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If your child is due to start school in September, what can they do? Are they 'ready' for school?

(29 Posts)
TrippingAlong Sat 18-Feb-17 10:25:58

Firstly, am not a pushy parent and have no desire for my child to be advanced or ahead, I really just want him to be happy. However I'm a bit worried that he really has NO interest in certain 'school' type things and wondered if AIBU?

So he's just turned 4 and is due to start school in September.

He can count to 12 or 20 depending on his mood and he can count out object of given amounts. Is good at sorting things by size, colour, basic shape etc. All things that I would deem mathematical skills. He will not copy numbers using a pencil, or chalk outside or paint even.

He enjoys stories (has to be encouraged to listen to whole story) but is getting better. We choose short books obviously. He tends to like the same book being read over and over though, it takes him a while to understand what's going on in books. He is getting better at talking about what is happening in the stories and (very) occasionally will ask us a question!

He has no idea about words or reading and definitely no idea about individual letters. I know nothing of teaching little ones, so I don't want to do I incorrectly.

I'm trying to get him to recognise his name, I have it written on cards throughout the house (at eye level) but sometimes he chooses his sister's name as his name. sad

He can hold a pencil properly. It he won't write anything. He scribbles (fine that's good I know) but just says "I'm tired now" if I try to even make the basic c shape. I don't ever put pressure on him, gently encourage.

He's very good at jigsaws, don't want to say all negative things!

Anyway, he goes to preschool (part time) and I was in the other day and was watching him from a distance. He was at the writing table! They were writing cards and all the girls at his table were writing their names on the card. DS was just siting watching them work. He wouldn't have any idea how to do it. One lovely little girl gave him a card, a pencil and pointed to the place where his name should go. I have to stress he's not remotely bothered by any of these things!

The next day at pick up time, another little girl went and got his coat for him, his school bag and went to the art table and collected his artwork and said "you have to give this to your mum!" He's my son and I love him but either he's a lazy wee lump or he finds getting organised difficult. In terms of organisation at home, he's quite switched on.

Sorry, this has turned into a ramble. I'm just worried that in the context of his peers he seems a bit behind.

Does it sound like I'm worrying over nothing? Should I be forcing him just a little to master some wring skills.

How ready is your child for school, or how ready were they?


paxillin Sat 18-Feb-17 10:38:42

Doesn't sound unusual. A few kids arrive reading and printing letters, loads don't.

Have several cups turned upside down, labelled with names. The one with his has a chocolate button underneath. He's only allowed to turn one over. See if he really can't do it.

Start with Jeffrey, mummy, daddy, sister, then Jeffrey, Natalie, Susan and Mandy, then Jeffrey, Jeremy, Julie and Jamie to make sure he doesn't just pick the first letter.

Boiing Sat 18-Feb-17 10:38:48

(Not sure why that posted, was still writing). Was just going to say, that said, it's quite possible he isn't ready for school. The teachers union says a third of children are not ready for school age 5. Do remember, under age 5 you do not have to send him, and you are legally entitled to take him part time if you choose, although a lot of heads don't like it there is nothing they can do if you choose not to take him in when he's under 5. (Even age 5 is way too young for formal education, most countries start at age 7. If he doesn't take to it, try to remember the problem is not him but our Victorian education system).

Ask for a meeting with his preschool key worker, she can tell you if he is average or not. But really don't compare him to the girls they are so different at this age. The girls you're observing probably can't throw/catch/run anywhere near as well as your son.

Boiing Sat 18-Feb-17 10:42:19

And now my first post has disappeared- I hate my phone! To summup, was just suggesting you read 'Raising Boys' by Steve Biddulph, it says girls are a year ahead on fine motor skills like writing at this age. He will be way ahead of the girls on physical stuff. Teachers shoukd be aqare of this and the first year of achool shoukd (depending on school) be mostly free play anyway.

2014newme Sat 18-Feb-17 10:45:46

Get eyes tested before starting school, that's for all parents not spefic to you.
Don't worry about letters and numbers focus in taking turns, putting hand up to ask questions, super sitting you have no idea how much emphasis they put in that, dressing and undressing self fir of, going to toilet by self, unwrapping contents if packed lunch by self, using cutlery and all those skills. Putting coat on, putting shoes on.

whatstheworstthatcanhappen1 Sat 18-Feb-17 10:46:09

Sounds fine to me, my daughter is starting in September. She turns 5 at the end of September. She can write her first and surname now and can copy her friends names to write in birthday cards etc.

She has only wanted to learn these things in the last few months though, there is still 7 months to go so I wouldn't worry.

As an example my son wasn't interested in learning new things till he started school and by the end loved learning.

2014newme Sat 18-Feb-17 10:47:26

He will be way ahead of girls on physical stuff is hilarious. Not the case. What nonsense. 😂😂

myoriginal3 Sat 18-Feb-17 10:48:23

Our school sent us a quiz thing 'Is my child ready for school?'

Some of the questions asked were:

Can my child zip up own coat?
Can my child peel his own banana?
Can my child use the bathroom unattended?

There was nothing academic asked. Just basic things to ensure they would cope with school.

2014newme Sat 18-Feb-17 10:49:33

Just to add my dd is 9 and still beats the boys at running, swimming etc. She is a gymnast and very very strong. Climbing, monkey bars, races, athletics I see that girls at this age are NT behind the boys far from it.

WheresTheEvidence Sat 18-Feb-17 10:51:33

I prefer to work on social personal skills so dc 4.2 can
- put on coat and shoes by self (now practising zips)
- take self to the toilet - attempt to wipe bottom
- get dressed/undressed by self
- serve self snack/pour a drink, clear the table of own plate/cup at end of meal and wipe table
- wait a minute if I'm busy and then tell me the problem/information she wants to share.

GraceGrape Sat 18-Feb-17 10:52:00

Rather than focus on the academic stuff, which he will be taught, concentrate on the practical side - putting on his coat, dressing himself for PE lessons, opening drink bottles etc. Recognising his name will be very useful, especially for finding his jumper , although for DD1 I bought name labels with a little picture to help.

meganorks Sat 18-Feb-17 10:52:10

Yes I think you are worrying over nothing. They are all different and do things at different speeds. But it is schools Jon to teach him stuff like this! Many will know less than your DS. My youngest is at pre-school and has only just started using a pen (3 1/2). Whenever I got the pens out she just wanted to make me draw!
If he likes puzzles why not get an alphabet puzzle and talk about the letters while he does it. Do the sounds. Teach him the alphabet song and point to the letters as you go. Doing this with my little one at the moment and she is starting to pick up letters and sounds. We also have a wipe clean alphabet book which she is loving at the moment (so giant dotted lines for them to trace)

feltcarrot Sat 18-Feb-17 10:52:23

I work in a reception class, please practice dressing and undressing, PE is the most stressful time of the week!

Afreshstartplease Sat 18-Feb-17 10:52:41

Dd is 3.10 and starts in September

She can

Count to 20
Do simple add/take away problems using objects
Recognise her own name and attempt to write it
Knows what letters her siblings names start with
Knows a handful of words that start with the same letter as her name
She can sort objects according to properties
Dress herself completely but not fasten her coat
Go to the toilet unaided and wash her hands
Use a knife and fork, pour her own drinks and cereal, and butter toast
Listen to a story
Retell a story she knows or make one up looking at pictures
Draw people and animals
Recognise numbers 1-10
Complete simple computer programmes
Talk about her feelings and recognise when others are sad/angry/happy and discuss why

She has been in nursery since very young and has two older siblings which I'm sure has helped her loads

Yura Sat 18-Feb-17 10:53:42

my son can count to 10 reliably, he knows what words and letters are but can't recognize any. he can dress himself including shoes, spread butter etc on bread, carry full plates and cups to the table.
he mostly holds his pen correctly, but not always.
he interacts well with other children and is keen to try new stuff.

Watto1 Sat 18-Feb-17 10:54:44

My sister is a reception teacher . She says it's more important to be able to put on their coat, use the loo independently, wipe their own nose etc than the more academic stuff.

Blossomdeary Sat 18-Feb-17 11:01:54

He sounds a great little chap!

Two of my GSs (siblings) are like chalk and cheese - one is know as The Prof and was reading before starting school - the other is 5 and still hasn't got the remotest clue, but is hugely loved in the class and is great fun!

It really is such a shame that parents are locked in this battle of comparing their children with others - the desire to "push" children is really such utter nonsense. These early childhood years are to be treasured - their imaginations are magical and their learning exploration of the world around them is a joy to behold. Just enjoy him - he sounds lovely! You are a lucky lady!

TeenAndTween Sat 18-Feb-17 11:08:31

Remember that they another 6 months before school, so that is 10%+ of their life so loads of time to pick up the required skills.

Definitely the social / practical skills are the important ones
- listening
- waiting your turn
- putting on coat
- going to toilet & washing hands
These are all far more important than reading War and Peace.

early30smum Sat 18-Feb-17 11:25:02

He will be fine. I agree that actually the physical stuff is more important, focus on:

Going to the loo by himself, wiping himself, remembering to flush and wash hands well.

Putting on and taking off his own coat and hat, and shoes.

Some reception kids have to get themselves undressed and dressed into a simple PE outfit- if he does, practice that.

Be able to use and knife and fork independently if having a school lunch.

It's also helpful if he can recognise his own name, (for pegs/personal items etc)

Also maybe work on him sitting still to listen to a whole duration of a story, ask him a few questions about it etc.

My DS is starting in sept too, but he already goes to school nursery full time, so I'm not worried. He can write his name, count to 100, recognise his name and numbers to 20, recognise all his sounds (phonics), is beginning to sound out and write CVC words, BUT he is old for the year, has an older sister and is motivated to learn and wants me to do it with him. (Plus I am a teacher!)

noblegiraffe Sat 18-Feb-17 11:26:05

DD will be starting in September. She can do all the taking turns/sitting nicely to listen to a story/recognise her name stuff because she's been going to pre-school since she was two and a half and they do all that sort of stuff.

She can take her clothes off, but can't put them back on again. Definitely something we need to work on! She's also very lazy about putting her shoes on and would much rather we did it. She can put her coat on (puts the hood on first as this helps finding the sleeves) but can't zip it up.

I remember when DS started school he was on packed lunches and had problems with peeling a banana, unwrapping a straw and getting the straw into a carton of drink. I guess that won't be such a priority now they have free dinners but still worth practising.

There's still loads of time to go through. DS started school 2 weeks after he turned 4 where DD will be 3 months off 5 so we are way more relaxed about her coping.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Sat 18-Feb-17 11:29:16

He's fine. School is for learning. And he may not learn much in Reception - my two eldest didn't, they were too busy having fun. DS3 seems to take to the academic stuff a lot better.

GraceGrape Sat 18-Feb-17 11:33:25

My DD will be one of the oldest in the year and will be fine with all the academic stuff but we need to do a lot of work on getting dressed - especially tights!

Happinessisthis Sat 18-Feb-17 11:38:02

I work in a pre school.
Your child is fine.
I will also say, if you choose not to send him to school in sept, he will then have to skip reception and go straight in year 1 due to him being 4 before April-august.
He has 8 whole months before he starts school. A LOT of learning will go on in that time.
Reception is largely play based curriculum.

In order to get your child ready for school
Are they toilet trained?
Can they mostly get themselves dressed (mainly shoes and socks and coats)

Those are the most important. And please try not to compare you child (easier said than done I know!)
I have worked with ages 3-4 for 5 years now. What some are brilliant at, others aren't and vice versa.

Also, the most important I think, is social skills. Being independent.
Maths and reading and writing all come later. That is what school is for!

Pencil grip and mark making is developmental- involve him in play dough and dough disco. Get an easel and get him to use that. These will all strengthen muscles ready for pen grip.

Hope that all makes sense.

arethereanyleftatall Sat 18-Feb-17 11:46:33

It's interesting that you perceive yourself as non pushy, but your ds is just turned 4 years old and you're worried about where he is academically - that doesn't match.

Before my dc started school we were told to please don't teach them to write, it's often done incorrectly, and they need to re teach. And echo the others - life skills - getting changed, opening lunch packets more important.

mumsneedwine Sat 18-Feb-17 11:50:30

Make sure they can use the toilet on their own. Get dressed and undressed (as far as their undies, not all the way), try and get dressed with clothes not inside out (although this is optional). Try and learn to sit still and listen well. And to be kind and polite.

And then they will be fine 😉

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