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Are we expecting far too much of a primary aged children??

(57 Posts)
lars Tue 11-May-04 15:01:54

After posted on another thread it made me think are we expecting far too much of our children.
They appeared to pushed,pushed and more pushing.
In Norway they think our education system is mad. Where has the fun gone in going to school is just seems to be sats and test, test , test, what do you all think? larsxx

goosey Tue 11-May-04 15:10:36

I agree with you lars, and as with a lot of things in this country it has become a snobbery thing too. This or that pre-school is beter than the other because they teach a foreign language or have their own uniform blah blah bah.
Let them explore and enjoy their childhoods away from the spectre of national tests which limit their freedoms and individuality. My views are extreme - but yes, stop pushing them and allow them learn to run on their own inspirational steam instead.

lars Tue 11-May-04 15:27:30

goosey, I don't think your views are extreme but reflect the reality of the situation.
Children don't appear to have time to enjoy their school years without having pressure to perform and deliver. If they don't they are considered a failure at such a young age. I feel sorry for the teachers as well, can't be easy having to go along with all of this. I really don't like the education system today, when I was young it appeared to be fun and there was time to enjoy school - no pressure unlike today- What has happened!!!

secur Tue 11-May-04 15:40:15

Message withdrawn

lars Tue 11-May-04 15:52:48

secur, that seems so hard to keep you in playtimes when that is the most important part of social interaction with your peers. Did you get excluded by your peers, as when would you have the chance to interact with them except in the classroom doing school work not doubt. How awful for you I think I would of resented that and started to slack with my work. larsxx

secur Tue 11-May-04 15:57:20

Message withdrawn

luckymum Tue 11-May-04 22:13:41

My dd (year 5) had an *important* - her words -spelling test today, she usually gets full marks. Today she got 7/20. She got in the car and wept buckets because the scores had been read out and all the children stared at her. She said she was embarassed and that she'd failed. I'm so angry that any 'test' at primary should be deemed important enough to reduce her to tears - that she should feel a failure - that she's 'expected' not only by her teachers but by her peers to produce a perfect mark week in week out- that she's lying in bed now not sleeping because she's worried about how she'll perform tomorrow - and that I can't find the words to make it right.

twogorgeousboys Tue 11-May-04 22:37:14


Your poor little girl - she should not be made to feel like this at such a tender age. Why do the results have to be announced? I used to put spelling test results into childrens bookbags for them to look at with their parents at home. It's nobody else's business as far as I'm concerned.

dottee Tue 11-May-04 23:16:25

My 10 yr old ds started crying in the bath last night. He did his yr 5 SATS and the apparently the class didn't perform as well as expected so the teacher reprimanded them yesterday.

I wrote to the his teacher in a very nice way last night. I didn't blame her but blamed the system etc., however, I felt I had to let her know the knock on effect. I've promised ds I will write to Tony Blair! Personally, I'm livid!

When my dd (who has complex learning difficulties and delayed language) was in her year 2, she was obliged to take SATS under law. What a waste of time! Thank goodness she now goes to another school who have disapplied the SATS tests.

tigermoth Wed 12-May-04 00:50:55

luckymum and dottee - agree those tears shouldn't be there for those reasons on 10 year old faces.

I have just realised that my 10 year old doesn't get one day free of school work. That's teribel isn't it? I get 2 days free from work each week.

Mon - Fri he has normal school (plus 3 extra curricular things).
Saturday - an hour of 11+ tutoring
Sunday - homework usually otherwise it's too much to cram into his weekday evenings.

Plus music practice at least 5 times a week. His music teacher wants him to start taking some exams, but I've said no till after the 11+ is out of the way.

monkey Wed 12-May-04 11:05:41

I think it sounds awful, esp the story of thepoos little girl who cried because she 'only' got 7/20, and all of thos expectations on such young children. I mean 5 years old!!!!!!!!

We live in Switzerland now, where my ds won't even begin kindergarten until after his 5th birthday. he'll go there for 2 years, where the emphasis is on building relationshiips with other, socialising, arts & crafts, exploration etc. He'll ge for 5 morning & 1 afternoon a week They don't even get introduced to letters or numbers until they start school at age 7. And I feel very lucky he's got the opportunity to go through this system.

Women complain because it does make working harder, but for me, I'm comfortable with it, I'd rather this path for my children, that's for sure.

Something is wrong when 5 year olds feel like failures. Or 15/16 year olds don't get one day off per week

monkey Wed 12-May-04 11:06:37

sorry, just read that the spelling girl was year 5, not 5 years. Still, the points the same, way too much stress for such young kids

annh Wed 12-May-04 14:19:43

Yes, we do expect far too much of them. Ds1 started school aged 4 in the Netherlands and spent the first year (and would also have spent the second year except we moved back)very much in a play environment, loads of gym, singing, stories, a deluge of crafts etc. There was very little academic work, certainly no reading or writing. I did not do any extra flashcards, workbooks etc with him at home and very much got the impression that this was neither expected or even welcomed by the teachers. Writing and spellings started in group 3 (equivalent to year 2 here)but the observation I made from looking at work on the walls or in the school magazine was that the children seemed to completely skip the two-foot high letter stage and went straight from 0 to 60 in a very short time. After about 3-4 months of work, they were producing beautifully presented and correctly spelled pieces of work. Made you wonder what the point of the first two years of handwriting and spelling here is all about?

We moved back part-way into year 1 and ds1 went into overdrive on learning to read, add etc He is v-bright so apart from the first few weeks has had no difficulties and is now in the top group which is great but I do feel that he misses out on the "fun" activities that he enjoyed in NL. As parents we seem to be deluged with reports on what they are doing, suggestions of activites we could do at home to support them etc and although ds really enjoys school, I do have to wonder whether we won't look back and wonder where his childhood went.

Ds2 goes to playschool a few mornings a week, is learning bits there and picking up bits n pieces from me and elder brother. However, I am constantly beating myself up about whether this is enough or whether I should be making more effort with letters, pencil control, numbers etc before catching myself and thinking what the hell, surely much better for him to be "weeding", "mopping" and "dusting" - his current favourite activities?!

And finally (phew) all the studies show that continental children have caught up - and surpassed - UK children by secondary level, so what is the point of being able to read/write at 4? What is the average 4 year old going to do with this talent - get a job?!

Sonnet Wed 12-May-04 15:20:16

i agree our children are put under far too much pressure far to early - I HATE it.

But, I am sad to say, I see a lot of parents putting pressure on their own children, not saying any of you are
also, visit waterstones or WH Smith, even our local Tesco's and see the shelves and shelves of LETTS books and Carol Vordeman teaching maths!!! - If I wasn't so set in my views i could feel very inadequate as a mum!!

Kittypickle Wed 12-May-04 19:33:17

I had a couple of conversations about this recently. In the first we were talking over dinner to another couple whose DD is due to start reception this year. I said that I thought we start formal education far too early here - they looked at me as if I'd lost the plot and a snipey comment was made later (won't be having them again !)

The second was with a good friend who's son is the same age as my DD and is in reception at a school that pushes the children academically. He now looks forward to the weekend so he gets a break. It makes me feel really sad for him and I know it's making my friend feel that they have made the wrong choice of school.

DD's reception teacher was overheard talking to the classroom assistant saying that she feels really inadequate as she feels that at age 4&5 they should be just playing, but she has to adhere to the foundation curriculum. She said that she tries to make it as fun as possible, but goes against her beliefs. I know people have very different views on this subject, but I personally think the system is mad and do not care at all if my DD doesn't know the 49 words or whatever she is supposed to by July as she'll catch up later.

Lara2 Wed 12-May-04 19:37:43

We definately expect too much from our children. DS1 is Year 6 and doing his SATS this week. At the weekend there was no-one to play with because they were all in revising!!!! At age 11!!! He said "Should I Mum?" And all I said he should do was have a quick read through his books if he felt he needed to. Too much, too soon.

Piffleoffagus Wed 12-May-04 19:50:08

my son was encouraged to do the STATS a yr early in yr 1, silly really, he didn;t start school until the January when he was 5... he did really well, but thats just him. since then he has had annual QCA'swhich he finds great but gall me to the core, now as we are moving we are facing the 11+ as well in Yr 6 next year.
Then of course to grammar school (likelihood being I guess) can't see there being any let up after that realy!
Poor little sods, makes you want to give them a gap year at 11!!!
xx kiwi

susanmt Thu 13-May-04 09:48:29

I'm so glad my kids will go to school in Scotland where there are no SATS, no national curriculum (only guidelines) and a more relaxed attitude to age at starting - all my kids will start at 5 and a half.
The system in the rest of the uk sounds mad to me, and there seems no time to play. What is childhood for?

roisin Thu 13-May-04 10:06:30

DS1 is only 6, he's in year 2 - doing KS1 SATs at the moment. He loves the tests, and finds them quite easy, and isn't worried about them. School really play it down, and we have barely mentioned them at home. But he is still very stressed this week. He seems to have had 3 formal tests (much longer than I expected), and a spelling test, and other assessments too. Is this right? Personally I just can't wait til they're over and done with ...

But we've just found out school will be having an Ofsted at the end of term ... Grrrrrrr....

lars Thu 13-May-04 10:09:27

I'm so glad I'm not alone feeling like this.
When i here how Monkey's ds is being taught - how wonderful!
annh, you are so right what is this country doing to our young it is very worrying.
I really wish we could do more as parents about this and at least have the choice of how we would like our children educated. I feel very let down by our current education system, not schools fault I know they feel as if their hands are tied.
Maybe a protest of parents views might make the government take notice- just a thought - any ideas ??? Sorry but I feel really strongly about this one!

webmum Thu 13-May-04 10:12:48

can I add my 2pence worth?

In italy children go to school at 6 but by then a large number have attended kidergarden for 3 yeras and a many have learnt to read by then even if it taught in a v. 'unofficial way'. (there's no curriculum for nurseries that says they have to teach to read).

SO I think the problem is not so much at whata ge you teach them, but mainly how.

DD,3, can recognise most letters of the alphabet, but we never set out to teach her (I'm definitely NOT that kind of mother), but she started asking and now she can link the letters to the names of people we know.

What I mean, is, I don't think it is necessarily bad that school starts so early, but the emphasis should be put on learning through play for the first few years, and definitely no exams until 11!!

The advantage of starting so early is that by 21 british students can be graduates and enter the workforce (and they WILL find a job).

In italy even if you're excelelnt, you don't graduate until 23/24 and then it might take you a couple of years before you find a decent job. And that's just a minority of people.

The fact that continental students seem to do better aftera while is probably more due to quality of teaching than the age when they start!

lars Thu 13-May-04 10:20:15

Webmum, you are right ' learning through play' for the first couple of years has got to benefit the children. The quality of teaching is important but with the current system it just seems trail and error and can't blame teachers for that .I think the government need to look at other countries and see how it works well for them and take note. lars xx

Sonnet Thu 13-May-04 10:25:36

That's interesting webmum.
My DD2 is also three and recognises nearly all the letters and all numbers to 10 - and we have never taught her them...She does go to Nursery ( I work PT) and they spoke to my DH last week to say how well she is doing and how she understands concept of numbers to 6 as well as recognition. At nursery they are only at the stage of shapes, name recognition and numbers 1 & 2. They were so suprised with the way she fired everything off that they tested how much she did know and then presumed we must be doing them at home with her.- WE MOST DEFINATLY ARE NOT....the only thing DH and I can think of is that she plays schools with her elder sister who is 7 - LOL - so my best intentions have failed..

I would still like to know who buys all those LETTS books though.....

discordia Thu 13-May-04 11:43:36

Short answer to lars' question - YES!

B****y SATs. My 7 year old dd has been getting steadily more stressed all week. She was really uptight and miserable this morning because of SATs. SHE'S ONLY 7 FFS! (Sorry, ranting a bit). I just didn't know what to do to help her so ended up promising to take her out wherever she wants after school which did cheer her up.

lars Thu 13-May-04 11:52:29

discordia, poor thing it is really not fair that children should feel like this at such a young age.This is supposed to be the best years of their lives. larsxx

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