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How advanced is my son (4)? Perspective and opinions please!

(63 Posts)
Cat98 Mon 16-Jul-12 19:39:38

Ok, DS is only just 4 so is in the nursery class at school. Due to start reception in Sept (he will be one of the younger ones in his year).
At school they have said he is working at quite a high level with numbers. I have spoken this weekend to a family member with a 6 year old who is meeting all his targets at school (so not behind) and when I told her what my son is doing with regards to numbers she said it's incredibly high level for his age (more than her son is doing) and that we should "push the school" to make sure he is catered for.. I am very sceptical so I thought I'd get some honest (mn) opinions as to whether he is really THAT advanced.

He can count up to 1000 plus though not sure about 2000 onwards.
He can do simple multiplications (3x5 etc), can do addition up to 20 (9=5 etc), subtraction - same, can count backwards, can count in 2s, 5s and 10s up to at least 100, knows about halves and quarters, can divide even numbers up to 10 by 2. He can also work out the difference between, say, 47 and 52 by counting between the numbers though would struggle with something far apart like 47 and 76.
I think he is bright but not exceptional.
Reading - yes he is above average but can only read simple sentences (the cat sat on the mat etc) - would strugggle with more difficult words though would have a go if they made phonetic sense.

Has my SIL got a point or is it just a case of bringing him on at home (he loves numbers so it's all fun at the moment) and let schol do/think whatever?
SIL says that in reception they will be doing number recognition up to 20 and that would be a waste of time for him.

Thank you

anothercuppaplease Thu 22-Nov-12 16:30:46

DS was similar and he is now in year 1, and he is doing great at school, he loves it, he is not bored, he gets extra homework (different from other children, in maths especially). When we checked his literacy and maths school work at parents' evening it was clear that the work he is doing is different from the some of the other books we saw, both in maths and in literacy - I mean the teacher gives him more difficult and challenging work. We have never had to ask for it, it just happened.

We do extra work with him at home, focusing on understanding of maths rather than just learning times tables for example. We use numicons and the old fashion cuisenair rods to explain maths concepts. He is already asking questions about percentages, about negative numbers, etc. Such as 'are there any numbers smaller than zero' and 'what is the smallest negative number', and it's funny if we ask him if he's hungry he'd say 'I'm 80% hungry'. He is also asking questions about fractions (what's half of a half of a half for example) and he will know the answer if we ask him 'what's a quarter of 14' he will say 3.5.

He can now add (most of the time) two digit numbers such as 75+34 in his head and can count in threes backwards, his party trick!

learnandsay Mon 26-Nov-12 10:56:35

I'm not sure how much help the nursery report is likely to be in this context. If it's the one I'm thinking of it's structured around the EYFS goals. So if your child is say great and physics and can build working rockets, the nursery won't mention it because EYFS doesn't have a section about rockets.

And if you're lucky Reception will have activities for a four year old who can count to 1500 and divide any number by two. But it's also possible that they won't. Mainly because they've never seen such a child before (or not many) so they simply don't know what to do with one.

Magdalena45 Fri 04-Jan-13 00:51:39

Worked in nursery, reception year 1/2... This is VERY advanced for maths. Really.

madwomanintheattic Fri 04-Jan-13 04:03:03

Old thread, Magdalena.

Magdalena45 Mon 07-Jan-13 23:36:25

Oh, sorry

FriendlyLadybird Fri 11-Jan-13 22:28:50

In my experience, the teachers are used to dealing with children with a wide range of abilities and different levels of knowledge. Just make sure that he admits to what he can do. When my DS started Yr1 they went round the class to see how far each child could count: DS, who had got the hang of counting and therefore could potentially continue counting indefinitely, decided that 23 was a good number to stop at.

hardboiled Sat 12-Jan-13 23:01:57

When we checked his literacy and maths school work at parents' evening it was clear that the work he is doing is different from the some of the other books we saw, both in maths and in literacy Anothercup, does your post mean you were actually looking at other children's books at parents evening? And then comparing them to yours? hmm

Madwoman, what's wrong with bumping an old thread? I've never understood the criticism someone gets on Mumsnet if they bump and old thread...Am I missing something?

anitasmall Tue 15-Jan-13 19:10:28

I highly recommend to everyone to check other children's books. At our school one TA's children's work was appreciated this term. My daughter complained a lot about her: not attending, not listening, behind...When I complained at the school that she was awarded a present for her achievements the school went on about her qualities. Than I pointed out that I have seen her books they weren't so happy.

gfrnn Fri 15-Feb-13 16:13:57

Hi, I am in situation with some parallels, and shameless enough to bump the thread.

The child in question is 3.6. He suddenly "got" addition and subtraction in the space of a week just before Christmas. Recently asked him how many fingers does everyone (3 of us) here have, and it took him 2 seconds to come up with 30. Then asked how many would there be if his brother and grandparents (i.e. 3 more) had been there, and after 2 more secs he answered 60. Started reading at 2.5 and is now fairly fluent at around ORT 8 / purple band level. This afternoon he called his DM in to show her he had spelt "electric" with scrabble tiles. Sang happy birthday, in spanish, to DM aged 2.10 having picked up some spanish at childminders.

He will be starting reception in September as one of youngest (August birthday). School choice is not yet set in stone as we have at least 2 potentially viable options. - one independent, one state: both local and seem good, but neither academically selective. Other than general thoughts/perspectives, I would be interested in hearing from anyone with a child with similar tendencies who has started school (or others with relevant experience) regarding what problems might come up and what qualities they would look for in a school to help us pick between those available. thanks in advance.

anitasmall Mon 18-Feb-13 19:45:18


Your child is very bright. However there are more and more children who can read before Reception class. Picking up foreign languages easily at this age is also normal. If I were you I would teach her foreign languages (Spanish, German, Russian...), singing-musical instruments (recorder), I would take him/her? to swimming lessons, ballet...

FrameyMcFrame Mon 18-Feb-13 20:17:43

My DD was abysmal at maths and slow at reading in reception year 1/2 but at 11 she's now in top sets and doing really well at maths and English, achieving results way beyond those expected for her age and plays the piano and violin very well.
Im just adding this comment for those parents who don't have the obvious child prodigy, children can be late developers but as parents we have to guard against children being labelled by schools. I think this practise is damaging for both the very bright children and the children who take longer to get there.

DD was consistently put in bottom sets, it started to affect her self esteem, sets within classes can start to become self fulfilling prophecies. Problems start when children don't match up with the expectations of the teachers.

DD didn't start to flourish academically until she got away from the teachers who had labelled her slow to a school where all the children were pushed to the best of their abilities, not just the obviously bright ones.

anitasmall Fri 22-Feb-13 19:29:05


When we parents search for good schools we consider so many things but not this labeling issue.

I am glad that you mentioned it.

signorapacino Fri 22-Feb-13 19:53:17

Yes definitely advanced. I'm surprised nursery haven't said more to you as can't see most other kids his age being able to do that.

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