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To Repeat or Not To Repeat KIndergarten?

In Victoria kindergarten is the year before children head into the school system so they usually attend between the age of 4 to 5 years of age.  This year Emma is at kindergarten and the transition to kindergarten was pretty much smooth sailing since she spent a lot of time there with my role of being the President and Grace was there.  Late last year Emma was diagnosed with severe sensory disorder with severe defensiveness and she was also diagnosed with autism.  Emma main areas of weakness is social and emotional and all of her sensory areas are in fight or flight mode and they are difficult to bring down.

Emma has done a fantastic job with kindergarten and it has been fantastic to see that she made a couple of really close friends and we did not have a lot of tears.  So I guess when reading this heading why we have been questioning if Emma should repeat another year instead of heading off to school as one of her little friends is going to the same school.  Over the years, she has always been about 8 months behind her peers and when you put that in context of school transition 8 months really is a long time before she does another developmental jump.  But what we see outside of the kindergarten gates is why we have really gone through the massive highs and lows of deciding if we should push for Emma to do another year.

What makes things even harder is that the Government is making it extremely impossible for children to do another year solely because it can cost the Government more money for children doing a second year. I can understand they want to stop the parents who are struggling to accept that their child is growing up and wanting to keep them home for an extra time for their own needs rather than the child’s needs.  But for a child like Emma, she needs an extra year to emotionally develop.  When we go to school to pick up Grace (it is also a small school as well), Emma runs to me to be picked up.  She will not play in the play ground if other children are there no matter if the child is near her or not.  She also has only in the last month (its October now) to make eye contact with Grace’s teacher and still has not said a word at all.  She also is just breaking her aversion to males (had this since birth and she is Daddy’s little girl) and there are lots of male teachers.  The school has also said that Emma is not ready for the transition to school yet and they have seen through Grace the benefits that Emma will have with another year at kindergarten.

We are lucky that we have a very supportive kindergarten but it is sad that children will be sent off to school ready or not because the Government is requiring mountains of paper work and I can not ssee teachers completing all the forms.

For Steve and I, the decision has also been a hard one and we have become quite emotional (ok that is probably more me than Steve) as we have wrestled with the decision but more the fact that her best friend is heading off to school.  Emma has caught on now that her friend will not be there next year and Emma is showing a lot of anxiety with an escalation of behaviour.    I know over the last couple of weeks, I have gone through a grief cycle as they are transitioning to school and Emma is not.

But I know that we are doing the best thing for Emma no matter what the Government says.  Maybe they should come and visit the kindergarten so I can educate them on the needs of some children.  These children will only get lost within the school system or they will be bullied if they have to repeat at school.