back into the pre school quickly and will be well ready to start when he turns 5.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,331 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty

    Suggest you read this recent thread in the Primary School forum OP.

    I wouldn't worry too much.My own second child has just started school at 5 and 5 months, and the majority of her class are around the same age.

  • Registered Users Posts: 695 ✭✭✭ taxiperson

    I think you should have let him go,I suppose its different if you arent staying in ireland but if you were to stay here he will be almost twenty starting college, thats if he does Transition year.

    He will be bored stiff by christmas and probably physically much bigger than the younger children in the creche,The Irish Primary school system caters for children of four years and up, the system in your home country may be different and preschool may challenge children more. Here you may find that the pre school will just redo whatever learning they did last year and this wont stimulate your child.

    You will find too that other parents will be wary of your childs influence on theirs as they get older, ie your son will be able to get into pubs much earlier than most of his classmates and may push boundaries from fifth year on because of this,its something to bear in mind.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 377 ✭✭ ax530

    My child is 4 few months younger, saying same this week as his friends gone to school left with babies in Crèche.

    But a few weeks those 'babies' will be his friends and will seem closer in age then now.

    Generally crèche are good will keep your child challenged and he will be happy starting school next year.

    I've older children in school and many in their classes would be similar age Dec birthday to you son. Don't worry

  • Registered Users Posts: 695 ✭✭✭ taxiperson

    In Ireland most children a few months short of their fifth birthday will be in junior Infants, the curriculum is designed for this age group and not for children turning six in the first term of Junior Infants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭ karlitob

    “I guess I am looking for a bit of an insight from parents that decided to keep their kids in the Creche until they were over 5 and how do you guys look back at your decision now ?”

    What you want is someone to justify your decision?

    Sending a child to junior infants when they’re nearly six is mad. And making sweeping statements about boys is unfair.

    Send the child to school - they count to 5, learn their alphabet and phonics and colour in.

    We all get their in the end. I knew plenty of dopes growing up - girls and boys - and plenty of wonderful people who I’m still friends with; and none of it boiled down to whether they went to junior infants at 4 years of age.

    Sure with the logic that’s being applied to this thread why not wait until he’s 6 and 9 months before you send him to junior infants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    I was actually told that that they need to count to 20, know how to spell their name, know how to write it before they are able to start junior infants. My son is not fully able to do any of the above.

    I didn’t say anything about justifying sending a child to junior infants at almost 6. I was simply asking to get some insight from people that decided to wait that extra year. I know of plenty of people that had. It just happened that my son is left in the Creche on his own being the age he is. The two girls that were in the same group as my son last year were for some reason moved to another ECCE group. Their parents happen to be our neighbors and they too decided not to send them to schools this year. They are both December babies so born the same month as my son.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    I have actually gone to school in Ireland myself and without being rude to anyone but I see the transition year as the biggest waste of time. If we were to stay in Ireland I definitely don’t see my son doing it. So I am not too worried of him being “too old” starting college. Can you even be too old to start ? I went to college with plenty of “mature” students some of them being in their 50’s at the time and we had a great crack.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 110 ✭✭ LittleBrick

    Another primary teacher here. Definitely the right decision to hold him back. I agree with everything the other teacher said. Boys are often less mature than girls in the lower classes and find it harder to settle and engage in learning (not all, but as a very general rule of thumb the average girl would settle quicker and better than the average boy). This balances out around 3rd/4th class. You know your child better than anyone else, and if you don't think he's ready (as you state) then he isn't ready.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭ karlitob

    Sure with this reasoning why send boys to school at all until they’re in 3rd or 4th class.

    If it takes so long for one half of the species to ‘settle and engage in learning’ then - with your logic - no age would be appropriate to send a boy to junior infants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    Well in fairness you can easily spot what the poster meant looking at a boy and a girl of the same age. Even compering myself and my brother at the same age I was definitely more “matured”. I rembemer minding kids at 16 my brother could barely mind himself at the same age. Or looking at my friends that have a boy and a girl I can easily see how their daughters where able to talk, dress themselves etc much earlier then their sons. Obviously that’s not a given and every child is different but you can often hear doctors saying the same thing so there must be some element of truth to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭ karlitob

    “I was actually told that that they need to count to 20, know how to spell their name, know how to write it before they are able to start junior infants. My son is not fully able to do any of the above.”

    News to me that there’s an entrance exam for junior infants. What does he need to know for senior infants?

  • Registered Users Posts: 434 ✭✭ noplacehere

    We sent our 4 years and 9 months boy and despite worries on my part he has been fine. Ecce had told us he was ready so we went with it. He went to a gaelscoil so there was only 20 in his class for junior infants

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭ karlitob

    I can easily spot that the matriarchy that exists among primary school teachers and the matriarchy of overbearing mothers are blaming half of the species for what they clearly believe are common personality and psychological traits. Perhaps more should be done for boys to throughout these years as they apparently seem to struggle so much instead of blaming the victims in all of this.

    The poster said that in her decades and decades of experience that boys - on average - don’t settle into learning until 3rd or 4th class. They are her words. With her logic why are boys even sent to school until then. Or perhaps she believes boys and girls should be segregated. Or perhaps boys should - on average - start a year later than girls so they can ‘settle’ quicker.

    And for every example you give about a boy I can give one about a girl. My sister was less mature than me. I dressed myself earlier than my sister. My friends sons dressed themselves earlier than their daughters.

    While certainly dressing yourself etc is clearly a key component of social and psychological development, it now seems like there is a further criteria for entrance into junior infants I knew not of. And for some reason, boys don’t seem to be able to pass these tests that you set - on average.

    Perhaps - and you and the other teachers on this thread can’t comment on this because you’re not male - you should consider it from your sons perspective. He’ll be the older in class by far, everyone - including him - will think him a dope as his mother and teachers thought him too stupid to put on his clothes to send him to school. Ideal slagging material for years.

    Post edited by karlitob on

  • Subscribers Posts: 35,326 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat

    A couple of general comments.

    If your child has only basic English and maths right now, you're right to hold them back another year until they progresses.

    They won't "be bored" in junior infants if their basic levels are going to be on a par with their classmates regardless of age.

    You can never be "too old" starting college, but you absolutely can be too young.

    I myself am a December baby and started school at 4 years 7 months (back in the 80s when that was very much the norm). I started college at 17 and 7 months and given the choice again I absolutely would have waited another year before starting.

    You've made the best choice for your child at the time. Don't second guess yourself. Keep in contact with the ECCE teacher and then the Junior infants teacher to make sure are hitting the required metrics.

    From what you've described they should have no problem

  • Registered Users Posts: 211 ✭✭ ohnohedidnt

    My wife Joined a WhatsApp group of local mothers when my daughter was born. My daughter is starting school this week, but in general most parents in the WhatsApp group are waiting until next year when the kids are 5.

    I feel my daughter is ready and would be bored in creche for another year, some kids definitely aren't ready. My son is registered to start at 4 too, if I feel he's not ready we'll defer him when the time comes. There's no one size fits all answer, even within a family, so don't be stressing about it.

    You're in the best position to decide what's right for your kids, nobody on the Internet can tell you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    It’s not even that his English is very basic but definitely nowhere near as good as all the other native English speaker kids. I was told by numerous doctors that kids that are brought up with two or more languages generally start to speak a lot later as they have so much more words to process. This is the case with our son. He will often mix the two languages might say half a sentence in English and mix it with some foreign words making it difficult for anyone to understand what he is trying to say. He often has difficulty to count to ten even whereas our neighbors son that was born in January so it’s almost a year older (they were in the same group at Creche) can count to 50. Little things like this are the reason I really can’t see how he wouldn’t be behind in school. By the time he is able to count to 50 older kids his in his class would be able to do so much more. He just finished his first week back at ECCE and they are not doing the same activities that they have been doing a year ago. Deep down inside I feel that we have made the right decision but I am just a bit upset because he is clearly missing his friends that have gone to school this year. I guess I need to give it some time before he makes new friends.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    I think you are getting a little bit too deep into this. If I had a daughter it wouldn’t make any difference if I felt the child isn’t ready it’s all that matters. The gender is irrelevant and definitely wasn’t a deciding factor. My husband was actually the one who felt very strongly about our son not being ready to start school. I don’t think there is a need to differentiate between genders. All I want to hear is parents opinions especially those who have children at the same age as mine and their views on sending their kids to school before they turned 5 vs holding them back that extra year and how do they look back at their decision.

    I would rather my child being one of the oldest in his class then the other way around especially when it comes to teenage years. Plenty of people from my LC class did TY and some of them where 19 finishing school no one look at them as “dopes” or thought any different of them if anything they were the cool over the legal drinking age kids that could get you alcohol and were cool to hang around with.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 175 ✭✭ JimmyAlfonso

    I had to laugh when I read this. Have you not considered the gendered upbringing that you and your sibling had. I know from my upbringing that despite being the a lot more mature than my sister if child needed minding then the girl would do the job!

    Also doctors do not analyse scientific studies, scientists do. Granted they may be more qualified to give an opinion than many but it is still an opinion. Boys and girls develop different skills at different times but society bestows many of the so called differences on the genders. I'm raising a boy and a girl at the moment and its hilarious the stereotypes that people try to impart on them

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,317 ✭✭✭ History Queen

    Hey Op, my son will be starting school at 5 years 5months as we feel 4 years 5 months is just too young. Our neighbour's daughter who Is two months older than him will be going to school at 4 years 7 months as she feels 5 years 7 months is too old. It really comes down to a mix of personal judgement, the child's academic and emotional maturity and ECCE experience.

    Just to explain my own rationale, I'm a second level teacher and from the way I see some of the younger age students struggle socially/emotionally during the teenage years, it really made me feel strongly that I'd prefer my child to be at the older end of the class than younger.

    Personally I think you've made the right decision. Best wishes to you and your son.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭ karlitob

    Haha you probably forgot your previous post where you said gender is relevant - and now it’s not relevant.

    I’ll put it here for you to read.

    “ Even compering myself and my brother at the same age I was definitely more “matured”. I rembemer minding kids at 16 my brother could barely mind himself at the same age. Or looking at my friends that have a boy and a girl I can easily see how their daughters where able to talk, dress themselves etc much earlier then their sons. Obviously that’s not a given and every child is different but you can often hear doctors saying the same thing so there must be some element of truth to it.”

    19 finishing school - that’s just mad. The modern day fetish of infantilising adults has delayed the actual emotional and social requirements they need but are delayed because grown men and women are still in school at 19.

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    I think 18yr-olds are way less mature and independent than we were at that age, partly because of the trend in recent years to delay children starting school. Most children started school on their 4th birthday (regardless of the calendar month), I did my leaving cert at 16 and finished college at 19. I was a fully functioning adult then, and got a job and subsequently retired on almost full pension at 57 after 38 years service.

    We had our kids in our twenties/early thirties which biologically is the right time to have them, and we can enjoy retirement and grandchildren when we're still young and active.

    The next generation will be nearly in their 70's before they can retire, they're having children later, when fertility is waning, and they will be caught up in mortgages well into their 60's.

    I'm not sure if this will make a better society than we had a generation ago...time will tell I guess.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    He won’t be 19 finishing secondary school. Leaving cert happens in June so he will be 18 and 6 months. Won’t be 19 until December. So half way through his first year of college. And as we all know they are plenty of people of all different ages going to college so it will hardly make any difference. On the other side Ireland is actually one of the very few countries that allows children to start school at 4. In most countries you have to be at least 6. I had to be 7 before I was allowed to start. Doing final secondary school exams at 19 is fairly common in the Scandinavian and Eastern European countries. Being 17 in your final year of school is unheard of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,977 ✭✭✭ Deeec

    Angela1711 you have made the right decision regarding your son. I started my daughter at 4 and 8 months and have regretted it from day 1. Shes the youngest in her class and this is a disadvantage for her from a physical, social and academic view. She is also in a different age group for GAA than her school friends as she was born in a different year to them which has caused upset. I will be starting my son in school when he is 5 and 7 months - I wont be making the same mistake this time by starting him at 4.

    Under the ECCE rules for playschools your son only qualifies for his second free year this year so if you sent him to school now he would have only had 1 free year of playschool when every child is entitled to 2 years. Even ECCE rules recognise that a child born in January should start school after they turn 5.

    There is no advantage to starting a child in school too young. Dont listen to the people that say otherwise. Finishing school at 16 nowadays is ridiculous! He wont be bored either - Dont worry he will thrive when he gets to school - this time next year you will see that you made the right decision.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭ karlitob

    I'm not sure what point you're making.

    You've come on a discussion forum seeking views but don't like the view you've sought. All the other female teachers might plamause you into saying 'you've made the right decision' but I'm not gonna say that. Us poor boys have been victim to unconscious bias right from an early stage - and sometimes conscious as we see it the comments page above - and this manifests itself in the leaving cert.

    Referencing what they do in other countries is moot as the response that you'll get - which I'm now gonna give you - is....well you're in Ireland not 'most other countries'. Legally, children need to be enrolled in formal education by six, not 'at least' 6.

    As for your comment that doing final exams at 19 is 'fairly common' then you'll be interested to note that you view does not marry with the data. Only 90 students in ireland do their leaving at 19 - you'll see lithuania, latvia and estonia are similarly very low in the number of 19 years old who complete their state exams. Not exactly fairly common for the eastern european countries you reference.

    And with respect to you're 'unheard of' that a 17 year completes their final year exams - well Ireland sits in the middle of the OECD pack. Which means that while you have never heard of it - you seemed to have missed a bucketload of other countries where its not 'unheard of' - like nearly 300,000 17 year olds in the UK.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    Well your opinion seems to be very one sided too. Have you actually got children in school ? Otherwise I don’t see a point in debating about gender vs academic achievements etc. All I am interested in is to see other parents views on sending their kids to school at 4 vs waiting until they are 5 and how they view their decision from a time perspective. You might have missed my very first post where I said that we are actually most likely going to be leaving Ireland and the country we are moving to don’t allow you to enroll your child into school until they are at least 6 most people wait until they are 7. This was a big deciding factor because I don’t want to put my child into the likely stress of starting school twice. How will I explain to him that well you were in school but now you have to go back to the Creche and start school again when you are 7. It’s a bit much for a child to get his head around to be honest.

  • Registered Users Posts: 439 ✭✭ angela1711

    His ECCE teachers are already saying that he is much more content and focused on all the activities this time around, something he was greatly struggling with last year. He had also been playing with two other boys this week which is good as he is finally starting to get to know some of the other kids. I was also talking to my neighbor who has 5 kids and kept all of them in the Creche until their 5th birthday and she really doesn’t understand my worries. She has kept her two girls who are the very same age as my son in the Creche for the extra year and has no second doubts about it. I guess I am just overthinking this whole situation and he will be fine eventually.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,160 ✭✭✭✭ fits

    It sounds like you have made the right decision. I have December born twin boys. One has just started, the other will start next year. I wish it was like Northern Europe though and they could all play outside until they are seven.