My August Baby

 

Sometimes I can have something in my head for a while, a little thought that I’ve squirreled away and tried not to worry about. All of a sudden that something is brought to the front of my mind and it is all I can think about. We had parents evening for Lucas last week and it was great; she is so happy with his attitude coming into pre-school and how he socialises and makes friends. Overall he is good…for his age. He isn’t behind for his years and months but as he moves up the school and he is expected to reach a level for his year group I am well aware that it is going to take him a while to catch up to his peers.

Not only is he the youngest in his class, he is also young for his age. He started talking late and although his speech has improved massively it still isn’t quite up to where it should be. It is being monitored should he need speech therapy and if it is needed it will be put in place before the end of this academic year. Yet, I’m afraid it will hold him back in Reception when he isn’t able to express himself quickly or join in effectively. Emotionally he is still immature and I know they have problems getting him to settle to an activity in pre-school. He is just the same at home and although it is improving I’m not sure how much better that will be by September. As the teacher herself recognises this isn’t because he is badly behaved, it is because he is young. He doesn’t quite have the attention and listening skills of some of the other children.

He has a fierce independent streak, he knows his own mind and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He has taken things in that he won’t show the teachers, or even us. He learns best by doing, something that we focus on at home as getting him to sit down and write often ends in a battle. We were told that she knows he is capable and she can see the understanding but there is no evidence to support it. It’s sad that these things matter so much now but that is the nature of modern education and it will only get worse the further up the school he goes. He is smart in so many ways; he loves building and construction, books and jigsaws, his imagination is endless and he can tell a fantastic story, he loves to be outside and can talk all about animals and nature. He can see when someone is sad or happy, he can emphasise and tell us his emotions. Sadly I know these things aren’t as important when it comes to assessing children now and although I’m sure he would eventually catch up to his peers, will the damage already have been done?  I couldn’t care less what level he is; it is a number on a piece of paper, that is all. It doesn’t tell me all I need to know about my child. It isn’t as if he doesn’t learn to read or write by a certain age he will never learn how to and if he could progress at his own pace I’m sure we wouldn’t have a problem. He will never be the most academic child, it just isn’t in his nature, and yet he does love to learn.

The fact is that had he been born 33 hours later he wouldn’t even be in pre-school yet and he wouldn’t be starting school until 2016. This is something I feel conflicted about; without a doubt pre-school has been fantastic for him and he just loves it. He loves the children, the teachers, the environment. Everyday he runs to the school doors to see his friends, he leaves me without a backward glance bounding into class with a smile. He was ready for it, he needed it, but is he ready for full-time school in September, I’m just not sure? It seems a big leap and it makes me anxious to think he will spend the whole of his primary education being given extra support just to reach an ‘average’ that he isn’t capable of as it isn’t suitable for his age.

I think maybe he is lacking the maturity and understanding to be ready to make that leap to full-time education. I’m worried that years of being given extra support and interventions may stifle his learning and result in a dislike of school. On the other hand I’m worried that holding him back a year may isolate him from other children. He loves his class and in some ways I can see signs that maybe he could flourish in school, given the right environment.

Summer born babies are being discussed in the media more and more and although the guidelines state that schools should be flexible, in practice it isn’t actually happening everywhere. Even though I have applied for a school place for Lucas this year I am going to talk through our options with his teachers. I don’t see the sense in delaying a term or skipping a year group. Surely, the only way to do it is to do an extra year of pre-school, join school in Reception and stay in that year group? I still don’t know either way what would be best for him but I do know that it is time to at least open the discussion.

August Baby

22 Comments

  1. I think August babies can start school 6 months later (I *think*) so it could be worth looking into. I was n August baby and I actually didn’t realise I was one of the youngest for a few years so didn’t realise I had a disadvantage. It’s a difficult one but there are advantages too as they achieve so much at a young age. Xx

    • Do you know Tas I hadn’t even looked at in that way!? Thanks! I’m a summer baby too (July) but speaking very broadly I think girls usually mature quicker. It’s something I’m so unsure about but great to hear people’s own experiences xx

  2. My birthday is September 10th so technically I’m a summer baby. I was the youngest in my class all throughout school. I definitely think academically I was fine, I always did VERY well in school and most of the time felt smarter then the class, even in 1st grade! However, maturity? Ehhhh. I have always felt immature compared to people my age (especially now at 27 haha). When I went to my 21st birthday, half the people there were already 21 and graduated the year AFTER me. I’m not sure if I would have been bored academically if I waited a year to go to school… but maybe I would have matured better. Or maybe I just would have been immature either way. I’ll never know!

  3. I think academically most girls seem to do well! You would have been one of the oldest in the year in our school system though!! I can see both sides, I don’t want him to be bored but not sure if he quite understands enough yet to settle in school. You definitely don’t seem immature to me, look at that gorgeous girl you have!

  4. I have the same niggles as you. LP’s birthday is 28th August. She is tiny and young, has an incredible imagination, talks incessantly but has no interest yet in writing, learning the alphabet, counting or even colouring in with more than a scribble across the whole page. I don’t want her to be treated the way you have described but I would hate for her to be ostracised later on for being a year older but in a lower year at school. It’s so hard and I really think whatever we decide will be for the best but there isn’t any right answer. I am glad that there is someone else in the same situation though – this post has given me so much reassurance that we are not alone. Thank you xx

    • Oh Donna, your comment has given me reassurance too! I always worry because he has no interest in learning his letters or numbers, he hates to write and I see other children in his pre-school class writing words and reading. Then I have to remember that some of them are 11 months older than him! I never wanted to feel pressure about school but it is hard to take a step back. Thank you so much for your comment, I’m glad we are not alone! xx

    • I think you’re right Amy, now I’ve written it all down I’ve thought it through a but more and think I’ve made peace a little with my worries if that makes sense? xx

  5. Joe is a September baby and I felt he was ready the year before, they should go off the child not the date, saying that my nephew was born at 27 weeks at the end of august so seemed so young when he started school. The first 6 months were tough as he found it so tiring, but now he is in year 1 you would never know, he has adapted so well, its so hard isn’t it ?

    • I find it difficult, I know he will catch up and he is so bright in so many ways but not at all interested in writing or learning letters. How tough it must have been for him to start school then after being early but fantastic that he has adapted. I keep changing my mind but starting to think he’ll be ok, he’s so sociable but stands up for himself, like you say I think he could adapt quicker than I’d think xx

  6. My Noah was exactly the same although he was a touch older being a July baby. At pre-school he was always independent but solitary. He found it hard to play on the same maturity level as the other children. His speech was a long time coming but honestly, it felt like one day during the summer holidays, he mastered it in a day! I was so worried when he started school, always worrying that he would struggle to keep up with the other children but he has totally surprised us all and completely flourished. Try not to worry too much, he will surprise you I’m sure xxx

    • Ah Maria, thank you so much for your comment! That has really reassured me, I know that he can develop in the blink of an eye as he has done it all the way through. I guess this just feels like a big step and I want to get it right! Lovely to hear that your Noah has done well in school, I should know by now that Lucas will always surprise us xxx

  7. I understand how you feel. I’m in Scotland where it’s winter babies who start school early. I was 4.5 when I started school and so was my daughter. I encountered many kids in my year who had been held back and were a full year older than me. My feelings are that it evens out earlier than you are anticipating. Non of the younger kids stood out in secondary school or even in primary after the first couple of years. If you feel that your child is ready socially then in think that means they are ready full stop as the pace if learning is very slow to begin with. Good luck, whatever you decide. Your wee one is lucky to have you- I think having parents who think so hard over the choices they make is actually more important than the choice itself:)

    • That is very kind of you to say, thank you. Even just writing all this down has helped me put it in perspective and reading all the comments has helped me too. I feel like sometimes I hear all about the children that can read and write and no one actually says ‘my child isn’t there yet and that’s ok’ I’ve been able to take a step back and I think you are right, it will even out quickly. Thank you for your comment xx

  8. I am going to put my teacher hat on for this one- may start to ramble so apologies…
    Ok, so is he in pre school now or Nursery? If he is at pre school then most nurseries still offer delayed starts so he could start in january. If he is already at nursery then im afraid he will have to start reception in september.
    Anyway, so let me just tell you that although in the beginning he may very well fall asleep on the carpet having to do a full day in school (reception class) it won’t be long until he adjusts. I had children in my reception class who were august babies and they were ahead of some of those who were sept- dec babies. As long as you support him at home with reading and giving opportunities to practice mark making etc then he will be absolutely fine. If you want to ask me anything at all about it and things you can do to help him then just ask. I wouldn’t keep him back a year or anything like that, that could do more harm than good. xxx

    • Thank you so much for your comment Kate, I might be pestering you about this. Even after just writing it down I feel I’ve gained a little perspective on it. I think you are right, I worry because he really struggles to settle down to do an activity if it is writing or he can see it looks like ‘work’ anything else is fine. My husband is a teacher but in year 6 so would love to know more about Recpetion, it’s hard to know how much of a jump it is from where he is now. He is in a nursery but it is a school one, does that make sense? There is a teacher and they take part in all the school activities, wear the uniform etc. xx

      • Pester away hun. The fact he is in a school nursery already means he has an advantage over those coming from day nurseries, you know the ones I mean?
        Reception is mostly playing for the first term and even by the last term it is still play based- not much of a leap from nursery besides the fact it is all day. He will be exhausted but I promise you he wont be behind- and you know how I know? Because you read so much, reading is the foundations of all learning and so that will build imagination and a love for learning. Just give him a snack as soon as you pick him up from school to boost him the rest of the evening to bed and he will be fine. xxx

  9. I have lots of friends who have had to make that really hard decision. I don’t envy you it. Mine are September and October babies so feel very ready to go. Very difficult Hayley but I think whatever you decide will be the right thing for you and Lucas. xx

  10. I can see why you feel so conflicted. It’s such a hard thing to know what to do. My friend’s child is late July and she was given the opportunity to join a January intake. She’d been in nursery since she was 9 months old.

    That said, there’s some really good advice, particularly from Kate who’s a teacher. I think you need to speak top the teachers at the school and see what they suggest. It may be that they put your fears to rest and he’ll be fine to start this year.

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • Thanks Caro, thats the other problem I think, because he has been at home with me maybe he is a little young for his age. Having the twins has meant I haven’t had the time to do all the things I wish I could with him, we don’t do a lot of learning about writing etc, I try to focus more on learning about what is around us but maybe I need to up my game! He isn’t used to a ‘school’ routine but I guess that will come in time. xxx

  11. Elsa is an August baby too and even though she isn’t anywhere near school age yet, I do think about it all the time. People often comment on how bright she is for her age but I worry that once she is in a class full of much older children she will suddenly be very far behind and struggle to keep up. It seems so strange to have children who are almost a year apart learning together. I guess I will worry about it more and more as she gets older but I will have to wait and see what happens. I hope talking to the teachers and other parents will help you make a decision. It sounds like he’s doing great though.

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