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Getting nervous about nursery

(12 Posts)
chuckysmum Thu 13-Feb-14 14:19:21

Hi. My son will turn 3 later this year and will be starting nursery the following month. I visited the nursery today and had a really nice talk with the teacher. She mentioned that they hadn't had a child like my son before and that they learn phonics in reception. It looks like the best fit nursery for my son and he seemed to love it there. I am, however, starting to get nervous about this, as I understand, from what I've read, that problems with high potential children start when they start school.

He is currently reading quite a lot. He seems to be able to read almost anything, but the amount of words on a page, or if there looks like there are more words (if the words are spread out) is currently putting him off reading bigger books. I have no idea how high he can count, but he can do simple addition at present. Obviously there's more, but I'll leave it at that. I don't know when they touch on addition etc, but I did see the children learning to count to 10 in rote. I have been told that schools tend to teach on the child's level now, which I am happy to hear. I suppose I'm babbling a bit here, sorry, but it does help to get it out.

I'm happy with nursery being pretty simple, as he does need to learn how to socialise, play more with others, etc. But, could someone share with me please when things started picking up at your child's school? When did they begin to teach on their level? Will Reception be more than A goes aah ...B goes buh all year for him please? Thank you.

Pooka Thu 13-Feb-14 14:26:10

Ds1 was a confident reader at preschool/nursery. They didn't do any phonics or teaching to read there. He did it all at home (self-motivated).

He started reception and was immediately assessed for reading ability. At the time, his writing was non-existent. Maths was above average but not exceptional. He was given age-appropriate books from another year group and had 1-2-1 time with adult helper each week. But really, the emphasis was rightly on social skills and strengthening areas of weakness in reception. He found social situations quite difficult and the extra work on that was invaluable.

From year 1 he was placed in an ability appropriate guided reading group - read with the year 4 class. Then in year 2, the same cohort (year 5). This year he is reading again with year 5 because the year 6 class will be leaving at the end of the year and are all over the place timetable wise because of sats and other yr 6 stuff. Fundamentally though we have been providing appropriate reading material at home, which he then takes into school.

lljkk Thu 13-Feb-14 14:29:52

80% of nursery-reception is play-based; so for your lad, it will be mostly play. As long as he enjoys playing, he will enjoy being there.
Yr1 is usually when they do more sit-down learning and less play, although the social side of the school experience is still immense. There's stuff like geography, waiting your turn, PE, drama, science, art to do, too.

You reckon he can read almost anything, but what is his comprehension like? Mner talked about a 2yo who was reading on a menu about "pasta plates". So I asked if the child understood that was a plate with pasta on it vs. a plate made out of pasta or a regular plate that looks like a piece of pasta. Because a 2-3yo wouldn't normally have the life experience to know which. You may find there's still plenty for your son to learn.

chuckysmum Thu 13-Feb-14 14:59:12

Thank you Pooka and lljkk, both your posts have relaxed me a bit. This is good news. The headteacher had said before that if a child was reading in nursery that they'd do an assessment, she didn't say when. Maybe they'll do an assessment in reception like your child Pooka. It does sound like a school that encourages more learning earlier than the others in our area. It sounds from both your posts that they will probably give him what he needs when he needs it. smile It just sounded a bit worrying when she said what they'd be learning in reception. I just got a bit worried that he'd be sat down and forced to learn things he's known for years in rote, over and over. Are most reception years play based? I remember mine wasn't as a kid. If they are mostly play based now, then I'm happy.

Lljkk, most of the things he reads are things he would understand. If he can't relate to a book, he bores and will walk away. I know there's plenty for him to learn, it is mostly mental abilities that he is way ahead in, I think he will still get a lot from nursery by learning to play and socialise with others etc, I see it as an introduction to school. I'm happy with that.

Thank you both very much.

Pooka Thu 13-Feb-14 16:30:28

Ds1 really enjoyed the phonics work they did, despite having learned to read his own way which was a mixture of phonics (he watched fun with phonics on tv a bit obsessively blush) and whole word memory (don't know how else to describe it). The phonics he has learned have been really really useful as he has progressed to more complicated books with unfamiliar words that have required decoding.

He was lucky to have an excellent reception teacher and a great SENCO who has ensured that he has been challenged at reading while improving his social skills at the same time. Year 1 teachers were not great tbh. Year 2 excellent and I love his year 3 teacher. He has been happiest in the years where the teachers have been most on the ball with in-class differentiation and have 'got' him.

Wile some people may get panicky and feel that their children are slipping as the other children 'catch up' I've found the reverse to be true in our case - as others in his class have come closer in reading ability generally he has been happier (he doesn't like standing out), and the provision of other year group guiding reading groups for weekly/biweekly sessions has kept him ticking over. When push comes to shove, he has access at home and the library to more challenging texts and is a voracious reader (and minecrafter) at home so as long as he is happy at school, the continual pushing towards the next level isn't important for us.

simpson Fri 14-Feb-14 01:11:46

DD started nursery already able to read (about ORT 3/4 - self taught) and she loved nursery, the only issue we had was that she wanted to say for longer!

They (the staff) twigged straight away that she was very bright and gave her access (if she wanted - which she did) to doing more and she was taken out of certain (but not all) group work to do harder work.

But as others have said, nursery was mainly about play and making friends.

simpson Fri 14-Feb-14 01:14:17

Forgot to say, DD did several assessments in reading/comprehension in her nursery year including the yr1 phonics test (although this was done over 2 mornings with 20 questions each morning and they would have stopped if DD didn't want to continue due to her age).

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 14-Feb-14 13:22:47

DD1 could read at preschool. They did try and help by giving her reading books but they were too easy for her and they were then told they shouldn't be sending home any reading books until reception. fast forward to reception and they gave her reading books at a higher level, still below what she could read at home but they did try and presumably based on what they could see of her ability at school. She did phonics with everyone else though as DD2 is doing now and I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. DD1 complained it was too easy, DD2 is younger and a bit less confident with her reading so she likes being able to be confident in phonics sessions and I think particularly now they are doing harder ones it is worthwhile.

nicename Fri 14-Feb-14 13:39:41

I read before I went to school - my eldest teacher was a teacher, so she taught me. I started a year early and was at the cut off date anyway so was teeny tiny throughout school. I just brought in my books from home and read them (as I was only permitted to read one year ahead in the school books). I was pretty good at maths too.

Please ensure your child mixes with children of the same age, and encourage play. Work with him on his subjects to keep him stimulated and do this in conjunction with nursery/school. Focus on 'normal kid' stuff too - especially things that he may not be all that great at. It is good for children to learn that they do have to try at some things/subjects, and that other children are better than they are at some things.

nicename Fri 14-Feb-14 13:40:25

d'oh... my eldest sister was a teacher...

TheRaniOfYawn Fri 14-Feb-14 14:33:25

At the school my kids go to, reception is very much play based and child led. There are short sessions of literacy and numeracy each day which don't take up much time. Apart from that, differentiation would be provided by the teachers picking up on the child's activity and suggesting related activities, so if two children were in the mark making area designing fairies, the teacher might suggest making an illustrated book, or jumping in puddles might lead to measuring how far the water could splat and comparing distances.

chuckysmum Mon 17-Feb-14 15:51:10

Thank you everyone. I'm sorry I haven't replied until now, we've had no internet for a few days. I think I've been worrying a bit too much too early again, it happens every now and then, sorry. I do think he will be fine in nursery, I visited them early in the day and it looked like a daily thing they did of going through the alphabet and numbers up to 10, then they could all go and play with what they wanted. As he is now, I don't think he'd mind going though things like that and he does need to get used to joining in with others.

The teacher explained to me that they would concentrate on communication and playing with others with him, which is what I think he needs. I think it's the bit where she said they hadn't had a child like that there before which worried me, it made me question whether they knew what they were doing with him (not necessarily in nursery). Then she explained that they taught phonics in reception and I really have no idea if and at what point he might get tired of leaning things he has known for so long. She did say that they would bring in older books for him to read though in nursery, if he so wished, so I guess the fact they are planning on doing something for him already in nursery is a good sign. Sometimes he does just want to sit and read a book, but they won't push it, which it also good. I don't think they'll be doing anything on any other academic areas, but he will be there part time, so if he wants more, I can cover those areas out of nursery. I think the other reason I started worrying is that the headteacher made it seem that they had much more experience, trying to make the school seem more compelling, but the teacher I spoke to was much more realistic. - Yes, I should have expected that more than I did. But I think if she was more straight with me, then I'd have the answers I need.

TheRaniOfYawn, I have read of this school doing very similar things too, which is a reason I really like this school, I really need to remember these reasons.

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