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Capable 5 year old

(9 Posts)
MrsBaaadger Mon 09-Feb-15 12:47:13

Hi I'm new to this forum and I'm looking for some advice and/or reassurance.
We have a 5 year old summer born who is now in year 1. He's always been very eager to learn and even taught himself to read a few words before he turned 3. He's sailed through all the reading levels and is now on stage 11. He is not only reading the words he also has excellent comprehension and can answer fairly complex questions about the story so I feel the reading level is appropriate. He doesn't struggle with maths and loves science, history or pretty much anything to do with anything. He loves encyclopedias etc.
he's also a very normal child and loves playing with Lego, climbing trees and generally being a kid. I don't think he's gifted, I don't like the label either. I think he's bright and it's lucky he was a summer born because starting school this year really would have been a year too late. My concern is his confidence. He is a very well behaved child and doesn't like to be told off by his teacher or make mistakes in his work therefore he's not display his full potential at school. I know he's only 5 but I don't want him to slip into the habit of not trying his best and therefore only just achieving what is required. His teacher this year has been amazing and is working really hard to encourage him to extend himself without putting too much pressure on him but I know she has 29 other children to deal with too.
I was just wondering if there is anyone on here that has had experience of something similar or maybe a teacher that has some ideas on what we can do at home to help boost his confidence? I hope by coming to a gifted and talented forum you will all appreciate I'm not boasting about his abilities (I've seen people slammed for this on other forums) I'm just wanting the very best for him and looking for support from like minded people.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 09-Feb-15 17:20:09

Children need to learn how to fail. I nurture this by praising effort rather than achievement. 'If you do your best I will be proud no matter what the outcome'.
Talking to the teacher to explain that you think he is fearful of failure so that they encourage effort too is a good tack too.
Better to try and fail than to never try at all is a good motto.

TheHappyCamper Mon 09-Feb-15 17:27:02

"Always praise him for effort rather than achievement" - this

Try to model you and DH 'making mistakes' and having to try several times to get something right - sometimes we don't realise we are perfectionists ourselves until we see it in our dc.

MrsBaaadger Mon 09-Feb-15 17:47:21

Thank you for your replies. Funnily enough we've just in the past few weeks started to focus on this very thing because he hates being praised for good work and we felt it was making him try less because it was putting pressure on him to perform to the same level all the time. His teacher has also started a sticker chart with him and he getsa sticker for good effort and I think it has helped. He's such a happy child but I worry that the longer school is too easy he'll start to switch off. Is there still extra assistance available in schools? Would he have to have some sort of assessment? I don't want him labelled but I do want him to be able to achieve everything he is capable of achieving.

Strictlyison Tue 10-Feb-15 10:38:25

I think this is a misconception, seen over and over again on this board. There are many streams at school - social development, learning to listen, respecting other children, fitting in the routine, etc. The learning part, in the early years and even in year 1-2, almost comes second to the challenge of being able to learn along others. This applies to talented children, children achieving the 'average', and children in the lower sets, and also children with sen. Yes, I can guarantee you that all children will, at some point, be bored at school. Probably most days. There is no reason why a higher achieving child should be constantly challenged or stretched. I think that this would be damaging for them. They all have to learn to learn independently. I have two children, one G&T and one just above average, and the challenge is to try and help them both to be more resilient; accept that they will not win all the time; that they may be told off or may not get the right answer.

My DS who is G&T in maths, science (and very good at music) is not always stretched and challenged at school and I am grateful for that as he has had to learn to entertain himself, use his initiative, make friends, learn to play football, etc.

And also, most children - of all levels - will be able to achieve more at home when they have the full attention of one adult, as they do in a classroom where there are lots of distractions, things to play with (in the early years), and they are one of 30 children.

ReallyTired Tue 10-Feb-15 10:47:22

I think it helps to stretch a more able child sideways. For example my five year old daughter is doing violin. Learning a musical instrument is hard work and there are plenty of opportuities for failure.

Its not realistic to expect any special treatment for a more able child. Teachers are far to busy getting all children in a class up to a reasonable level. A more able child can either choose to work or not to work. Ultimately its up to your child if they want to achieve their full potential. (Whatever that may be!) A lot of task are open ended and there is plenty a more able child can do to extend themselves if they choose. As a parent its best to praise a child for hard work rather than attainment.

ANewMein2015 Tue 10-Feb-15 12:39:51

I've got a similar level 5 year old. There are about 3 in her year at that reading level (mainly low ability area) and I have regular thoughts in my mind about how lovely it would be to be amongst more peers (rolling grass/ old buildings/ ballet etc ;) ) However I am so pleased with my daughters infant school. We've not had streams of busywork/homework sent home, she's fascinated and interested in all the topics they do (pets this week and she's been telling me all about hte snake she got to stroke - shudder).

At the moment I'm just really happy she's doing well and her reading means she can access other things that interest her. I think at infant school just being exposed to lots of topics and lots of children and being happy is the main thing. She does a fair bit of extra curricular sport and she doesn't find swimming as easy as the other things so its good theres something to challenge her.

I'm not sure I want her constantly "stretched". I want her to have things she finds interesting and can master to gain a sense of fulfilment. My fear is more as she gets older she may realise she can be top without trying (as I was) and that's done damage to my abilitiy to perserve.

I think praising effort is the way forwards. As in our case doing fun things that interest her at home - making cakes/country parks. Not every thing has to be about achievement.

I do still worry abut when she's older though.....

NanaNina Tue 10-Feb-15 12:48:50

Excellent posts from Styison ReallyTired and Anewmein - hope the OP takes note!!

MrsBaaadger Tue 10-Feb-15 13:24:59

Absolutely NanaNina and I'm grateful for all your comments, thank you. As I said in my post I'm keen to help him at home mostly to help him improve his confidence. It's all new to me and I only want the best for him so I will most certainly be taking on board the comments above.

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