Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Are there any primary teachers on tonight?

(23 Posts)
Neon1077 Sat 14-May-16 21:14:38

My DD is 6yrs, in Yr 1 & a bright child. She is very academic (and a bit of a perfectionist, but I'm trying to show its ok to make mistakes etc). She is in the top 'set' for English, math, spelling and the first in her class to be a free reader. Her reception teacher told me she would do well and sail through school but yet I expected to find something challenging for her, I thought we would find it in Yr1 and now I'm wondering if we'll find it in yr2. I've had a chat with her teacher and understand it's important everything is drilled into yr 1 children so there aren't gaps in their knowledge by the time they leave yr2 (KS1). However I feel like she could be pushed more. At the moment she is finishing most things early and occasionally she is given extension work but it sounds like most of the time she is allowed to go into the reading corner while everyone else finishes

I don't want to push her beyond her capabilities but I do expect her to be challenged. I've been told she can't be given yr2 work because when she gets to yr2 she'll need yr3 and so on. I'm not looking to bump her up a year because I believe the social interaction is good for her. However I feel we are wasting an opportunity to extend her learning. She doesn't want to do more outside school because she enjoys coming home and relaxing/playing. I'm aware things will soon change for her and so I don't want to ruin this time either, but at the same time I'm left with a feeling she is missing out. It's all very well making sure everyone gets to the same level as it's important those who are struggling can attain the level they need to be at, yet I feel DD isn't getting the focus she needs. The school has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted (not that it means a lot I know).

Are there any teachers who can give me advice please? I don't know whether I should be investing in extra tuition outside school but feel she is in school to learn. Her teacher says there is room to improve and I've asked for harder spellings on three occasions now but she still comes home and can do most of them without practice.

Any help or advice from teachers or those who have been in my place will be appreciated!

LittleNelle Sat 14-May-16 21:45:45

I don't think spellings are important, but I wouldn't be happy about a child being sent to the book corner. Why is she finishing before everyone else? Is she rushing through so she can go and read a book? What kind of work is it that she's getting finished so quickly?

She doesn't need to do Yr 2 work but the teacher should be able to stretch her within the Yr 1 curriculum.

Neon1077 Sat 14-May-16 21:59:47

Thanks for your reply. I've focused a little on spelling as aside from reading that's all the work I see (at home) to gauge how well she is doing. You've raised a good point about why is she finishing early, I'll double check the reason tomorrow but I believe it's no more than she knows the correct answer and finishes her worksheet. The teacher told me she sometimes checks her work with another pupil (it's allowed) and is given extension work but in my chats with DD this is more a rarity than commonplace.

I'm unsure how DD can be stretched. It seems to me she absorbs info quickly and has an excellent memory. I've raised this a few times now with her teacher and since we're in the summer term I'm wondering if I can expect more of the same in yr 2 or if that is the year I'll start to motive a difference. I feel like it gets more serious from then on so in one way I don't want to rush my DD through this more 'fun' part of school. Yet i don't want to waste an opportunity iyswim?

MagicMoonstone Sat 14-May-16 22:03:50

Do extra work at home.... let her be with her friends at school.

I never understood the whole "I want harder work for my child" because ultimately how do you expect their lessons to work? Teacher teaches class then takes time out to come and teach your child 1:1? What about when your child moves up to junior school? High school?

Let them do their work to the best of their ability at school and if they want to learn more, they will sponge anything up that you throw at them at home.

A lot of her learning will be done through play at this age.... why would you want to take that away from her? These years prepare them for many years of school.... these are the fun years. Let her enjoy them.

As I say, there is nothing stopping you from teaching her more when she gets home. If she's truly as hungry for knowledge and you're feeling she hasn't been challenged she will soak it all up like a sponge and still want more.

Luckster Sat 14-May-16 22:05:10

Her work should be differentiated so that she is challenged. I wouldn't be happy about her simply going to the reading corner if she finishes early - this implies that her teacher isn't planning for her very well. There is plenty that they could do with her to challenge her - I'd be talking to the teacher again. There is no chance I'd get away with that with my class.

HeddaGarbled Sat 14-May-16 22:05:27

Reading is learning. If the books she is reading in the reading corner are stretching her and educating her, this is the best extension activity she could be doing. The vocabulary she will be exposed to will be as valuable as harder spellings.

At home, books & television programmes about things she is interested in and conversations with yourself are more useful and stimulating than formal educational activities so you are right not to try and do schooly-type activities with her. Weekend visits to child appropriate museums are also a good way of expanding her knowledge and interests.

But really proper intelligent conversation and reading are the best supplementary educational activities for bright chiildren.

cheapandcheerful Sat 14-May-16 22:11:37

My advice (as a Y1 teacher) would be to let her pursue her interests. Although it's not ideal for her to be just sent to the reading corner every time she finishes her work early, you could help to focus the time that she has in there. Does she have a particular interest? Could you direct her towards some non-fiction books on that topic and help her to start her own learning project?

YesYABU Sat 14-May-16 22:15:50

The work should be differentiated so that she isn't sat on her own reading in a corner! The whole argument about not doing next years work early (is y2 in y1) is nonsense as proper differentiation is about breadth and developing deeper understanding rather than racing through each academic year. Has your DC said she is bored? Does she notice she is the only one who has to go and read when her work is finished?

If I were concerned I would do as much as possible with my DC at home as possible- not necessarily maths, spelling etc but more reasoning type activities or just general life experiences- museums, visits, chance to meet other interesting people! Does she have hobbies she can pursue? How about learning a second language? The brightest (not a great term I know) children I taught had a wealth of real world experiences that they could draw upon and apply in other situations. They also wowed me with the conversations we could hold and had clearly been talked to at home a lot and so were used to holding proper conversations.

Neon1077 Sat 14-May-16 22:17:00

I understand what you are saying Magic and of course I'm not expecting 1:1 learning with my child. I'd need to take her out of school for that! Isn't the point of being at school to learn as well as to play and learn social skills? We wouldn't expect a child who is struggling to just do extra work at home in order to 'catch up'. The school would provide facilities to help move him/her on. After all they have the facilities (to some extent) and expertise. I'm not a teacher and i don't have the necessary skills in place to teach as well as they can, I was not brought up learning phonics at school as they are now for example.

I deliberately sent her to a preschool to play rather than one which is based on education through play, so I think we agree on that principle.

YesYABU Sat 14-May-16 22:19:47

I wouldn't worry about not knowing phonics OP- once your DC can read its all pretty irrelevant!

Nanny0gg Sat 14-May-16 22:26:28

Although it's not ideal for her to be just sent to the reading corner every time she finishes her work early, you could help to focus the time that she has in there.

Shouldn't that be the teacher's job? I would be very unhappy if the only answer to correctly finished work was to go and read. I would think the teacher isn't planning for the able children in her class if that's what's happening.

Neon1077 Sat 14-May-16 22:28:25

Thanks to you all for your input. I didn't see them until I posted my last post but you raise some interesting points. She has noticed she is the only one in the book corner and I know the books available aren't challenging as the ones she has moved on to are only available for year 2 children and therefore not in her classroom. She doesn't say she is bored which is a good thing and her teacher has explained about the requirement for deeper learning which I understand but which has left me feeling conflicted about whether I need to do more or let things work themselves out and possibly lose the opportunity to bring her on.

Neon1077 Sat 14-May-16 22:32:56

Nanny0gg I suppose that's my concern but I'm a bit of a newbie at this and unsure what to expect. She is a lovely teacher with children of her own and I know she has a wide range of abilities to cater to in her classroom but I just have this feeling I can't let go of that DD isn't getting her needs met. One parent I've spoken to can't see the problem since my DD knows what's needed but these are the years to build and extend their knowledge and learning aren't they? At least that's the impression I got from her reception teacher.

LittleNelle Sat 14-May-16 23:05:05

I would want to know from the teacher exactly what work she is finishing early. Is it a lot of closed tasks/worksheets?
In something like literacy, in a class with a big spread of abilities, some children might be drawing a picture and writing a label whereas others are writing a couple of sentences and some will be writing pages with correct punctuation and descriptive language etc. Instead of just sending her to the book corner, she could be sent to get an encyclopaedia and look up/write about some new facts on the subject. Problem solving in maths once she's done her worksheet.

Check with the teacher whether she actually does have extension work available. If your DD is finishing her work to a high standard with time to spare there should be something else planned for her.

MagicMoonstone Sat 14-May-16 23:14:54

Sorry Neon, I wasn't attacking.

Education isn't ever going to be a one size fits all thing.

My DD1 was top of everything and was offered a scholarship to a private school. It wasn't right for her and it wasn't right for us as a family.

I went on to withdraw her from school and home educate for the whole of her junior years due to health problems.

It worked amazingly for us. She did her learning autonomously and her health improved and eventually her medical condition stabilised.

She was re-registered at mainstream school last September. She is still ahead of many of her peers and is enjoying being at High School.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't doubt your capabilities as a Mum. If I can teach my daughter adequately (plus her sister who is 9 and diagnosed ASD) then you can cover any extra bits with your daughter.

Sorry for typos, using phone to read and reply

X

newworldnow Sun 15-May-16 15:27:07

How do know she
is sent to the reading corner every time she finishes early? I doubt this and it shows you don't know how an early years classroom is set up. Most Yr 1 classrooms have learning zones for some continuous provision where the children are encouraged to take choices in their learning.
Also lots of parents go on and on about spelling because they don't have a clue about the process of learning to write.
If I were you I would teach her poems to learn off by heart in a fun way or tell her stories packed with adjectives and powerful verbs.
Enrich her vocabulary and encourage different kinds of writing.
Parents who bang on about spellings are showing the teacher they don't have a clue. Its a completely simplistic viewpoint.

salsiverdi Sun 15-May-16 15:42:54

I'm a teacher.
There is SO much pressure on teachers to provide all the 'extra' stuff for children these days, it's absolutely unreasonable and ridiculous on tip of a teachers already bursting workload.
If you want your child to be stretched then YOU provide some extra tasks for her in her school bag, get a private tutor, teach your child how to become an independent learner and find further tasks for herself. Teachers are unbelievably under pressure right now and whilst you feel they should be meeting the specific needs of your child, so do the other 29 sets of parents in your child's class.
I'm commonly asked " how can I get my child to read more, what do YOU recommend? Can YOU provide recommended books for my child? "
No. Get involved in your child's reading yourself, question them, read with them, read their books and talk about them together. Stop piling all the responsibility on the teachers laps, because ultimately, it isn't theirs.

Sugary Sun 15-May-16 15:54:45

I'm a teacher at secondary, and I agree that teachers have an enormous amount of work to do; however, it is our responsibility to ensure kids are being challenged at school. Yes, parents can do more at home, but not if the problem is because she isn't being challenged at school. I would speak to the head teacher.

Reading is excellent, but it shouldn't be the default activity when work is completed early. I would be suggesting that she has independent research to do, or that she has some extra writing activities. Something that challenges her to do something more with what she has learnt.

sykadelic Sun 15-May-16 16:02:36

I was always finishing early. Eventually they gave me a book of word puzzles (like a joke and you had to figure out the answer using the code or whatever) so when I got done with my regular work I did those. I must admit I did enjoy those more than regular work and wouldn't take my time with regular work (so it was messy, but still correct).

I too think you need to do "extra" at home if you think she's not doing enough at school right now. Get her more advanced books, teach her how to sit quietly, give her a "scribble" book so she can draw/write when she's done with the regular work.

LittleNelle Sun 15-May-16 16:30:39

newworldnow - I've been in three Yr 1 classrooms in the last week, in three different schools, and none were set up with 'learning zones' or continuous provision (bar a box of lego and some board games). They all had book corners though.

LittleNelle Sun 15-May-16 16:33:05

I really don't think it's too much to ask for the teacher to have planned an extension task for children who have finished early, a parent doesn't need to send in work from home. It could even be a longer term project that children could go and work on quietly when they've got a spare 5-10 minutes.

Nanny0gg Sun 15-May-16 16:42:36

There is SO much pressure on teachers to provide all the 'extra' stuff for children these days, it's absolutely unreasonable and ridiculous on tip of a teachers already bursting workload.

It's not 'extra' for this particular child. I know the curriculum has changed and there has to be more 'sideways' work rather than pushing them further on (or so I believe) but don't you still have to differentiate for different abilities?

catkind Sun 15-May-16 16:43:51

Been there. Like your DD, DS doesn't always want to do extra out of school, he wants challenging (which for him means fun) things to do in school.

Online maths games and Murderous Maths books have been a help there on the maths front, because they are things he does want to do on his own time and keep his enthusiasm going when school is doing "just place value again it's booooring". Maths is the main thing for us as DS just doesn't read school reading books and his writing isn't so strong anyway. And I don't believe in spelling tests, so I'd rather they were easy and we have to spend no time on them! If your DD is a strong reader and likes maths, Murderous Maths might be worth a try soon, think DS started on it around the beginning of year 2.

I have noticed he seems to be getting more challenging stuff towards the end of the school years. Either they've now covered the basics and the teacher feels more able to branch out, or it takes DS that long to stop hiding and staring out of windows and actually show what he can do. I think the fact they tested into the school's online maths programme recently may have helped.

newworldnow, DS' year 1 classroom didn't have continuous provision like that; though agree def worth asking the teacher what actually happens! We didn't realise DS was being given extension tasks when he finished until we asked the teacher. Then as she said she's taking extension tasks from the year 3 curriculum (he's in year 2) I can believe he's not actually finding them challenging - it's just more not harder. I'd rather he was given something more "tricky" using year 2 curriculum.

It's not actually hard to provide extension material for able kids. They can after all read and follow written instructions. 5 minutes of googling and I can print out some maths challenges. In writing tasks they can just be asked to write more, or again challenge worksheets or similar. I'm sure teachers must have files of this stuff from previous years. Or ask the maths/English coordinator and they should have resources available.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now