In other parts of the region and in the metropolis, the proportion of first graders with a delay is lower, especially in Prague (12 percent) and in the districts of Praha-západ and Beroun (13 percent).
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Four-fifths of educational and psychological counseling centers issue a recommendation to delay starting school due to the overall immaturity of the child. Speech-language impairments occur in half of the cases where counseling centers recommend postponement. Other frequent reasons for starting school later are difficulties with concentration or practicing movements when writing or drawing, so-called graphomotor skills. These reasons were given by about two fifths of counseling services. A fifth of the cases relate to social immaturity or insufficient work habits.
Doctors and staff of educational and psychological counseling centers decide whether it is appropriate for a child to postpone the start of schooling.
You need to have two stamps for postponement. “One is provided by a pediatrician and the other by a counseling center or a school counseling facility, or a clinical psychologist,” explained Monika Podrábská Skotnická, director of the Pedagogical-Psychological Counseling Center for Prague 3 and 9.
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For example, Kryštof Martinovský from Bílichov in Kladensk has already received two stamps for postponement. Although he celebrated his sixth birthday at the beginning of June, he won’t need a school bag for another year.
“We were counting on the fact that our son would get a postponement of his schooling because he was born in the summer. His speech is also not quite perfect, so he will be attending a speech therapy clinic for the third year already,” said his mother Daniela. Due to the assessment of the child’s maturity, she and her son had to visit the Pedagogical-Psychological Counseling Center in Slané, the Kladno speech therapy counseling center and the pediatrician also commented on the postponement.
Central Bohemia and Prague are mostly above average in terms of the number of first-year students per thousand inhabitants. While there are an average of 12.5 in the whole of the Czech Republic, the Central Bohemian districts and Prague have from 12.7 (Příbram and Nymburk) to 18.2 (Prague-východ). The only exception is the district of Kutná Hora with a below-average 11.7 first-graders per thousand inhabitants.
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The relatively high number of new schoolchildren is also confirmed by the experience of Králov Dvor in Berounsk. This year, for the first time ever, six first grades were opened in local schools, four in Jungmannova Elementary School and two in Počaply Elementary School.
“I don’t remember a larger number of classes here. We managed to staff all positions, whether they are teaching assistants or teachers,” said the director of both facilities, Evžen Krob, who has been working at the main elementary school in Královodvor since 1993, as director since 2000. Last year, he also took over the management of the Primary School in Počaply.
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Since the 1990s, the number of children at Jungmannka has doubled, and about a fifth have been added to the second school. “At one time, I remember 314 pupils at the school, and we enter the next school year with 630 pupils. In Počaply, the number of pupils has increased to 240 pupils from the original 200,” explained Krob.
The historically highest number of first graders probably contributed to the fact that this year significantly more children are going to school with a delay than usual. “There were quite a lot of postponements from last year, in the sum of the entire Králové Dvor, it is about one and a half classes. I thought it could also be related to covid, when parents were afraid of distance learning and wanted to avoid it. On the other hand, in this context, I am sure that counseling centers diagnose similar things very responsibly. The main reasons still include the child’s immaturity and speech therapy problems,” noted Krob.