How advanced is my son (4)? Perspective and opinions please!

(63 Posts)
Cat98 Mon 16-Jul-12 19:39:38

Ok, DS is only just 4 so is in the nursery class at school. Due to start reception in Sept (he will be one of the younger ones in his year).
At school they have said he is working at quite a high level with numbers. I have spoken this weekend to a family member with a 6 year old who is meeting all his targets at school (so not behind) and when I told her what my son is doing with regards to numbers she said it's incredibly high level for his age (more than her son is doing) and that we should "push the school" to make sure he is catered for.. I am very sceptical so I thought I'd get some honest (mn) opinions as to whether he is really THAT advanced.

He can count up to 1000 plus though not sure about 2000 onwards.
He can do simple multiplications (3x5 etc), can do addition up to 20 (9=5 etc), subtraction - same, can count backwards, can count in 2s, 5s and 10s up to at least 100, knows about halves and quarters, can divide even numbers up to 10 by 2. He can also work out the difference between, say, 47 and 52 by counting between the numbers though would struggle with something far apart like 47 and 76.
I think he is bright but not exceptional.
Reading - yes he is above average but can only read simple sentences (the cat sat on the mat etc) - would strugggle with more difficult words though would have a go if they made phonetic sense.

Has my SIL got a point or is it just a case of bringing him on at home (he loves numbers so it's all fun at the moment) and let schol do/think whatever?
SIL says that in reception they will be doing number recognition up to 20 and that would be a waste of time for him.

Thank you
Cat

Cat98 Mon 16-Jul-12 19:45:17

Sorry, with the addition that should have been 9+5!

minceorotherwise Mon 16-Jul-12 19:50:31

I'd say that's very advanced. I'd maybe mention to his teacher that that is the level he is at so she can cater to that
I'd imagine the other kids in reception won't be reading either, mine certainly can't and he starts in sept too. His maths is advanced but nowhere near that level either

Hulababy Mon 16-Jul-12 19:50:42

He does sound as if he is doing very well for his age, especially in number work.

Yes - in reception that is what the majority of children may well be working on. But a good school will be able to differentiate for a child. Even at those levels this should not be beyond a teacher of primary school age.

Also reception is about much more than just maths and reading, so in that sense your SIL is not being fair to the schools. He will learn lot more besides - and it will be learn through play so can be done at all levels. For example - if they have a shop some children might be recognising coins or counting pennies in 1s whereas your DS might be looking at adding up different coins up to £1 etc.

Cat98 Mon 16-Jul-12 19:58:16

Thanks for the replies. Forgot to say we are just playing with money a lot at home now (as he is asking and very interested) and we are doing pence and pounds etc. It's the thirst for knowledge he seems to have particularly with maths - reading he doesn't do as much for fun apart form trying to read signs/cereal packets etc. But he always wants to do sums and things.

I agree that there are more important things he will be learning, and there is the fact that he is small for his age and quite emotionally young (I think) so while SIL suggested asking for him to be moved up I was very anti this. He singles out young children who will follow his lead as friends rather than his peers which is a bit concerning..

I will mention to the school if they haven't really noticed, I think we have a parents meeting about half way through the first term so that might be a good time? They certainly don't know exactly what he's capable of. Odd too as DH and I are not maths people!

Thanks

motherstongue Mon 16-Jul-12 20:23:01

Hi Cat. i have pm'd you.

Children in reception usually only work with numbers up to 20. They might add or subtract small amounts using a number line, fingers or other practical resource. They would count on in 2s 10s or perhaps 5s but probably would not multiply. As your son is a year younger and not formally taught maths i would agree that he is very advanced for his age. The reading is pretty good too but not as unusual as his maths level. It sounds like he will still gain a lot from other areas of the curriculum though.

minceorotherwise Mon 16-Jul-12 20:35:06

My eldest DS was very bright, but the school he went to catered for that so I wasn't too concerned. However, he was also one of the youngest in his year and struggled in the year he was supposed to be in, from an emotional perspective.
I wouldn't look to put him up a year. Social skills are just as key as learning and he needs to be with his peer group or he will be out of his depth

Cat98 Tue 17-Jul-12 07:59:02

Thank you for all the helpful replies. I agree putting him up a year would be a no no socially. Also I am not even sure the school would do this. I was wondering with telling the teacher, how do you broach something like that? How do I say it without sounding like one of 'those' parents?!

megandraper Tue 17-Jul-12 08:24:12

Hi Cat - like others, I have a DS starting reception in Sept (but older than yours) and your DS is definitely very advanced in numbers, and a bit advanced in reading. My DS is going on the G&T list in reception (he is at pre-school in the same school) because he has advanced 'articulacy' whatever that may mean - I am not sure exactly how they cater for that, but I think it's just in terms of differentiated tasks at times.

I would certainly have a chat with your son's teacher so that she knows where he is with numbers. It sounds like he has a feeling for and appreciation of numbers. I would also look for ways of letting him enjoy this interest out of school - there must be websites etc. with materials for number games, workbooks and so on. I would see this in terms of letting him enjoy and stretch his interest, rather than 'coaching'.

I think the poster who suggested talking about it in parent's evening halfway through the first term may have a good idea. In the first weeks, your son's focus will be on settling in socially and learning the routine etc. There is so much to learn. Not sure what your school is like, but at ours we can just ask for a chat anytime - a 10 minute appointment somewhere in the day, so if it were me, I'd do that, and just say - this is what he's doing at home, just wanted to let you know, so you can support it at school too.

Sittinginthesun Tue 17-Jul-12 08:29:53

Do you get to full in a sheet about your child before they start school? It is worth writing a note with this info for the class teacher to read.

What I would say is don't get too upset if they don't channel him straight into more complex maths in Reception. Much of this year is really about playing and learning social and learning skills.

Both my boys are quite able in Maths. When DS1 was in Reception, I hardly heard anything about "number time", although his teacher told me at Parents' Evening that he did like numbers.

The real work starts in Year 1.

SarkyWench Tue 17-Jul-12 08:30:35

I would talk to the nursery as they should be sending on info about your son.
The school are more likely to believe them smile

Coconutty Tue 17-Jul-12 08:46:19

I think you should mention to the teacher in the first few weeks what he can do often reception will be number recognition, basic number bonds etc. This will be too easy for him.

I know this year is more like a play school but I think it would be a shame if he didn't progress as he obviously really enjoys numbers.

My Nephew was very advanced when he went to school, was an almost fluent reader, super at maths and he was so bored that he lost interest in school which was really upsetting for my DB and SIL. They did speak to the school but didn't get much help - he moved schools the following year and is okay now but it wasn't a happy time.

PropositionJoe Tue 17-Jul-12 08:51:56

Stick with your instincts, you are absolutely right. Mention it at the parents evening but not before. What difference does it make now? He still needs to learn to make friends, take turns and get changed for PE. And keep doing what you are doing at home, it sounds as though you'll be doing it for many years to come! (Mother of v similar 4yo, now 13 and still v bright)

Cat98 Tue 17-Jul-12 18:28:29

Thanks all. He is actually in the nursery class of the school he will be going to, but all they have said to me is matter of factly 'he's working at quite a high level with numbers', but going on what my SIL said and what most of you have said, they are either playing it down a bit, or more likely (as ds is shy) they don't know quite what he is capable of.

As an aside, today he has wanted to know all about numbers that are bigger than a million, and it has been a learning curve for me I can tell you (only a 'b' in gcse maths level!!) we had to look up on the computer all about quadrillions and decillions and things!

Will you get a home visit from the reception teacher & TA? That can be a very useful chance to let them know (or just let them observe for themselves!) what your DC are doing.

DD (just finishing reception) spent her home visit reading the TA a story out of the book they'd brought with them grin

I'm told that DD has been doing NC work ie work aimed at year 1 upwards rather than the reception EYFS stuff in both literacy and numeracy for most of the year, the maths things off the top of my head have been working with numbers to 100, number bonds to 20, counting in 2s, 5s, 10s, odd and even numbers, lots of measuring, estimating, also word problems, 2d and 3d shapes, comparitive volume, sequencing things from lightest to heaviest/smallest to largest etc.

DD loves the concept of infinity, which I find a useful sideways tangent to questions about what number comes next when I don't know the answer grin

Sorry, I forgot to say - all of that work has been done within her reception class with the support of the TA or teacher, she's not been put into year 1 for anything as far as I'm aware. So I would definitely expect that school should be able to differentiate appropriately for your DS.

Mathsnamechange Tue 17-Jul-12 23:02:46

Namechanged so can't be accused of stealth stuff

My 2 DS's were both doing this sort of thing at this age. They are now 18 and 19 and have been top in maths at whatever school they have been at ever since. They are academic all rounders but both are particularly good at maths.
What may surprise you is that they were not given any extra or extension work up until they started GCSE. We lived abroad and for most of thier education they were not even in streamed classes. They have gone to local state schools since we returned from overseas but this hasn't hindered their achievements in Maths. They both mostly self taught themselves in class.
We never had them tutored in anything ever and didn't get them doing extra work at home. They certainly never went to Kuman. The only academic extra curricular thing they did was to play chess. Something they loved and something they were good at, but even this they only did on a recreational basis even though they played at National competitions. ( Serious child chess players didn't look like they did much else too me. )
We have lots of puzzles, books and games at home, including computer games which I think helped them enjoy mathsy types of things. Ultimately though, I think some people are born with an innate talent for maths and it doesn't much matter how they are taught. The main thing is that they enjoy playing the language of numbers.
So my advice is, don't worry about it too much, maybe get him playing chess and lots of other fun puzzles, buy a few maths puzzle books and enjoy. grin.
I imagine he will be bright across the board. If you are good at Maths your options are endless. I have also always made sure that they dont just think of themselves as being good at maths. Obviously I like the fact they are good at Maths but I don't want it to define who they are.

Mathsnamechange Tue 17-Jul-12 23:04:33

ruedawakening. If your DD loves infinity just wait til she discovers 'imaginary numbers'. They are really cool!

hellymelly Tue 17-Jul-12 23:15:18

Maths wise that is very advanced for 4 and I would say gifted at maths. I have a bright dd a year older than him and she can't do all those things. My older dd is really good at maths (she is year two) and can do all that, and looking back could have done that at 5/6, but not 4 I don't think. Certainly does sound as though he will need extra number work to keep him interested.

steppemum Tue 17-Jul-12 23:29:49

my ds is like this with maths, very innate understanding of how numbers work. he was playing with number ideas from an early age. He loves sudoku, and you can get kids sudoko books from tescos. He also like logic puzzles, when he was small he liked dot-to-dot that went up to really high numbers and so on. Chess is a great idea.

Your ds does sound pretty advanced, a good school will pick up on that and teach him at his level, but if he is shy, it may take a while before that comes out, especially if he is busy making friends etc.

Floggingmolly Fri 20-Jul-12 19:34:40

It's not really relevant, but how did you find out he can count up to a 1000?
Why would anybody do that?

MrsFaffnBobbocks Fri 20-Jul-12 19:52:58

It does sound as though he is potentially gifted at maths, and will be one of the more able children with reading. He might be working at year 2 level for some aspects of maths, but not all.

I would avoid moving up a year early. He will be young for the year group, and there will be lots of developmental areas that will be supported in Rec, social is one aspect. His emotional development might not be as advanced as his maths, or eg his fine motor skills etc.

Definitely outline to the school what he can do. They may choose to assess his skills earlier. ( They should do this within the first half term). A confident teacher would presumably rather know.

I think it's great - he's obviously had lots of support and encouragement, and this should stand him in good stead for school. Confidence to try new things and a love of learning are key.

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Fri 20-Jul-12 23:26:48

reading is top end of normalish.possibly more.. maths is bloody brilliant though. I suspect the views you get will depend on what, or whom we are measuring against.

youonlysingwhenyourewinning Fri 20-Jul-12 23:33:59

Wow. He sounds incredibly bright to me.

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