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Anyone else had a 3.5 year check? Ds's was a cross between an interview for Oxbridge and an interrogation by the Stasi!

(32 Posts)
Anchovy Mon 13-Jun-05 13:59:45

DS is just over 3.5 years old and very articulate (objectively speaking - everyone comments on it, it is just his "thing"). He goes to nursey school three mornings a week where he does unspecified activities of the type three year old do - he's a bit vague on what they are but the seem to involve paint/glue/glitter/cooking/jumping/singing with an occasional bit of snatching and pushing thrown in for good measure. The nursery school is great (and just had a very good Ofsted report) and, to the extent we get any feedback from them, they think he is doing very well - we've never had any developmental issues and in fact we were asked to stay behind a couple of weeks ago to be told how well he was progressing. He's also got a sweet little nature (when I asked him the other day what he was doing he said, "Oh you know, Mum, I'm just being cheeky and cheerful", which in fact pretty much sums him up). To add an objective note, he's pretty crap at telling his colours and spends a lot of time picking his nose!

We were called in for a "standard" 3.5 year developmental check and I was gobsmacked at how formal it was. DS was asked to sit down at a small desk. There were pencils, blocks and paper put out. He was asked to name and then draw a variety of shapes. Then asked lots of colours, to draw other things, count the blocks, stack them up - all one after the other, no praise or appreciation. Then lots of random questions - did he know what a dentist was? whose hand must he hold when he crossed the road? what would happen if he didn't (and thanks for bringing death into it by the way!): what was his favourite fruit; what was his favourite vegetable. Poor old DS got smaller and smaller and quieter and quieter as the questions were being rattled out and I could see he was getting a bit overwhelmed. It wasn't clear if I was allowed to help out or not - I had just been asked to sit on one side and was clearly no part of it - none of the questions were addressed to me or eye contact even made. I did help him out, of course and that was noted down.

After we had finished and we were going on for a restorative cup of hot chocolate, I said to him how well he had done and wasn't it brilliant how he could answer all of the questions (which he had done) and he said "Yes Mummy, and I wasn't even afraid of that lady. Well, I was, but only a bit"!!! Poor little sod.

Caligula Mon 13-Jun-05 14:01:25

Did he pass?


katierocket Mon 13-Jun-05 14:03:00

jeeez, that sounds a bit much. So was the 'check' run by nursery then or by LEA? (is it a private nursery?)

fastasleep Mon 13-Jun-05 14:03:48

Eeek how horrible!

Hausfrau Mon 13-Jun-05 14:04:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fastasleep Mon 13-Jun-05 14:04:56

The SATs are nicer than that!!

Gwenick Mon 13-Jun-05 14:05:02

gosh that sounds awful!

flashingnose Mon 13-Jun-05 14:05:48

QueenFlounce Mon 13-Jun-05 14:06:51

Anchovy - Ds had his 4 months ago and it was NOTHING like that. That sounds absolutely terrible.

bossykate Mon 13-Jun-05 14:07:55

i am the only one who hasn't bothered with this check?

strugstu Mon 13-Jun-05 14:09:16

i take it this was the hv 3 and1/2 developmental check? if it was that will be his last one until his preschool interview(general chat about his health and any concerns u have prior to him starting school)

shame it was so formal- not all hv's practice this way.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 13-Jun-05 14:09:18

Where do you live? Our local health centre is pretty good, but have largely dropped all the development checks, unless a parent requests one.

Sounds horrible, anyway, for both of you!

kcemum Mon 13-Jun-05 14:10:14

Sounds the same as DD3s health assessment

My healthvisitor was concerned cos she couldn't hop. She only started walking at 2 fgs!

strugstu Mon 13-Jun-05 14:10:25

bossykate- its not compulsory

Tissy Mon 13-Jun-05 14:11:08

dd's was rather less formal- HV asked her if she could draw a circle, square, triangle, thus demonstrating that she could name them as well. Stacking blocks ("only six? I can do nineteen!"), and none of your random questions as far as I recall. I think you should make a point of going back and telling the HV what your ds said, she might soften her style a bit!

Enid Mon 13-Jun-05 14:12:04

mine was done at home and she brought a bag of mini toys and asked dd1 if she could name them and then we sat and had a cup of tea and a chat about gardening while dd1 ran around outside

WigWamBam Mon 13-Jun-05 14:13:56

Our HVs stopped doing this check at about the time that dd should have had it, so I have nothing to compare your experience with, but it sounds really bad to me. If a confident and intelligent child like your son was even the slightest bit frightened of her, then I think you need to raise your concerns with the practice; that's not the aim of these checks at all.

Lucycat Mon 13-Jun-05 14:17:08

We get virtually ignored here once the hv has made their initial visit at 10 days or so. We get an 8 mth check (though that's going soon as as well) and then a postal questionnaire at 2yrs and 3.5. I could lie about how my child is a genius and no-one would be any the wiser!! - she IS of course a genius

Yours was more of an interrogation than a check anchovy!!

Eowyn Mon 13-Jun-05 14:22:39

This was dropped where I live too, at the time I was disappointed but having heard about that am relieved. I think a lot of children would be completely overwhelmed and say nothing, your ds sounds brilliant.

Anchovy Mon 13-Jun-05 14:24:52

Thanks everyone for reassuring me on this!

Our health visitor - who is great - did the 8 month and 2 year one and she did them both in a really nice way. (At the 8 month one she said -"what an absolutely lovely baby he is: you can feel very proud of yourself indeed" and I DID feel proud, which was great because it is so hard when you have your first and don't know what to do and it felt really good to have some back up from someone who actually knew).

This one was done at the local health centre. Oh, and by the way the woman doing it said to me when we got there - Oh, I'm surprised to see you here - I've been looking at the wrong week in my diary - you are very lucky that I'm here at all today. Oh, thanks, I've taken the morning off work and taken DS out of nursery school to meet an appointment requested by you which we made several weeks ago - aren't I lucky you turned up! (Didn't say this, BTW, in case you think it coloured her approach to DS!)

DS was back to being "cheeky and cheerful" after a hot chocolate and a bun with his Mum!

LunarSea Mon 13-Jun-05 14:28:17

They stopped doing it around here - but we did get a message asking if we wanted one, in case we had any concerns. I simply asked ds's nursery - who after all see him for a much more extended period than any HV would, and are pretty used to what's usual for children of that age - and they (literally) laughed at the suggestion that he could have any problems, so I relayed that back to the HV and ds didn't have to go through it.

Come to think of it, now that just about all 3.5 year olds will be getting some sort of preschool, couldn't they just have a form for the pre-school settings to fill based on their knowledge of the kids they are getting funding for, which would highlight any potential problems where they did exist, but bypass formal assessments for the majority without HV's having to mke instant judgements on kids in a short space of time?

Anchovy Mon 13-Jun-05 14:29:50

BTW Kcemum, DS wasn't asked to hop, but I wish he had been. He came running back from nursery school the other day and said "did you know you can jump up and down on one leg like this [enthusiastic rather than skilful demonstration] and its clled hopping". Me: "Yes, I did know about hopping". DS [incredulously] "You mean you knew all about hoppng and didn't tell me about it?"

Blu Mon 13-Jun-05 14:31:03

BK - I was sitting here thinking 'what 3.5 check?'

But if it's anything like the two year check, it gets left until later in our area 'so that some children get more time to catch up and pass'!
That's what DP was told when DS failed his anyway. (small matter of refusing to call a doll a doll because he thought it had 'spooky eyes').

Horrible experience, Anchovy

Anchovy Mon 13-Jun-05 14:31:50

Lunarsea, yes that was what I thought. His nursey school ,who know exactly what he can do and see lots of other children the same age, said he was doing really well and that's why I was surpised by how difficult the whole atmosphere of this "check" was.

giraffeski Mon 13-Jun-05 14:36:07

Message withdrawn

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