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Primary Reception Induction - Given words & writing to learn before start

(13 Posts)
cswilliams78 Wed 15-Jun-11 20:19:38


I attended the first of three INSPIRE or induction sessions at the school which has been allocated to my DS for starting in September. Not a school at all of my choice but I won't bore anyone with those details again and now at the point of trying to make good of a bad situation for the sake of my DS.

I was a bit shocked that we have been given an envelope full of words which the children must learn to read before they start school in Sept, there are 27 simple high frequency words. Along with this we have been given a CD ROM with phonics activities and have been encouraged to start teaching the children to write and form letters properly.

It all seems a bit much to me, my DS2 was only 4 last week and he does know his letters and I think will get the words no problem, he enjoys that type of learning and credit to the school they have also given a special reward chart which accompanies the words. It's the writing I don't want to push. All of my family are somewhat challenged when it comes to writing skills or anything which involves controlling a pencil or paint brush - put it this way I can spot and identify my kids art work within seconds (if it makes the wall at all ..). We're arty in our heads but can't translate that via a pencil, pen or paintbrush, poor DS1 has been stuck in top set for art as his CATS indicated he should be there ... he scored a 3a on a recent assessment (year 7 so not good). I am not remotely bothered as he has plenty other talents and with computers and the like writing is becoming less important and at some point soon in his life he will reach the happy point where no one will ever ask him to draw a picture ever again (he can write by the way it's just very untidy and he's slow and finds it uncomfortable, as both me and Dh do).

Anyway DS2 is just starting to get his pencil control, he's recently started to enjoy colouring and is starting to be able to do it within the lines and is doing some drawing and dot to dot puzzles. I am really pleased with his progress and enthusiasm and do not want to push it by asking him to start forming letters. I know others in his year group can write their names and I even saw one little girl cut out a complicated shape with scissors during the induction today, my ds could barely control the scissors to cut at all. I don't see this as a reason to rush him though ..he's still developing.

Does this sound quite pushy to others? Is it normal to set such tasks before starting school?

None of it seems to fit in with things I have discussed with DS2's pre-school teachers and my own beliefs about early education which is about not forcing anything at this stage and allowing children to guide the pace of their learning, mainly through play. DS1's school didn't ask for any of this.

The school IS due to be Ofsted'd in September and previous reports describe entry level children as being 'well below average' I am cynically wondering if this is a ploy to avoid such comments?

Any thoughts welcome, it just stood out as a bit OTT to me.

youbethemummylion Wed 15-Jun-11 20:33:46

wow seems way OTT!

coccyx Wed 15-Jun-11 20:35:50

awful. i wouldn't do it. have several children and never been 'asked' to do this before they are even in uniform and in classroom. I am not anti homework but this is ridiculous

blackeyedsusan Wed 15-Jun-11 20:36:46

tell them that you have been following the government guidelines and have been learning through play with child initiated activities as outlined in the eyfes curriculum. sod off would not be inappropiate either

blackeyedsusan Wed 15-Jun-11 20:37:30


LawrieMarlow Wed 15-Jun-11 20:43:32

What would they do if you didn't do the homework? Refuse to let your child in?

Sounds madness to me.

trifling Wed 15-Jun-11 20:44:03

good grief. we just got given the high frequency words in the summer term of reception! (similar sounding intake by the sounds of it) I wouldn't do it.

muminthecity Wed 15-Jun-11 20:49:02

I agree with the other posters, this sounds a it too much to me. We were never given anything to learn before starting school, the induction was just a chance to meet the teacher, ask any questions etc. 27 words is a hell of a lot for a 4 year old! If it's any consolation, my DD couldn't recognise any words at all, and could write her name but not much else when she first started school. She is coming to the end of reception now and doing brilliantly, reading fluently and writing really well, so it certainly didn't set her back!

estland Thu 16-Jun-11 08:21:00

TO: cswilliams78
That is exactly why we took our son out of British primary school and relocated to Europe where they start school at the age of 7.

rebl Thu 16-Jun-11 14:55:57

My son is the end of reception and doesn't know 27 keywords yet. He can only just write over 50% of the letters. I certainly wouldn't have been doing that sort of thing with him last summer. Put it on the side and forget about it. He'll learn when he's good and ready. Enjoy your last few weeks together before the lifetime of school and work that he's about to enter.

sarahfreck Thu 16-Jun-11 16:07:33

Go with your instincts on his stage with pencil control and just keep giving him colouring and dot to dot as you have been. If you think he might manage it, you could start introducing him to the letter formation for the letters in his name, but only one at a time. ( you could make it fun - give him a bowl of water and a decorator's paint brush and let him "paint" it with water on the patio or house wall or use bath crayons and let him write on himself at bath times?). Stop if you sense resistance - far better not to put him off at this stage.

Mollymax Thu 16-Jun-11 16:28:44

Maybe they are just trying to give you a head start on the words.
At our school they encourage the children to learn the 45 reception words.
I know of some mums that have asked for them so the children can make a start during the holidays.

sunnyday123 Thu 16-Jun-11 23:08:26

thats way ott imo! - my dd could just write her name before school and knew the letters phonically but thats it! She was one of the oldest too. She couldnt write the letters properly. In her reception class (an outstanding ofsted school) they did the following:

-taught letters phonically up til oct half term and spent hours per day colouring (literally!) for pencil control
-oct half term homework was learning to recognise ort key words such as: the, mum, dad, floppy, chip, biff and kipper - THATS ALL!!
started issuing ort books after half term - all kids started on stages 1-2 regardless of reading ability to assess comprehension too.

Personally i wouldnt do anything before sept other than colouring! You dont want dc to resent school before they've even started!

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