to wonder if children are cognitively ready for the demands of the new curriculum?

(128 Posts)
kim147 Tue 09-Jul-13 07:35:32

So the new curriculum is out. High expectations in maths and English. Thing is though - are these expectations too high for your average 5 year old / 6 year old - or is saying that a part of a problem of low expectations?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23226339

Understanding of numbers to 100 - some will and some will struggle as their brains just find this concept too difficult.

And if your child does not meet these expectations - will they be failing or just a child who is not quite their yet?

Many Saami pass as White Finnish (particularly after the repeated campaigns to kill and sterilize them, those that passed as White had a better chance of survive in situ rather than immigrating) as do many Romany, and both of those communities tend to live farther North than Helsinki due to previous violent history between the groups in major Nordic cities. Having a very White area doesn't mean it is ethnically or culturally homogeneous and capitals rarely represent the whole.

The Finnish education system is designed to allow people to feel and celebrate within their own ethnic group and as part of Finnish and Nordic history. It specifically brings in minority cultures across the curriculum (unlike Gove's). The entire reasons the Finnish rebuilt their education decades ago was because it was doing so badly, particularly in minority areas. As I said, it can't be dropped wholesale in the UK, and the UK is more diverse (which doesn't make Finland homogeneous), but for something Gove says he admires, he's taken nothing visible from it.

bumbleymummy Tue 09-Jul-13 20:27:27

Don't think you're a shit parent! I don't think it occurs to a lot of people that it can be interesting/ a game. IMO people unnecessarily put up barriers to learning letters/numbers very early on because they associate them with an idea that school/learning is hard work and should be left until children are older. (The lady at the craft fair that I mentioned earlier being a good example) I just incorporated them into stuff very early on and they learned it without even thinking about it - seeing letters in car parks at the supermarket, the names of petrol stations, supermarkets etc. We used to/still do play a game when we're wandering around places like B&Q where we have to find all the letters of the alphabet on various signs/products etc. Keeps them busy for ages while we discuss paint samples! smile

Sirzy Tue 09-Jul-13 20:25:24

I think for pre school age children it is easy to 'teach' them through day to day life. Counting steps, looking at colours of cars etc all helps children develop and like Bumbley said children are like sponges when so young.

DS (3.5) has started pointing out letters on signs outside shops recently, I have never sat him down and taught him the alphabet but he has picked it up from day to day life.

IneedAyoniNickname Tue 09-Jul-13 20:25:11

Other than adding the fractions, which I didn't ask him, ds2 (6, yr1) knew everything in the article. (Sorry, sounds a bit boasty) BUT I am aware that he is the exception rather than the rule. NB I didn't ask him to programme a computer or whatever it said!

Ds1 (Summer born) would never have known most of that by the end of year 1, he suffers with low confidence anyway and that would have taken a massive knock if he was on this new curriculum.

I think its a bad idea, most children that I know would be 'behind' despite being absolutely fine. I have a young cousin (5.7) who lives in Europe, and hasn't started full time school yet. She can't recognize all her letters yet, let alone spell. But where she lives that's normal.

lljkk Tue 09-Jul-13 20:22:45

Very few children in Singapore aren't tutored privately, many families go into debt to pay for it.
Children in Japan attend school for 46 weeks a year. A mere 70% have some tutoring by the time they reach middle school.

I can't see 70% of British paying for private tutoring.

And these places still get accused of rather excessively rote learning to pass all-important exams, rather than creative learning, .... WHICH the likes of Ken Robinson insist is what we truly need.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Jul-13 20:19:35

kim - totally agree with you.

SchrodingersFanny Tue 09-Jul-13 20:17:28

I think maybe I'm just a shit parent as it never occurred to me to do stuff like that. He hates jigsaws and games like that. He dies ask now what letters are etc, but he never remembers again.

bumbleymummy Tue 09-Jul-13 20:10:24

Fair enough. Most of my teaching was through play - eg. snakes and ladders like I mentioned earlier. Learning how to 'read' the dice and then counting up the squares etc. The letters were a big box of magnetic wooden ones that they just played with and stuck up on the board. There were animal ones too and I just said what they were. They picked it up fairly quickly - sponges at that age! I wish I could learn things as quickly now!

somewherewest Tue 09-Jul-13 20:08:33

...Finland is not an ethnically homogenized country...

Yes it is, compared with the UK and with a lot of other European countries.I've travelled widely and I've seen few major European cities as white as Helsinki. A Finnish friend of mine who works supporting immigrants there would agree with this - immigration on any kind of significant scale is really very recent. Likewise an African friend of mine living in Helsinki is always addressed in English because many Finns just can't image the existence of non-white Finnish speakers (she actually speaks very good Finnish!). There is a Swedish-speaking minority and a history of Swedish/Finnish bilingualism, but that isn't remotely comparable to the thirty-different-languages-in-one-school experience of parts of the urban UK. Systems that work in small, affluent, culturally and ethnically homogeneous communities with much less social inequality don't necessarily translate elsewhere.

SchrodingersFanny Tue 09-Jul-13 19:51:30

I do teach him now when he asks "what letter is that etc".

I just think he's 3 he should be playing etc. I think if they are interested, great. But he hasn't been until very recently. He doesn't draw either, he makes marks but isn't interested in much else.

bumbleymummy Tue 09-Jul-13 19:44:08

Thanks Families.

bumbleymummy Tue 09-Jul-13 19:43:29

What's wrong with purposefully trying to teach them though? What's wrong with them knowing that a cow 'Moos' and that the sky is blue? Surely this is just imparting knowledge? In the same way as you show them how to feed themselves and how to tidy up toys or whatever? I think people separating numbers/alphabet creates almost immediately creates a negative impression of them. My boys learned the letters in the same way as they learned - that is a cat, that is a horse. That's a letter 'G', that's a letter 'C'. No pressure, no differences made. It was just what it was and that was that.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 09-Jul-13 19:32:58

Yr 2 is 6-7 years old

SchrodingersFanny Tue 09-Jul-13 19:19:27

Sorry, I have friends who do this with their children, purposefully trying to teach them. I didn't do it with colours either really, again just followed his interest. I always mentioned what colours things were but I never went round pointing at things getting him to say what they were.

I have friends who are constantly "and what letter is this, and how many biscuits are ther" etc

bumbleymummy Tue 09-Jul-13 19:14:04

Can I ask why learning numbers/letters is considered 'hot housing' but learning animals/the sounds they make/colours isn't?

SchrodingersFanny Tue 09-Jul-13 19:09:10

Ds will be 4 in sept. If he had been born a few days earlier he would be going into reception this year. He can't count to ten. He can reliably count to 3 or 4 correctly and occasionally 5. He knows loads of numbers but prefers to recite them randomly.

So he would be one of those children. I'm a teacher (although secondary) and have felt no need to hot house him in numbers or letters because, he's 3! If he shows an interest we do it. But he recognises no letters, not even for his name.

But I grew up with a foreign system of starting school at 6/7 as well and think our system is already ridiculous.

I don't want him doing fractions/tines tables at 5. I just want him to play, make stuff, lean to ask questions, learn to read, count etc

Gove is a lunatic

bumbleymummy Tue 09-Jul-13 19:08:58

What ages is yr2?

kim147 Tue 09-Jul-13 19:04:14

Kids get bored partly because the work is too easy or they don't get it.

Teachers know their class and a good teacher should give appropriate work that they know the pupils can do and challenges them / reinforces and consolidates what they know - so they can apply their learning.

So many pupils, especially in maths, are unable to apply their learning. So many are taken to the next level without ensuring they truly understand a concept. It's all about pressure to show outstanding progress every lesson (at the loss of consolidating concepts and identifying misconceptions).

I'm worried that some concepts - especially in the maths curriculum - are being introduced too early and at too high a level for the average pupil. It will mean more pressure on teachers and on pupils to try and understand stuff that is beyond them at that age.

Complex fractions and decimals are hard concepts for a lot of pupils in secondary school - but are being introduced for 7 year olds.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 09-Jul-13 19:00:54

I haven't had a chance to read the detail of the new curriculum, but i agree with the basic principle of upping what should be considered average. DS is just finishing Yr 2 and he is comfortably in the top half of the class, but the pinnacle of their maths this year was a times table test on their 2, 5 and 10 times table, with 3 and 4 times tables as an "additional challenge" for those who wanted to do it.

Shouldn't this be expected of all children about to go into Yr 3??

It is a very odd curriculum. Having read this and the previous one, several things have been brought forward into earlier years for no sensible reasons other than to make the earlier years more challenging. The primary years, particularly for English and Maths, are minutely controlled it seems, with ridiculous amount of detail which then a drop off when it hits secondary to minimal framework. Other subjects barely seem to have any research or effort given to them.

Finland does have a curriculum that can be read in English here. Finland is not an ethnically homogenized country, it's education system is designed to deal with multiple mother languages (Finnish, Swedish, 3 Saami languages, Romany, and "Other" is used in some areas as well as Finnish Sign Language) and presumes children will learn their mother tongue, at least of one of the other national language and one additional language. It's not perfect and couldn't be dropped here wholesale, but the style in which it is written is far clearer and treat teachers with a bit more respect with a good checklist that doesn't need to go into ridiculous details (the UK one tells teachers which suffixes they teach in each year, it's ridiculous). It's odd that they talk so much about the Finnish system and seem to have taken nothing from it.

People and companies that build the products the schools use must be scrambling. I just glanced at a maths programme's scheme of work that is used across the country and this will now seem behind. But then, very few schools will even be bound by this new one (something like less than 30%?) causing even more confusion.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Jul-13 18:40:51

I can't see anyone saying that most five year olds would struggle with counting to ten. Some will, certainly. But not most.

If targets are raised, the only thing that will be raised is the amount of teaching to the test.

Souredstones Tue 09-Jul-13 18:32:12

Surely if the targets are raised the teaching levels are raised?

I don't work in education but hear stories that kids being bored leads to disruption so perhaps there is something in changing the achievement targets?

PrincessScrumpy Tue 09-Jul-13 18:29:43

Yes 1-100, I was commenting on poster who thought they'd struggle with even 1-10

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Jul-13 18:23:15

I think they said 1-100, not 1-10.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 09-Jul-13 18:18:42

Dd is currently in reception and doing everything the new curriculum states. People tell me she's bright but I don't have anything to compare her to.
I think it's good to have high expectations. I haven't read whole thread but the person who said most would struggle with numbers 1 to 10 at age 5 infuriated me. Dd's class spent 2 Weeks in sept doing numbers 1 to 10 then moved on! Perfectly capable at this age to do that unless sen surely?

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