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How to help DD (6) work to the best of her ability?

(7 Posts)
thereisalightanditnevergoesout Mon 18-Jul-11 12:11:26

DD1 (6) has just had her Y1 report and it's mostly very good (1a for literacy - reading, writing, etc) and the same for numeracy. Science she got a 1b.

I noticed, within the foundation subjects she got quite a lot of 'working at' which surprised me - especially for art. She does the most amazing paintings and crafts at home but she doesn't seem to do the same at school. Now it doesn't bother me - I know what she is capable of, but it's got me thinking about other areas of her learning. And I think her teachers feel the same - her goal for next year is 'to always work to the best of her ability'.

I don't know how to say this without sounding like a really competetive mum (I promise I'm not), but can anyone offer any advice with regard to me motivating her a little bit more? We've had a bit of a tough couple of terms - particularly in terms of friendships (a couple of the more strong minded girls continually won't let her play) and she's been behaving differently in class - not naughty exactly, but refusing to do things that the teacher has asked her to do, and being a little defiant, and where she was once a child who people tried to distract, she's now trying her hand at being distracting herself.

I really don't think she likes school at the moment and I'm worried that she'll soon switch off and it'll be too late to catch up.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

cat64 Mon 18-Jul-11 14:29:12

Message withdrawn

thereisalightanditnevergoesout Mon 18-Jul-11 14:39:23

Thank you for replying.

I'm more than happy to accept that this may be who she is, but I feel that she has found this year really hard and I want to do my best to give her a chance to prove (to herself mostly) what she is capable of.

She did start off 'so well' (whatever that means) but seems to have taken a bit of a backwards step in terms of her learning - but maybe it's all part of the process. I don't think she's particularly happy. DH thinks I'm over-reacting, but you know when things are not quite right, don't you? I just wanted to do what I could to help her so she'd have a bit more confidence going into Y2, if that makes sense?

GooseyLoosey Mon 18-Jul-11 14:43:10

Can you identify what is making her unhappy? It may be if you address that, the other issues might be resolved.

Is there an incentive you could offer to reward her for working hard. Did this with dd going into Yr 2. She got 20p in a piggy bank for each day the teacher said she had listened well. I took 20p out for each day she had not. When the total got the £10, she was allowed to spend it. This was an enourmous amount of money for her.

Fennel Mon 18-Jul-11 14:46:43

I would concentrate on her being unhappy, if that's so, also on friendships, and confidence. Rather than worrying about her working "to the best of her ability" -for me, that's not really what being 6 should be all about. I don't think it's too late to catch up for a very long time.

thereisalightanditnevergoesout Mon 18-Jul-11 15:58:26

I wish I could, Goosey. I've been wracking my brains for months now. Her behaviour at home changed a while back - she became really stroppy and took it out on her siblings (she's the eldest of 4), and kept having complete tantrums all the time. She seemed to come home telling me that X wouldn't let her play, Y said she could only play if <insert random, bizare quest> Z told her that she wasn't her friend anymore. Now I know what girls are like, but seriously, I was getting this for 2-3 hours every night for weeks. DH seemed to think it was all OK and I was making a bit of a big deal about it. Anyway, I had a hunch she was like it at school (even though DH thought she was fine) - but her teacher said that she was glad I'd spoken to her about it - had anything happened at home, she really wasn't being herself.

So we've worked on her behaviour in class to a point. I check in with her teacher at the end of school to make sure she's behaved acceptably, then she gets a star on her reward chart. In the last little while her handwriting has improved - because she's been trying for her teacher. The friendships are still all over the place - in her year there are 15 kids, half of them girls. Half of the girls are really controlling and bossy and if they say you can't play, you can't play. I have mentioned this to school (as it seemed to tie in) and they said that they watched during that particular breaktime, but that she seemed fine. I didn't think that was wholly satisfactory, really as my gut feeling tells me there's more to it.

We both try to boost her confidence and praise her for the things she does well. She seems to have decided that if she can't finish first/be the neatest/get all the sums right/etc that she's not going to bother trying.

And the phrase 'to the best of her ability' wasn't mine, Fennel, but her teachers'. I also agree about it not being what being six is all about - but there seems so much pressure in terms of spellings, maths homework and all the kids are competing to be on the highest reading stage possible (she's on a stage which is very good for her age, but many of the other kids are way beyond her and they seem to really like to let her know about it.) and I think it's all taking its toll on her.

Because of this, I'm really looking forward to the summer holiday. I plan to slow it down and do lots of fun, creative things - baking, cooking, reading story telling etc. I'm a bit fed up with school, too sad.

GooseyLoosey Tue 19-Jul-11 13:38:58

I wouldn't assume that because school say everything is fine in the playground that that is right. We had an issue with ds and his friendship groups and they insisted for sometime that all was well. It took ds coming home covered in bruises and the other children admitting what they had done for any acknowledgement to be forthcomming.

I have also watched the girls in ds's class and the group dynamic is terrible - there is one girl in particular who they treat quite badly and it has a noticeable impact on her behaviour. Can you identify the alpha girl and either invite her around to play (if dd likes her) or have a word with her mother - not to complain but just to ask if alpha child has said whether there is anything going on?

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