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Child Not Ready For School


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we have a little boy in our setting he will be four in July (middle of), and is due to start school in september 09. this little boy has had a bad start in life, neglected and passed from care home to care home... he is now established with his adoptive parents and one of his biological siblings and has been there for the last 18 months. his home life now is very settled.

in the first year or so of his life his emotional attatchments were broken several times and this shows now. he makes attatchments to key staff (mainly myself but i don't work in the room with him). however friendships are non existant.... he tries to play with the children but does not seem to understand the way to go about this, ie snatches, bites and hits. his listening is awful (but i undrestand that more now following the training yesterday)

he does not talk much at all, but can do so rather well. he does not seem to know how to expree his emotions.


i spoke with mum about this and she is thinking of deferring him from school till january 2010, she asked me what i thought and i am not sure really. i think in some respects it would be useful, since he will have longer at nursery and will be that bit older once he goes to school.


i suggested to mum that i could work with him (me because he relates to me) on his emotional development, understanding feelings and expected behaviour (any ideas insights into resources on how i can do this???????) and see how he develops. so would really appreciate activity ideas if you have any.


what do you all think on the idea of defering him and keeping him with us till January. of course i want to work with the family, but i don't want this little boy to go fo to school and be labelled as 'naughty' when he is not. also do you think that the school could work with us between now and september (assuming he went then) on getting him ready for school.

mum does not want the school to know he is adopted, and she did not tell us when he started (we found out by chance!) she feels he will be labelled if they knew his background.... i have reassured her that this is not that case, but still her anxieties exist.


what can i do to support the little boy and his mum?



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It's a tricky one, I was in a similar position a couple of years ago with an autistic child who had a late august birthday. She did go into school in the end, but as our census count day wasn't until 16th September, we 'left the door open' for the first few weeks in case she didn't settle, and the school were aware of this.


We'd managed to get some transition funding for her and a set up a one-to-one person for her in the summer term, who would go into school with her in September and began to distance ourselves from her slightly - which was really hard as she had really bonded tightly with me. I found it really hard too, as the person coming in didn't seem to understand her like we did, and gave me even more reservations about how they were going to cope with her once she'd gone.

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My first reaction is to ask what sorts of conversations have been had with the school about this child's needs? It sounds to me that whenever he starts primary school, his transition is going to need extra special planning and support.


When we were planning a child's transition into primary school we started off by thinking about the extra challenges she faced, based on what we knew about her additional needs and the areas we were providing additional support with in pre-school. From there we were able to draw up a list of priorities for her care, and see how/whether these could be met within the school.


This was easier for us to achieve because we and the family were already being supported by multiple agencies - it doesn't sound as if you have this luxury. The school worked closely with us, and we sent a member of staff along to primary school with the child for half a term in order to settle the child with a familiar, trusted adult and also to make forming relationships with teacher and classroom assistants easier and less stressful for the child.


The family also spent time making a 'passport' for the child containing information such as how she would express anxiety or excitement, and the things that were likely to worry or upset her. The idea was that everyone coming into contact or working with the child could read the passport first and in this way avoid putting her under extra stress or misinterpreting her behaviour. This sounds as if it would be very useful for your child - because as you say without knowledge and understanding of what your little chap does and why he might easily be labelled as 'naughty'.


Good luck - let us know how things proceed.



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Dawn, you must work with this mum and get her to understand how important it is that she informs the school of the child's background. You should contact your early years support if you have anything you can access and look to getting this child's needs recognised so that the school or yourselves can get the necessary support as it sounds as if this little boy may need a statement? As understand it, this mum and child should have access to support anyway? Adopted children I have known have.


I would think the SEAD materials would be worth looking at.


Im not a fan of children deferring entry to school as very often this creates settling and peer group problems. Also mum may not actually be able to do that, if schools are over subscribed they very often can not keep places open.


Good luck.

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