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School assessment for under 4

(23 Posts)
Mondaybaby Wed 18-Dec-13 21:16:33

I have applied to one private, all girls school for my daughter who will start reception in September 2014. She is an end of August baby so will be the very youngest in the school year.

She has an assessment (first of 2 rounds) in the first week of January. She will be 3 years and 4 months old + 1 week at the time of this assessment.
I have read on here about what might happen during these assessments but obviously there is a big difference to what a child who is 6 months older than her can do at this stage.

What would they expect of a child of her age at this assessment? She is good at holding scissors, she can recognise her name (but might be thrown off scent if there is another name with the same first letter). She can recognise about 7 letters (V, X, S, M, C, K, W). She can count to 10 but has no concept of adding up. She can sit nicely and listen to a story and will answer questions about it. She has a very good vocab. She has only just started to draw recognisable faces (But then always likes to turn them into spiders as she draws lots of legs!) And she makes and attempt at writing but it is just zigzags really.

Any advise or suggestions would be most appreciated.

Whobody Wed 18-Dec-13 21:55:12

I know that many of these assessments really look at how the children interact with other children and if they can work alongside/ play nicely as that can be indicative of how well they settle to school/approach work etc. Each school will vary depending on its admission criteria and how selective they are. Try not to panic. If she knows her sounds (or a selection) can count to/a little beyond 10 and, more importantly, can listen and follow instructions you should be fine. Also if her vocab is good that is a massive plus. They should take into account that she is an August baby.

Michaelahpurple Thu 19-Dec-13 01:27:42

Don't worry. Encourage her to make eye contact, introduce herself nicely, to speak up , and to share. Oh and not to bite anyonesmile
Make sure she knows she is going to try the school out and that you will leave her there and come back keen to hear all about it, so you don't have the refusing to go in or to be left scene which seems to happen fairly regularly at our place. Beyond that, don't waste time trying to teach her academics or listening to any silly aims about tutoring for tinies.
And make sure you apply to more than one as, once the obvious biters are knocked off the list, it is all a bit of a lottery and sibling places may well mean there are very few really available places at any one school.

GW297 Thu 19-Dec-13 17:05:08

From what you've said, unless they have many, many more applicants than places, I think she'll be fine!

Mondaybaby Thu 19-Dec-13 17:46:14

Thanks for your replies. The information is really appreciated. I just want her to do herself justice.

ThisOneAndThatOne Thu 19-Dec-13 20:04:07

Don't tell her it is an assessment.

We told DS that the teacher there was his nursery teachers best friend and she wanted to meet him

Or say its a playdate or just going to try out their toys and activities.

Mondaybaby Thu 19-Dec-13 21:07:31

That is a good idea. Sheer likes to be 'a helper' so I could tell her she is going to help them to play with their toys!

Mondaybaby Thu 19-Dec-13 21:10:32

And no, she won't bite anyone! grin And I won't be actively tutoring her in any way. I just take natural opportunities when they arise for learning. She had a curious mind and asks lots of questions so it's not difficult.

CharlesRyder Fri 20-Dec-13 08:54:45

I think to some extent it depends where you are. If you are in North London and this is NLCS or Habs we are talking about you may have to accept that many of the children will have been hothoused and, although equally bright, she may not have comparable academic skills.

My ds is exactly the same age as your dd and is reading at magenta level 2 of PM scheme, confident sounding out CVC words, reliably counting groups of up to 10 objects and basic adding and subtracting within 10. He isn't one for writing sadly but can type his own name and very simple things like 'the dog'. However, I don't think he would get into Habs. There would be enough kids who could do all the above 6 or 8 months ago or more and had time to consolidate and add loads more skills on. I know they take age into account but don't underestimate how heavily, er, supported many children will have been to develop early skills.

However, if you are not in the tiny, super elite, hothouse zone then she will probably be fine! My nephew is going for a selective school not in London and they are just looking for bright, enthusiastic children who can join in, follow instructions carefully and talk confidently about activities. They expressly say no academic skills required.

I am so glad I don't live near any selective schools!!! Good luck!

ThisOneAndThatOne Fri 20-Dec-13 09:10:08

Charles, my DS could not do most of those things at that age and got into Habs!

CharlesRyder Fri 20-Dec-13 09:31:45

Maybe I just have a warped idea of how much they have to be able to do. My ds is at quite a pushy preschool and does not stand out at all. He got Christmas cards written in full by his class mates (all the same school year) and that really brought it home!

ThisOneAndThatOne Fri 20-Dec-13 09:45:04

Yes, we had that. Birthday invitations written by a 3 year old to the whole class. She did get into NLCS. But I don't think thats the only reason she got in. She was a bright eager little girl.

I think personality and an eagerness to learn are much more important than pure academic ability at 4+ and 5+

They often go hand in hand , but not always.

Mondaybaby Fri 20-Dec-13 12:34:44

Hi Charles, I'm not in the hot house zone. It's Channing in Highgate I have applied for.

nilbyname Fri 20-Dec-13 12:50:37


Can I ask please is there a direct correlation between what 3/4 year old hot houser can do and then again at age7 with a non hot houser?

What are the advantages, is it just to get into these super academic schools?

I find it really interesting, and am not criticizing by the way.

Mondaybaby Fri 20-Dec-13 13:17:16

Charles, your preschool sounds amazing if the kids are all achieving that standard. My dd is nowhere near that level. She suprised me today as she identified the number 5. I didn't know she knew any numbers let alone adding up. But I know she is bright which its why I want her to do well at the assessment.

horsemadmom Fri 20-Dec-13 13:34:11

Don't believe the hype. I have 2 dds at NLCS. Most aren't reading/writing/doing quadratic equations at 4+. They know what they are looking for and rarely get it wrong and can see through tutoring. Don't waste your money. The girls come from lots of different types of nurseries. We came from one that is 'pushy' by reputation but it was just what suited our DCs who were eager to do formal learning from the start. Channing and Highgate will, in all likelyhood, see girls with similar birthdates together (NLCS did- DD1 is July). It won't disadvantage your daughter to be summer born as they'll go for a spread. Please don't let MNers scare you.

lovinglifex Sun 29-Dec-13 18:10:13

Not good at this so hope link works op its a thread on 4+ assessments I believe for private schools which you might find useful.

Fridayschild Mon 30-Dec-13 11:33:55

DS got into a nursery following an assessment at that age. On the waiting list for a bit. When he got there we discovered most of the class - nearly three quarters - were born between September and December.

I don't want to discourage you, rather reassure you that it is as much luck as ability at that age!

mumteacher Tue 31-Dec-13 18:09:13

Highgate do favour families with a connection to the school, a parent that's ex highgate or have a sibling there currently.

It'll come done to ability to concentrate and potential to learn rather than how many phonics your dd knows. Btw please don't teach capital letters - small letters and phonics not letter names.

Thanks lovinglife for the link OP there should be lots on the 3+4+5+.... Thread to aid.

Mondaybaby Tue 04-Feb-14 21:58:31

Update - My dd got through to the 2nd round at Channing but didn't get offered a place. We go the letter today. It said she can go on the waiting list if I want. I am very disappointed but glad that she had fun at the assessments and doesn't have a clue about being 'rejected'. Oh well. hopefully we will get one of out top choice state primary schools.

Rabbitcar Wed 05-Feb-14 20:06:48

Oh so sorry to hear that. But please don't worry. She did very well to get to the second stage anyway. And having had two DDs go through the whole of Channing Junior, I have to say that the school has many shortcomings and they are both far happier years down the line in their secondary school. I often think about whether I should have sent them to the local state school instead - and saved lots of money! At their current selective school, they have been joined by many friends who went to state school, so Channing was not such a big deal. So don't worry, your lovely DD will do great anyway with a supportive mum like you. X

Mondaybaby Wed 05-Feb-14 20:48:38

Thank you Rabbitcar. I have been feeling a little sad today but have been trying not to dwell on it. A part of me would like to know more about why but I know they don't give feedback.
Your post has made me feel a lot better!

Rabbitcar Wed 05-Feb-14 21:48:38


They don't give feedback? That's pretty representative of what the next seven years would have been like if your DD had got a place! I'm exaggerating and it's not that bad at all, and some people love it. But I hear of other schools which provide much more information to parents, and I think I would have preferred that. Hope your DD enjoys wherever she ends up! X

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