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Booster group in year R : good or bad thing?

(20 Posts)
Basketofchocolate Tue 22-Oct-13 22:23:19

A quick one.

Was told today that DS is in a 'booster group' for maths. Thought this was a good thing as he's been mentioning stuff at home that sounded advanced for Year R (hence me asking teacher what it was about).

So, thought ok, will find out more at parents evening. Came home, DH googled it and can only find booster groups used for children who are struggling with maths.

Can it be for either?

ReallyTired Tue 22-Oct-13 22:27:06

I think you have to trust your teacher. Has your son been to school nursery. If he is coming from a day nursery or a pre school then he might be slightly behind children who already have some experience of school.

Year R is too early to worry about being behind. The main learning starts in year 1 and year R is just about learning school routines and is mostly play. If your son has a developmental problem then the teacher will have told you already. The term "booster group" means different things to different schools, its a mistake to think its a remedial group just becuase google has come up with something.

Basketofchocolate Tue 22-Oct-13 23:31:45

Thanks Really.
Wish they'd mentioned it before so could know and understand what was happening before him telling me he thought maths was tricky.
He was at a nursery before that was only play and they didn't really do anything like that but at home I think he's doing ok. He knows his numbers and can do basic sums, counting money in shops etc. so don't think there's any underlying issue.

Basketofchocolate Wed 23-Oct-13 09:25:13

Anyone else got experience of this?

cory Wed 23-Oct-13 09:27:02

Even if it is a remedial group it isn't the end of the world: it may just mean that the teacher has spotted a few concepts that he needs a bit of help with to make it easier later on. It's not writing him off for life.

ugglyboots Wed 23-Oct-13 09:28:27

I volunteer in a school and we have groups for gifted/ advanced children and for those who are struggling. It's just good teaching to differentiate. In year R there are so many differences I wouldn't be too concerned either way.

3bunnies Wed 23-Oct-13 09:31:51

Also what they can do at home doesn't always equate to what they can do in school. He may still be lacking confidence in the classroom environment or still seeing school as somewhere to play. It may be that other factors are influencing his performance. Maybe being in a smaller group will help with the confidence. It doesn't sound as if he is particularly behind though.

Basketofchocolate Wed 23-Oct-13 09:41:00

Out of the two, I'd think he was in an advanced group, but when I looked it up, thought may I'd got the wrong end of the stick.

I think where he's expressing concern at home is maybe due to things like confidence and also using maths terminology - at home we might say 'so if you need 6 and Daddy needs 4, how many do we need altogether?' but never use terms that he's coming out with now.

Hmmm...I shall relax about it and await the intriguing parents meeting in a few weeks.

Thanks for your help and reassurance. x

noblegiraffe Wed 23-Oct-13 10:08:12

If he's doing basic sums, then he is ahead, not behind. My DS has also just started reception and they are working on counting objects to ten and recognising numbers.

Basketofchocolate Wed 23-Oct-13 10:23:58

Noblegiraffe - ok, that helps. He has been able to count as far as he can be bothered/has an audience for a couple of years now.

Trouble is, if he is advanced, I have no idea how to support him on that smile Will write down a couple of questions for the teacher I think.

noblegiraffe Wed 23-Oct-13 10:36:03

Just to clarify, it's not simply reciting numbers; from the homework sheets we've been getting, there are a number of objects and he has to join them to the correct number, or make an attempt at writing the number down. The teacher commented that this gets harder past ten - if you ask them how many objects they think there are when it is 15 then they will guess 100 or something ridiculous.
Might be worth trying something like that and seeing how he is with estimating and counting larger numbers of objects?

Clutterbugsmum Wed 23-Oct-13 10:46:49

For one get used to the fact schools now use a completely different language when speaking about maths.

Your son may very well be in a booster group for numeracy. My DD2 (early sept born) was in a booster group doing year 1 level maths as the school felt that's what she and a few other children needed.

Basketofchocolate Wed 23-Oct-13 11:24:40

Noble: That's the tricky thing. So far, only 'homework' has been writing a couple of letters on a line each week.

I disagree with homework at this age but it would be nice to know what they are doing. Esp since I was led to believe that R was mostly about playing and learning school routines rather than actual structured learning.

He has talked about building blocks up to ten and about 3D shapes, but that's all he's volunteered so far.

Clutters: The school did a talk recently on reading and most of the language used then was unfamiliar to me. DS seems to have picked it all up fine, but considering he can read just fine, am annoyed that he came home this week telling me that 'we' was a tricky word. At least the meeting meant I knew he meant a word that cannot be sounded out. But, I do wonder how telling kids that 'we' is tricky helps. And don't get me started on 'popcorn' words!! thlsmile

Would be useful to have a maths crib sheet for parents to help at home using the same stuff.

Clutterbugsmum Wed 23-Oct-13 11:31:08

You wait till he get further up the school.

We have had to ask for a glossary for maths terms as none could help our yr 4 children because we didn't understand what the children were doing.

Basketofchocolate Wed 23-Oct-13 11:43:19

I am concerned enough when he asks questions about 'why does X happen?' or 'How is Y made?'. All the maths, science stuff was such a long time ago that I can't remember a thing - was not that interested at the time either smile

I thought school was supposed to be for the kids, not the parents to learn! I don't recall my parents being too involved, but maybe I should ask them - if they were, they made it look easy smile

Clutterbugsmum Wed 23-Oct-13 11:51:59

The way they 'do' math is totally different.

They 'do' grids for multiplication, chunking for division. They add up the difference when doing subtracking.

ugglyboots Wed 23-Oct-13 18:35:24

In my school we aim for 60% child initiated play and 40% structured learning in the first term of year R. This then reverses after Christmas so there is some structured learning in year R.

HmmAnOxfordComma Wed 23-Oct-13 19:03:00

Booster groups at ds's primary definitely could mean 'struggling' or 'advanced'.

We got an official letter in yr 5 to say ds was in the booster group - to get to a solid level 5 by the end of yr 5.

I would ignore google and trust your instinct as to where you know he is.

Buggedoff Thu 24-Oct-13 07:09:25

Dd1 was in a booster group for literacy in year 1. I was very worried about this, and thought it meant that she would always struggle at school. In actual fact, the teachers had identified that she was working below her ability, and the intervention group was to boost her up.

She scored level 5's in her sats and passed an entrance exam to a selective secondary school.

hammerkc Wed 08-Jan-14 20:10:19

If you want to try to help at home then check out this maths@home youtube channel at

Make sure DS really understands the numbers to 20, and help him develop his knowledge of the addition facts to 10, and then all the others up to 20.

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