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Have I screwed up?

(13 Posts)
Mrsfrumble Mon 10-Nov-14 18:28:01

I've just got back from looking at a preschool for DS, who was 4 last weekend. He's not been to nursery or school before; he's been at home with me and his little sister since we moved here from the UK 20 months ago.

I was chatting to the teacher in the 4 year old room and she was surprised (and seemed quite disapproving) that he didn't know the alphabet and couldn't write his name. She recommended that he should be in the 3 year old room instead. In many ways I think this is a good idea. I don't want him to be behind and although he is bright I think he probably is a bit young for age socially. He's confident and chatty but isn't good at sitting still and concentrating and still has tantrums when he's tired and overwhelmed.

I still feel a bit crap and guilty. At the moment we don't have a lot of structure to our days; we just potter about and go to the park and the library or play in the garden. We read and watch educational-type TV programs but I haven't pushed learning letters or numbers and now I worry that I should have.

DomesticGoddess31 Mon 10-Nov-14 20:25:19

WTF?! That's what we send them to school for isn't it??? Ignore her. My dd has been going to preschool since march, will be 4 in June and I will be very impressed if she can write her name by then. I bumped into a sahm I know who was a teacher before having kids. She is specifically teaching her kids nothing so they don't get bored of learning it all.

unlucky83 Mon 10-Nov-14 20:29:46

I agree - every teacher I have every spoken to has said they would much rather a child could put on their coat and shoes, zip up a coat, use cutlery and wipe their own bottoms !!
They will learn the alphabet, how to write their name, numbers etc at school...

Goldmandra Mon 10-Nov-14 20:34:27

Keep looking until you find a setting where the staff understand the importance of learning through child initiated and directed play.

Mouthfulofquiz Mon 10-Nov-14 20:35:47

I agree with the above, but also find that most kids will just pick up the alphabet very quickly if you sing a few different alphabet songs regularly. So why not start?

AlexD72 Mon 10-Nov-14 20:54:46

I'm a nursery nurse with 25 years experience. My 4 year old started school in September and at the parents evening 6 weeks later I was "horrified" to learn she only recognised numbers one to five. Then I spoke to my sister who reminded me she was four and that she had time to learn her numbers. And yes they do learn numbers and letters at school. So three weeks on from the parents evening and she can recognise numbers 0-20 and has asked to learn 20-30. They are so little and they really need a lot of love and attention which you have given him. He will learn his numbers and letters and social skills. Like we all had to.

Mrsfrumble Mon 10-Nov-14 21:23:33

Thanks for the reassurance. With the perspective from a few hours thinking it over I think DS definitely belongs in the "younger" room. From what the teacher in the 4yo class said, most of the children in that room had already been at the school for a year and were used to a structured environment which, as I said, DS is not! I probably shouldn't have been introduced to her anyway as DS would have automatically been placed in the younger class had he started at the beginning of the school year.

Unfortunately I didn't get to meet the other teacher but the administrator who was showing us around told me that she is more "hands on" with lots of messy and outdoor play.

I swing between thinking that DS needs "pushing" and would benefit from more structure, and wanting to keep him at home making mud pies and cardboard box forts for as long as possible.

holeinmyheart Mon 10-Nov-14 21:39:41

FFS, I don't usually swear or like swearing but in this case I am going to make an exception. What and who did that teacher think she was to make you feel guilty. PLEASE don't.
I had great pleasure going back into Primary School and telling one of my kids teachers who told me in a report, that she was a GOOD AVERAGE. I told her with great pleasure that the GOOD AVERAGE had obtained 10 A stars at GCSE, 4 ' A ' grade A levels and had been accepted to do Medicine at a top Uni.
Believe me, teachers know somethings but they also know diddly squat.
Trust your instincts about your son. You know him better than any educator.
Schools are terrible places both for kids and teachers. Keep him at home. He will benefit more from your love and attention than he will being squeezed and pummelled into a one size fits all situation. It will come soon enough.
Xx you sound a great Mum to me.

florentina1 Mon 10-Nov-14 21:56:41

I look after 3 of my youngest grandchildren aged between 2 and 5. They reach their milestones a widely different ages. The 5 year old would never sit still and learn anything like reading writing or even drawing. 6 months of school and he is doing all of those things. Ignore the teacher, you have given your child a loving start in life and he will soon catch up.

Misty9 Mon 10-Nov-14 22:06:33

Ds is 3.2 and is nowhere near writing his name or knowing his letters. Which is fine with me, that's what school's for! My opinion is that children have many years of schooling ahead of them and precious few years for playing and just being. We keep getting presents of learning books for him and I keep putting them on the shelf and ignoring them

whitechocolatestars Mon 10-Nov-14 22:07:29

It sounds like you have done an amazing job and built a great bond with your son, that's the most important thing.

As for the letters and numbers, as a sahm myself I do try to bring them into our day in a fun way so ds knows them, but I don't "teach" them. We look for letters and talk about pictures in books and newspapers, play sorting / counting games, those types of things. There are lots of ways you can incorporate these concepts into the way you feel your son learns / plays best.

Choose the environment you feel is right but he will have to be with his peer group soon enough so keep that in mind as you watch him develop at school. I'm sure the confidence you have given him in himself will serve him better than anything. Good luck.

AlexD72 Wed 12-Nov-14 10:49:27

Mud pies and cardboard box forts are WAY more important at this age! Don't worry! He will learn his numbers and letters in good time. I miss making mud pies!!!!

Davsmum Wed 12-Nov-14 11:30:58

Your DS will pick up the alphabet easily once at school. You should not feel guilty at all. It doesn't matter if the teacher seemed surprised so long as you are happy that your DS is happy and can do the things that YOU would be expecting him to do.
I think it is far more important at that age, that a child can dress themselves, go to the toilet properly and use cutlery..and use their imagination.
My friend's little girl is only 4 and knows the alphabet and can write her name but she can't manage the toilet on her own - or dress herself properly, which is more of a nuisance for any teachers to deal with than teaching her the alphabet!

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