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Another asking for Perspective on 4 Year Old

(40 Posts)
AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:01:14

DD is in Reception and will be 5 in July.

She's bored at school and it seems to be that the work is too easy. She's on the Green book band, although reads Roald Dahl etc at home. She could read before she started school.

Her number work seems ok, although not particularly great. She can do basic stuff - addition, subtraction, simple multiplication, and a bit of division. She's in the 'top' group in her class, as are her two closest friends, neither of whom, according to their mums, are as "advanced" as DD.

Should we say something to the teacher? Is there a test available to see if indeed she is gifted or talented, rather than DH and I thinking wrongly? Or are we deluded?!


MrsMelons Fri 01-Mar-13 17:29:57

At pre-school DS1 was never bored even though they did limited academic stuff as per the EYFS. He was a very early reader and read when he wanted to and was able to write as an when but he never got bored playing.

In YR he still loved playing but found the year as a whole a bit boring. They did differenciate in a way eg he went to Y1 for guided reading and phonics but he was quite mature in his ability to learn and was capable of so much more.

Once he was in Y1 it was much better for him and he really enjoyed it, he was with the Y2 class for the whole year and he was really stretched. I understand why they couldn't do this in YR as he was assessed within the EYFS as opposed to KS1 but it was difficult as he was level 9 in literacy and numeracy when he started (not in physical and the other areas) so I think it was fairly limiting for him.

I am not sure it matters too much in YR but my main concern was that his behaviour wasn't affected by boredom, he was generally ok but towards the end of the year messed around a bit as he was often finished with his work before others but it wasn't a major issue as the school was quite strict.

Its worth having a word with the teacher just to find out what they are doing with her and maybe what you can do with her too. I know what you mean though - you don't want to be that 'pushy parent'!

wannabedomesticgoddess Fri 15-Feb-13 23:13:32

Thanks zipzap. That makes sense.

I am new to the ways of school and teachers methods and probably a bit pfb about DD1. grin Im worried about her confidence and anything that might dent it.

Whojamaflip Fri 15-Feb-13 23:05:23

Your dd sounds just like mine at that age - she now in Y2 and completing work at y3 level. Her teacher wants to push her and I'm happy to let it happen as long as dd is happy too.

tbh her real strength is her gym and I'm mainly happy that shes managing to keep up in class (and beyond) despite a heavy training schedule.

Have a chat with her teacher but I would also agree with pps that reception is about play and getting a feel for school rather than formal learning - next year is the time for that. If you want her to do extra then pick up some of the key stage workbooks from your local bookshop and do them with her at home - but only if she wants too.

zipzap Fri 15-Feb-13 23:01:58

wannabe I got given this feedback about ds1 (Y3) by his maths teacher at his parents evening this week, albeit just about him putting his hand up and desperately wanting to shout out the answer (they have to wait until asked, they are not allowed to shout the answer out).

She basically said that although it's lovely that he's keen and good at maths, the fact that he's always there with his hand up so quickly isn't good for those that are not so able in his group (he's in top set already, so they can't set it any further, appears within the set there are a small group of them that are very competitive and love maths, and ahead of the rest of the group).

I can understand it - if it takes you a bit longer to work out the sum then if there is always somebody who beats you to it and you never get a chance to answer, then it must be a bit depressing, or you figure that there's no point you doing it as you'll just find out when somebody calls it out. Or they find it makes them panic or feel under pressure as they feel they aren't up to it. OK so ds is good at maths - but learning not to stick his hand up immediately every time doesnt' mean the teacher doesn't know that he knows the answer or is good, but it does mean he is getting a lesson in empathising with those in the class who need a bit more time.

I suggested that she makes him do double the number of sums next time so that he isn't always the first to finish. Or make him learn a spelling each time too - his spelling is as bad as his maths is good! Or have a secret signal so that she knows he has finished and he feels good about that and that the teacher knows, but that it's not loud and shouty to distract others.

op - another vote here for talking to the teacher. I wouldn't use the words gifted and talented though - just ask about the reasoning behind the choice of reading level given that she is good at reading roald dahl at home (friend had a child like this - turned out that although he was very good at reading he was so busy reading he wasn't really understanding it as he went along or putting any emotion or feeling into what he was reading. So they made him read the easier stuff to make sure he was able to comprehend everything properly). And ask for more sums for her to do so she doesn't get bored and solidifies her understanding of numbers and the basic mathematical processes. If you do this now, you'll be able to talk about any improvements (or not!) your dd has noticed by the time parents evening comes along in 3 weeks time and won't have wasted a quarter of a term wondering about it!

exoticfruits Fri 15-Feb-13 22:51:46

Reception is very much about learning through play. It will get more formal in year 1 which will probably suit her better. I would just go and have a chat with the teacher.

YippeeTeenager Fri 15-Feb-13 22:44:14

My daughter was bored in reception! Maybe it depends on the school but at her primary school they put a lot of emphasis on unstructured play time and she had already been used to more structured activities at preschool. In Reception, they did things like putting out a water table with a funnel so that the children could experiment and see that water ran through the middle and expect them to be mesmerised by that for an hour! When she got to Year 1 with more structure and formal teaching she was so much happier.

I would make an appointment to see the teacher and take with you some of the books that she reads at home and a couple of the stories that she's written so they have a better idea of where she's at. Schools always seem to test children for what they've taught them but not actually what they know!

And yes, it absolutely does matter!! All children deserve to learn at school and have appropriate teaching, even the bright ones! smile

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 22:43:59

Oh yes, thank you exoticfruits, we have library tickets and DD loves it there. We have a very good local library, with an excellent children's section.

wannabe yes, I think it's more about DD always pushing to answer questions that others haven't managed, or questions that other children are hesitating over. Thanks for your response. I really appreciate your thoughts. smile

wannabedomesticgoddess Fri 15-Feb-13 22:38:52

But why should she have to resist. Ok if the question is asked directly to one individual then yes she should wait, but I read that as the question is asked to the class and the teacher wants her to let other children answer. If I have picked it up wrong I am sorry.

exoticfruits Fri 15-Feb-13 22:37:59

Meanwhile I should get a library ticket, if you haven't got one, and go at least once a week. There is no need to rely on the school reading book.

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 22:31:50

Thanks simpson. Will do. smile

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 22:30:53

I agree with the teacher, wannabe. It's wrong to not be able to contain your impatience, I think. It would be annoying for the other children and for the teacher. I don't think DD's showing-off, I don't think she sees it as a big deal, but she gets bored and impatient. For example, she goes to after-school French club which is a small group of children. When the teacher asks a question, DD finds it difficult to resist saying the answer if the other child doesn't know. It must be annoying!

simpson Fri 15-Feb-13 22:29:42

Sorry for typos blush

simpson Fri 15-Feb-13 22:28:32

I would second asking for a separate meeting with your DD's teacher.

I did it last week as DD is very stro g in her reading also (in reception) and completed her yr3 brothers literacy homework the week before (admittedly at a basic level).

The teachers were fab (I saw DD's teacher and head of EYFS) and they gave me things to work on with her at home ie she is not so strong on non fiction and ideas to get her looki g at the text she is reading (author/illustrator comparisons etc). It went well and yes I was worried about being pushy but tbh DD has been reading for 18 months so and this is the first meeting I have asked for.

I would go in with the idea of reception being about play etc and although definately support that, your DD is ready for a bit more and can they offer any advice...

wannabedomesticgoddess Fri 15-Feb-13 22:24:42

but that she must be patient and not call out answers if the other children are thinking about them

Can anyone confirm if this is normal or acceptable?

Personally I wouldnt like my DD being told this. It feels very much like being punished for being smart.

sittinginthesun Fri 15-Feb-13 21:27:53

OP, your daughter sounds

I really wouldn't worry about looking "pushy". If you just explain your concerns, and ask for their advice, you'll just come across as concerned. It just depends on how you phrase it!

Honestly, I spend a lot of time in our school (I'm a governor and also help a bit), and I'm one of the "visible parents". The trick is to be supportive - it will help the teacher to work out what makes your child tick.

steppemum Fri 15-Feb-13 21:16:14

because most of reception is activities through play, she will/should be playing at her level.
I help out in dd2s class, the class do a short literacy or numeracy slot in groups of ability. Dd2s group is fine, but actually she can do much more than her group is doing (last week they were ordering numbers up to 30, I know she can do up to 100)
Then they go to play (they call it yellow spot learning) where there are targeted activities round the classroom. All those activities can be done at a wide range of levels. For example, they were doing a topic about the Gingerbread mad. One of the activities was a large tray on the floor where they could create a map of the gingerbread mans run through the village. Obviously this can be done at a very sophisticated level if the children can do it.

Every activity is like this. There is an opportunity to write a story, some do scribbles, some write a proper story, according to their ability.

Sorry if this is telling you what you already know, but most of reception activities can be done at her level, so she shouldn't be getting bored. She should be bringing home reading books at the right level though. Perhaps if you do go and talk to the teacher, take along books that she is reading at home to show her.

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 21:03:23

Thanks again, all for your replies. I'll make an appointment to speak to the teacher. She's very pleasant, so hopefully she won't mind spending a bit of time talking about this.

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 21:02:15

Thanks IwishIwas. "Very lovely"...hmmm, I wouldn't go that far! ;-)

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 15-Feb-13 20:54:21

Parents evenings usually only offer short slots - ours are 10 minutes.

That may not be anywhere near long enough to talk through everything that you've mentioned here, so it probably would be worth making an appointment to speak to your dd's teacher at another time.

She does sound very advanced and very lovely!

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:51:28

Oh re. private school, we couldn't afford it. DD's school is a reasonable state school though.

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:48:41

I'd be afraid of coming across as pushy though sittinginthesun. Do teachers have time to see parents individually about things like this? Thanks

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:47:04

I think she does enjoy play though. She does at home and often goes to friends' houses to play, and they come here. She likes dressing-up games, hide and seek and dolls houses particularly. She's fairly physical and enjoys playing Power Rangers and "blasting with lasers" with the boys at school. She doesn't know what Power Rangers is though!

BTW, she's an only child. We had another baby, but unfortunately he died before DD was born. Not looking for sympathy - it's all fine - just explaining why I haven't mentioned other children.

sittinginthesun Fri 15-Feb-13 20:46:27

You don't need to wait until parent's evening you know. Just ask the teacher if you can't make an appointment. You'll get more time that way.

AmericanExpress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:43:46

Thanks all. I'll speak to the teacher at the next parents' evening, which is in three weeks' time.

DD's very interested in writing stories and, funny you mention it Zumba, bird watching. She could spend a long, long time identifying the birds she sees in our neighbour's garden (they have a great feeding station!). She's also loves to draw. She draws the birds she's seen and then writes a story about them, for example. The stories are short and silly - nothing sophisticated!

I don't think that socially she's unusual. She gets on well with the children at school, and enjoys their company. She has a good vocabulary compared with many, but doesn't seem any more mature than them.

I don't think she's bored of being at school, but she complains that the stories are babyish, that the number games are too simple and that there's too much waiting and repetition generally. She likes the teachers and they say she's well-behaved, but that she must be patient and not call out answers if the other children are thinking about them. Incidentally, this is the same criticism that the nursery staff had of her. I thought she was improving with this, but possibly not.

sittinginthesun Fri 15-Feb-13 20:43:46

Yes, I think that us what friend found- her daughter didn't like play.

But play IS important. My son, who is in the same class as my friend's daughter, spent a huge amount of time in nursery and Reception playing. He couldn't read when he started school, and enjoyed maths but wasn't obviously a genius. grin

Now both children are year 4. Very similar reading levels (although friend's daughter reads more fiction). Similar maths levels - both working around 3 years ahead, although again different strengths.

BUT DS is streets ahead at literacy. His literacy level is somewhere near his maths. Friend's daughter hates writing stories, plays etc. DS now plays with words etc, but friend's daughter simply cannot do that.

(Oh, and plenty of extremely bright children at state school toowink).

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