Educating Premmies ~ Primary School Kids


As children grow and flourish with time they must soon start to learn about life through education. This section is dedicated to all children born too soon who are currently attending primary school.

Child’s Name: Ronan
Gestation Born: 27+3 weeks
Birth Weight: 1140 grams
Age Now: 6.5 years old
State: Victoria

What year did they start primary school/homeschool? Ronan started primary school in January 2012.

How was the transition into primary school? It was really difficult. I was picking up Ronan from school each day at 1pm because he was struggling to handle everything. He attended 8 transition days at the end of the year prior to starting school but it was still really hard. We slowly integrated him in school throughout the first term and continued the early pickups for about 6 weeks.

Was your child deferred from starting primary school for a year? Yes. We deferred Ronan before he even started preschool. He was not emotionally ready at the time and had delays in language and fine motor skills.

How did you feel as a parent watching your child starting primary school on their first day? I think because we had overcome so many hurdles and achievements throughout his life already & whilst it was a very proud moment, i didn’t have as many mummy tears as other parents because i felt that we had already been through so many major achievements in his life already. It is hard to explain and i am hoping that many other parents can understand this.

Does your child have special needs? If so, explain about their needs & what support is provided. Ronan has Sensory Processing Disorder, severe speech delay and an ASD diagnosis for PDD-NOS. His school has been nothing short of brilliant with the support they provide. They meet with us twice a term and have a plan set out for Ronan each day. He will take a break from the usual classroom and spend time with an aide each day to help work on his fine motor development with writing and reading. The school is instrumental in Ronan receiving extra help and one on one time with a support aide. We are forever grateful for the wonderful and safe environment they provide him each day.

Have there been any areas of concern regarding their education or learning skills? We believe that Ronan has some auditory processing issues and struggles to understand instructions when spoken to the class. His teacher does often repeat them directly to Ronan but also uses visual cues when able to do so. He started extra reading & speech therapy in term 4 at school which will continue on into grade 1.

What have they achieved that you are most proud of so far? Ronan has made so much progress this year. He is a totally different child. His ability to complete his work, have the patience to do so and actually sit for longer periods of time amazes us everyday. His maturity level has grown and so has his confidence. On the last day of term 2, he was awarded the “Student of the Week” award and again in term 4, he was so proud of himself. I certainly had a lump in my throat when he received these awards at his schools assembly.

Do you have any tips on how to support your child at primary school? My best advice would be to speak with the school and arrange an appointment before they start school if you have any concerns. Trust in what your child will be learning and do everything you can at home to help better their skills with reading and writing. Taking that extra 10 minutes each day to listen to them read is such a reward. Communication between yourself and the school are key to ensuring that your child is better supported at school and make sure that you give them space to integrate into school. There is only so much that we, as parents, can do to make sure they are settling in ok, our children need to find their own feet and meet new friends. It’s ok to step back and is such a reward watching them blossom throughout the year.

Child’s Name: Emma
Gestation Born: 27 weeks
Birth Weight: 510 grams
Age Now: 6yrs old
State: Victoria

What year did they start primary school/homeschool? 2012

How was the transition into primary school? It was fantastic – even though she started two weeks late due to being overseas. There were no tears or stage fright. She is in her element.

Was your child deferred from starting primary school for a year? We held her back a year before putting her into kinder. It helped because she was so tiny

How did you feel as a parent watching your child starting primary school on their first day? It was strange. Because Emma was late starting school, everyone was already settled, so she just walked in, waved bye and was off with her friends. It was amazing to see her all dressed up in her massive school uniform – but I was, and still am, very proud.

Does your child have special needs? If so, explain about their needs & what support is provided. She has feeding issues. The school is amazing and very supportive. They always make sure she has her formula during the day, and keep an eye out for when she is getting overloaded sensory wise. Also, help her when involved with messy or wet play.

Have there been any areas of concern regarding their education or learning skills? None whatsoever. She is loving “all the learning”

What have they achieved that you are most proud of so far? Her reading and maths skills improving. But everything is amazing and I am proud of it all. To see her just go to school and be amongst all her friends is wonderful.

Do you have any tips on how to support your child at primary school? Make sure their learning is a positive experience. Talk to them about their day and make sure you do lots of reading with them.

Child’s Name: Nixon
Gestation Born: 33+3 Weeks
Birth Weight: 2296 grams
Age Now: 6 1/2years
State: NSW
What year did they start primary school/homeschool? 2012

How was the transition into primary school? Quite good, he was already attending a preschool that has a fantastic transition to school program, along with the schools meetings and orientations. He started with one of his preschool friends which really made him a lot more confident

Was your child deferred from starting primary school for a year? We held Nixon back a year, beiing he was born in April. I always thought that if he was born in June like he was meant to we would not have sent him, he also was still going through quite a fair bit of therapy.

How did you feel as a parent watching your child starting primary school on their first day? So many emotions mixed together. Incredibly proud, excited, nervous though as it is such a big step for a child’s first year of school as it’s the first year of the next 13years of their life!

Does your child have special needs? If so, explain about their needs & what support is provided. Nixon was diagnosed at 3 1/2 years with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) it’s a very mild form of Autism. He attended therapies such as speech therapy, Occupational therapy & psyhcology for over 3 years.

Have there been any areas of concern regarding their education or learning skills? No. If anything the structure of school is just what Nixon needs. The routine and knowing what comes next allows him to move from one activity to another.

What have they achieved that you are most proud of so far? Nixon is mind blowingly good at Maths! Even his teacher has been amazed at his skills. He has an ability to add up and subtract numbers in his head and I am excited to see where this may lead him as he grows older. Also it’s be lovely to see him make friends.

Do you have any tips on how to support your child at primary school? Discuss everything prior to starting school with the principle and teacher, have a plan set in place before they actually start. we did a lot of trips past school aswell in the lead up months before starting.

Child’s Name: Lee Lee
Gestation Born: 24 weeks (surviving twin)
Birth Weight: 695 grams
Age Now: 9 years
State: Queensland
What year did they start primary school/homeschool? 2008

How was the transition into primary school? Lee enjoyed school when he began Prep in 2008, he especially loved interacting with the other children, however he took some time to comprehend some of the big school rules, for example sitting still on the mat and following directions.

Was your child deferred from starting primary school for a year? No we did not defer but we decided to repeat the first year (Qld Prep) due to maturity levels.

How did you feel as a parent watching your child starting primary school on their first day? To see him going into that classroom the very first day was something I had not pictured happening back when he was still in NICU. I was pretty emotional to put it mildly. We actually did an interview with the local newspaper the week before and they printed a story about Lee’s battles with coming into this world and his first few years of life, ie. 24 weeker, Chronic Lung disease with almost 2 years on oxygen, Retinopathy of prematurity and laser surgery, Open heart surgery at 7 weeks corrected for aortic stenosis and ASD… so when school started a few other parents already knew why I was acting the way I was.

Does your child have special needs? If so, explain about their needs & what support is provided. Lee requires a small amount of Learning Support as a general rule to assist with his reading and comprehension and any other areas the teacher feels assistance is required. He loves Maths but sometimes has issues with new concepts and needs help to grasp these. For example fractions and time have caused him some distress but he is getting there now. He is a bit of a dreamer and sometimes needs help to keep on track, he has had issues with focusing from the white board to his books so he has a behavioural optometrist working with him on this and he has shown improvement over the last 12 months. Lee did have laser eye surgery due to Grade 3 Retinopathy of Prematurity and now has perfect vision, it is the focus that he sometimes has to work at and this makes him tired in class.

Have there been any areas of concern regarding their education or learning skills? Lee sometimes does struggle to keep up in classwork, even though he is older than most due to repeating his first Prep year. Mostly he achieves results in the sound or demonstrating area but he has to work harder to keep in that level. Learning support is currently offered at 2 hours per week at his school and if I think he needs it later on I will look into tutoring at home. At the moment we are happy with how he is progressing and will continue to monitor his development.

What have they achieved that you are most proud of so far? Lee is known by his friends and teachers as being a caring boy. He always looks out for his friends and makes sure no one feels left out. Lee recently received a Quiet Achiever award and also got a wonderful report from his Japanese teacher as he just loves this subject.

Do you have any tips on how to support your child at primary school? Give them the space they need, but always monitor their progress and get them the help they need as soon as they need it. I make it a point to give a letter to their teacher at the start of each year so that they are aware of Lee’s medical history and so forth. I also sit down and discuss any concerns I might have, communication is very important. Lee spent the first 6-7 years of his life having Occupational Therapy, Physio and Speech Therapy and it has all paid off so that now he no longer needs any of this!

 

Please click on the image below if you would like to submit your child’s details.