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Homework in school nursery - what's normal?

(28 Posts)
FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 15:40:55


My dd started in our school nursery in September. Now, the school prides itself on having 'high standards' which I guess translates to quite a lot of homework/parental involvement etc, which is fine, I just wanted to know what's normal at this age.

At the moment she's getting 2x reading books a week (beginner stage phonics scheme things, they had normal story books last term), and has to do two pages of her phonics book a week - this involves practising writing a letter, then drawing/sticking in pictures of an object beginning with that letter. I've a strong suspicion they'll add some maths stuff as well soon.

It's not a problem at the moment, dd is very keen so it's easy to do it, but if that changes I worry I could have a battle on my hands!

So, is this a lot, or pretty standard? She is 4 tomorrow, starts reception in September.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 16:25:44

I should add, it's not officially compulsory, but very much encouraged - we're to,d to have completed books in their bags by a certain day, for instance.

MrsJohnHarrison Tue 04-Feb-14 16:40:26

My DS is in P1 (Scotland), he'll be 6 in March and this is the kind of homework he's been getting since the October holidays!

SoonToBeSix Tue 04-Feb-14 16:43:00

No homework is normal in pre school.

3bunnies Tue 04-Feb-14 16:51:34

ds has a book which he can put as much or as little as he likes - generally days out when we remember. He does have reading books BUT that is only because he is keen to read and we asked for them. When he started he changed them every day but as the books are getting longer they are now changed about once a week when he has read them. Most children in the nursery don't take reading books home.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 16:55:08

Oh ok. I thought the reading books were standard. They are very short - 8 pages or so, with very simple phrases.

lilyaldrin Tue 04-Feb-14 16:59:18

Sounds ridiculous to me. DS's (outstanding) nursery school lets children borrow story books from the library but there's no homework. I doubt they do any formal work on phonics in class either, they're 3 and 4 years old!

3bunnies Tue 04-Feb-14 17:03:48

Our nursery does do work on phonics, simple sounds for some and more complex ones for the older ones. Ability at this age is very variable so there is no reason not to do some phonics but it sounds as if the OP's nursery is pushing it a bit too hard. Does your dd enjoy the reading etc?

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 17:06:08

She loves it, really looks forward to doing her books, so I'm not worried at the moment at all. I'm keeping it low key. Interesting to hear other perspectives though.

hillsy27 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:08:36

This is ridiculous ! Im a primary teacher who has specialised in the early years for 5 years. I would never expect children in nursery to have phones books or homework. Have a look at the eyes development matters website as this will tell you what all early years settings should be doing at each age range to help support child development .

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 17:22:35

Well, I've just looked at that website and it does say children should be using phonic knowledge to decode words and reading simple sentences between 40 -60 months, so it doesn't seem THAT bizarre. I should add, they have lots of free play, access to outdoors etc. Is it really so awful?

lilyaldrin Tue 04-Feb-14 17:24:26

40-60 months is the year in which they are in Reception class though. You'd expect some work on phonics then, not in nursery.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 17:25:55

40 months is just over 3, so surely that covers pre school year as well?

lilyaldrin Tue 04-Feb-14 17:29:17

The age bands overlap - 30-50 months and 40-60 months. The 40-60 month band is what children will have covered by the end of Reception. In my experience it is pretty unusual for nursery classes to teach phonics in a formal way, and even more unusual for them to send phonics homework.

Passthecake30 Tue 04-Feb-14 17:34:31

My dd was 4 in Nov, she gets no homework. What you are describing is what ds got in reception.

Pointeshoes Tue 04-Feb-14 17:38:07

No homework should be normal for a 3 or 4 year old in nursery.

I agree with Passthecake30, what your child is doing should wait for reception.

5madthings Tue 04-Feb-14 17:46:21

i have five kids aged 14 down to 3yrs. NONE of them.have had any homework ftom pre-school/nursery.

we do get a letter saying what their topic is and what they will be doing and they can take in a relevant book or anything relevant they have done at home if they want.

my ds4 is 5 and in yr one, he has a reading book amd occsionally a worksheet/learning log but its optional or as much as you want.

they are only little fgs no need for homework!

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 17:47:18

Interesting. I was expecting a range of different replies, but not to hear that this was so unusual! Dd is our first so we have nothing to compare to.

As I say, she's happy so I'm not concerned about her welfare. Might be a different story if she wasn't keen though.

Tweetinat Tue 04-Feb-14 18:08:00

DS is in a montessori nursery and has been having "homework' since just before Christmas (he was 4 at the end of October). All it consisted of intially, was a sheet for him to practice writing his name which has taken around 2 mins, then it progressed to letter 'cards' which he had to trace with his finger and then say the phonic sound at the same time (4 or 5 letters a night), and this past week yes had some cards with 6 or 8 3 letter words on which he's had to 'read' or sound out if he doesn't know them. It's never taken more than a minute or two and he's absolutely loved having his book bag to take in every day. They've said he's really keen on reading at the moment so they're focusing on those activities to help him and then they'll go back (if he shows an interest) to writing later on in the term.

3bunnies Tue 04-Feb-14 18:22:46

If she is enjoying it then fine, if she doesn't want to then don't push it. The school years are so arbitrary. I know some children just weeks older than ds who have done nearly half a year in reception along with the expectation of regular reading. Some children will have started school just days after their 4th birthday. If your dd enjoys it and you are happy to do it then I would keep going but I would be aware that the school do seem to be more pushy than most.

hillsy27 Tue 04-Feb-14 19:24:58

What you are describing is what i set my reception class. I would be concerned that if the nursery are teaching them this rather than the pre phonics featured in letters and sounds such as sound discrimination then they are missing out a chunk of learning which is needed before phonics. Check out letters and sounds website for the fun learning activities that should be concentrating on.
If she's enjoying it I wouldn't stop her now just not push it too much.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 04-Feb-14 20:51:59

Thanks hillsy, I'll check that out.

Idespair Tue 04-Feb-14 20:58:12

Very unusual IME.
However, if your child is happy to do it, that's great and I'd let her get on with it.
In our school, the 8 page reading books you describe start to be issued around the end of the first term in reception. Phonics are started as soon as they go to reception.

Idespair Tue 04-Feb-14 21:00:20

Oh and the homework my dc received in nursery at this age was once a week choose a book you like from the box for your parents to read to you. That was all and it was optional.

Bitzer Tue 04-Feb-14 21:16:09

My DD is the same age (will be 4 in a couple of weeks) and in the nursery class of her primary - it's an 'outstanding' school and probably similar to your DD's in overall outlook. They choose books to take home but just stories not the reading scheme ones that her older sister started on in reception. We may have had the occasional letter worksheet but it's very rare and I've never felt the need to make sure they're done.

I reckon if your DD is keen there is certainly no harm in it but I do think from the school's perspective all this homework at such a young age is a bit nuts. And I don't think in the long run it makes much difference. If she enjoys learning to read (and it sounds like she does) she'll pick it up v fast when it gets officially introduced in reception. And I'm sure they get as much from reading a good story with a parent at this stage - DD2 will pick out easy words that she recognises in them for example – and the 'stories' in the early phonics books are pretty deadly as I recall.

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