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to think this is too much homework for a three year old

(117 Posts)
Waggamamma Wed 23-Oct-13 21:58:28

I've never posted in aibu before so getting ready to be told I might be unreasonable.

My ds just turned three and was moved into the preschool room at his private nursery which he attends two afternoons a week while I work.

Since moving up I feel they are setting too much 'homework.' In the last three weeks we've been asked to:

- Bring in an 'animal' (soft toy) for show and tell and learn 5 facts about that animal.
- Make a model that represents space and talk about it
- Carve a pumpkin for the halloween competition (and do a costume for the party). At three years old seriously?
- Learn two pages a4 of songs for the nativity in early dec.

Aibu in thinking this is a bit much for a preschooler who attends nursery ten hours per week? Or am I being a lazy parent? we do our own crafts/baking at home plus swimming lessons and trips out to see friends etc. It's hard to find the time for the nursery stuff too. We're struggling to fit it all in.

I was really happy with the toddler room the change to preschool seems the expect a lot overnight - learning the alphabet etc. He's moving to the preschool attached to our catchment school in January anyway so we can make use of the funded hours.

Bettercallsaul1 Thu 24-Oct-13 00:01:23

This really is nuts. Children face demands and tests far too early as it is - to try to introduce homework for three-year-olds is a step too far and should be very firmly resisted.

twofalls Thu 24-Oct-13 00:03:25

Ffs. Ridiculous. Dd1 has only just started getting proper homework and she is year 3.

KeatsiePie Thu 24-Oct-13 04:38:31

Ffs, any homework is too much homework for a three-year-old! I mean yeah I get that some of it is more "fun" projects than actual homework but none of it sounds like fun to me after a day's work.

Good luck with the facts about space, that should go especially well.

SatinSandals Thu 24-Oct-13 06:47:21

One of mine didn't speak at 3 yrs! My eldest didn't join in songs at 3 years.
'A model that represents space' isn't something a 3 yr old would understand so it is parent led and quite difficult for an adult, I am not sure what I would choose.
'Carve a pumpkin' means homework for mum or dad. You can hardly hand the knife and pumpkin to a 3 yr old and let them get on with it!
The costume needs a letter to parents asking them to send in costume.
I can see that competetive parents love it! I can't see much value for the child.

merrymouse Thu 24-Oct-13 07:08:32

This is homework for you, not your child, which is nuts because you are paying them so that you have more free time.

It's also age inappropriate and, given that your child only attends 2 afternoons a week, implies that a lot of the activities are dependent on input of parents - songs learnt at home, 'talks' prepared at home. All very odd.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 24-Oct-13 09:41:08

I can't understand the problem here and find it very sad that so many parents don't want to do things with their children. It isn't homework ffs and of course suitable for 3 year olds.
If the child only attends for part of the week it is good that a parent can do these things and take them in. Maybe the pumpkin and space model are being done at pre school by those attending full time and on a day when the OPs dc doesn't attend.
It is only the child that will be left out if parents don't support in this way.

sturdyoak Thu 24-Oct-13 09:57:09

morethanpotatoprints Maybe the parents don't need to be told how to spend their time with their very young DC. Maybe they have (better) plans of their own. Maybe the pre-school should support the parents in this and respect them in the sense that they can think of valuable things to do with their own child themselves.

soverylucky Thu 24-Oct-13 09:58:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vladthedisorganised Thu 24-Oct-13 10:43:57


Blimey! DD is 3.5 and in the preschool room at her nursery as well. They have Show and Tell once a week, where originally they were encouraged to bring in something starting with a particular letter, but lately can be pretty much anything. (DD brought in a stick, a plastic flower and a stamp yesterday, and apparently waffled on about each for ages).

I wonder if the 5 facts are basically asking them to say 5 things, whatever that might be?
So, thinking of DD's approach:
1) This is a cat.
2) He has whiskers
3) He has a long tail
4) His name is Spot
5) He isn't a dog, he's a cat. Though there is a dog in the book at home called Spot and Mummy always says do we have to read that again, and she tried to take it to the charity shop but I think she made a mistake so I took it out of the bag and...

Making the model and carving the pumpkin is surely homework for the parents? Why they'd ask you to do this is beyond me. The instruction 'make a model representing space' seems really vague too - they want a full solar system, galaxy, black hole..?

Learning songs I would think would be done within the preschool - as in 'here are the songs we're learning and the children may want to practice at home' - but not push the onus on to the parents.

The only 'homework' I'd expect really might be to reinforce anything they're doing already. DD was asked to look at plants and trees over a weekend and learn the names of some of them, which seemed fair enough to me.

hettienne Thu 24-Oct-13 10:49:23

Ridiculous. Don't do it.

DS is 3 and goes to an Outstanding state nursery school - so far this term his/our "homework" has been a request from the school to talk to your child about what they do at nursery to help develop their memory and recall. That's it. No craft projects, no memorising anything, no buying anything to take in.

teacherlikesapples Thu 24-Oct-13 11:38:12

I would be making a complaint about this & asking how it fits within the EYFS or anything related to any research of best practice/child development/early childhood education.

Bringing in the toy animal is ok- but having to memorise facts has SO many developmental issues. What about children with EAL/Speech & language or Confidence issues? It is essentially setting them up to fail.

Making a model about space. Ok. Maybe. It is open ended & broad enough to include most children. It just depends on where this interest/project came from- is it driven by the interests of all the children involved? How long is the timeframe for this?

Carving a pumpkin?!? I don't know of a single 3 year old that could carve a pumpkin independently. So this is again- an unreasonable expectation. Especially since it is for a 'competition'. So you are setting some children up to fail. Again.

The song list- perhaps I can understand, if it is framed in a way of "these are the songs we are learning for our end of year concert. You may want to practice these at home."

Anyway. My general feeling about it is that it feels unreasonable and done in a way that goes against good practice/EYFS.

BionicEmu Thu 24-Oct-13 11:39:47

DS has just turned 3 and has just moved up into his private day nursery's pre-school room too. He goes 2 full days a week. He's been there 2 weeks and they've not mentioned any form of homework yet, fingers crossed that continues!

sue52 Thu 24-Oct-13 11:51:44

Any homework is too much homework for a 3 year old.

merrymouse Thu 24-Oct-13 14:58:47

morethan, I don't think parents don't want to do things with their children. They want to do their own thing with their children - carve a pumpkin at home for their child to enjoy at home, give their child free range with their junk modelling, read books about things that they find interesting.

All these activities strike me as somebody who has never carved a pumpkin, or perhaps thought about appropriate activities for a 3 year old, getting parents to do a whole load of stuff to fill time at school. Why would you want a 3 year old to memorise 5 things about an animal?

autumnwinds Thu 24-Oct-13 18:01:06

Coming at this from a childminder's perspective.

All the training sessions I've recently been on are really pushing early years childcare staff to 'support the home learning environment', essentially by sending home 'homework' for babies age 0+.

The problem is that some parents really don't know how to play with these children or don't know where to start with making playdough or something. So you give them the ingredients to make playdough and a recipe, or lend them a story sack, or give them a treasure basket to explore with their child, or give them a craft project to finish off at home. Hopefully the parents will then realise they can do it, its easy and fun, and things start to improve for children who do not currently benefit from a good home learning environment.

I'm still very uncertain whether I agree that this is the best way to go about it, and it definitely sounds like the OP's nursery has gone OTT about it. But the push is coming from the government for us to do this...

hettienne Thu 24-Oct-13 18:07:48

Giving recipes or lending toys/books is very different from sending home a craft project.

pigletmania Thu 24-Oct-13 18:17:13

Or telling that a 3 year old needs to learn 5 facts

sturdyoak Thu 24-Oct-13 18:25:27

autumnwinds Nanny State <shudder>.

Can your get 'Free Nurseries / Pre-Schools' like Free Schools? They don't have to teach the NC do they?

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 24-Oct-13 19:07:32

Actually I'd ask the head/of the nursery/preschool what sort of knife should you buy your 3 year old for the pumpkin carving that they have asked you to do; as you went into the supermarket with them to buy a knife and they wouldn't let you so you need some guidance as to knife selection for them.

sturdyoak Thu 24-Oct-13 19:20:04

The problem is that some parents really don't know how to play with these children or don't know where to start with making playdough or something. So you give them the ingredients to make playdough and a recipe, or lend them a story sack, or give them a treasure basket to explore with their child, or give them a craft project to finish off at home. Hopefully the parents will then realise they can do it, its easy and fun, and things start to improve for children who do not currently benefit from a good home learning environment

Wow that is so clever. I would never have thought of actually playing with my child. Playdough? Reading them stories and giving them actual things to play with. I am so thankful this government has thoughtfully told nurseries to advise on this. There was me letting them sit in a playpen all day, with only a Greggs for company and CBeebies!

How did our parents ever manage without all this helpful advise?

midlandslurker Thu 24-Oct-13 19:23:57

From the original post I understand that this is a private daycare service for which you are paying ?

I pay for childcare for the sole reason of making sure my DS is looked after whilst I'm working and I'd personally be making it quite clear that I'll not be dictated to in regard to how I spend my free time him.

Some parents may appreciate their ideas for activities to do on days off - personally I'd be telling them "thanks,but no thanks".

Waggamamma Thu 24-Oct-13 19:58:53

thanks for all your replies. seems I'm not being unreasonable in thinking it's too much.

For the posters who mentioned parents not playing with their children, I can't comment for others but I do lots with my ds: play trains/cars, various crafts, playdoh, baking, swimming, visit friends with children, day trips and yes he gets to watch cbeebies too shock .
I think it's just that I like to choose what to do not be told by the nursery. This is a private nursery who we pay almost as much our mortgage each month to provide childcare, not to tell me how to parent.

The show and tell we learned very simple facts 'my monkey us brown, he eats bananas, he lives in the jungle, my grandma bought him for me' so nothing elaborate but it seemed an odd task for the age group.

I've asked him what he wants carved on the pumpkin, the reply was 'a power ranger'...hmm

he's only there until January otherwise I would be considering if this is the right nursery for him.

autumnwinds Thu 24-Oct-13 20:10:26

sturdyoak I agree it is incredibly condescending to 99.9% of parents. I'm not presenting it as my point of view or ideas - this is what we got told to do on training! We were given the example of a family support worker going into a family's home, where the social worker had identified they needed more support, with a bag of toys and sitting down on the floor and playing with the child and the toys. The parents had never ever done this and were at first dismissive and then completely shocked and amazed at how their 'out-of-control so-and-so' actually could sit still for more than 10 seconds and do something constructive rather than run around causing mayhem.

wagamamma I didn't want to suggest that you weren't doing these things, far from it! I just wanted to say that this idea of sending kids home with stuff to do from a very young age is being pushed across the early years sector at the moment, and maybe your nursery has just got a bit too keen for it!

I personally think that where there are such serious issues in parenting as this, it should probably remain for social workers to call in more one-one-one support rather than for childminders and nurseries to attempt to 'educate' all parents.

Maryann1975 Thu 24-Oct-13 20:30:05

Sturdyoak, maybe your children are growing up with good parents, but there are thousands of children growing up in this country whose parents do not know the basics of parenting and what to do with a child. These children are not played with at home and generally their days are taken up with cbeebies and a Greggs. You probably wouldn't have to look to far to find parents who don't know how to interact with their children, they exist in every town and cross all social groups. Anything that settings and the government can do for these children has to be a bonus and if that means sending home ideas about what to talk about with your child so be it. Some parents do want to change and do better for their children.
I'm not sure the nursery is expecting a full presentation for the show and tell. Your monkey facts sound fine, probably just what the nursery were hoping for. Learning the song words. I'm sure they are practising the songs at nursery, but I would have appreciated the words to ds nativity songs to help him when he got stuck while singing at home, so sending home the words would have helped me. The model, ask if its compulsory if you are bothered, if not don't do it, I'm sure your child won't miss out, but children get a lot of self confidence from showing things they are proud of.
Talk to your nursery and tell them your concerns, I'm not a believer in homework for primary school children, but I think this is just their attempts at linking home and nursery learning together and trying to work in partnership with parents. They may just have gone a bit OTT and not explained it properly.

junkfoodaddict Thu 24-Oct-13 20:35:49

I would be demanding to know why he hasn't been given his 8 times tables yet and when he will be given his lime level book! [confued]

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