What the hell!(25 Posts)
I have a bright 4 year old DS. I've been told by his pre school and nursery that he is bright and we are trying to get a early years teacher to help stretch him.
After a lot of waiting a lady has arrived and has "observed" DS. I had a meeting after the pre-school setting, the first 5 minutes were positive however the rest of the hour was all negative.
It's his social skills, that she has picked up on, and a list of nit picking stuff. That's fine, he has never been a social person, however I keep telling the settings that if he is bored then he will play up! I'm worried that the system will label him SN and not stretch him.
Any help/advice is needed.
Rubbish. You are being blind. Being bright does not make you naughty. Being bright does not stop you having social skills. Bright kids are good at stretching themselves when needed but little ones also like playing in usual way too. They would be doing him a great disservice if they got him to A level maths at 9 but failed to teach him to behave himself. Maybe he's not quite as bright as you hope? I assume he has taught himself to read well by 4 - lots of children do. I assume he can do,basic written maths? Lots can by 4. Does he speak a second language yet? What is it that makes you think he is so particularly bright that he needs special treatment? Mine are grown now but all could read by the time they started school plus play violin and speak French. None needed anything other than a state primary. I didn't stretch them or teach them to read, it just happened. They also knew how to behave themselves. Without any special provision, they all got 12 As/A*s (weren't A*s when older ones did GCSEs). They all got at least 4As at A level - one got 6As another 42 points at IB. They did this in state comprehensive where they also learned to support less able peers and that whole universe was not centred on them. He sounds like a normal little boy who is struggling with social skills - as boys sometimes do. Just let him be.
What is it that makes you think he's particularly bright OP? Can you give us an idea?
I think there is an element of balance in these things. Children can be very bright with reading and writing, but not so good socially. Or maybe they're brilliant at those things, but not confident with art.
I have had experience with children (not mine!) being very very bright at 4- reading, maths, etc etc, but by the time their peer group gets to seven, their friends have caught up and there's no real difference academically.
If he is a bit naughty, I would try to sort that out and teach him how to be patient. It is as valuable a lesson as reading or numeracy.
What were you told the visitor was coming to do? Who initiated her visit? It sounds like she was looking to find areas which could be productively worked on prior to starting school, if he can already do most of the 'academic' side of preschool it is great he has had the opportunity to have an expert giving ideas on making him as school ready as possible so he can continue to progress well. My dd is pretty bright (not a genius!) but a late August birthday, she has had no problems with the reading, maths etc side of school but it has taken her a while to gain the social and emotional readiness that some of her older peers seemed to have. I would have loved her to have had a bit of extra help on this at preschool.
What does he do that is so far beyond what you feel is catered for at the preschool? In reality you can probably work on those skills at home (you can buy workbooks in bookshops if you want to), but the interpersonal skills are harder to gain and he is very lucky if someone is going to help him on that now.
Have the nursery previously expressed any concerns about his social skills and behaviour?
It is not a given that very able children will he bored in nursery, even less so that they will play up!
If he's very bright, you need to have an honest conversation with him about behaviour expectations.
There are many ways to stretch bright children, but it mustn't be at the expense of behaviour and social skills.
What does his nursery think after the visit?
And when you say "settings", how many times has he changed settings? That will be detrimental to his social skills and behaviour for a start.
You're worried that the system will label him SN and not stretch him.
So many things.
1. If he has (has not is) SEN then maybe he needs help in some areas such as social communication. Not accepting that is a disservice to him.
2. If he was short sighted would you refuse to label him myopic and not get him glasses?
3. Children who have some SEN can be gifted.
4. He's 4. He needs to be a rounded child who learns because he enjoys it. Lots of children are bright. That doesn't translate automatically into gifted.
"That's fine, he has never been a social person,"
That would really worry me in a 4 year old.
OP it's the preschool's job to get him ready to learn. It's no good being bright if you don't have the social skills to listen, get on with others etc.
DS1 is the same age, can read and count/do sums. However, he rolls around the floor when he doesn't want to do something. Therefore he needs to do spend time working on his social skills before reception, otherwise he'll not get anything out of school.
Try not to take it as insulting and feel you're not being listened to. It would be very easy to concentrate all your attention to his strengths but really more attention should be paid to the hard bits he needs to develop.
If he's bright that's not going to vanish.
All that happened is that you didn't hear what you wanted to hear.
Having poor social skills will hamper him and I'm sure that all you really want is a happy boy.
I'm sorry OP but your priorities are all wrong. Your DS may well be bright but at his age it's all about learning through play and developing social skills. 4 year olds stretch themselves if they are given an interesting environment but they often need guidance to develop social skills. You sought advice - now you need to listen to it.
I know about very bright 4 year olds, 2 of my own children and one GC fitting that category in a big way. They get on quite well thank you without any "stretching."
Above all else they need to learn to be social beings, to care, to be kind, to empathise etc. All the brains in the world are no good at all to them without these skills.
Forget his brains and start concentrating on his heart. I know too many brainy adults who are lonely and miserable. Your main aim should be for him to be happy.
The 3 brainboxes in our family went to/ are at ordinary state primaries - one in particular has been at year 6 standard in just about everything since the age of 6. The other children call him "The Prof" and turn to him when they need help, which is given with no sense of superiority. He is a happy socially integrated child with friends of all income brackets, all classes and all intellects. Clearly he gets allocated work that is suitable to him, but otherwise he is just one of the class. His parents have no desire to see him "stretched" - what a ghastly term that is.
It may turn out that he would rather be a craftsman than an academic - and that is fine.
It is also the case that children progress at different speeds and a bight child now will be part of the herd in a couple of years.
I should just forget the whole thing if I were you and get on with enjoying him.
Why are you immediately being defensive and not listening to their concerns about his social skills? Being bright does not mean that he doesn't have other areas he struggles with.
It looks as though they're trying to identify ways to help him to do well, which is great.
I don't think truly gifted child in preschool/nursery setting will play up because she/he is bored. They can do pretty much anything they want.
Social skills are way more important than being bright. It really makes his school life much more fun and fulfilled.
An early years specialist will know what is required to "stretch" a bright 4 year old, and will also know what other skills a 4 year old needs/ should be working towards - such as socialisation, collaboration, co-operation, etc.
She knows that simply focusing on the academics at this age does him a great disservice. Listen to her.
I've just read other thread and realised you admitted your ds being highly disruptive. It isn't normal for gifted child to play up just because he is bored.
Take the professionals' opinion onboard.
I have 2 high ability kids. One child was always a handful and used to think "If only school would challenge him", etc. Other child never had a problems at school. Well, turns out that trickier child is gifted AND has SN. We now found a school where he gets a lot of help with the social aspect and he is thriving. Is he fully stretched to his full cognitive ability? Nope, but he is learning how to get on with people and be a valuable member of society. That's his most pressing need right now. The academics will come, he will not lose his high ability. He will need to have the social-emotional understanding to cope with the academics pressure. Very, very bright children sometimes need a lot of support in other areas. Otherwise they may fall apart.
It doesn't matter how bright you are, we still have to get on with others, and we learn how to do so when we are young. Set him up for success by supporting his social development first. Yours and his life will be a lot easier.
BTW, my other gifted child does very well in a normal school. She pushes herself hard at school without being disruptive. At home, she herself gets her books out to read, learn and practice. She is high energy, full of ideas, and always looking for something to do. But she is never disrupive and can be easily redirected. Being gifted does not necessarily means that you are disruptive if not fully engaged. Disruptive behaviour is obviously problem, it should be addressed and it may be a sign of some other underlying issue.
Learning social skills won't make him any less gifted- but it will almost certainly make him happier.
And if you look into the distant future, most interesting and rewarding jobs which require high intelligence also require social skills.
Be careful what you wish for. My daughter seems to have been identified as one that should be pushed and she gets additional readers and quite extensive 'optional' homework (which seems too hard to me) - and that I get chased on if we don't do. Yes, she's bright - but actually I would much prefer it if they concentrated on kindness and empathy with her at the moment. And building confidence.
Coming late to the thread but finding rather a depressing read. Don't know if you're still there OP but...
I think in the first place, they took you by surprise by saying they were looking into "stretching" when actually they may have been doing some kind of more all-round assessment. So of course you're on the defensive when you're going in expecting help on the academic aspects and feeling attacked on the non-academic aspects instead. If they'd said in the first place that they had some concerns about your child's socialising and wanted to do an assessment, I expect you'd have been in a more receptive frame of mind.
Was their any advice included in the meeting? Are they suggesting getting him assessed for SN? Or could they just have been checking off where he was against EYFS targets generally? Lots of those are on social and other aspects and might sound nitpicky if sprung on you unexpected. Worth looking up.
I don't think it should be one or the other though, stretching them academically OR working on social skills. They should be keeping an eye on the next steps of learning in all areas.
But you do realize you are talking about 4 year old not even in school yet, cat? I don't think academic stuff and social skill are at the same level of importance at that young age. Nursery isn't really a place to do academic stuff anyway in the first place?
My ds' nursery did some literacy and numeracy with my ds. But it was all part of suggestion from manager. We attended a lot of social skill classes suggested by nursery, and also attended nursery 6 days a week so he can engage with other children everyday. I was really worried he will have difficult school life due to social awkwardness, but now he doesn't stand out at all. Ds' nursery teacher was very sure he is on spectrum(and I did too), but non of his current school teachers said they think he is.
If he has no sen, it's good to rule out, but if he does, isn't it better to find out and get appropriate help from early age?
I'm certainly not saying it's unimportant. It's not normally difficult though for a preschool setting to support developing social skills. It's kind of what they're set up for. I'd be really surprised if a preschool needed to get in outside help to discover that the child had areas for development in social skills, or what to do about it; unless, as you say, they suspect SEN, in which case they should have told the parents it was a SEN assessment in the first place.
Some children will still be at a playing-alongside stage at just turned 4. I'm not sure to what extent you can push them to mature faster than they just do, as long as you're providing plenty of opportunities, which preschool does. Giftedness can add to the barriers because a very able child may feel that age-mates can't hold a proper conversation or share their interests (becomes much less of an issue in a year or two). I don't know if this may be the case here as the OP hasn't said much about what her DS's areas of ability and interest are.
I really dislike the idea that if a child has a gap somewhere in the curriculum that's a reason not to support them to learn in a different area. I don't think that's really on. Every EYFS setting I've seen has had "next steps" in all the areas of learning for each child. I think there's also a risk of alienating a child if they're not getting to do some of what they like at a level they can engage with.
The idea of a child being bored at preschool raises some concerns about the preschool to me. Do they not have resources to interest him? Are they trying to push too much formal learning so the child is having to sit through stuff they can already do? At the very least I'd expect a preschool to have plenty of books and pencils and paper around and to let the child have free access most of the time. So I'd want to know more about what sort of situations he's saying he's bored in or playing up in that OP thinks he's finding boring.
I don't know what you are talking about gaps...though I came across the post the OP saying her ds was highly disruptive.
I agree, my ds was a kind who done his own things, not join in, but never disruptive to others.
It could be op's ds is just immature/young, or he may have sen. It's good to get help early, imo, to figure out why, rather than leaving it till he starts school.
I meant gap as in area they're behind where they should be or where they are in strength areas. Haven't seen OP's other post, will have a look as interested to know what's actually going on.
And yes, absolutely. And I hope that if SEN is a concern that OP won't let the poor way this has been communicated put them off looking into it and getting help. I don't know that it's necessarily that from OP's post, could just be an EYFS assessment, as social aspects are also a big part of EYFS of course.
But even if SEN are involved that still doesn't mean you park all other aspects of their education. A child with SEN and an enthusiasm for maths say is even less likely to be able to be happy without good maths input. (Hope that's not over-generalising too much.) I think it's understandable for OP to be frustrated to be called to a meeting about finally giving her DS some of what will make him happy in his strength areas only to find it's all about his shortcomings in other areas after all.
It sounds like your DS irvine got good support on both sides from preschool, that sounds ideal to me.
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