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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

lars Fri 14-May-04 14:49:05

I feel really sad about it
I do feel it's all our control and teachers/parents don't appear to have any input.
I know when they sit the SATS they have to go into the hall- remember that feeling of exams!! My daughter has got to sit her test paper when she goes back to school as just had her tonsils out- only yr5 but they need to practise. larsxx

Janh Fri 14-May-04 14:36:23

roisin, I had to pop into school this morning and was talking to the school sec'y who has been there longer than god (scary to think how young she must have been when dd1 started, she has always seemed so grown-up!) and we were agreeing what a lot of pressure they're under now, what a PITA SATs have been with practising for weeks etc, and she said exactly that - they don't seem to have a proper childhood any more.

roisin Fri 14-May-04 14:33:21

I sometimes wonder whether this generation of children will grow up and feel robbed of their childhood. They seem under so much pressure: not just education and after-school activities, but clothes to wear, music to listen to, culture and materialism. Some kids have no free time just to 'be' ... and don't get me started on the lack of independence and freedom to play without constant adult observation and interference ...

lars Fri 14-May-04 14:28:54

discordia, you are so right to feel pressured to do well at such young age is worrying. We never had it so why should they.
Maybe us parents need to do more about it, but I know you will get the parents who think their child is not learning enough- like not enough h/work at primary - surely children should be able to enjoy their childhood.
I think no10 Downing street here we all come!!! larsxx

discordia Fri 14-May-04 10:51:03

This thread has inspired me. I'm going to write to my MP with my views on primary school testing. Ask him if he can come and explain to my dd why she is suddenly finding school so horrid.

BTW, my kids are at a great school, I have no complaint against the school at all. The Year 2 teacher is good and leads up to the SATS quite gently but all the children know that they're being tested and it stresses them out. Seven year olds should not be suffering stress!

Batters Fri 14-May-04 10:26:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LHP Fri 14-May-04 09:03:46

There has been a sort of move to hold back some of the really formal schooling for pre schools and reception from when they introduced the "curriculum guidance for the foundation stage" in, I think, Autiumn 2000. This was based on lots of research about the importance of play and especially outdoors play and produced in consultation with Early Years experts such as Tina Bruce. The guidance IIRC was intended to override the Literacy/numeracy hours and any formal whole class reaching until at least the summer term in reception. When this is done well, with lots of resources, outside access and,crucially, training for the staff on how to make "play" meaningful and relevant (What I mean is,for example,presenting a problem to be solved with the lego and not just bunging it out on the table in a box, what is what I think many non EY teachers think happens) it's great, but the sad reality seems to be that the foundation teachers receive lots of pressure from managers and KS1 teachers who have not had training in Early Years, to produce reams and reams of worksheets, sitting still for hours on end etc because "they are going to have to do it in Y2, so they might as well practice now" WTF! They are going to have to lrearn quadratic equations in Y10, but it doesn't mean they have to start age 5!! There is so much evidence for the value of learning according to developmental readyness, it makes my blood boil when I hear pushy teacher/ school stories like these.

luckymum Fri 14-May-04 08:19:41

Its not just the SATs I have a problem with - its the testing in between too and the way its done in my dd's school. Surely children can be 'tested' without them being made aware of it? I think teacher assessment over the year is a much more reliable tool. Tests just result in the children being compared favourably or unfavourably to each other, by themselves, by parents and by teachers.

nightowl Fri 14-May-04 03:04:46

have only skipped through the thread so apologies if i repeat but ive always thought ds's school are way too hard on them. what surprised me was that he was bringing homework back when he was in reception class. hes naturally very bright, if a bit laid back and i feel the more they push him the more he cant be bothered. They make him feel stupid, and several times he has announced to me that he is stupid. how heartbreaking is it for a 5 year old to say that? i attended the same school and my mom was actually told i was too forward and to "baby me" a bit. that says to me a lot about how it has all changed in 20 years or so. I dont think pushing them is the answer. ds reads to me and we do his spellings etc but i dont sit at home for hours making him work. hes just a little boy and should be allowed the freedom to be one as far as im concerned.

toddlerbob Fri 14-May-04 02:46:17

Parents are generally made to feel like they are not intelligent enough to bring up their own children from a very young age. One mum I know goes on and on about how educational her ds's preschool is, but it's all ground she would probably cover if he was at home (he's only 1 FFS).

At my ds's very relaxed playgroup we go to, they have to keep a log of the activities to get education funding. I provide a translation below:

Music (put a tape on, get out some shakers - have a cup of tea)
Outdoor play (open the door to the garden area - have a cup of tea)
Playdough (put playdoh on a low table - have a cup of tea)
Art (put out some paint until you can stand the mess no longer)
Transport (get out some toy cars and have a cup of tea)

I like the fact that they have discovered how to use the system to get funding to buy stuff and then ignore it so that kids can actually have fun and do what interests them.

susanmt Fri 14-May-04 02:29:45

You CAN withdraw your kid from SATS if you don't want them to do it. It is a pretty controversial thing to do in most schools as it can affect their scores in the league tables, but if I were in England I would do it regardless, or find a school that wasn't doing them. Primary school age children should be continually assessed by their teacher without the need for formal tests (and I include any type of 11+ in that idea).

I'm a teacher (though currently a sahm) and I wouldhope most children sit their first ever national exams at 16. Thats how it works up here mostly adn its far, far better! Plus we have a far broader education system, which encourages different subjects to be taken just for fun!

SoupDragon Thu 13-May-04 16:18:35

DS1 is in reception and so far I'm delighted with his school. Yes, he's learning to read and he's learning maths and all sorts of other things but as far as he's concerned, he's playing. He claims that he doesn't learn anything at school but then comes out with stuff we certainly haven't taught him.

There was a note on the board this morning telling us that the class had got some new resources today. I assumed they meant books, computer stuff or something like that but in fact it was a Plan Toys fire engine and large wooden fire station with about 8 firemen and accessories. Fantastic

Also, apparently they don't "coach" the children for their SATS tests. Yes, they may have practice papers in the week before but apart from that, the children have no idea they are doing the actual tests when the time comes. They get damn good results too.

DS1 has had one piece of homework - because he asked his teacher if he could do his plan for a particular project at home. He had to design a sandwich!

roisin Thu 13-May-04 16:07:59

Isn't it nice when they just want to do kid things. DSs arrived home from school and went straight into the garden. Whoops of ecstasy when they discovered the tiny shoots where the carrots and spring onions have germinated ... careful inspection of the recently planted tomatoes, peppers and rhubarb! I took their drinks and snacks out to the playhouse, and 5 mins later ds1 came in overflowing with exctiement to tell me they had found a spider with hundreds of babies! And they could see her spinning her web.

roisin Thu 13-May-04 14:17:39

Secur - sounds far too much homework to me. Ask to see the school's homework policy document.

At our school apart from reading: Yr1 children just get handwriting practice once a week. It's pretty tedious, but at least it gives them chance to learn that if they sit down and do it without any fuss it only takes 10 mins then it's over with.

Yr2 children get homework up to twice a week, (but in practice only 4 times a month), and it only takes about 10 mins. Ditto above re working habits.

They don't have homework at all over the holidays.

Oh - as well I think some children get spellings to take home and practice if they get some wrong in a spelling test.

Re: Home-edding - a friend of mine has just made the decision to do this. Her dds are 3 and 4 (almost 5). In some ways I'm envious. I'd love to home-ed ... Just not my own kids!

Sonnet Thu 13-May-04 13:55:43

Agree Lars - hope the seeds grow.
DD1 is "hatching" chicks at school - oh the exitment this morning coz two had hatched....

lars Thu 13-May-04 13:36:55

Sonnet, I'm glad to hear your children's school thinks the same about homework. I do hear parents compaining all the time not enough homework. It appears that the only way they think their children learn is through homework and nothing else.
We are currently planting seeds at home and think the children are learning far more through counting the seeds, germination, etc .They are doing this in a fun way there is not always time to do this in school. larsxx

Sonnet Thu 13-May-04 13:14:54

Secur - re your last post - I agree! But I think that our views are in the minority
Fortunatly or unfortunatly (dependent on your view)I was lucky enough to be able to opt out of the state sector - NO SATS or FORMAL EXAMS and actually less formal lesson time in the school day.
DH and I are very happy with our choice.I do see pushy parents from hell every day and my own opinion is not a mainstream one.
during the last week of the school year(dd1 just finished yr 1) she came home with a holiday homework list - maths, literacy, short story writing and a holiday diary to complete. DH and I were horrifed ( garden and paddleing pool were our plans like your own!). I went to see the head the very next morning and expalined the way I felt. Te head explained to me that, personaly as a head and a mother, she 100% agreed with me - the reason homework was given was because of parental pressure!!. Needless to say we had her backing and the homework was never done!. Interestingly DD1 did express an interest in doing the holiday diary so obviously we let her - and she won a prize!! - so it wasn't held against her. She is now in year2 with a fantastic teacher and gets spellings every week and occasionally 1 piece of other homework. She reads like mad, loves school and by the schools standards is doing "extremely well".

oxocube Thu 13-May-04 13:08:17

lars, have only read your first message but I couln't agree more. Test, test, test .... where is the fun?

lars Thu 13-May-04 13:06:37

marialuisa, that's interesting I didn't know that about the fees. The only other thing for me is the nearest is in Herts- which would be too far for me to get to everyday.

Secur, I really do feel we have no input in the education system and I know in my area alone 30 parents have opted out of state school education and teach their kids at home- very worrying !!
Is there anyway us parents can be heard as enough is enough of this education crap!!!! larsxx

marialuisa Thu 13-May-04 12:54:02

Lars, Steiner schools usually have a sliding fee scale based on parental income. the Steiner school my friend works in has some kids who pay fees equivalent to the local private day school (about £6k p.a.) some who pay nothing and loads in between.

secur Thu 13-May-04 12:48:09

Message withdrawn

lars Thu 13-May-04 12:42:37

Secur, My friend's neighbour does this and thinks it's great. I did think about it but not sure as I think I would find it too stressful. Two kids fighting to be seperated in a school enviroment far better option for me. My friend's neighbour only has one child who is very bright and finds it easy.
I would like to see changes in the education system and choices for parents. I know Rudolp Steiner schools are very good, but cannot afford to send them there as private education. Just wish there was more options open to us and have schools like they have in Norway,etc. larsxx

secur Thu 13-May-04 12:34:41

Message withdrawn

lars Thu 13-May-04 12:23:02

Secur, your not a bad mum- you sound a fun mum afterall isn't that what our childhood years are all about having fun and remembering the good times in the summer holidays.
Like you, I don't intend to push my children to the limit, like I see some parents do every day. They can't wait to see the teacher to get the next stage reading book, etc. It all appears to be brag, brag , brag and how well their child is doing. Sometimes feel an outsider as I don't believe in all this homework at primary school. Lets face it I think most of the h/w is done by the parent and not the child anyway. larsxx

scoobysnax Thu 13-May-04 12:14:45

IMO school starts too young in England and the school day is too long. I think it is a shame to confine kids to a class room for so many hours and that a classroom environment is not the best one for learning anyway.

I would like my child to have fun with no pressure for more of her life than our educational system will allow her. I am dreading her starting school in September!

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