Problems at school-advice needed(18 Posts)
DS, age 5, has just started primary school. This is in NI so I think it might be equivalent of Reception in England and Wales.
Before that he was in pre-school, crèche and with a childminder. From a very very early age we've been told he is very advanced but as he is our only child we've nothing really to compare it to. He walked early and talked early. Some of the conversations he has blow me away.
I'm not sure if he is, what would traditionally be described as, a "bright child". He isn't advanced with reading, but is quite advanced. However, his logic is amazing. He is constantly drawing inventions. His most recent invention is a buoy in the sea with a radio transmitter that can send signals to ships coming into the area to let them know if the seas are rough or calm. He is working on an invention that will warn children in Syria when an air strike is about to happen (he watches a lot of news and loves current affairs, history, geography etc).
Our problem is at school there have been complaints about his behaviour. I think he struggles with making friends so seems to be attracted to boisterous children and he seems to get a bit carried away/doesn't know what is appropriate. I think this is a lot to do with wanting to be liked. I've witnessed him talking to other children and feel sorry for him when they don't respond - I think because they don't "get him".
Teacher is saying things like he will not stand still in class line or doesn't respond when told what to do. (for this he is being put in time out/in the sad cloud). We've explained to him that he must do as he is told. In terms of work we've had a few problems He was told he wasn't allowed to do more than the homework allocated for each night. This is because we worked on one night because he didn't want to do the colouring in but really wanted to learn more letters. The teacher said she encourages colouring in to improve fine motor skills but his fine motor skills are very advanced - he is building Lego with very small pieces that I cannot manage.
He is also being told when doing his phonics that he isn't allowed to write down words that don't start with the letter - for example we were doing the letter e for homework and he came up with Merry, but he wouldn't write it in his book because e was the second letter and not the first.
I'm so worried about him and school stifling his thirst for learning but more concerned about him being labelled as a "naughty" child. They also discussed "formal intervention" for his behaviour.
We don't know if we should have a formal assessment as perhaps there are some behavioural issues that need to be addressed. We have a parent teachers meeting in the next few weeks and don't know what to do for the best.
It sounds like you have a lovely bright, non conforming child, how wonderful!
As a first step, would it not be worth asking for a meeting with his teachers to discuss all of this and ask for their advice in how to a) ensure his behaviour meets their standards and b) how they can nurture this desire for learning?
I mean a meeting before the parent teacher meeting which would only allow you about 5 mins of their time.
We've had a couple of meetings with the teacher, she is focusing on behaviour which mostly seems to centre around not standing still in line and being boisterous in the playground. I've asked when this happens and she just says in the playground in the morning and lunchtime. She did say it was perhaps related to being cooped up in classroom all morning. She also mentioned that our son "gets in people's faces". He is very persistent when he wants people to listen and gets very frustrated when he doesn't get a response. He also doesn't suffer fools and is quick to point out mistakes - His childminder says this is done without malice, its simply because DS thinks it's important for things to be correct (he is a bit of a perfectionist) I have mentioned to the teacher that he seems advanced, but there was no real reaction.
It sounds like his social skills are not as advanced as his academic skills. Both are needed in schools and the teacher will need to develop both.
I would ask to speak to the teacher sooner than the parents evening. Ask about strategies for improving his behaviour and social understanding.
As for work at home, the school cannot prevent you doing more/different things with him if he's interested in them. Just do them in your own exercise book at home. If he won't do the colouring in then leave it and write a note saying he wouldn't do it. As far as I understand it, writing needs some specific wrist development and Lego manipulation might not be enough to develop that action.
With the phonics "e" work, I'm not sure what the problem is? It sounds like he understood the task? Could you have helped him find words that do start with the right letter?
I can see this from both sides. My dd(6) is very advanced but lacks social skills and I worry when she says school is easy, boring, or that no-one played with her. She is a perfectionist too which means she never breaks any school rules, always stands nicely in line, never moves from her carpet spot. Having a clever, different, special child is such a gift.
I'm a teacher too. Small classroom disruptions from wriggly boys is the bane of most teachers' lives. If your son is a perfectionist could you use this to help him follow the rules? His teacher is probably sick of it. It takes a lot usually for a child to end up in time out, schools favour positive reinforcement, so it's likely he's pretty disruptive. When she says formal behaviour management does she mean assessments for special needs, or something else? If he doesn't respect personal space, can't sit still, gets obsessive over telling someone something and has a perfectionist tendency, it could be his teacher is picking up on all of those together and thinking of extra support he could need.
I would keep an eye on him. He shares some traits with my DS (now aged 12). Brilliant at Lego but can't use cutlery & has dysfluent handwriting for example.
Have you asked the teacher (when he doesn't respond to instructions) how those instructions are being given. Are they giving multiple instructions at a tune rather than just a single command. Are they using wording that implies he has a choice when he doesn't. Is the general environment noisy, does he have problems filtering background noise?
I don't want to put ideas into your head unnecessarily but my DS has high functioning autism & is only just now starting to get the support & understanding he needs.
He is always in trouble for being rude/correcting people/ saying exactly what he thinks etc.
My DS was very similar in reception and also spent a lot of time at the "thinking tree" which made him sad. I have spoken a lot with the school and they have been very open to new ideas and have introduced fiddle toys for him to keep his fingers busy, they have wobble (Hokki) stools and even tried bungees on the legs of desks so that DS and other disruptive DC can move in class, within reason.
DS is in Year 2 now and academically he is super confident but still working very hard on social skills. He has a few close friends but I don't think he is every going to be the kid who gets on with everyone that he desperately wants to be, he is just too marmite.
I hope the meeting goes well for you. He sounds like a lovely, interesting child. Be open to any suggestions given to you, but take your time over agreeing to anything you are not comfortable with. If they suggest assessment for anything you might want to go with it, though.
Moopoint - I hope you don't really compare all boys to your 'advanced' daughter if you really are a teacher. Shocking point of view expressed here!
OP, your little boy sounds perfectly fine. But ask the teacher what else they could do to help him work out the rules. He certainly doesn't need to be punished at home. School need not to label him as the 'naughty boy' though as this can have a huge impact.
I teach secondary so it is a MooPoint really for me, so no I don't compare teenage boys with my 6 year old daughter funnily enough.
However, my point was, wriggly boys are the bane of every teacher's life at every level and school. Key disrupters of school are usually boys, girls outperform boys at every level, and it's a huge crisis across education.
I personally blame the wider crisis in masculinity, but this isn't the feminism board and so on that point I will not elaborate, but welcome you to do some wider reading should you wish.
Wriggly boys are certainly not the bane of my life (as a teacher).
That's nice, but speaking from a wider school point, is there really no difference in your number of boys getting sanctions and girls getting sanctions?
I teach children with severe special needs. We have more boys than girls. I don't use sanctions.
Ah I see, doesn't exactly apply then, I'm in a mainstream setting.
It does apply. I've always been very pro- wriggly little boys and girls in mainstream and SEN.
Anyway, we should beg to differ and I'll stop derailing the thread!
Ooh, total derail, but I'd love to hear more about not using sanctions, Sleeper. Can you explain a little? Is motivation all about getting people to want to achieve, in your classroom? Or praising what they do achieve, rather than pointing out what they don't? Or is it through brilliant planning/chunking work, so that people achieve a lot, without realising it - pieces of the jigsaw, which they may or may not later put together? Or something else?
<Apologies OP - perhaps we should start our own thread >
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