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Is my 5 year old behind?

(26 Posts)
Fingerscrossed76 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:09:41

I think I already know that he is and feel terrible about it. He has just had his report and was identified as behind in about 3 areas. Social and development on the basis that he struggles to resolve friendship disputes, handwriting, which is terrible, and maths, so pretty key areas. In reading he is meeting expectations but I am sure it is only just as he is only level 2 whilst most if not all the other kids in his class are on much higher levels (6, 7, 8 etc). One of his main problems is that he is reluctant to try, espeically if he finds things hard. I can just about get him to do his reading but it takes a lot of persuasion and it's near impossible to get him to sit down and practice his hand-writing. He also doesn't seem to get numbers. He recognises quantity and can count but always misses out 15 despite me correcting him a million times, and still struggles to recognise numbers past 5! He does not seem to grasp that school is there for learning and just wants to play all the time. He is very curious and loves imaginative play, e.g. pretending to be a super-hero, is very physical, loving, affectionate, funny and has an excellent vocabulary but I am worried that he is just not going to cope in year 1. I am even more worried now as I just heard that they start streaming the children and DS will no doubt be in all the bottom groups. His teachers don't seem overly concerned and think that he is improving all the time and, on current performance, should manage in year 1. We agreed that DS was simply not ready for reception when he started and that he only really settled and got into it in the spring/summer terms. I also blame myself as I am a single mum and I work full time. I try to do reading every day when i get home from work/before bed but sometimes he is too tired but we are obviously going to have to find a way to squeeze in practising numbers and handwriting. I really need one to one time with him to do this which, again, is tricky as I also have DS2, 3 years who always starts vying for attention. Would appreciate anyone's views on a) how bad the situation is and b) what can be done. Thank you.

hellymelly Tue 16-Jul-13 13:16:44

Please don't worry too much, he sounds a lovely little boy. I think a lot of the boys in my dds class (year 1, she was 6 recently) found the whole thing very baffling last year but are more in the swing of things now. My DH is super clever (Oxford science degree etc), but was put on the table with the lowest grade children at primary school. He too just wanted to play and says he didn't really get into the academic side of things until high school. I think it is very normal!

tanfastic Tue 16-Jul-13 13:23:33

Sounds a bit like my ds who is five. He only had three expected columns highlighted out of seventeen. The rest were emerging. However I'm not worried and I'm not going to put my five year old under pressure about it. He had major behaviour problems and trouble controlling his emotions during the first half of reception coupled with a terrible stammer that went on for months. He has overcome both these issues now and is a remarkable young boy. His teacher cannot believe the difference in him.

Unfortunately because of the bad start he is way way behind in his learning. He got a great report from the teacher and headmistress it was just the emerging bits. He cannot read yet even though we read books every day and he can only write a sentence if I spell the words out to him. He got a great report about his good behaviour so that was the most important thing for me.

The way I look at it is they are still only little. Year 1 will be a big shock I think as they will have to muscle down and work hard but I'm confident with encouragement from me and dh that he will flourish in his own time.

I am going to spend a bit of time each day of the summer hols in practising his writing and reading with him rewarding him with outings and treats. Is it possible you could do something similar with your ds?

Fingerscrossed76 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:23:57

I hope so hellymelly. He is lovely boy and asks such insightful questions and is so curious about the world around him. It just isn't translating into the classroom though he does love school. I really feel that it is my fault that I have not taught him more of these things at home. I did and do try but he just isn't interested.

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 13:24:57

Hi I dont think all is lost. My dd only had 2 terms in reception as she was a January start. She could just about write her name, couldn't read and hated school. Every day why do I have to go to school and tears.

I started with just reading everything to her. Signs, street names. Asked her to point to the letter b etc. I looked for learning opportunities rather than sitting down and doing numbers. So how many black cars can you count.

Like your ds my dd had a good vocabulary and think this does help. I used to be amazed that other children could count in 2s, read and write. My dd was nowhere near.

By the time dd was in year 1, she still couldn't read, just getting to grasp with phonic sounds. Then, don't know how, it just fell into place. By the end of term 2 she could read, then she read anything and everything! She is now doing v well at school and is on top table for maths and English and enjoys writing.

I wanted to instil a love of reading nod learning in her and think its worked, fingers crossed.

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 13:25:16

Oops and not nod.

tanfastic Tue 16-Jul-13 13:26:56

I agree with Helly, he sounds a lovely boy. I would try not to worry. And try not to compare your ds with his peers too much. I had to switch off this morning when I overheard a group of mums discussing their kids outstanding reception reports. It can be hard.

Fingerscrossed76 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:28:40

I think his reading will be ok although it took a long while to click. But I am now realising how far behind we are with numbers and handwriting. Thinking about taking unpaid leave from my job over the summer so that I can try to get him up to speed. He is just so reluctant though.

Fingerscrossed76 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:29:28

It's awful. I know better than to listen but I do and always end up worried.

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 13:31:29

He sounds ahead of my dd at that stage. It is difficult not to worry. Have you asked his teacher what you could do over the summer?

Also, it's fantastic that he is curious about the world around him and think that's something to be proud of and encouraged.

hellymelly Tue 16-Jul-13 13:32:26

As he is interested in other things, has a good working vocabulary and is a happy child I truly think there is nothing to worry about. I have two dds and have noticed that boys seem to not "get" school in the way girls do, many small boys would be better just playing as much as possible until maybe 7 or so. Where I live in Wales learning is play based until then and it does seem to help the boys. You could home ed for a year if he seems to be getting upset about the work, but as he does seem to be enjoying school I think it will fall into place later. Out of school activities that he does well in would be good confidence boosters. He is a very small boy, only just past toddlerhood, and he sounds like a delightful child. Help him make pals by having a playdate every few weeks, and try not to feel any pressure. I hate the idea that children should be achieving anything at 5 really, other than having a lot of fun!

bassingtonffrench Tue 16-Jul-13 13:32:40

He sounds like my son and we had a similar report in terms of 'emerging areas'

I think if you try to push him you might do more harm than good.

tanfastic Tue 16-Jul-13 13:34:51

My ds is like that. Pulls a massive face f I ask him write a birthday card "is it gonna take a long time mum" is what I normally get sad.

I find that rewards are good or getting my ds to do something. I also sit with him the whole time. If you have a pound shop near you they do some fab handwriting books with stickers in. I'm presently using the one aimed for 3-5 year olds for my ds and he's enjoying it bit by bit.

Also just playing games with them and using opportunities during the game for counting etc. I was playing hungry frogs the other day with ds and made him count how many balls his frog ate after every game. He just thought it was fun.

SummersHere Tue 16-Jul-13 13:36:14

Awe, he's only 5. Just remember in most countries children don't even start school till 6 and over. I think we expect a bit much from very young children in the UK.

Fingerscrossed76 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:40:12

DS is happy to do the educational parts but only on his own terms. He loves playing and doesn't seem ready to be in a more formal learning environment. It's a shame that we expect so much then they are so young. His teacher has said, and I agree, that there is no doubt that he is bright and that he can do it, he just doesn't want to because it doesn't interest him. Really relieved though by all the other comments on here that their DCs are the same. DS's entire class seem to be super-advanced which doesn't help!

Chubfuddler Tue 16-Jul-13 13:44:06

Level 2 for reading at the end of reception sounds slightly advanced if anything. He sounds absolutely lovely and you really don't need to worry. I know it's hard not to worry but above all try not to communicate your stesses to him - you want him to love school.

Rummikub Tue 16-Jul-13 13:47:33

My dd complained every day when she moved from reception to year 1 because there was less play. She considered it most unfair. Refused to learn spelling and she hardly did any homework all year. It was a struggle. I had to not compare her to other children because I would wonder what I did wrong.

Your boy sounds like he has a lovely character and the rest will all into place. He's got a good start.

lljkk Tue 16-Jul-13 18:50:04

Reading: he is normal compared to national avg.
Maths: you can work on at home, there are lots of little things you can help him with.
Writing: most little boys hate to write!

So he sounds pretty normal to me. Don't despair.

jellycake Tue 16-Jul-13 18:56:15

I agree, your son sounds perfectly normal and I would advise helping through play, join the library summer reading scheme - they get smelly stickers for reading books and a medal at the end.

FreshCucumber Tue 16-Jul-13 19:00:49

Please don't despair. maturity has a lot to say at that age and siome children aren't really ready for formal learning (reading, writing and maths) until they are 6yo.

ds2 was like this (and born in June) but by the end of Y1 was starting to catch up. Y2 was the time when he caught up with his peer to national average. And in Y3 is now above national expectation, well above in some areas, incl reading.
Now at the end of Y1 he was still way way behind (about one full year behind for that matter).

I would agree with doing things at home in a playful way. You can count stuff, spoons, forks, birds on the roof opposite you. Read to him.

And most importantly don't feel guilty. It has nothing to do with the fact you are a single mum or are working!

Renniehorta Tue 16-Jul-13 19:12:55

My son was as unable to read at the end of reception as he had been on his first day at school. I read to him every night and we struggled through his reading book. I decided just to let things slide over the summer, although I continued reading to him. When he went into Y1 he could read. He just had not been mature enough to do it before. He made progress really fast, once he started. So all that struggle had not been in vane.

As someone said up thread in many European countries formal teaching does not start until 7. We are too hung up at getting kids into formal learning as soon as possible. For many, especially boys, they are just not mature enough to benefit from a formal curriculum.

Hellocleaveland Wed 17-Jul-13 18:37:01

Please also bear in mind that the new way the Early Learning Goals are assessed makes the 'number' ELG quite difficult to achieve, certainly compared to previous years. I teach Reception and at least 10 children in my class of 30 didn't achieve it. I also have a massive range of handwriting, several children are not forming recognisable letters still and only a few (about 8 or 9) are producing consistently neat, pre-cursive writing complete with finger spaces. Please don't feel too worried, your son sounds like he is doing fine and if the teacher is seeing progress and hasn't flagged up any major concerns then be reassured by that fact. Try not to spend the summer feeling stressed!

1whitestag Thu 18-Jul-13 10:55:53

Hiya, I really think you need to stop giving yourself such a hard time. Your ds is gorgeous and you recognise that he is - so take some credit for this to start with. As a single parent, which my sister is, everything does ultimately stop with you (unless dad is hands-on in your ds's life).
What she did was send her daughter to Leaders are Readers Saturday School, (easy to look up on line). My sister said that my dn met a different crowd of children, that were positive role models for her and the setting seemed to change her expectations about learning and herself. The teaching was to a small group, which she coped with a lot better.
Alternatively, use your ds's imagination/creativity with numbers e.g when watching a favourite programme with him, notice anything that you could get him to add together/take away and make sure it's stuff that you know he can do (this will boost his confidence). Get him to write in sand, his name e.g copying you - then you copy him....but have fun. Let him see you enjoy maths/writing etc and he will be more relaxed about it.

loopybear Sat 20-Jul-13 21:54:10

I haven't read all the posts so sorry if I repeat what's been said. I'm foundation teacher. Unfortunately your child's school has not shared the eyfs profile with you in a constructive way. Firstly it's a new system this year and we are all getting a handle on how to do it. The new wording isnt parent friendly. if the school were concerned they would have raised it before. Not many children should get exceeding as this means they r working within the year 1 curriculum. Oxford reading tree level 2 is solid for reception. Do lots of fun things for maths like car number plate spotting asking 1 more or 1 less when you buy things or see numbers. Read bed time stories together important dad does it to. Join the library summer challenge and find books he likes biff and chip are very dull!

AuntyPippaAndUncleHarry Tue 23-Jul-13 13:21:17

Nothing to add really except that your DS sounds lovely and intelligent and like he'll do just fine in school. We all develop at different rates but usually by time children are leaving primary school they have all got to grips with reading, writing and maths. Many more years of education ahead for him to reach his full potential in. Good luck to you and him.

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