As a result of some confidences at the counter from distressed parents about their children not entering the first year of school because they were conditional students, I asked for the collaboration of Sara Guelha, Clinical Psychologist, on this topic:

“A new school year begins bringing many expectations, challenges and goals. The transition from preschool to primary school is an important moment and a change for the child.

For parents, it is a time of some anxiety and worry, especially for parents of conditional children, because they may have to stay another year in preschool. This does not have to be seen as a disappointment or as a concern in a child’s school life.

Staying in preschool one more year does not mean losing, failing or slowing down the pace of learning, quite the opposite. Children acquire more social and personal skills to deal with the challenges of primary school.

Explain to the child in a positive way that staying another year in preschool has advantages:

He/she will make new friends, keep the friendships already established previously, remind him/her that he/she will have another year of playing and challenges, and that they will be even happier and able to learn to read and write next year.

It is important for parents to manage expectations, to understand that there are steps to everything and different learning rhythms, and to view the situation as necessary, by finding advantages rather than difficulties.

They should avoid interpreting the situation as a setback in the child’s school career, but rather as an opportunity to reinforce other skills and abilities.

And it is also by playing that the child develops several potentialities, stimulating concentration, memory, learning to deal with frustration and acquiring and/or reinforcing rules, making him/her more confident and secure.

Remove the negative charge from the commonly used expression of “delaying” the entry in primary school because it is not true.

It is a question of preventing 5 year olds from being forced to grow up and accompany children who are almost 7 years old in the same schooling challenges.

Also, remind parents that children who spend another year in kindergarten are not disadvantaged in terms of competition with peers who have not done so.

The child must compete with himself/herself, overcome himself/herself, and be happy. There is no urgency for success!” 

Thank you for sharing, Sara!

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