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What children ACTUALLY need to be able to do before they start reception

(41 Posts)
primaryschooladvice Sat 02-Jul-11 11:17:24

All your child really needs to be able to do before they start primary school is:

-Take off coat and hang up coat on their own
-Undress and redress on their own including shoes
-Be toilet trained and be able to wipe their own bum by themselves
-Be able to focus and sit for at least 10 minutes
-Be able to open lunchbox and any pots ect inside and feed themselves independently

That's it if you send your child to school being able to do these things they will thrive there is no need for your child to be able to read, write, spell, count before they go to school as many schools use different methods to teach this and sometimes have to spend way too much time reteaching children who have learned it in a different way and i know hundreds of teachers who would be over the moon if all children starting reception could do all these things

So there is no need to be competitive and say well my child can divide 56 by the square root of pi or to say well my child was so advanced we had to teach him how to read so he would not get bored its just not needed they need to learn how to play independently or they will fail in school as being able to do things independently is important learning to read, write, spell all before 5 is NOT

purepurple Sat 02-Jul-11 11:19:52

Totally agree.

Maryz Sat 02-Jul-11 11:36:29

I thought this was going to be a question and was going to post almost exactly what you have (only my last paragraph might have been ruder grin).

Can i just add one - recognise their own name when written (when mine started their hooks, desks, shoes etc were hard to find if they couldn't do this). And if there are going to be more than one with their name, they should recognise it with the first letter of their surname.

cory Sat 02-Jul-11 11:48:39

With all due respect, there are children who develop coordination very slowly and are going to be struggling with shoes at just 4 yo. We worked endlessly with ds and he still wasn't able to do all the things on the list. I don't know what else we could have done: unlike some continental countries, you don't get the option of deferring school if you feel your child is not ready.

But as a list for what most children should be able to do, it looks fine. A teacher can cope with one or two children who need a bit of extra help, but not with 30.

Maryz Sat 02-Jul-11 11:50:25

Cory, I think velcro shoes were the best invention ever. As the parent of a child who started school at just 4 (youngest in her class), and was pretty clumsy and unco-ordinated, velcro shoes and no-uniform saved my sanity.

She would never have coped with laces of school shirts with buttons.

lostinwales Sat 02-Jul-11 11:53:54

Oh I totally agree! (Although DS1 still has trouble with shoes and he's going up to secondary in September!) Children need to spend time being children, there is so much time to be stuck doing homework, exams, then jobs. In all honesty I think primary school to be a time to learn how to enjoy learning things so they are ready to get their teeth into secondary (well and be able to read and write of course!)

SoupDragon Sat 02-Jul-11 11:55:46

I also taught my 3 to write their names. It was the only thing I taught them and it helped them with recognising their name on their peg/the name board etc. Not essential by any means but it was useful.

Every parent needs to realise they should make it easy for their child: No buttons, no buckles, no laces, nothing tight fitting.

MigratingCoconuts Sat 02-Jul-11 12:47:56

wholeheartedly agree with you op!!!

magicmummy1 Sat 02-Jul-11 12:59:14

I agree, but would add that children also need to know how to share (if they want to make any friends), and I think a reasonable ability to follow instructions is also a big help.

From what I have seen, good social skills are likely to have a major impact on your child's experience at school - and if they are happy, they will be much more receptive to learning.

cory Sat 02-Jul-11 13:04:03

Maryz, he had velcro shoes, but he still managed to get them on the wrong feet, not get his feet in anyway, get his trousers back to front. Socks swere the worst: he took ages struggling to get his socks on after PE. And socks were a compulsory element of the school uniform so I couldn't make life easier by sending him in without them.

He is still at 11 the most un-coordinated person I have ever known.

Maryz Sat 02-Jul-11 13:08:47

I sympathise with that too! Wellies were our bugbear - she never managed the right feet (how she didn't notice when they were on, I will never know confused).

Mine didn't change for PE (PE in Ireland is 20 minutes playing games in the yard hmm), I have no idea how she would have coped. Fortunately she (mostly) grew out of her awkwardness, though now she is back to taking 2 hours to try on everything she owns/put on makeup get ready to go out.

SoupDragon Sat 02-Jul-11 14:13:46

Wellies are easy to solve (school shoes less so) - draw half a smiley face on each welly so that they only see the whole face if the boots are on the right feet.

I think I heard this on MN many moons ago.

colditz Sat 02-Jul-11 14:15:55

You can draw the smily face on the inside of the shoe so that the smily face is visible when the shoes are 'ready to put on'

BellaBearisWideAwake Sat 02-Jul-11 14:19:00

Smiley face on wellies - genius! That has to be the most simple useful advice I have across on here!

JemimaMop Sat 02-Jul-11 14:19:28

cory my 7 year old DS still has trouble with his socks. He is pretty bright and reading etc came easily to him, but his co-ordination is awful. He still has stabilisers on his bike and I have only just got him to use the correct pencil grip. He came home from school one day and told me that "Sam's smelly socks" was an alliteration as the TA who was helping him get dressed after PE had taught him that, but he still can't put his socks on.

They are all different.

MarioandLuigi Sat 02-Jul-11 14:19:34

DS wont be able to do any of those things when he starts in September sad

StealthPolarBear Sat 02-Jul-11 14:22:09

Why is that Mario?

StealthPolarBear Sat 02-Jul-11 14:22:35

Bit concerned by the wipe bum thing...DS has not really got the hang of this...

80sMum Sat 02-Jul-11 14:28:59

Many children start formal schooling far too young, imo. My sister (born August) did not start school until the September after she was 5 (this was in 1960s). Nowadays the poor little things are expected to start a whole year earlier, when many of them are simply not mature enough to cope. Whose bright idea was that, I wonder? Is there any evidence at all that children actually benefit from starting school so young? My suspicion is that there is no benefit whatsoever to the child, it is simply more convenient for the school to have them all starting at the same point in the school year.

MarioandLuigi Sat 02-Jul-11 14:31:55

He has ASD and Dyspraxia and he cant dop any of those things listed despited us trying for over a year to prepare him for school.

However I do agree that an NT child only needs to be able to do all those things when they start school. Its all DS1 could do and he has made great progress.

AdelaofBlois Sat 02-Jul-11 14:45:27

I write in fear because DS (verbally dyspraxic, going to school at 4 and 4 days and really tiny for his age) is unable or unwilling to do nearly all these things (even toilet training's gone wrong recently, despite lots of HV assurances that it will get better again). I work in primary schools, and I know that many reception teachers I have worked with will suggest sending him home if it doesn't click soon (which would be a shame because he can read a lot and his confidence would be helped no end by being rewarded for that).

But, yeah, the list is fine (the name recognition bit is also important, although a way round it is to send keyrings or charms to attach to bags, bookbags and pegs until this clicks).

Maryz Sat 02-Jul-11 15:02:44

Mario, I wouldn't worry too much - the main reason that NT children should know these things (as well as they can) is that it gives the teacher and TA a little more time to help the children who genuinely can't.

LiegeAndLief Sat 02-Jul-11 15:08:53

I agree with Cory. Ds1 is terribly uncoordinated and despite me trying really hard to teach him, he couldn't dress himself well or really hang his coat up or open the pots in his lunchbox when he started reception. Shoes were a bit of a struggle and he really couldn't do socks. He is at the end of reception now and is nowhere near managing buttons, can't zip his coat up etc.

He was absolutely fine though, got another child to open his snack pot every day, the teachers helped him with the rest (think another child helped him zip his coat up a few times as well!). I do sometimes worry that the teachers will be pissed off having to help but I really have tried to teach him all these things, he just has very bad fine motor skills, which is also impacting on his writing so at the moment we are concentrating on that. Might need button boot camp over the summer though as he is in uniform next year..

LiegeAndLief Sat 02-Jul-11 15:10:06

He is also an August baby. Can do everything on list now so if he was born earlier in the year he would have gone into reception being able to do it all.

hocuspontas Sat 02-Jul-11 15:18:55

Why do you think schools want the children to all start at the same time? The opposite I would have said! It's the government's idea to give parents the option of when the children start. 100% of ours have opted for the full Reception year.

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