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Parents (& Teachers of) School Aged Children....


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#1 tastebud

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:50 PM

So, just wondering .... G is attending the local government school next year and I'm super excited for him. I'm sure I'll be emotional on the big day but he is so ready for this next chapter.

There's been some whispers at the pre-school about parents asking for certain children to be in the same class. Or in other cases NOT be in a certain child's class.

Is this the sort of request which is honoured by the school? Is the parent of the other child advised / consulted?



Currently, I'm of the mindset to let things land where they fall ....

HOWEVER, when I mentioned this to another mother of older children, she reponded that each year of students will have it's "problem children". So effectively, if you don't indicate your preferences for the next year, it's highly likely your child will end up with the "problem children"..... ?


Thoughts and advice? Totally unprepared for this one!
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#2 Daybreak

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:02 PM

I'm not sure about when they first start. At most schools, they ask kids to (secretly) list 3-5 kids they'd like to be in a class with for the next year, and try to make sure that each kid gets at least one person on their list.
In your situation, it probably depends on both the school and exactly what the problems are. They're unlikely to put all the 'problem' kids in one class though because it's unfair on the teacher and other kids. Most schools try to balance it out.
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#3 aChocLover

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:09 PM


In my experience, it's dependent on school policy and circumstances.

At our school if there's sufficient students for the following year's grade (both DD1 & DD2 currently have a one class cohort), they'll conduct a sociogram where the kids can nominate (in private) up to 3 friends they'd like to be in a class with. The school will attempt to keep at least one, if not 2 or 3 of the friends together.

I'm surprised to hear any school would consider it for new parents/students to the school though?! Unless the preschool is the only feeder? The school wouldn't put a clique of known friends together as that could potentially cause problems with new students integrating (??)

We were in a situation with DD1 in Prep where she was so emotionally distraught by one child that we specifically requested she be separated. Fortunately we had 2 classes that year (admittedly, 15 students each class in a shared room, where they did some activities/teachings together) and it could be accomodated. 2 years down the track, and DD1 and the other child are good friends again.

As for "problem children", we've got a couple. For me, there's problem people in life and giving my kids the necessary skills to deal with it is part of it, so it's not something I've been particularly concerned about. But you have to weigh up the cost of the problems - will that child be given additional support, or will the teacher be left to manage it themselves; will that then equal more attention to problem child and less attention to the rest of the class; what is the actual problem (ours are behavioural) and what are the impacts to the students (we had a hitter and that got really bad); how does the school and parents manage that? etc.

School politics is so stressful, good luck x






#4 Mel B

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

I come with the wisdom of almost a whole year of kindergarten under my belt....so basically I know nothing tongue.gif

But this is my 5c worth anyway.

Rosie also attends the local govt school. At our school the "thing" seems to be trying to choose the teacher rather than the kids. One of our 6 kindergarten classes has 16 out of 21 kids whose parents requested they be in that teacher's class. Apparently she fast tracks them, pushes them and the majority of her class will end up in the "accelerated" literacy program next year.

Of course I only found this out after school started. The majority of kids in that class are younger siblings whose parents are in the know.

So now I am in the know and Eddie is starting next year and I'm not going to request that teacher. I'm letting the cards fall where they will. Kids need to learn to get along with lots of different people, you can't keep manipulating their environment to suit.

I think that there are parents who will try to micro manage their kids education, who feel like they need to be intervening in some way. Then to make themselves feel better they talk up the importance of intervening and panic the other parents who then feel like they are failing their kids by not intervening.

Yes there will be "problem children" but I highly doubt that the school would willingly put a group of problem children together year after year. Certainly none of the teachers would be keen to teach that class!

At our school you can put in a written request about having your child placed with certain kids. I am thinking of asking that my daughter not be in a class with her cousin so that they can develop separate friendship groups. But there is no guarantee that they will be complied with. Also the word on the street at our school is that you get only a limited number of "requests" and after that they will be routinely denied just to ensure that parents don't try to manipulate the system excessively. A lot will come down to the attitude of the principal too.

Enjoy this stage, it is so exciting for them - and us too smile.gif


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#5 Gretch

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

QUOTE(Mel B @ Nov 2 2012, 02:28 PM) View Post

Kids need to learn to get along with lots of different people, you can't keep manipulating their environment to suit.
This a thousand times over!

Is the preschool attached to the school at all? There are going to be enrolments for kindergarten from places outside of the preschool so how the parents think they are going to avoid all the 'problem' children is beyond me.

How exciting (for you both) that G is starting school soon!

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#6 SEA

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

Such an exciting step!

At the schools I have worked in, the teachers choose which classes the students will be in, and the students have had no say. I certainly had no say when I was at primary school! By the end of the year, the teachers know the kids pretty well. We know who clashes, who is friends with who etc. We tried to balance the classes so the children had at least one friend. The thing with primary school is, children change friends so frequently.

If schools tried to accommodate every parent's requests, it would just be a nightmare.

Like PPs have said - kids need to learn how to get along. One thing we keep noticing is a lack of resilience in some students. Learning to get along with a variety of children will hopefully only benefi them.

#7 flowerrose

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

See, all this stuff I never would have even guessed at!
I have a friend who has requested her twins be in seperate classes because she wants them to form their own identities through school, which I think is perfectly reasonable. Otherwise, personally I wouldn't get involved for the reasons other have said about learning to adapt.

#8 * MsSassy *

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

My son is about to finish year 6 this year. I know from the first few years of his schooling they would announce the kids classes either on their first day back or sometimes the year before. However the last two years the school has changed and now when they start school for the year the spend the morning with the class and teacher of the previous year and once the parents have left the kids are then placed into their classes. It was very common for kids to be in one class and than moved the next day into another class. Personally I think it's wrong to request where u want your child to go. I think the teachers and principal would have a better perspective of which teacher is better suited to a particular child and their abilities and would much rather leave it up to the to decide. Kids need to learn to work with different teaching styles and teacher attitudes as once they are in high school they will have many different teachers in a day and if a child can learn to respect a teacher regardless of how they teach they would have a much better chance at learning.

#9 -Megs-

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 05:48 PM

Our prep teachers addressed this at our info session last night. They make note of the requests but they do meet with the kinder teachers to discuss the incoming students too. Classes aren't assigned until the last of 4 transition sessions when the teachers have had a chance to get to known the kids a little bit. As they said last night, some kids might play really well together but not work well together.

#10 BubbleBee1

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:11 PM

I got a letter/form from the school Ollie is enrolled, asking for preference of days (3 days from Mon-thur) and if there were any other children who will be starting next year that he knows, would want to be in the same class as,, etc..

#11 babycooper

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:09 AM

QUOTE(-Megs- @ Nov 2 2012, 06:48 PM) View Post

Our prep teachers addressed this at our info session last night. They make note of the requests but they do meet with the kinder teachers to discuss the incoming students too. Classes aren't assigned until the last of 4 transition sessions when the teachers have had a chance to get to known the kids a little bit. As they said last night, some kids might play really well together but not work well together.



I'm a Prep teacher and I agree with all that Meg said. We do our best to place children from kinder groups together and we try to honor parent requests that are based on legitimate reasons (not just hearsay or parental friendships)
We do the grouping after all orientations and we observe children playing together and their skills to help us group them. We have to consider gender ratios too and of course all the requests.
Each grade has children with issues and in Prep children are often very different than they were in kinder.
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#12 Arial

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:58 AM

QUOTE(tastebud @ Nov 2 2012, 01:50 PM) View Post

So, just wondering .... G is attending the local government school next year and I'm super excited for him. I'm sure I'll be emotional on the big day but he is so ready for this next chapter.

There's been some whispers at the pre-school about parents asking for certain children to be in the same class. Or in other cases NOT be in a certain child's class.

Is this the sort of request which is honoured by the school? Is the parent of the other child advised / consulted?
Currently, I'm of the mindset to let things land where they fall ....

HOWEVER, when I mentioned this to another mother of older children, she reponded that each year of students will have it's "problem children". So effectively, if you don't indicate your preferences for the next year, it's highly likely your child will end up with the "problem children"..... ?
Thoughts and advice? Totally unprepared for this one!


I have such a problem with this sort of attitude. Who is this woman to decide which children are problem children and which are not! Also just because a child has some behaviour difficulties doesn't mean their behaviour will impact on your child's education. I know in my classes I have had children that have had behaviour difficulties and for the majority of children it doesn't cause extra stress for at all. I am guessing she will use the argument that it takes the teachers time away as they are dealing with 'problem child', well she better make sure there are no learning difficulties in the class either, oh and no students who dont speak English. That can be a bit hard to tell though so maybe just have kids that don't look like they might have difficulty with English. Oh but that's not racist, I just want the best for my child.
This attitude makes my blood absolutely boil!!! Children have different challenges and a child who had behaviour issues in kindergarten may be much better suited to the prep environment. But parental gossips like the mother you spoke to make it so hard for that child to settle in and make new friends and the perpetuate the problem.
My suggestion is, find out if the kinder is making suggestions of friends. Of they are leave it. They will try their best to place your child with a friend. If your child has particular difficult with another child write a letter to the school, indicting that they don't work well together.
It sounds like you have a good attitude, please keep it and ignore these other women.
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#13 tastebud

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:40 PM

Agree, agree, agree Arial. I'll bet those you speak of are labelled "problem parents" behind closed doors wink.gif

(Just in this particular person's defence, she was talking about what she has observed in other parents. Not what she does herself or condones. Although I can see now how it reads that way.)

I was filling out the forms and it asked about "peer friendships".

"I would prefer the school make decisions based on what is best for the entire year, as opposed to acommodating parent or child preferences"

But I would really like to know if someone requests their child be in my child's class!! I think I will add that I would appreciate that courtesy.

I do find it all a bit baffling frankly. wacko.gif Why is it all so bloody serious?!?! HOWEVER perhaps I have to be a little more tolerant and appreciative. My 5yo is (currently) quite straight-forward so I don't feel any need to micro-manage the situation. Sigh.
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#14 Porthos

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:50 PM

QUOTE(tastebud @ Nov 7 2012, 04:40 PM) View Post



But I would really like to know if someone requests their child be in my child's class!! I think I will add that I would appreciate that courtesy.




I would be very surprised if they told you that Tastebud. When I was a prep teacher we didn't give that info out to parents, it was all kept private. It could have caused a real scrag fight with the 'car park mafia' if we had have been releasing information about who requested who (or, even more contentious, who requested they NOT be placed with who....if that makes sense).

I am with the women who suggest that kids should be put where they are put and they can deal with the fall out...it's a part of school life and, indeed, life in general.

When I taught prep we tried to honour WRITTEN parent requests where possible but it was known that there were no promises. There are lots of factors impacting upon which kids end up in which class and parental requests are just one of those factors. 'Problem' children are almost always spread across the classes to be fair to both teachers and students so I can't see 'all the problem kids' ending up in one grade.

My DD is starting four year old kinder next year and I am tempted to request she NOT be put with her best friend as they have fought like cat and dog all the way through three year old kinder and I am sick of it! tongue.gif

Good luck coping with school politics Tastebud!! biggrin.gif

#15 tastebud

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:10 PM

QUOTE(Porthos @ Nov 7 2012, 06:50 PM) View Post

I would be very surprised if they told you that Tastebud. When I was a prep teacher we didn't give that info out to parents, it was all kept private.


This. I suspected this was the protocol but am still somewhat disappointed sad.gif

For example. In my wider circle I happen to know of three separate child friendships which could be deemed hmmmm .... unhealthy. I've noticed some kids are capable of stalking thier "friend". Being possessive of them etc.

If my child was being stalked by one such child, and his / her parent then requested they be in a class together? While I'm highly unlikely to be the one writing any initial letter I would most certainly like a say so. Why does this parent get a "say" and I do not? Unless I get in first or create a drama when the class list comes out? Hmmmm.

I agree with MelB re the panic - it's contagious! And probably largely unneccessary.

I guess I just have to have a bit more faith. The problem is, I've spent a decade in the public service and have found the squeaky wheel gets the oil as such......
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