The school start for summer borns . . . humph

(31 Posts)
earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 11:23:43

How's the school start gone for those who have very recently turned 4?

In our area we were unable to a reception start if we deferred until he was at school age, so my end of August just turned 4 year old has started school full time this September.

Since starting, of course he is tired and although he is managing, it's like part of his brain has been wiped out - he doesn't listen, can't seem to get on with basic tasks like he used to, his attention span seems shorter and he isn't motivated / incentivised as before. I feel we have gone backwards - in fact I can't recall him being this way before!

The school he attends has a very laid back / confusing approach I feel and they spend just 10 minutes each day focusing on learning phonics, the rest of the time the children can pick what they do ( lego is the main option for my boy!) and there is little structure, it's all child led. For behavior, there is no good or bad, kids are "above or below the line" and are informed as such.

This all sounds chilled out and full of fun and freedom, but I am concerned that we will have to rely on time at home to get the key learning done to progress him and keep him up, when he is tired in the evenings or at the weekends. The school just waits until they are "ready" and apparently they are not concerned if a child doesn't read or write until age 7!

Even since starting school I feel we have already lowered expectations for him because of his young age compared to rest of the class and he will obviously choose to play given no direction, so he is kind of getting less help when he needs more. He is also a child that thrives when he knows what's going on, what's expected of him and some structure.

I don't know whether to go into some kind of learning overdrive at home or just take a step back completely as it all seems to be out of my control anyway.

It seems ridiculous to worry about the learning at home knowing they are messing round at school all day for most of the week at their prime time!

He is enjoying school and making friends which is good, I just don't know where my clever little boy who gets on with stuff has gone or what to do sad Perhaps I am expecting too much.

And I know that if he had started school next year, things now and the outlook for the future would be very different.

How's anyone else getting on?

Or anyone dealt with this in the past?

Hufflepuffin Fri 23-Sep-16 11:28:07

My dd will be just turned four and a week when she starts school next year, I love the sound of your school! If he's wiped out "just" playing then imagine how wiped out he'd be if you also tried to cram him with learning after school? Maybe you should've read up on play based learning, which reception is.

mouldycheesefan Fri 23-Sep-16 11:30:08

On the one hand you think your child is too young for school. In the other hand you think they are not pushing the learning enough and letting the kids do too much child led play.
Take a chill pill.
It is week 3 of the school year. School are focusing for reception joiners on settling in, taking it in turns, sharing, going to the loo by themselves, queuing up, sitting nicely, listening and all the very basics. 10 mins phonics per day is normal. Learning through play is what they do in reception. Lego involves fine motor skills, colour identification , counting, communicating, co-operating, sharing. these are the engineers of the future starting with the basics of Lego.
You want two different things, not to be starting school but a more pushy learning focus, when you say your child is tired and can't concentrate why would you think more than 10 mins phonics is inappropriate.
Step back. Let the school,get on with it. Let your child rest at home.

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 11:34:29

Yes there is a conflict in how I'm feeling, I just think if he's had to start school then the learning needs to be going on there.

I think stepping back is probably the answer. I don't really want to be on his case at home and chivvying him along.

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 11:37:20

Thanks smile

Hersetta427 Fri 23-Sep-16 11:39:13

In my experience they are all exhausted when they start full time reception. I have two very late summer borns (including one born 31/8) and they were both been very tired (and hungry) after school and to be honest their behaviour has deteriorated but was much better after Xmas when they were used to the school day.

HandmaidsTail Fri 23-Sep-16 11:41:33

OP, I'm in Scotland and my son just turned 4 a few weeks ago. He's at the school nursery and won't start school until next year. So he's all about playing just now!

I think follow the school's lead. You'll read tons of threads on here about children being pushed into formal learning too early, and you seem to have found the holy grail - a school that lets them play and isn't pushing them to sit and learn for hours on end.

There's obviously no way he's got the stamina to sit and do focused learning with you in the evenings, so I think just relax, let him learn at his own pace, and once he's used to the pace of things, he'll be ready for a little of that.

But for now, it seems fine just to let him 'be'. He's got the next 13 years at least of formal learning to go. And he can't slip behind if the school aren't pushing spelling, etc, right now. It'll be fine. smile

JeffreySadsacIsUnwell Fri 23-Sep-16 11:43:01

Sorry, but I think you're being slightly neurotic here! Do NOT worry about progress at this stage. The school will definitely be concerned about children not learning to read until they're 7 - but they are clearly more concerned about parents piling too much pressure on the children, and they are sending you a clear message that the child should be allowed to develop at his/her own pace.

Most YR children will be tired. They will be learning, you just may not realise it. I'd be happy to bet that whilst your DS is seemingly wasting his time playing with Lego, there's either a TA or teacher on hand asking him questions (getting him to think about what he's doing, communicate what and how he's doing, stretch his imagination, stretch his vocabulary...) and probably introducing other concepts as appropriate - number, size, measuring things (how long is that Lego house you've built?), colour, construction methods (what happens if you build using single bricks on top of each other? What about staggered longer bricks?), times tables, counting in pairs, sorting, basic multiplication and division, does it float? Does it sink? Etc etc

No wonder your poor son is exhausted after a day playing with Lego! Best thing you can do for him at home is give him food, drink, cuddles, read him a story and get him to bed early 😉

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 11:46:35

Hersetta427 thank you that's is encouraging. It's an odd thing having an end of August baby isn't it as you can't help but wonder how things would go if they had started the next year etc, and been a bit older in the stages of their education, irrelevant now of course!

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 11:53:53

HandmaidsTail and JeffreySadsacIsUnwell it's helpful to get some perspective on it, thanks. I would much prefer to focus on the cuddles and feeding and helping him relax so that is what I'll do smile Will let the school do the rest smile

Andbabymakesthree Fri 23-Sep-16 11:58:30

15-20 minute phonic lesson here then play based activities. Are your school following read write Inc? If so look at the lesson video on website and see how they teach it.

Then yes chill pill! It's week three. My November birthday girl is struggling despite being used to phonics etc. The bit you say about losing part if her brain is familiar. They are just a bundle of excitement, tiredness and nerves!

mycatstares Fri 23-Sep-16 12:02:13

Your sons primary sounds amazing! My dd(turned 4 right at the end of July) has already been given homework to dohmm. Surprisingly she's coping with the full time hours really well but I'm far from impressed with how the school have handled the settling in period.

Don't worry about the learning, 4/5yr olds really don't need to know the alphabet or basic sums imo. The main thing is social skills at this age, building confidence and gaining some independence imo.

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 12:05:27

Ah ok! I think I have been worrying about it way too much by the sounds of things.

They are not doing read write Inc but something similar & we have the read wrote Inc cards at home.

I am sure I will look back at all this and think what was I worried about.

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 12:13:55

oh yeah we have the homework too!

Yes quite right.

DevineByName Fri 23-Sep-16 12:26:03

I'm actually kind of glad to see this.

I'm in Scotland and my DD is quite a few months older than your son (which I know makes a difference), but her school are trialling play-based learning and I'm definitely not a fan.

My DD absolutely needs more structure than being left to her own devices. She's complaining that the classroom is too noisy.

They also don't have a TA so I'm not convinced by the argument that play can stretch vocabulary and problem solving.

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 12:49:55

Devine I do feel there has to be a benefit to some focus and structure. It doesn't have to be ALL work or ALL play. Interesting about the trial . . .so you have a comparison in a way. Having not been through this before (that wasn't obvious was it wink ) I've had to try and put all my preconceptions about education is behind, as it is so radically different compared to when we were in primary school.

Hopefully there is more balance to it than we think . . .it's pretty chaotic though, no wonder it is noisy for your little one!

I guess time will tell! Or we may never know!

chamenager Fri 23-Sep-16 13:49:23

There is a difference between providing some structure and full on formal learning!

I think many, if not most kids like having some structure. It means they know what to expect and what is expected of them. They find situations in which they do NOT know what to expect very tiring.

Structure and play-based do not contradict each other. Nor do structure and child-led.

My DS (also late summer born) really, really enjoyed the first term of Y1, where they had clear structures combined with lots of child led activities and lots of play-based learning. He found reception, which was really unstructured in his school, very hard; and did not enjoy the latter terms of Y1 where it was all about formal learning.

Some schools do have structured, disciplined reception classes that are still full of mostly child-led activities and play-based learning. One of them sadly just a little too far away for us to get a place at.

HandmaidsTail Fri 23-Sep-16 14:11:28

I would think there is some structure - it won't just be an unmitigated riot!

When DD was in P1 they had a visual timeline of the day which was something like:

9am - soft start
9.15 - story
9.30-10 - free play
Break
Numbers
Gym
Lunch
Crafts
Etc
Etc

DevineByName Fri 23-Sep-16 14:24:55

I would think there is some structure - it won't just be an unmitigated riot!

No, DD's class is completely 'child-led' apart from their two hours of PE. The teacher pulls groups out of activities to work with them, but amid the total chaos in the background I think it's too hard for them to properly concentrate.

They have 'rainbow sticks' in each corner which they are supposed to collect once they have completed a task. So this week they were supposed to peg up numbers in the right order on socks in the home corner and once they'd finished, they were to take a red stick and put it in their pot. There was a green stick in the sand and a blue stick in the shop etc.

Apart from that, totally free. I think with a lot of extra adults it would work, but as there is only one teacher, it's not particularly beneficial to my DD.

HandmaidsTail Fri 23-Sep-16 14:29:50

Wow, that sounds like hard work!

Maybe a Scottish teacher will appear soon who knows about CofE to explain it all!

Naty1 Fri 23-Sep-16 14:41:19

I dont like the whole eyfs. I feel it disadvantages the summer borns as they are almost expected to be behind. So its ok l, till its not.
I especially dont like all the little onservations of kids. IMO its all about what you see them doing. And say a 4yo can be very inconsistent. But also if you followed me all day you could form an opinion of me but if you interacted or asked me specifically about things/what i can do you would then have 2 completely different results.
Dd hasnt been showing her best side at school but playing beautifully at the park with the same kids.
I think some 4yo just need closer supervision with friendships etc than a 1:15 1:30 allows. (As the winter borns will have had maybe another 6m at nursery. )
Dd knows loads but gets very distracted in the school environment.
I do agree with OP it seems that despite dc being at school 6hrs per day in reality its the parents who have to teach them to read! Which if the parents work f-t or dont read very well themselves isnt good. Add in a very tired child. Unsurprising SB children end up behind.

chamenager Fri 23-Sep-16 14:45:20

In DS' reception class they did have some 'structure': Carpet time, in which they did phonics/numbers and some days topic. Times set aside for PE and RE. Teacher doing something or other with a small group (but rest of children having 'free play'). But out of the 6 hours (excluding lunch) they were at school every day, this made up maybe 1 hour. The other five were indeed unstructured - there were toys and activities available, that's it. So it was either adult-led and structured, or it was child-led and indeed quite similar to 'unmitigated riot'. Children could choose to do something on the table that had numeracy games laid out, but they could just as well choose to run around outside chasing each other with toy dinosaurs, all day every day (apart from that one hour).
My DS had lots of fun chasing around, but struggled with the lack of structure. He would have been less stressed (and would have probably learned more) if there had been more structure. I'm not fussed by the not learning as much as possible, but was saddened that the unstructured environment caused unnecessary stress.

amysmummy12345 Fri 23-Sep-16 14:48:32

Naty1 a good practitioner would interact with the child, acknowledge where they are at and move them on 😊

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 14:59:23

handmaids tale that sort of structure sounds fine, for us they have different activity tables set up and they can do what they want, apart from the 10 minutes of phonics. They can pick up a pass to play outside, but they have to a) remember and b) be quick enough. Obviously they have play and lunch at same time.

I think the idea is that they try and weave the learning into the play activities the child chooses, rather than it being clear about what the aim is. But that's quite 1 on 1 isn't it.

* chamenager* reckon you hit the nail on the head when saying about the benefit of the children knowing what is expected of them. They love to learn, love to do well and to please ( much of the time) and will often strive positively to attain, so why take this away by being rather indirect and coded about learning and behavior.

When they're pre-school and younger we direct their learning and development at home by "time to do x, y and z) and they learn but this goes all out the window and we expect them to self-direct completely.

It is very interesting.

earlgreymarl Fri 23-Sep-16 15:06:47

naty - So its ok l, till its not

exactly, so I fear we'll have a few years of this " oh he'll get there, he'll go at his own pace" cos there's been complacency and not enough focus to move him on, then " he's ok considering he's a year behind / the youngest, he'll catch up" then in high school we will have get the message home that yes, you have to learn, to work, prove your knowledge and yes, it does matter.

Long term thinking I know, but there you have it.

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