School starting times for my children - aged 4 and 7 years.

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    I have a question regarding my children and when they will have to start school/preschool.


    My family and I will be arriving in South Australia in September of 2013. When we arrive our children will be 4 years old (born March 2009) and 7 years old (born July 2006). my first question is at which stage of schooling will each child enter - Preschool, reception or primary school?


    From what I understand, our younger child would enter preschool in the beginning of term 4 and then go on to reception year in 2014. Is this possible or would we have to wait until term 1 of preschool (reception) in 2014?


    Our older child would enter preschool in year two of reception? Could he be enrolled in term 4 of 2013 or would we have to wait until term 1 of 2014?


    My last question (for now) is regarding help for children when English is not thier first language. Although both our children understand English very well (albeit with a slight Welsh accent), neither of them speak English pefectly - our eldest boy has already started school, but everything is in Hebrew (since we live in Israel at the moment). I am sure they will pick it up quickly, but was wondering if there are systems in place to help them in the school or would we require special assistance?


    Any help or advice would be appreciated.





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    Preschool is called kindy in Aus. Reception is the first year of school proper in primary school. Primary is primary, reception is part of that school.


    In 2014 the new intake for school and pre school (kindergarten) comes in to effect. The cut off point is April 30 for birthdays. Any child with a birthday after this will be in the following years intake for starting actual school (reception).


    If your daughter is a March birthday she should be starting in Jan 2014 and will be one of the younger kids in the year.


    This thread discusses it and has more info and a link to follow and read.



    I doubt you would get a kindy place for just a term once you arrive as the wait lists tend to be long and places scarce. I'd focus on checking out schools before the summer holidays close them down and finding one you like to start a fresh in 2014. And do some groundwork for letters and numbers and so on at home in the meantime and so on. Nothing major, but to help with getting familiar with the English language etc.


    Now, with regard to your older child, atm I don't know there is any set rule for which year he would go in to under the new system. He sits in the middle of the Aus school year birthday wise and I think the general idea is that children coming from overseas, it will probably be based on a case by case basis as to what year they go in to. Don't feel upset if your son goes into a year that he has already done or part done (as in year 2 in Israel and Year 1 in Aus). Don't see it as a step back but look on it as things being different, it will give him time to adjust and find his feet etc.


    I am not sure what help you'd get from a school with regard to the language. I think your best bet is to do that yourselves as much as possible at home. Read English books, talk a lot more in English, have the English alphabet round the room, key words stuck up over a few things like 'door' or with pictures attached like 'cat', 'dog' and so on. Or in books. I'd also look to getting some simple handwriting books (trace over type things) so your older son can practice and get a feel for the language on paper before he starts school. But this could be done closer to the time.

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    Your seven year old will probably be in year 1 when you arrive. This is the normal year group for this age although if the school feel they should be in the year above then they will move them up, but I would think they would put them in with there peers. This is what happened with my eldest son who has a June birthday. They should be able to start school pretty much as soon as you arrive - there is no need to wait until 2014.


    As for help with english this will depend on the school. The school my kids go to has a lot of kids who speak Italian at home plus lots of kids from other nationalities as well as international students and does have some provision for helping kids for whom English is not their first language. Other schools will have more or less help available and the thing to do is check out the schools in the areas you are considering and see what help they can offer.

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