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preschoolers - is my dd in a class of child geniuses?

(26 Posts)
preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 15:10:19

My dd is in the preschool of the school she'll start in Reception. It seems nice, inner city, and according to its ofsted "a majority of children start the EYFS years with understanding and achievement well below the national average". She's been there two terms and is one of the youngest (not quite four).
The majority of her classmates seem able to
a) write their names
b) write quite recognisable other stuff (there were some very spirited attempts at writing animal names this morning - really quite tricky stuff and very well done)
c) Many seem able to actually read already. All except one who doesn't really speak english yet seem to speak at very much the same level as my dd or better - they count on their fingers and appear to understand the beginnings of number bonds. Some parents complain their children are bored, as preschool is not sufficiently academic.

I guess what I'm saying is that if Ofsted thinks this is below the national average at 3-4, then I'm not quite sure what everyone else is achieving at the higher achieving primaries down the road. Nuclear fission? They seem so young to even be attempting this stuff. Certainly wouldn't have expected my dd - who is by no means the academic star of this class to be below average, but if Ofsted has got it right then she must be. Or has the intake of the school changed drastically since Ofsted last looked at it? I'm just a bit baffled, because if this is really a lower than average school, what is going on at the rest of them?

schmee Fri 17-Jun-11 15:17:15

If they are really doing all that then they are well above average. My boys are in the same (pre)school year and I would say most children in their year can sort of write their name (but not very well), they can probably count to 20 but not do much more with numbers, and some can do a bit of primitive word building (cat, bag, etc). Speech ranges from really articulate to still quite toddlerish. This is in a very middle class private school, so I'd expect the class to be higher than the national average, and it sounds like the kids in your DD's class are well ahead.

How do you know how the other children are doing? Could it be that it's just the more advanced ones that you are noticing? Are there a lot of old for year children in the class?

fuzzpigFriday Fri 17-Jun-11 15:19:31

Hmm well tbh I wouldn't want my DCs doing that stuff at preschool, unless they were really into it - EYFS is supposed to be learning through play, and I wouldn't like them to be pushed before they were ready. DD is just starting to do phonics because she decided she wanted to at home, and I'm happy that at preschool she 'just' plays.

Though maybe they are all learning it at home, if the parents are pushing it?

I have heard though that on average the preschools attached to schools can be a bit pushier than community/charity run ones.

fuzzpigFriday Fri 17-Jun-11 15:25:18

DD is also not quite 4 btw, and has been in preschool since September. I did some parent helper sessions and was really shocked at first when I saw what some of the other children could do, but then I realised they were all about 8-9 months older and had also been in preschool a couple of terms longer (as they get funding from the term after 3rd birthday, autumn babies get 5 terms where summer horns get 3).

Don't worry about it though, as long as your DC is happy and you don't feel the school is too pushy (very subjective obviously) it's no big deal.

fuzzpigFriday Fri 17-Jun-11 15:28:48

Oops sorry what I also meant to say was that in school-attached nurseries the children also often spend time with older DCs (sometimes they actually have mixed classes) and so they are perhaps more likely to pick things up like that.

preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 15:29:48

You may be right that I'm only noticing the advanced ones, but I was looking at the work on the walls, and they put all of the kids' work up (you can always tell my dd's because she just tips glitter all over everything!). I guess you wouldn't expect a school with an Ofsted judgment like that to have so MANY 'advanced ones'
I do really like the preschool, but I have at one or two points had to tell them to lay off my dd a bit because they do push this stuff - though a lot of it is done through play. I particularly loved the letter I got home asking me to do ten minutes of cutting skills every day - cue my dd, who had been happily snipping away at everything in sight, refusing to pick up a pair of scissors for months!

headfairy Fri 17-Jun-11 15:35:28

my ds is the same age, turns 4 in September, and though he can write his name it's not without help and some of the letters end up the wrong way round (n instead of u for example) and if someone didn't know that's what he'd written they'd struggle to identify it as his name. I think the other children in your dd's class sound very advanced for not quite 4 year olds. Some of the children in ds's class still talk in very babyish language and the staff aren't bothered in the slightest.

Will your dd start reception in Sept 2012 or 2011? If Sept 2012 then she's got ages, and I'm sure before she starts reception she'll be doing the same. If I think back a year ago, ds was so different, his abilities were completely different. In the past year he's barely grown an inch in height but his brain must have been developing so much because everything's changed, his language skills, his comprehension, everything.

xiaojooi Fri 17-Jun-11 15:47:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 15:58:48

poor old dd is a summerborn - so she'll be in Reception pretty soon. I expect she'll be fine - just amazed if this is "below average"

headfairy Fri 17-Jun-11 16:23:48

how long ago was the Ofsted report done? Maybe there's been a sudden influx of posh folk to the area who are spending a fortune tutoring their kids. Or has Gwyneth Paltrow moved in next door? grin

preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 16:38:16

not unless she's wearing a VERY good disguise and has bought a large number of very scary dogs. Mind you, if she was living around here.....

preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 16:39:49

and it MIGHT I suppose be merely reflective of the fact that the class is bizarrely 'girl heavy' - so maybe they are all keener on sitting and cutting out and writing than average.

pantaloons Fri 17-Jun-11 16:42:51

My dd2 is 4 in august, she can't write her name, but is not bad at counting and she knows a few letters from jolly phonics. She is no where near where her sister was at this time of year, but she was a September baby, so one of the oldest. I think that a few months makes a big difference at this age, dd2 is happy and confident and tbh that's all I'm bothered about at this age.

headfairy Fri 17-Jun-11 16:43:25

Oh that says it all, those diligent girls are getting on with being clever and advanced, if your dd was in a class full of boys they'd all be too busy building towers and then knocking them down to sit down and learn to write before they were 3 grin

preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 16:48:01

OK, OK. Sorry, not meaning to perpetuate gender stereotypes. Though clearly I do since my dd's premier ambition is "to marry a prince". But she's quite good at knocking down towers as well you know- when she's not using up the entire school budget on another ton of glitter...

headfairy Fri 17-Jun-11 17:04:05

well I don't either, but I'm increasingly starting to think those stereotypes have something in them. Ds will smash things dilligently, but get him to sit down for five minutes to read a story or draw a picture?No chance. Dd on the other hand... ok so she's only 18 months so no reading or drawing yet, but she'll happily sit down and learn how to do something she couldn't do before. Plus, we have ONE doll in the house, my sister gave it to her at Christmas but dd is mysteriously attached to the horrible ugly thing despite there being a wide selection of fire engines for her to play with grin

preschoolly Fri 17-Jun-11 17:09:45

ah, well I have two dds, but the second loves only primates - all dollies discarded in favour of a string of monkeys. So I don't know what that says about gender stereotypes. She does clothe them, and feed them bottles?

headfairy Fri 17-Jun-11 17:11:25

grin can't escape those bloody genes.

<replaces dds doll with a monster truck>

LetThereBeCake Fri 17-Jun-11 19:26:20

My DS2 starts reception in September and is summer born. Today he had a taster session at school and was given a piece of paper to "draw a picture of me".

Held pencil like spear, did a circle, got distracted, did some more circles, got cross, scribbled all over it. Then chose another colour and scribbled on top of the other scribble.

However, he can read (yellow band).

SuePurblybilt Fri 17-Jun-11 19:30:13

I've worked a fair bit with Reception children and I'd say that Lettherebecake's DS is more the norm. My DD is bright and can do most of your OP but she's 4.6. None of the rest of her PS can and that certainly doesn't mean they're dim.
I wouldn't worry.

woolleybear Fri 17-Jun-11 20:33:10

My dd is in the same year but September born, she can write really well but I think there are probably ony 5-6 other children doing the same (large Nursery, 45 ish kids). She is just starting to read, I don't know where others are with this.

Elibean Fri 17-Jun-11 21:36:14

dd2 is 4.5 and in a pre-school attached to her future primary. Most of the kids can have a stab at writing their names, but some of them (especially younger ones) either can't or simply aren't interested in trying. No one is worried smile
dd knows most but not all of her letters, can sound out very simple words (but isn't very interested in doing so), can draw pictures of her family, flowers, hearts and butterflies, can count up to 20 and do very simple additions. She has a great vocab, mainly because she never stops talking.
She has 4 little girl friends who can read, and write a little: they are older children, with older sisters, and 3 of them are being 'helped' in order to go to selective independent schools.
Some of them can wipe their own bottoms, some can't. Some have great vocabularies, some barely speak. Some are more mature in their social skills, others are definitely not. Quite often the ones who are ahead in one thing are not ahead in another.
Honestly, OP, I wouldn't worry!

houseofboys Fri 17-Jun-11 21:42:42

DS starting school in Sept ,he'll be 5 in Nov (so one of the oldest). He can just about - on a good day - write his name. Can count but doesn't recognize numbers when they are written down. May hazard a guess at a few letter sounds. But his pre-school say he's very bright in all sorts of ways, just not yet interested in doing 'paper stuff'. As I've two older DS I'm not worried, though I might have been if he was my first. DS2 was writing v well by end of pre-school and still is, and DS1 I've only just realised (having come across his foundation stage profile but obviously not knowing what it meant at the time) didn't meet any of his early learning goals or whatever they are called in literacy and numeracy. But now at 8 he's best reader in his class and not bad at other stuff too. So guess what I'm saying is I really don't think the putting marks on paper stuff matters at pre-school, especially for boys. But agree sounds like the intake at your pre-school are pretty advanced. None of my DS pre school cohort are reading but they don't push that at all in the setting. Most can write names and recognise letters and numbers, but thats it. And thats plenty!

blackeyedsusan Fri 17-Jun-11 22:06:14

work on walls is not a good indicater of ability. the children may have had a lot of help with it.

preschoolly Sat 18-Jun-11 10:29:52

thanks all. Not really worried - just children constantly surprise me with their achievements (that includes my own children, btw). Aren't they amazing - so lovely hearing about all of your kids and the different things that interest them. Dd produced a father's day card with a very recognisable person on it this week - body, head, face and all. A month ago that would have been a blob!

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