Reflections On Repeating Grade R

We attended Ava’s school prize giving yesterday and just like last year, I was in tears, but this time, for completely different reasons. Last year, we’d made the decision, with the assistance of the school education psychologist and Ava’s teacher, to keep her back. As someone who had repeated Grade 6 myself, it was an incredibly tough decision for me. I worried about the message it would send Ava, I worried about how it would affect her. I worried if we were making the right decision. I just worried.

A year later and I can say with complete certainty that we made the right decision.

Ava has blossomed this year, in part because she has had a truly incredible teacher, but also because she was emotionally ready to face the challenges that lay ahead.

She has had a tough year!

But she has grown in leaps and bounds. She has faced her fears of repeating grade R, had to deal with some bullies and lots of questions from her friends about why she is not in Grade 1 with the rest of them, but she has taken it all in her stride and she has shone.

Her teacher has repeatedly told us what an amazing student she is, what a natural leader she is, how creative she is, how dedicated she is, how popular she is, how she always goes the extra mile to present something extraordinary with her school work and I believe all of this is because she is now emotionally at a place that enables her to do these things.

Yesterday she won the award for EXCELLENCE IN ALL AREAS.


And I burst into tears when I heard that.

From my little girl who really struggled to this star in one year and all because we gave her the chance and the time to shine.

We could have pushed her on to Grade 1 last year, but I didn’t want her to struggle year in and year out. I didn’t want her to always be the baby of the class, I didn’t want her to always be the follower. I wanted her to excel, to be a leader, to be confident and repeating Grade R has given her that and so much more.

So many people find my blog by searching – “Should my child repeat Grade R”

And honestly, knowing what I know now, if that is even a question in your mind, then the answer is yes! Follow the steps, have your child assessed by an educational psychologist, meet and discuss with the teachers.Put your pride in your pocket and follow your instincts, you won’t regret it.

So many of our friends questioned our decision to keep Ava back last year but in my heart I knew we were doing the right thing. I’ve seen so many other friends push their children through each year and it’s unnecessary. Give them a chance to find their feet and to shine. 

Ava will face a new challenge next year, as she moves on to Grade 1, she will also be going to a new school, but am more confident than ever that we have given her the opportunity, the tools and the time to shine and she will smash it.

Walter reminds her constantly, there are only 3 rules for school:

  1. Listen to your teacher
  2. Do your best
  3. Have fun

Rules to live by! 


  • MamaCat

    December 2, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    I had this very conversation with the teacher and the therapist at my son’s school. For now we have decided he can move into Grade R and will assess the situation next year. I was kept back a year, and I was so much more confident for it.

    • Sharon

      December 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      We were having this conversation from before Grade R, it was only towards the end of Grade R that we started to notice Ava struggling and falling behind. And that was when we made the decision.
      Trust your gut.

  • Vickash

    January 12, 2017 at 11:54 am

    We have also make a decision during the course of 2016 for my son Yash to repeat grade R. He did lack in his speech at 3yrs due through an ear infection and with speech therapy and assistance from his school he has improved drastically. We did have him assessed and he could move on to grade 1. The concerns was that he was always trying to catch up with his peers is certain academic criteria’s.

    What worries me, is building the confidence around him in his first few weeks of school until he adjust. He started school yesterday and was really looking forward to seeing his friends but at the end of the day he came home sad and asked ” if there was something wrong with him and why he did not move with his classmates”

    I known he’s sad and I can feel his pain, hopefully he will thank us later on when he fully understands why we have made this decision….

    • Sharon

      January 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      You will be amazing how quickly he bounces back. Within a couple of week’s Ava was over it and leading her class. Her confidence grew in leaps and bounds and it was the best decision we could have made for her!

  • Maria

    September 6, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Both me and my husband are sitting with that difficult decision on weather to have him repeat grade 1 or not. My son was born in August 2012, he was assessed by the education psychologist and she recommended for him to repeat coz he is struggling with grade R. I am finding that difficult of him repeating the grade.

    • Sharon

      September 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      I can honestly say that having Ava repeat Grade R was the best gift we could have given her. She had a chance to mature at her own pace and really catch up with everyone else. She is now academically excellent and I don’t regret the decision for a second. Trust your educational psychologist.


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