Starting school - advice please

(133 Posts)
MyAngels Tue 08-Jul-14 16:04:45

Hi
DS is 4.5 and starts school in September. I appreciate he hasn't been officially titled G&T, but I know that he must have "high learning potential" (is that the better phrase?) and I thought posting here would put me in less danger of "bragging", than posting elsewhere..

If you had a gifted child (and you suspected they were, when going into Reception), how did you manage that with the teachers? Did you tell them your suspicions, and risk getting the "I'm a professional, its my job to educate/socialise him, I'll take it from here, thank you.." response (we got this from his preschool teacher), or keep quiet, wait till they notice and come to you?

My DS's abilities seem to have gone ballistic in the last few months, starting to read (on his own), adding up (begs me to do adding with him - can now do number bonds to 10 easily, to 20 with a bit more effort), learnt to tell the time this week - yesterday I found him searching on iplayer for his beloved Dolly Parton (we went to Glastonbury!) by typing "dolie" in the search line with no help from me....

I'm trying not to do too much with him for fear of looking like a pushy parent, but will, of course, answer him and show him if he asks me something.

We have had trouble at preschool with him - not doing as told, defying teacher, not sitting on carpet etc. His new reception teachers (job share) are aware of these aspects (which of course need attention), but I'm just not sure how best to approach them about his more intellectual abilities. We have a 30 minute meeting with the teachers arranged for the Friday before he starts in September, by the way.

Any advice very welcome, thanks.

Galena Tue 08-Jul-14 16:54:11

I would leave it, to be honest. We didn't say anything to the YR teacher about DD when she started, and it was picked up pretty quickly (Like when she looked at the clock and said 'It's 10 to 12, is it about lunch time?') You'll probably have a parent's evening in October or so, where you can gently fibd out if they have seen what you see...

notnowbernard Tue 08-Jul-14 16:58:01

I'm pretty sure they'll notice quickly

Give them a few weeks to get everyone settled in

Come October (parents eve) they'll be able to feedback their observations - and you to them

I would have said that, whatever his intellectual capabilities, he will do better at school if he learns to do as he is told.

Cheebame Tue 08-Jul-14 17:10:03

I'd ask the Pre-School for a report including how he is doing compared the the Early Learning Goals so you can at least flag it to the staff.

He sounds like he is bored there from the way you describe his behaviour. You may find that he's better at school until he gets bored there too, if it is boredom. You might mention this to the school too, if you think it may be the case.

I don't hold with the 'learn to be good' line. Nobody likes being bored. If your son is gifted he will not need the level of repetition that other children need, not will he need to be taught things at the same level - so it's a double-whammy of boredom if no-one notices. Of course we'd rather our kids let their feelings be known by composing a grammatically perfect letter to the teacher, but at 4, messing about and not listening is about as articulate an expression of 'I'm bored out of my mind' as you will get.

A good school wants to do the best they can. Why wait for them to find out when you can tell them?

OwlCapone Wed 09-Jul-14 07:12:47

Do you have a parents' evening in the first term? I would leave it til then to let him settle in and for the teacher to get an idea of what he can do and, more importantly, what he can't.

winnertakesitall Wed 09-Jul-14 07:32:47

Myangels - I am in a similar position with my ds. I have decided to keep quiet and let him show the teacher himself whatever abilities he may have. Being an extrovert I am sure he will not be shy in showing what he can too.

I think it is better for him to do this, and it be a 'true' reflection on what he can do, rather than it being seen as a biased angle from 'mum' and my ideas about my PFB!

I too don't agree with the learning to behave bit. My son is bored, he tells me as much about some days at preschool. I don't have any behavioural problems currently with my ds at preschool, but I could understand it if I did. 3 hours is long time when you're 4 to be bored. At home I do sometimes have issues, especially if I am having to do something else- i.e. something solo (cooking tea!)... As he isn't necessarily being challenged, and needs a lot of stimulation to keep him from bouncing off the wall!

I have found that by ensuring he gets a lot of physical exercise as well as the brain stuff (! Adding, reading, making etc) that he is easier. The bike is currently our best friend!!

OwlCapone Wed 09-Jul-14 07:39:42

I disagree. He does need to learn how to get along in a class where 29 other children also need the teacher's attention. He needs to learn what is and is not acceptable behaviour. So, telling the teacher that he has finished and needs more is OK and disrupting the rest of the class because he is bored is not. It's not about being "naughty"

I speak as someone with a child who was disruptive when he wasn't full occupied or was made to do something he found boring. He wasn't allowed to get away with bad behaviour just because he was bright, he had to learn how to behave in a class of 30

grobagsforever Wed 09-Jul-14 07:46:30

Agree he needs to learn how to behave. Boredom is not an excuse. I was the top performing child in my year throughout school and I was never disruptive. Focus on this for now and then discuss his performance at parents evening.

I am glad that my youngest child is 17, in his last year at school, and is not in any classes with children who aren't expected to behave themselves 'because they are too gifted and are bored'.

Your child is going to be one amongst a whole classful of children - and if they don't have to learn to behave properly in class, for whatever reason, they are going to disrupt their own education and the education of every other child in the class.

I challenge anyone on this thread, who says they disagree with the 'learning to behave' bit to come back to this thread when their child is in a class with a child whose behaviour is disrupting the rest of the class, and tell us then that they still think learning to behave properly in class is unnecessary.

I am willing to bet that they will be a whole lot less understanding when it is their child's education that is being disrupted by some other child who doesn't have to sit quietly and do as they are told!!

Cheebame Wed 09-Jul-14 13:05:41

It's not about being allowed to misbehave because you are bored - to think that means you fail to understand the gifted child.

These are children who 'get' things more quickly than others, and 'get' them more completely. They don't need the repetition that others do, and they don't need things explained as slowly.

Imagine a typical year 2 or 3 class being taught the same thing as a reception class for a term. Do you think they'd all behave and just get on with the work? Because that's what a lot of gifted kids are expected to do - just sit quietly and get on with work that's far too easy for day after day.

Obviously kids need to behave, but it's a two-way street. If the work is of no interest and you have to do it day after day after day - and you're a child - of course you will misbehave - and the only way to address that is to engage the child with work that is challenging.

My child is in a class with a number of disruptive children already.

And you wouldn't prefer it if the disruptive children behaved better in class and stopped disrupting your child's education?

SaveTheMockingBird Wed 09-Jul-14 13:35:08

My DS was similar (although he really is not gifted or talented, high acheiving when pushed yes), and he had problems at preschool because he was "bored". He behaviour was disruptive and naughty towards the end of preschool. He was bored of being in the preschool section in his nursery for nearly 2 years (he is autumn born), he was going over the same things again and again and he was bored. No excuse for bad behaviour though, absolutely not. I was extremely worried about his behaviour and worried about how he would be at school. Turned out he absolutely thrived in school and he behaves impeccably there now, perhaps because he is no longer bored and is challanged daily.
Although he has performed way above average academically, it's the continued improvement in his behaviour that is such a relief to me.
Your DS absolutely needs to learn to behave and get along with his peers. Being bored is not an excuse.

OwlCapone Wed 09-Jul-14 13:36:24

They still need to learn how to behave appropriately in the classroom. It is not OK to be disruptive even if they are academically gifted.

winnertakesitall Wed 09-Jul-14 13:51:14

Think we are digressing anyway- the OP was asking for advice about whether she should broach the child's intellectual abilities with the teaching staff. The behavioural aspect of the child's character has already been raised with them.

A child acting up when bored is a hard one to try and resolve at home, as it is hard to emulate/teach. If you're like me, then much of your day is set to entertaining your children! You don't usually let them get too bored, as this can lead to behaviour you know you don't want (as I've described above!).

All very well and good saying that come September he will be one of 30 other children, but how can the OP replicate this at home? The best she can do is turn taking with games, occasionally dragging him around things he doesn't enjoy (i.e. the weekly shop!)... but other than that, the OP will expect his class teacher next year to identify ways to challenge him, so he isn't bored. I can't see very many 'quick fixes' to suggest to the OP to tackle this behavioural issue over the summer holidays.

Hedgehogsrule Wed 09-Jul-14 13:59:55

It would be really silly to have a 30 minute meeting with the teacher before he starts, which you say has already been arranged, and you don't mention how advanced he is. The teacher can cope with you saying a few words about his reading and maths level. Then she/he will be better prepared to give him more advanced stuff when he starts. The teacher will probably have taught this kind of child before, unless they are fairly new to teaching.

coppertop Wed 09-Jul-14 14:03:39

The Reception teachers will spend a couple of weeks assessing all of the children to find out what level they are at.

Schools usually give you a booklet to fill in with questions about what your child is able to do and any particular likes/dislikes. The meeting with the teachers will probably also be along the same lines. If they ask you about what your ds is able to do, I would just answer honestly.

Good luck.

rocketjam Wed 09-Jul-14 14:12:06

I agree with OwlCapone. I think that too many people use the 'he is not behaving well because he is so very clever and bored' line. Reception is there for children to learn through play, to respect each other, learn to take turn, socialise, sit for short period of time, start formal learning gradually. To listen to the teacher, learn not to call out and put hand up to talk. You can 'practice' school at home, talk about what it means to listen, to follow a schedule, to tidy up when it's time to tidy up.

Cheebame Wed 09-Jul-14 14:16:30

If your child is gifted, @MyAngels, you may get a lot of other parents and professionals, sadly, who don't really understand the challenges that brings.

I'm not saying that being gifted means you can be naughty.

I'm saying that being routinely and comprehensively bored and ignored can lead to all sorts of problems - both immediate in terms of behaviour and attentiveness, and long term with regard to motivation and self-esteem. Being presented with work that is not challenging every now and again is rather different from never having appropriate work.

Good luck.

BeatriceBean Wed 09-Jul-14 14:17:42

If theyre truly gifted they won't be bored in rdception. Its free flow much of the time so at the drawing/writing area some children might choose to draw a smiley face and another might produce a full story with illustrations based on something in class (just to think of a recent example).

Some will do numbers up to 10 anither will do counting in tens.

so much is planned to the child that There's different groups for everything. One groups reading well, another practicing phonics etc.

kilmuir Wed 09-Jul-14 14:18:13

Well said rocketjam

Cheebame Wed 09-Jul-14 14:18:51

*rocketjam said "Reception is there for children to learn through play ... start formal learning gradually"

My child was desperate to start formal learning when she was at pre-school. She was not at all impressed when 'big school' was more of the same. Please don't assume that all children are the same.

Cheebame Wed 09-Jul-14 14:19:56

How do you make names bold? I've tried * and @ smile

winnertakesitall Wed 09-Jul-14 14:21:41

Think you need an * at the beginning and at the end of the word! @cheebame

Cheebame Wed 09-Jul-14 14:22:24

thanks winnertakesitall (fingers crossed this will work!)

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