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Guest ranga

HELP!! Gifted 5yr old from KS1/2 to Kindergarten - Sydney primary schools

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Guest ranga

Hello, We are moving to Sydney around 2nd week of January 2012 so have started contacting schools to get a place for my 5yr old daughter.

She was born in July so currently in KS1 in the UK.

However, some of the schools (eg. St Luke's Grammar) I've contacted in Sydney have stated that she'll be enrolled into Kindergarten based on daughter’s date of birth.

This really worries us; it'll be a big setback for my daughter if she had to go back to Kindergarten as she has been identified by her current school as a gifted and talented child and is sending her to KS2 class for English and maths.

 

Has anyone else experienced similar situation in the past? Could we ask the school to evaluate my daughter and place her in an appropriate grade based on ability rather than her age?

 

We are mainly looking for catholic and private schools around Northern Beaches as I'm coming on 457 visa.

 

Any help or advise is very much appreciated!

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Hello, We are moving to Sydney around 2nd week of January 2012 so have started contacting schools to get a place for my 5yr old daughter.

She was born in July so currently in KS1 in the UK.

However, some of the schools (eg. St Luke's Grammar) I've contacted in Sydney have stated that she'll be enrolled into Kindergarten based on daughter’s date of birth.

This really worries us; it'll be a big setback for my daughter if she had to go back to Kindergarten as she has been identified by her current school as a gifted and talented child and is sending her to KS2 class for English and maths.

 

Has anyone else experienced similar situation in the past? Could we ask the school to evaluate my daughter and place her in an appropriate grade based on ability rather than her age?

 

We are mainly looking for catholic and private schools around Northern Beaches as I'm coming on 457 visa.

 

Any help or advise is very much appreciated!

 

Australia isnt great on Gifted Education IMHO (NSW is one of the better states however) and there is a tendency to try and chop tall poppies off at the knees. However, she is within the standard cut off date for year 1 in 2012 in NSW (cut off 31 July) so you could try and stick to your guns - also go armed, not so much with the gifted tag as that really puts staff backs up, but with the fact that you are only in Australia temporarily and you will be going back to UK (even if that isnt your intention of course) and it will be important that she is aligned with her UK age peers with respect to number of years of education blah blah. I hope that she is socially and physically competent as well as having splinter skills because early education is more than just about reading age

 

There are OC classes in government schools but, quite rightly, they dont take kids under year 3 when they are better able to assess global development including social, emotional, physical etc.

 

Another thing to remember is that she wont be going BACK anywhere because she hasnt been in the system before and there are different emphases in early learning in Aus compared with UK so she may find some of the things she has to do quite challenging.

 

There is quite an active Gifted and Talented Association for NSW http://www.nswagtc.org.au/ and some of them will be in tune with which schools are more likely to take an interest. If she has a Binet or WPPSI scoring 140+ then take that along too, as well as (if you have one) an adaptive behaviour assessment scored by her current school to show that she has the capacity to hold her own with older kids

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Guest ranga
Australia isnt great on Gifted Education IMHO (NSW is one of the better states however) and there is a tendency to try and chop tall poppies off at the knees. However, she is within the standard cut off date for year 1 in 2012 in NSW (cut off 31 July) so you could try and stick to your guns - also go armed, not so much with the gifted tag as that really puts staff backs up, but with the fact that you are only in Australia temporarily and you will be going back to UK (even if that isnt your intention of course) and it will be important that she is aligned with her UK age peers with respect to number of years of education blah blah. I hope that she is socially and physically competent as well as having splinter skills because early education is more than just about reading age

 

There are OC classes in government schools but, quite rightly, they dont take kids under year 3 when they are better able to assess global development including social, emotional, physical etc.

 

Another thing to remember is that she wont be going BACK anywhere because she hasnt been in the system before and there are different emphases in early learning in Aus compared with UK so she may find some of the things she has to do quite challenging.

 

There is quite an active Gifted and Talented Association for NSW http://www.nswagtc.org.au/ and some of them will be in tune with which schools are more likely to take an interest. If she has a Binet or WPPSI scoring 140+ then take that along too, as well as (if you have one) an adaptive behaviour assessment scored by her current school to show that she has the capacity to hold her own with older kids

 

Thanks Quoll for your excellent advise, I like the way you've looked at it from a different perspective.

I'll be in touch with the schools next few weeks and update you with the progress. Cheers!

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In my opinion, if a child is intelligent, then they will be intelligent whatever, they don't loose that. I also think that a school doesn't necessarily have to be 100% responsible for a child's education, parents must also take responsibility for it. To that end, I don't think that your child is going to be particularly disadvantaged by 'repeating' kindy, she isn't actually repeating anything, just fitting in to a different system. Providing you can find a school that you are happy with, and more importantly that she is happy with.

 

Our daughter was born April 2006 (i.e. before the cut off), and started kindy this year. She is the youngest in the school, with all of the other children in her particular class being more than eight months older than her, and although she has no problems academically (she is a bright child, well above average for reading, science and maths and so on, much of which I do with her at home), physically, emotionally and socially there is a huge difference between her and the others. Although she is 'normal' height for her age, she is so much smaller than the others, she always comes last in sports, and from an emotional point of view, although I wouldn't say that she is babyish for her age, when you compare her against her friends, some of whom are 15 months older than her, she is babyish.

 

I have actually been beating myself up about this all year, because we enrolled her in to school because we were under huge amounts of pressure from her grandparents to do so (simply because children start school earlier in the UK, which in their opinion is better). I spoke to her teacher about it a while ago, who thinks that she will be fine, and if we were going to go back to live in the UK I think it would have been the right thing to do, but since we have no plans to return, I am not so sure. On top of this, I now feel obliged to send our youngest to school early so as to keep them in step, as it were.

 

Look at the bigger picture. If you are intending to return to the UK, enroll her so as to keep her in line with her British school group (if you can), but if not, try not to see it as her taking a step back, just fitting in to a new system which still produces doctors, lawyers and scientists just the same at the end.

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Hi ranga,

 

Unfortunately I don’t have any words of wisdom, however we will prob be in a similar situation when we arrive in Oz (albeit not as soon as you). We have always done all we can to help develop our children and our eldest (6) has also be placed on the Gifted and Talented Register. Our youngest son (4) has already read books that children in our eldest's class (18 months older than him) haven’t, so we wouldn't be surprised if goes the same way.

We are great believers that the 'three R's' are not the be all and end all. Although necessary, there is more to a child's education that the pure academic side. Unlike yourselves we are not planning on returning to the UK (we can't wait to get away in fact!) but I do understand your concern and are interested to follow your situation - please keep us informed.


CDR Sub. 16.04.11 +ve Outcome 11.08.11 IELTS L8.5/R9/W8.5/S9 VIC SS Sub. 15.10.11 VIC SS App. 21.11.11 176 Sub. 25.04.12 CO 01.05.12 MEDS 09.06.12 PCC's 19.06.12 VISA GRANT 28.06.12 FLIGHTS BOOKED - 02.06.13!!!

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Guest shusselmann

Hi,

I think we’ve had and are having a similar experience to LKC with our eldest son, he was close to the cut off date to start Kindergarten and we started him anyway, making him one of the youngest in the year. He’s doing exceptionally well academically but on occasions I can see that he’s less mature socially. It’s not drastic and the school says he’s coping but I’m conscious of it. I’ve also been told that things may get harder as he gets older and the gap appears bigger.

At the moment I’m keeping an eye on the situation and don’t plan for him to repeat a year. I’d rather keep him with his friends now.

As Quoll says, I would stick to your guns about your daughter starting Year 1. You can always schedule a review with the teachers a few months in to see how she is getting on. Another observation is that teachers here seem used to dealing with a class of children with a broad range of abilities, there are core components that they cover but, particularly with literacy, children are accelerated or assisted as necessary.

I’m sure you feel pressured enough to choose the right school but I think that will be the deal maker \ breaker. I feel our son copes because he’s in a small, nurturing school. If you’re looking at Catholic and Private schools in Sydney I think you stand a good chance of finding something similar – thought of areas yet?

Good luck with your plans.

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Hi,

I think we’ve had and are having a similar experience to LKC with our eldest son, he was close to the cut off date to start Kindergarten and we started him anyway, making him one of the youngest in the year. He’s doing exceptionally well academically but on occasions I can see that he’s less mature socially. It’s not drastic and the school says he’s coping but I’m conscious of it. I’ve also been told that things may get harder as he gets older and the gap appears bigger.

At the moment I’m keeping an eye on the situation and don’t plan for him to repeat a year. I’d rather keep him with his friends now.

As Quoll says, I would stick to your guns about your daughter starting Year 1. You can always schedule a review with the teachers a few months in to see how she is getting on. Another observation is that teachers here seem used to dealing with a class of children with a broad range of abilities, there are core components that they cover but, particularly with literacy, children are accelerated or assisted as necessary.

I’m sure you feel pressured enough to choose the right school but I think that will be the deal maker \ breaker. I feel our son copes because he’s in a small, nurturing school. If you’re looking at Catholic and Private schools in Sydney I think you stand a good chance of finding something similar – thought of areas yet?

Good luck with your plans.

 

Totally agree with the above. Although there is an obvious difference between Sophie and her classmates now, I am expecting that difference to become wider as she gets older and hits that tricky age. I am not looking forwards to my just 10 year old daughter going to school with 11.5 year olds! We send our daughter to state school, but we are in the catchment for a very good school and have been exceptionally pleased with how good it is.

 

The teacher very quickly sorted out the children in to tables, to allow children with a similar ability to sit together. She pushes the children on my daughters table quite hard, and expects far more from them in return. This can be hard for my daughter, not in terms of academic ability, but she is quite sensitive and not as able to cope with this emotionally as easily as the others. However, they are way ahead in terms of reading books and so on. The teacher also gives extra help to those who need it too. I don't know if all schools allow parents and grandparents to go in and do things like reading with the children, but at our daughters school many of the parents go in to help out. I do a couple of hours a week changing the reading books and listening to the children read, which encourages the children, but also takes the pressure off the teacher a bit so that she has more time to do the actual teaching.

 

I think that if you choose the right school for you and your daughter, whatever sort it is, you will be fine.

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Guest GoldCoastMag

children who are younger may manage fine in their younger years and hopefully will do wonderfully right through but when deciding for my sons, teachers pointed out

 

things to think about:

 

as the children go through adolescence there are different peer pressures

at the highest grades some older children are getting their drivers licences

uni can also be different if a childs maturity levels make leaving home more difficult

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In my experience - but i'm in QLD. We arrived when my Son was 4 turning 5 in the august. I applied to our local state school to have him enrolled in the prep year starting that year even though his age put him in the following year. Our application was accepted. He was only 6 weeks out of the cut off date of June 30 and had like you already started reception class in the UK.

 

Not sure how it works in NSW

 

Hope it works out for you


JO - Mummy of 4 & Wife to Garath - On a 457 since Oct 2008 - Garath Electrician - Applied for 856 - Nom & App (non DRC) submitted 18/05 (parramatta) Acknowledged 23/5 - Payment 01/06 - News of Case officer allocated 15/12 ...GRANTED 30/12

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The perceived problems in age disparity come up a lot but I think they are often overblown, having had direct personal experience of it. I was moved up a year at primary school in the UK and as my birthday is late April, most kids in my class were more than a year older than me; in fact most of my mates were born between September and December so around 18 months older than me, and it really wasn't an issue at all. Not an issue when I went up to secondary school at 10 (since I was going up with people I'd been with anyway), not an issue when puberty hit (because there is such a disparity - up to 2 or 3 years - between when kids go through those changes anyway), not an issue when I did exams, not an issue going to sixth form college at 15 and not an issue when I went away to Uni a 17. In fact it was great; my folks had to make a few allowances and let me do stuff earlier, provided I didn't let them down (like going down the pub at 15-16 because my mates were 17). I felt like I had a "free year" which I used at Uni to take a sabbatical year out and do something I'd wanted to for ages

 

Like everything else in parenting, it all depends on the individual child

 

Going back to the OP, I agree with Quoll in the main; we are starting our 4 year old (born June 2007) at school in NSW in January and have been told the G&T programs don't start until year 3; not a problem, in fact I agree with the NSW authorities on that front, trying to label kids too early as standing out is often an issue (and wading into schools telling them how gifted your kid is, will put backs up as you'd expect). We're not starting him to push him, but because he has already been going to a quite formal school environment at pre-prep for over a year, loves it and needs quite a lot of interaction with his peers. Holding him back for a year would have him (and my wife) climbing the walls. But again, it's all down to the individual child and only you know your kids.

 

As far as I know, in NSW government schools the first year is called "kindy" but this is like year 1 elsewhere. Could easily be wrong on that - but it's definitely the first full year of school. Private schools vary a bit both in terms of cut-off and what they call their first year, so be aware. I wouldn't worry too much about going "back" because as has been said, programs and methods differ a lot between the two countries.

 

As far as the private system goes, in our experience trying to find a place if you haven't had their name down for a while is more of an issue. We found very few *good* private schools that would take our son in Jan 2012 when we were coming out this October - and this is what we were told when touring them in June 2011, we were already too late to put our names down.

 

Pick the right area/suburb, and a lot of the government schools are very good, we visited a number back in June and were very impressed. It's very common here for people to send their kids to government primary school and private high school, although by going down that route you lay yourself open to the scramble for places at Year 6....

 

Ultimately I wouldn't stress it too much. There is nothing stopping you starting in the government system and going private any time, maybe one or two years later. That way at least your child will have a track record in the Aussie system (private schools will, unsurprisingly, pay more attention to the opinion of an objective teaching professional in the Australian system as to the abilities of a child than what their parents say) and if your daughter is as smart as you say, it will have been noted and almost certainly acted on already. And in the meantime, by starting in 2012 she'll already be with older kids than here in her class, as most of them will be rising 6.

 

That's exactly what we are doing with our son, who is academically inclined; he was at private pre-prep school in the UK but over here will be starting government primary in January, and we've applied for him to go to Sydney Grammar (St.Ives) as it's a secular and academic private school - but they're not interested in assessing him until March for possible entry in 2013. So he'll be at least a year in the government system and we've seen enough of the schools to be quite happy with that

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Guest Advice on northern Beache

Hi there

If you are thinking of staying here then I would fall in line with St Luke's they do have

A great learning cottage PRE school which I think is very much like K in UK

On a 457 visa you cannot access opportunity classes ( most are for older children anyway)

I suggest you take a look at Seaforth Public school which does run gifted classes and allows

Younger children to move up for Maths etc.you would have to live in Seaforth School catchment area. Private message me if you want further information

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Guest Roary

I can't speak for Sydney - but MIL is a teacher who specializes in g&T programs. She says 2 things (in reference to Perth):

1. State system is vastly inferior to the private for this as a rule (there are exceptions) because private schools pour more resources in, they can because they charge huge fees!

2. That intervention is most important *outside* the early primary years, and that this is backed up by evidence. The most important part of early childhood education is not the 'school' bit but the other children bit; henceforth why many countries do not attempt to teach reading till age 7. So if the school you start in straight away is not perfect and you'd like to go private, that should be fine - just put them down on a list for the next available year of entry. This will go quite quickly as usual entry points are years 3 and 5 beyond the early years.

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I can't speak for Sydney - but MIL is a teacher who specializes in g&T programs. She says 2 things (in reference to Perth):

1. State system is vastly inferior to the private for this as a rule (there are exceptions) because private schools pour more resources in, they can because they charge huge fees!

2. That intervention is most important *outside* the early primary years, and that this is backed up by evidence. The most important part of early childhood education is not the 'school' bit but the other children bit; henceforth why many countries do not attempt to teach reading till age 7. So if the school you start in straight away is not perfect and you'd like to go private, that should be fine - just put them down on a list for the next available year of entry. This will go quite quickly as usual entry points are years 3 and 5 beyond the early years.

 

Your MIL is quite correct, gifted and talented kids dont need hothousing especially in the early years if they are well stimulated at home but what they DO need is often a more broad based experience than many actually receive. I once worked with a very wise old school counsellor who said that gifted kids (especially) need a good dose of Hand, Foot and Mouth - by which he meant a broad range of experiences including craft, music, sport, drama, singing etc. Often gifted kids have a hard time of it because they dont have the aptitude or experience in some other more socially desirable area - my nephew for example was a classic victim because he was total nerd, socially awkward, sportingly well behind his peers and in consequence a very lonely and often bullied kid.

 

OTOH DS2 was a national level swimmer, good rower, violinist, pianist and very bright but because he had other social and sporting strings to his bow (pardon the pun) he didnt cop it for carrying a violin and doing 'poncy' stuff like that.

 

I do tend to disagree with the comment about age differences being overblown - that really does depend on the social maturity of the individual child (and often the physical maturity as well, especially down the track at puberty) and I have seen far too many early gifted kids fall by the wayside because they couldnt hack it socially and especially they couldnt manage the rigors of secondary college or university at a year or more younger than their peers. The best way to deal with gifted kids is to have a Blooms Taxonomy approach to learning in the classroom with age peers but that is a lot of work for teachers and they tend not to do it unless you are a paying customer!

 

So, even if a child is put with their age peers and finds school easy, then build up their non school time with hand, foot and mouth activities so they get a well rounded development - ie dont give them more maths if they are good at maths, get them into little Aths or learn the piano instead!

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I do tend to disagree with the comment about age differences being overblown - that really does depend on the social maturity of the individual child (and often the physical maturity as well, especially down the track at puberty) and I have seen far too many early gifted kids fall by the wayside because they couldnt hack it socially and especially they couldnt manage the rigors of secondary college or university at a year or more younger than their peers.

 

I'm only saying it because I actually did it, and wasn't disadvantaged at all - quite the reverse. There were 2 others in the same situation in my year group at secondary school, and they did fine too

 

You're absolutely right that it depends on the individual child - that's why I challenge the oft-quoted blanket view that its probably not a good idea. IMO there's more than 12-18 months variation in "maturity" (however you measure that) in any one year group in any case. All other things being equal you wouldn't want to go forward early, but all other things aren't equal. I do know that holding my son back until Jan 2013 to start school (to be with the majority of his age peers) would be absolutely the wrong thing to do

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Your MIL is quite correct, gifted and talented kids dont need hothousing especially in the early years if they are well stimulated at home but what they DO need is often a more broad based experience than many actually receive. I once worked with a very wise old school counsellor who said that gifted kids (especially) need a good dose of Hand, Foot and Mouth - by which he meant a broad range of experiences including craft, music, sport, drama, singing etc. Often gifted kids have a hard time of it because they dont have the aptitude or experience in some other more socially desirable area - my nephew for example was a classic victim because he was total nerd, socially awkward, sportingly well behind his peers and in consequence a very lonely and often bullied kid.

 

OTOH DS2 was a national level swimmer, good rower, violinist, pianist and very bright but because he had other social and sporting strings to his bow (pardon the pun) he didnt cop it for carrying a violin and doing 'poncy' stuff like that.

 

I do tend to disagree with the comment about age differences being overblown - that really does depend on the social maturity of the individual child (and often the physical maturity as well, especially down the track at puberty) and I have seen far too many early gifted kids fall by the wayside because they couldnt hack it socially and especially they couldnt manage the rigors of secondary college or university at a year or more younger than their peers. The best way to deal with gifted kids is to have a Blooms Taxonomy approach to learning in the classroom with age peers but that is a lot of work for teachers and they tend not to do it unless you are a paying customer!

 

So, even if a child is put with their age peers and finds school easy, then build up their non school time with hand, foot and mouth activities so they get a well rounded development - ie dont give them more maths if they are good at maths, get them into little Aths or learn the piano instead!

 

I absolutely agree with this. A bright child will still be bright if you lay off the academic learning a little and do something else. Both of our daughters are bright, but rather than making them do homework for hours on end, I tend to do other things with them. The only actual homework we do with Sophie (in Kindy) is her reading book. We go swimming, walking, dance lessons etc. I even let them watch tv, which I know many other parents would think is awful! We balance that with learning. They are both at the moment working their way through one of my zoology text books, and we have some quite interesting conversations about it, but I don't push. They are looking at it because they are interested. I know people who are trying to teach their seven year old the Periodic Table of the Elements. To me this is pointless. Why not wait until the child is older and can comprehend what it actually means? I am totally a believer in making good foundations. Learning about patterns, about shapes and symmetry and all of those things which lead on to more complicated learning.

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Your MIL is quite correct, gifted and talented kids dont need hothousing especially in the early years if they are well stimulated at home but what they DO need is often a more broad based experience than many actually receive. I once worked with a very wise old school counsellor who said that gifted kids (especially) need a good dose of Hand, Foot and Mouth - by which he meant a broad range of experiences including craft, music, sport, drama, singing etc. Often gifted kids have a hard time of it because they dont have the aptitude or experience in some other more socially desirable area - my nephew for example was a classic victim because he was total nerd, socially awkward, sportingly well behind his peers and in consequence a very lonely and often bullied kid.

 

OTOH DS2 was a national level swimmer, good rower, violinist, pianist and very bright but because he had other social and sporting strings to his bow (pardon the pun) he didnt cop it for carrying a violin and doing 'poncy' stuff like that.

 

I do tend to disagree with the comment about age differences being overblown - that really does depend on the social maturity of the individual child (and often the physical maturity as well, especially down the track at puberty) and I have seen far too many early gifted kids fall by the wayside because they couldnt hack it socially and especially they couldnt manage the rigors of secondary college or university at a year or more younger than their peers. The best way to deal with gifted kids is to have a Blooms Taxonomy approach to learning in the classroom with age peers but that is a lot of work for teachers and they tend not to do it unless you are a paying customer!

 

So, even if a child is put with their age peers and finds school easy, then build up their non school time with hand, foot and mouth activities so they get a well rounded development - ie dont give them more maths if they are good at maths, get them into little Aths or learn the piano instead!

 

 

I remember having a conversation with eldest daughter's teacher once when she suggested giving E extra work as extension. I told her I thought an 8 year old didn't need to do more of the same - more essays, projects etc and perhaps it would be a better idea to 'expand' her, rather than 'extend' her - teach her another language or musical instrument which would interest her rather than making her think her of her ability as a negative thing which means more work!

Luckily they listened and she started to learn Polish (they happened to have a Polish teacher at school at the time). She has developed a passion for languages and travel and is taking two languages at A level (including Spanish which she hadn't studied before, but taught herself over the summer), but dropped English which is what she was initially identified as being gifted in!

Just because they are gifted or talented in something doesn't mean it's what will interest them later, so exposure to a wide range of activities gives them the opportunity to explore other possible interests as well as keeping them stimulated.

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