What should my four year old be able to do?

(11 Posts)
JH12 Tue 19-Mar-19 10:04:04

My dd has just turned 4. She attends pre school at the local primary so just goes a couple of hours in the morning and will start reception in September. I am aware she is a little behind the other kids, she struggles counting to ten, but does know some numbers, she can't write or recognise letters. She is a little behind with her speech but she had problems with hearing, she now has grommets so hopefully this is now sorted. She can dress herself, goes to the bathroom herself, knows colours and her full name, mixes well with others kids etc. I wasn't particularly worried, I figured she would learn at her own pace.

However, when I went to parents evening last night I was told she is quite behind and I need to do more with her. She said she should be able to recognise letters if I show them to her written down and say the sound. I do try and do things with her but her concentration isn't great and she gets bored. I can't force her and I don't really want to push it.

Should i be worried about her development? Or let her learn at her What should I be doing with her to help her?

Thanks in advance

OP’s posts: |
AladdinMum Tue 19-Mar-19 11:48:14

She does sound quite a bit behind - a typical 2 year old would be able to have a good attempt at counting to 10 and be able to identify and name about 50% of the alphabet - by 3 years, these two skills would be mastered. It is very odd that she does not recognise letters, that must be the biggest concern from your description. Could she have vision issues? maybe hard to focus on individual letters? At 4 years old she should be talking in complex sentences, have back and forth conversations, understand multi-step instructions, etc.

At this age, leaning should not be forced, but administered through play. For example, shape sorters in the shape of letters and numbers, encouraging counting in every occasion - lets count the wheels of the car (while playing with the car), lets count the number of teddies in your room (while going to get the teddies), etc. If there are no development concerns, then learning should be encouraged through play whenever possible. Children at this age will seek praise and thrive from parental encouragement and praise.

LetItGoToRuin Tue 19-Mar-19 13:17:54

Firstly, it’s great that she has good social skills and independent dressing, toileting etc. Those things are the most important really, which should mean your DD will settle well at school and be a pleasure to have in the classroom.

I agree with AladdinMum that it’d be worth getting her vision checked if you haven’t done so recently, and also that learning should be through play at this stage.

For learning the alphabet and numbers, how about some really nice puzzles? My DD had a very long alphabet train puzzle which had each letter in upper and lower case. We had lots of fun finding the next letter (remember to use phonic sounds though, not ay bee cee etc).

Alphablocks on the TV is also brilliant for learning letters and sounds.

You can also play spot the letter when you’re out and about – maybe start with seeing if she can spot the first letter of her name on any car reg plates in a car park etc? Also in books, of course, when you read to her (which I would suggest you do every day, if you don't do so already).

You can also work on aural recognition of letter sounds, so get her to say the sound for the start of ‘cat’, for example.

For counting, always count the steps as you go upstairs, and count out the sausages when preparing dinner etc. See if she can put a cup on the table for each of you at mealtimes, and count them as she goes.

Basically, at this stage I’d just incorporate this sort of learning gently into everyday life, but try not to worry, because she sounds like she’ll be fine at school.

BeeMyBaby Tue 19-Mar-19 13:27:34

I think she sounds okay and would just work on her being able to count to 10+ before school, and perhaps recognise how they look. Both my daughters didn't recognise any letters and did well with phonics when they started school. In first year they were in the bottom reading group but by continuing reading during the summer holidays they moved into the top reading group in second year. As long as you spend 10-30 mins every night doing homework/ extra reading when she starts school then she should be fine. We used the usborne reading set which you can get on eBay for about £15 for the whole series https://www.usborne.com/veryfirstreading/

FurryGiraffe Tue 19-Mar-19 13:53:15

She does sound quite a bit behind - a typical 2 year old would be able to have a good attempt at counting to 10 and be able to identify and name about 50% of the alphabet - by 3 years, these two skills would be mastered. It is very odd that she does not recognise letters, that must be the biggest concern from your description.

I disagree. I don't think the average three year old can recognise the whole alphabet. I don't think I've ever met any three year olds who recognise the whole alphabet- it's certainly not an expected skill for that age on the EYFS. The majority of kids (DS1 included) starting reception at DS1's primary couldn't recognise the whole alphabet and they spent the first term of phonics in reception on individual letter sounds.

OP, I'd concentrate on developing her speech and recognising her name (useful for identifying pegs/book bags).

AladdinMum Tue 19-Mar-19 17:19:07

I would not rely on the EYFS as it is known to really understate, it lists the bare minimum which is required. The ASQ is a better overall measure but it does overstate at times.

Recent large studies have shown that 10% of two-year olds can label and identify 90% of the alphabet, while 70% can label about half the alphabet (10--12 letters) while 90% can do at least 5 letters. These percentages increases significantly at the 3 year old level.

gower4 Tue 19-Mar-19 17:30:19

I'm sorry, but this is bonkers! Why does she need to recognise letters at just turned 4?? None of mine could. In fact one of mine could only recognise a few at 5, going into reception. They get taught them all in reception class!!

Counting to 10 is just memorising a pattern, same as reciting a nursery rhyme. It's not actually counting.

AladdinMum Tue 19-Mar-19 18:00:08

@gower4 I think you are missing the point, that is like saying, why do I need to know geometry or algebra when I am 15 years old. You don't need to know it, but it is used to test cognitive performance. I don't agree with real counting just being a pattern, if so that can be applied to many things in life. For example, my DS at 2.5 years old could count the number of objects in front of him, so if I placed 4 blocks in front of him and asked him how many blocks he would count with his finger and say "four". He could do that with 1-5 items, and with some help he could do 6-10 items - he could also label about 10 letters. When tested for cognitive reasoning and performance he fell within the "average" category, if he had not know how to do the above he would have fallen in the "below average" category.

JH12 Tue 19-Mar-19 18:21:01

Thank you everyone, really appreciate the comments. She had her ears done about 6 weeks ago, so her speech is really coming on since then. I will also look into having her eyes tested that's not something I thought of. I will also try and do more with her. It's difficult because I also have a two year old. I try to involve him too but as soon as one of them gets fed up the other one is off too. They tend to distract each other.

OP’s posts: |
gower4 Tue 19-Mar-19 20:18:36

@AladdinMum that's exactly the point I'm making about real counting versus reciting numbers to 10.

Unless there is a serious worry about SEN, cognitive testing tells very little at this age. A child who knows nothing at 4 is often top of the class by 7!

FurryGiraffe Wed 20-Mar-19 06:19:26

I would not rely on the EYFS as it is known to really understate, it lists the bare minimum which is required. The ASQ is a better overall measure but it does overstate at times.

But it's not on the ASQ for 2 year olds either, is it?

Recent large studies have shown that 10% of two-year olds can label and identify 90% of the alphabet, while 70% can label about half the alphabet (10--12 letters) while 90% can do at least 5 letters. These percentages increases significantly at the 3 year old level.

Just out of interest, do you have a link/reference. I'd be very interested to see. It's so very out of kilter with the cohort at my 2 year old's (very middle class, Ofsted outstanding) nursery.

When tested for cognitive reasoning and performance he fell within the "average" category, if he had not know how to do the above he would have fallen in the "below average" category.
Is there evidence that this correlates to anything? The evidence does not support that teaching to read early correlates to better educational outcomes. Is it different for letter recognition?

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