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Need some school advice

(25 Posts)
sophiesaiti Tue 21-Aug-07 21:09:56

How many of you with very bright children mentioned their abilities when they started school/nursery/pre-school? Would you tell the teachers if they could read and at what level or would you wait for them to discover it for themselves?

Many thanks.

PS It was recommended that I post on this forum but so far I have found it one of the most intimidating 'Gifted' forums around, but there is not a lot else out there.

nell12 Tue 21-Aug-07 21:12:17

Any scool/teacher worth their salt should work this out within the first 2 days as they will be doing baseline assessments on all the children in their class.

How old is your dc and what are they capable of so far?

Heated Tue 21-Aug-07 21:12:54

Do you believe you have a child who is or have been told so?

LIZS Tue 21-Aug-07 21:13:25

Is it Reception ? If so they do assess them in the first week or two anyway and you'll probably have an opportunity to meet the teacher before half term which may be a better time to discuss it than while they are settling in.

babyblue2 Tue 21-Aug-07 21:14:28

DD is gifted at drawing and when she stated nursery we got a home visit. I showed nursery teacher some of DD's pictures and she did appear impressed (this continued through nursery). She's due to start full time school and when I think back I think I may be a little embarrassed at what I think was showing off a little. Proud parent though. Personally I think I would let teacher find out for themselves as i'm sure you will. I'd probably say something like DS/DD really enjoys reading books - as a bit of a hint. I'm sure others will say say something though.

WendyWeber Tue 21-Aug-07 21:15:28

I don't think that's true or fair, nell - they have too much on their plates with a classful of kids half of whom probably can't change their clothes or go to the loo by themselves to worry about assessing the gifted ones

Mention it by all means, sophie, but be aware that at least 50% of parents think their kids are gifted!

nell12 Tue 21-Aug-07 21:19:35

Well thats how long it always takes me

Maybe I am the gifted one?

But what has that got to do with sophiesalti's request???

snorkle Tue 21-Aug-07 21:35:39

I suppose the risk is that the teacher thinks you are a pushy mum with inflated ideas of your childs abilities and who is going to be awkward about whatever reading books are sent home. So, either mention it in a slightly deferential way, expecting not to be believed or wait a few weeks & see what happens first. I'd incline to the latter approach, but that's not to say it's the right one.

Heated Tue 21-Aug-07 21:38:48

I wouldn't personally & will resist such a label for my children (if they think it applies lol!) From experience, the areas that children excel come to the fore naturally anyway and are often best developed through interests pursued at home or through independent curiosity, rather than being singled out for it at school, which can actually have the opposite effect of the one desired, which is to put a child off.

drosophila Tue 21-Aug-07 21:44:50

My DS could read before school. I waited a few weeks I think before I told them. They then assessed him and put him on apt book thereafter.

I wondered if it were best to draw attention to it but figured if they hadn't noticed after a few weeks they should get a prod. DS is not one to draw attention to his skills (still not) so I thought it was only fair to do it for him.

I also spoke a lot about his weaknesses probably to balance it all out.

sophiesaiti Tue 21-Aug-07 21:57:19

Thank you for your replies. I asked as DD is showing some good signs of being naturally bright.
Everything she has done has been self taught so I cant take much of the credit for her abilities.
At 18months she was doing 48pc jigsaws without help. At 19months old she started asking us to write words on her magnadoodle, by 23 months she was reading Ginn Level 3/ORT level 4 books (a teacher friend of mine sent them to me as she thought DD might enjoy them). At 24months DD became independent on the computer and taught herself more reading, addition and subraction. Now she has a reading age (teacher friend used Salford Reading Test ...I think that is the name) and she came out at 7.5yrs. She likes to write short stories on Word (2 sentences at most).
Before you flame me...I try and give her a normal 2year old life, we do playdoh, go swimming, play outside, ride her bike, play with lego, chill infront of cbeebies, etc etc. But...she seeks out academic stuff to do, it is her current passion and I cant deny her doing something she loves.
She will 2.5yrs next month.

Hurlyburly Tue 21-Aug-07 21:59:30

"Any scool/teacher worth their salt should work this out within the first 2 days as they will be doing baseline assessments on all the children in their class."

From that I can only conclude that my DS's teachers are not worth their salt. I decided to keep schtum because I thought they should work it out pretty rapidly. Also there was a bit of vanity too because I didn't want the teachers to think I was a simpering nit.

Unfortunately DS rapidly worked out that if he finished his work early, all that happened to him was that more work appeared. So he decided to coast along with the minimum work. The teachers didn't notice he was very bright until I told them.

When I finally decided to tell them, after 18 months, because he was bored rigid, and rapidly losing all interest, the response was a studiedly polite "Oh do you think so?" They gave him some extension work. He lapped it up. They gave him more and more. He lapped that up too. His report this year said "DD is an extraordinarily bright boy". I had to bite my tongue to refrain from saying "WELL FANCY THAT".

snorkle Tue 21-Aug-07 22:55:37

She sounds lovely sophiesaiti - I think it's not uncommon for very bright kids to have a burning need to know and understand everything, and if she's setting the pace herself you are right to follow her lead. I think very bright children fall into 2 categories: those who stand out a mile and a teacher would have to be blind not to notice and those who tend to hide their abilities to fit in. What you decide to do or say depends on your child, the teacher and you and in the case of nursery/pre-school what your objectives for it are (if it's a place to socialise, paint, glue and stick and play games, then they don't really need to know about reading ability she is, but if she's there all day and might want some time reading to herself, then you need to tell them).

KerryMumbledore Wed 22-Aug-07 03:19:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LIZS Wed 22-Aug-07 08:30:25

She sounds advanced and motivated which are good traits and should be encouraged. However I think you need to be clear in your mind what you expect from whatever preschool/nursery you have chosen. Not many will be set up to spend one to one time reading with a 2 1/2 year old at that level. If she is as inquisitive as you say she will make it known herself.

As long as you are happy for her to spend her time there doing more typical preschool activities then I don't think you should say anything . To my mind balance, establishign social and cooperative play skills int he group setting, independence in toileting adn dressing etc while following a child's initiative on learning through play, is more important with under 5's than academic achievement. You may find that you have to accept preschool for what it is and look for a more academic alternative if/when you feel the need.

sophiesaiti Wed 22-Aug-07 08:39:28

We are trying to find something play based rather than academic for her...though most pre-schools here do things like 'letter of the week'. We dont want her to be bored, yet we want her to have fun and play with kids of her own age. I'm not expecting anything academic from the pre-school, she is only 2.5yrs. There is plenty of time for academics later (my philosophy, not DDs)! She is so motivated at the moment that she'll just learn on her own if she wants to.
Thanks again.

LIZS Wed 22-Aug-07 08:47:17

Letter of the week sounds typical tbh. Frankly it is unlikely to be an issue if she goes over the basics at this age and she will probably find ways of developing it further in her own mind. If you haven't already got one lined up I fear you may struggle to find a good one as there are often waiting lists.

sophiesaiti Wed 22-Aug-07 11:46:41

Thanks LIZS. We have just moved back to the UK after having lived abroad so we are a little behind in putting her name down for pre-school. If she starts when she is 3 or 3.5 it is not a problem, but we will start hunting around when they all start back in September.
Having just moved countries she is too unsettled to start in this term. We'll just go to a Toddler group, library sessions and Toddler swim where she can socialise with other children.

underthesea Wed 22-Aug-07 19:40:04

She sounds amazing! My daughter is starting reception in September and I also wasn't sure whether to tell the school about her reading (she can read pretty much anything and is completely fluent).

I didn't feel it necessary to let Pre-school know about her reading, when she was there, as it didn't seem relevant. They were completely play based and that was great for her. I have to say though that when they found out I had quite a few disparaging comments as if I had caused her all sorts of boredom problems for school. I felt quite upset, that I was thought to have pushed her when in actual fact I couldn’t have stopped her reading, unless I had refused to read to her. Listening to stories was and still is a favourite pastime.

However I have already mentioned to her new teacher that she can read. I haven’t gone into details about the level or any details, but I thought for her sake they should know. I am not convinced they will notice immediately as she reads silently and anyone observing would assume that she is looking at the pictures. I am very worried that if she is not stretched and has to sit through endless phonics work that she’ll get bored and will go off into her fantasy world, which she is very prone to do. I didn’t like going in and I certainly wasn’t there to brag, but I find people can be very negative and always assume you are a pushy parent. The teacher seemed Ok about it though.

sophiesaiti Wed 22-Aug-07 20:25:34

Underthesea...I can completely sympathise with people thinking you are a pushy parent. When DD reads, she often reads in her head in public which makes life easier. Of the times she has been heard (library, train etc) then we often get odd looks. Some people have asked and I gave minimal details, if they ask further then I go into more detail. It is not the sort of thing you can really mention. DD just loves to read, if she had a dinosaur/Thomas obsession then I would nurture that passion, but because her passion is academics (plays on year 1 maths) then it is frowned upon.
Good luck to your DD in Reception.

majorstress Thu 23-Aug-07 15:49:52

My dd is 7, GnT labelled (I think she's just bright not exceptional), and I've had my problems with the local school boring her and not challenging her at times (mainly year 1). I try to stay calm about it, just monitor the goings-on carefully (I try to show my face at school, and ask them all about their day, who they played with, what they ate, what they did in class, and don't give up too easily) and I try to detect and make up shortfalls at home, considering school more of a social outlet in the end.

I did get a bit annoyed with being asked to think of "extension" activities to add to her homework myself; I work, and not in education, how the heck do I know what to do, or find the time?

dd2 is about to start Reception, and is miles ahead of dd1 at the same stage-she's older, had better nursery, and has had big sis teaching her! Meanwhile the school has got less and less native English speakers. Hope she isn't the only one, but I have my doubts. In a way I hope she doesn't sit meekly getting bored like dd1 did, but I suppose she will just be punished instead of stimulated if she plays up.

I won't say anything to the teacher (same one as dd1 had and I like her) about the academic abilities because I know it will be obvious to her, and she really needs the kids to be able to dress and toilet independently to get on with teaching.

A teacher can tell silent reading over picture gazing surely? One good thing about independent reading is they can then teach themselves.

flamingtoaster Thu 23-Aug-07 16:33:34

sophiesaiti - your DD sounds delightful - I remember that stage very well. DS managed to stay in primary school (just), we ended up home educating DD for the last bit of primary school. Both were fine when they went into selective Secondary Schools. The Gifted and Talented programme now slowly developing in schools will help, but interpretation varies dramatically between schools at the moment. I wouldn't mention anything to the teachers initially - it should rapidly become apparent what your DD's abilities are.

If you haven't already found it you will find http://www.nagcbritain.org.uk/index.php interesting. If you contact Head Office they will put you in touch with your local branch (if there is one) where you can meet other parents and children. You can attend several meetings before you have to decide if you wish to join.

mimsum Thu 23-Aug-07 16:43:53

From my own experience of this, you may well need to mention it to the teacher. I could read fluently at 3 (just early, not particularly G&T!) and by the time I started infants in the term before I turned 5 I was reading anything and everything. My teacher wouldn't believe me that I could read fluently, grudgingly put me on the top level of the crushingly boring reading scheme we had and would have left me stuck there if my mum (also a teacher) hadn't gone in and explained that yes, I could really read. In the end I was allowed to take in my own books from home as the school library only had picture books. No-one taught me to read, btw, I just picked it up by myself and have to say it wasn't entirely a boon as I was quite isolated from the other children as I was 'different'

Piffle Thu 23-Aug-07 16:49:22

FWIW (My ds1 is G+T and now 13)
I said nothing about my ds1 and the reception teacher told me she thought he was learning disabled after 6 wks as he would not do any work - What actually happened was that he was bored rigid once that was rectified he was much happier
so it depends on the school, probably better to catch the teacher after a few wks and ask her how your dd is settling in, or wait for books to come home and if they are below your dd's ability mention it then.



And FWIw your dd does sound very very bright and I hope she is happy at school. Be warned they are bloody hard work!

majorstress Thu 23-Aug-07 17:09:39

I think the fear is, mentioning it to the teacher might be counterproductive. The teacher might label the PARENT as a future pain and take a dislike. And they all think our kids are special don't we? The teacher's seen a lot more at this age than you have.

In my own field, doctors are notorious for this-it's better to make them think they thought of the diagnosis themselves! At least with some of the old guard.

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