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How do you pick a kindergarten?

Need to keep in mind my child’s being tested for being on the spectrum, is highly anxious and shy. So things I’m looking at are; teachers that are well qualified and a place I feel will look after my child well. Also a place that I get a good feel from.. and I’m conscious that if he makes good friends, I’d like it to be close to the school we are sending him to.
Current options-
Option 1- close to the school we are sending him to, and closest to our house and in laws. Cons; this place is smallest, not aesthetically pleasing inside and yard is small.. and teachers are only diploma qualified
Option 2- teachers Bachelor qualified, got anteally goodnfeel from the place, beautiful space inside and out very big. Cons; away from the school he’ll go to and a bit further from where we live (15 min away)
Option 3- amazing place, great educators bachelor qualified and lovely space. Cons; away from school and 15 mins from where we live. What else could I look for to help me make a decision?


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Answers (9)

My son went to a kindy and none of his classmates went to his school. We are term 1 down in prep and he had 3 play dates these holiday's. He only ever parallel played. We have our concerns and are wait listed to see a paediatrician.

What happens's in kindy isn't everything. My son loved his kindy. They learnt a lot but still went to school with challenges (cutting and drawing). He was anxious and it took about 5 weeks for him to walk to class without me. He would cry and ask to go home. We found it odd being so smart and keen for school last year.

What I am saying is you can't control that far ahead. If you send him close he may make friends or not. He may get a good education or not.

If you send him further he may still make friends, which you can keep in touch with. He may get a better education and have one less struggle at school.

There is a lot beyond your control. I have learnt this year that kids don't react how you expect them to. I expected my son to he well adjusted. He was excited and I teach at his school. He wasn't. I was loosing it because he would cry and cling to me. I would cry walking away. It wasn't what I expected. He is great now but it was a challenge.

 Oh no:( hugs to you mamma! What a hard few weeks that would have been!
Sorry to hear you have concerns. It’s not a great feeling is it:( I’m feeling pretty lonely and low about it..
back to kinder.....
do you think your sons transition from kinder to prep would have been easier if there was someone from his kinder attending his school?
I guess they get used to kinder as a shorter time spent there and smaller place.. and school can be big and overwhelming. I’m just considering if I pick the one kinder that is close to the school he may have some buddies going to school.. I know it’s not th be all and end all.. and as someone else said, a good kinder may be better as he’ll learn good skills in the long run...

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 I do not. He parallel played and did not class any of his classmates as friends. He has other issues that caused the anxiety to creep up. He is truly his mother's son.
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 Sorry to hear
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 Thank you but he is fine now. He has a little anxiety going back after the holidays and it's also my day off for study. He is doing fantastic. He had 3 play dates over the holidays so it's a step in the right direction.
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 Oh that’s awesome news!!
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My daughter has ASD and she has just started kindergarten. We are in NSW so she went to preschool first. Some of the friends she made at preschool go to her school but my daughter likes everything in a certain context. Because they were preschool friends she refuses to acknowledge them out of that setting. She wont even look at them. She has made new friends. We had a progressive start of an hour a day adding more time as she was more comfortable. She is now there full time. You really cant predict how they will behave. Go with what is right for now and take small steps towards next year.

 That is my ASD son exactly. It’s like he thinks his school friends stay at school all the time, and things are out of sequence if he sees them outside of school
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My son has ASD. He was diagnosed age 4, before starting school. We chose a school out of our area because it was best suited to his needs. I talked to a number of principals from the schools in a 10km radius around us and picked the best. Keep in mind, if you’re looking at public schools they cannot guarantee to take you if you’re out of zone.

So, kindy was great for him. He was lucky to have had a wonderful teacher who he felt comfortable with. He’s in year 2 now and his teachers have all been great. All different in the teaching styles but all understanding and adaptable to his needs. His current teacher is only second year out but she really is good. Sometimes I think a newly trained teacher with the most up to date teaching methods (which are more and more focusing on inclusion of those with disabilities etc) can sometimes be better than a teacher with years of experience but who may be set in their ways. (I’m not saying experienced teachers are not adaptable and current, I’m saying experience isn’t everything). I think the individual teacher is more important than one who has been teaching for years.

He also has an IEP (individual education programme) that is specific to him and his needs. You really do need to talk to the teachers and regularly so they are aware of his challenges, his triggers and what helps him though it all.

At the end of each year, I discuss with his teacher the impending new school year and how best to prepare him for it. Social stories have always helped him through challenging times and his kindy teacher did a brilliant one, and I work with his teacher to make something similar at the end of the year. My son was involved in making the last one, it had pictures taken of him in his new class room, with his new teacher and in new areas of the shcool he will be frequenting and this has helped him transition.

Hope that helps!

 Yes! Awesome advice!!!
We are currently doing social stories to help with other challenges so this may be able to help prepare him for kinder and school. Did your son do 3 year old kinder also?

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 I’m in WA so when I’m taking about kindy I’m talking about the non essential year of schooling. His birthday is in November so he was 4 when he started but some of his classmates were 3. However, I do think everything I’ve said still applies if what you’re talking about is equivalent to our pre primary, which is the year before year 1, and the first compulsory year of schooling.

If your son responds well to social stories, definitely look at making one for kinder. Approach the school you enrol him in and ask them to help. My son responded well to them too, whenever he was facing new challenges like when we were toilet training. When we needed to bin an old pair of stinky shoes he was attached to. I found an app on my phone that was really good, and handy as I could show it to him anywhere.

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 I’m so grateful for the advice!
Well we are in vic and he is going to do the non compulsory year of kinder (age 3) then do the compulsory age 4 kinder then prep which is year 0 effectively. I’m hoping it will help with adjusting being away from me and not just heighten his anxiety! :(
What is the app if y don’t mind me asking?!
I’ve been relying on the ot for my social stories.. hair cut has been a big challenge for us.

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Follow ur gut/instincts!

 Good advice ! Thank you! Xx
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Okay, so you know your son best. You know how well he copes with change and how he reacts to new environments. I suggest (full disclosure though I have no experience with autistic kids) going with the school he'll be attending. It gives him time to get used to the place and gently ease him into the time away from home. Because even though now he might only go for a few hours a week, the year after he'll be going full time. Which is hard enough for any child, especially high needs kids/special needs kids (whichever term you prefer to use). Being away from mummy, with new kids, and big new adults, and new lighting, and so much noise, and why can't I bring my toys and blankets with me what about nap time?! It's a lot to process for little people.

 Thanks for your advice! Good points you make x
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My daughter was like your son, I chose a place with a big space, big sand pit and veggie patch. To me it doesn’t matter if they have a degree or not at that age it’s about the care and love they have for the kids. My mum is a migrant that didn’t finish high school and she is amazing with little kids, better than any degree qualified care worker. She really gets down to their level and plays, they have tea parties, picnics in the backyard, cooking days, coloring in, etc... At this age your child should be learning through play. They need lots of play activities that are fun and exciting. It makes then curious to learn.

 That’s true. Two of the places have good teachers so need to pick the place that he will have the most fun.. good point re learning through play! def true. Thanks - good perspective! Xx
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Ask them what they got for their last rating and assessment. How much experience do the educators have? (I can tell you I would choose a diploma with 10yrs experience over someone fresh out of uni). If possible choose a community based (not for profit) centre, as any money they make goes back into the centre to benefit your kids. Do they have the minimum number of staff allowed by ratio or do they have more? (Makes a huge difference, more staff means children's needs are met more quickly and staff are less stressed which makes for a nicer environment). Do any of their staff have extra training/ qualifications in working with children with special needs? Do they have a fairly structured routine of how the day will go and planned for experiences (better for a little one with anxiety/special needs) or is it a bit more "anything goes"? Good luck!

Try asking your kid?

 He doesn’t fully understand/ remember them :(
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You have already chosen option 3 by the sound of it

 No I haven’t.. option 2 and 3 are on par.. and option 1 is good because if he makes friends he may go through to school with them. Torn!
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