Australian Schools: Looking Back on Prep Year

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I wrote an article about my daughter, Elizabeth, starting school. But guess what? In less than two weeks time she will break up for the summer holidays and at the same time mark the end to her first full year in state education.

On Friday the 11th of December it will be a case of “School’s Out!” until the 27th of January 2010. But before all the little kiddies break up for that well deserved rest, they have been working hard on a Christmas play called “It’s Christmas”.

I took the opportunity to go and see today’s two o’clock performance and, of course, I took with me my video camera so I can present to you, here today, the full one hour show recorded in high definition and widescreen for your audio visual delight……..

The Christmas Concert

The Christmas Concert

Just kidding!

Whilst I felt it was a hugely entertaining concert, it is probably fair to say that anybody who didn’t have a child taking part in the performance may possibly have found the whole show to be a little too demanding on their time.

So instead I present a single photograph. Some of you may be a little surprised to see that the concert took place outside. Surely we would need to be lucky with the weather?

Yes we would and yes we were! Which is just as well because there isn’t an indoor hall, even the weekly assemblies take place outside. But so far the luck with the weather seems to have lasted all year.

Anyway, having saved just over 59 minutes of your time, perhaps I can spend a small amount of it explaining how Elizabeth’s first year at school has gone. Firstly, it was only a “prep” year. Let me explain a little about how the Australian school system works.

The school year runs from January to December and the rule is any child who is aged five by the 30th of June will start school in January of that year as a prep. So as my daughter was aged five before 30th of June 2009, she started in January of 2009 as a preppie.

If our daughter had not turned five until say July 2009, she wouldn’t have been able to start the prep year until January 2010. There are 12 further school years after the prep year, so by my calculations most children will be either 17 or 18 years of age by the time they head off for Schoolies Week.

The “prep” year is actually voluntary. We could have chosen to keep her at home for another year and if we had, then Elizabeth would have simply started in January 2010 as a year one pupil. My wife was tempted to do that, but Elizabeth put her foot down.

She is glad she did and so are we. Elizabeth has had a terrific first year, made lots of friends and is really enjoying school. “Play dates” after school are a regular occurrence with either some of her friends coming round to our house to play or Elizabeth going to someone else’s house.

We were told that the prep year was not about learning but more about “preparing” the children for learning. But already she has an excellent understanding of the three R’s. She sat down and wrote her own letter to Santa the other day with out any help whatsoever.

There were no mistakes so hopefully Santa won’t make any either.

So all in all, we are very happy with the school, the teachers, Elizabeth’s progress and the friends she has made.

Prep year gets the thumbs up from the whole BobinOz family.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Desiree October 5, 2012, 10:05 pm | Link

    Hi. We are immigrating to Australia. It seems like, if we are lucky, we would be there next year. My daughter is turning 4 on 6 January 2013. We will be moving to Canberra and I do not have a clue, when I look at all the names of the schools, whether they are good school or not. I am also not sure exactly where in Canberra we will be staying. Any help with certain schools in Canberra that people are really happy with?

    • BobinOz October 8, 2012, 3:48 pm | Link

      Check out my page called Which school?, watch the video and then visit the site I recommend. You should find that helpful. Good luck!

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