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Reception Newbie - Is it normal to feel like this ?

(13 Posts)
BeaLola Wed 31-Oct-12 22:57:30


DS started R this year.

I feel like I'm letting him down for a number of reasons:

- the "clique" Mum's - I don't fit in with any of the groups. TBH I'm shy but have made effort to be friendly etc but I don't seem to slot into anywhere

eg - too old & not trendy for the young crowd

- not "connected /boden enough" for the non young Mummies

- some of the Mum's are on child 2 or 3 & have their good friendships formed from the Mums they met at the school when first child started which I understand

- some live really near eachother & have children who went to pre school etc , toddler groups together have years of established friendship

I know we are only at end of term 1 but I dread thinking that it will carry on like this as I don;t want him missing out on things because I don't fit in ?


I'm not brain of britain but I really feel that I have no idea what he should be doing/able to do at his age at school. Friends/colleagues whose children go to school elsewhere talk about the reading books sent home, words they are sent home with etc but DS doesn't get any of this . Teacher went on about the 7 foundation areas but re books they choose their own from library - this means DS comes home with anything from Ben 10 to Mr Men. They seem to spend a lot of time playing outside.

Does it all make sense eventually - I feel clueless? I know all schools are different but if I don't get it now will I ever ?

I just want him to be happy & reach his potential & not to struggle.

ninah Wed 31-Oct-12 23:29:22

look don't worry about fitting in, try to relax and just be yourself, like you would anywhere else. At school they will mainly be learning through play - a range of activities and resources to stimulate exploration and learning in the areas your teacher talked about. Some schools send home books at this stage, others don't - sounds like your school is encouraging the book sharing side of things at the moment and formal 'reading' will start later on. It all sounds normal and fine to me, try not to worry! I teach R btw.

givemeaclue Thu 01-Nov-12 08:42:08

Hi, we have started at a school where don't know anyone too. My suggestions are:

Go to pta meeting, you will be welcomed with open arms particularly if you volunteer to help at a fete or something. Good way to get to know people and find out more about school. You've got a great way to make small talk at the pta with the ones who have been at the school for longer "son has just started in reception, not got a clue how all this learning to read works , how did your child find it?'

- alloy you son to invite a friend or two for play/tea bete, school one day -try to pick one without older siblings, gives you an opportunity to talk to the mum " son would love it if bobby could come over and play after school one day"

-think about having a small get together at your house perhaps for a few kids and resents e.g Christmas, bonfire of whatever. A few fireworks, sparklers and sausages

I think you're going to have to be proactive in getting to know people and it will take a bi. Of effort but definitely worth it.

Good luck!

givemeaclue Thu 01-Nov-12 08:42:28

Sorry, parents not resents.

MrsCantSayAnything Thu 01-Nov-12 08:49:39

I had this OP (I am very shy) and I promise it will get better! Just smile, be nice and as for not knowing all the stuff to do with his education, I know how that feels! go in and ask for 10 mins of the teachers time in order for them to explain some things....ask about Jolly Phonics and if they can reccomend and dvds etc.

I have an older DD and remember how I felt when she out of it.

You will get to know more and more people....once all the fete's and fairs begin you find you meet people...especially if you volunteer for a stall!

noramum Thu 01-Nov-12 13:39:39

I was in a similar position and worse, I also work 4 days so hardly saw the other mums other than Fridays.

We started by inviting children DD mentioned for playing together. Also speak to your class rep to see if there is a contact list and suggest a coffee after school, drink in the evening or a meet in a soft play one afternoon. Join the PTA.

And: often mums may look like Yummy Mummies but can still be normal.

DD's also doesn't follow any reading scheme. We get everything and DD actually learnt a lot by sharing books and still learnt to read. The positive side I found was that we didn't get any tricky words to learn as they are covered by the normal books.

Allegrogirl Fri 02-Nov-12 20:03:14

I am in a similar position so you are not alone. DD's school has 90 in reception so I'm not sure where to start with inviting a friend back one day. I would be delighted to join the PTA but they meet on a weekday afternoon when I am at work.

I just focus on the fact that we have lots of friends, they just happen to be in different school catchments. I'm sure it will get better as the children settle in.

I'm also a bit puzzled by where DD should be with writing and stuff. I find it's best not to focus too much on how other schools do things. They all seem to have there own methods.

2cats2many Fri 02-Nov-12 20:11:43

My advice is to wait until after christmas and then start to try and make friends, have playdates etc. Just spend the next few weeks settling both of you in.

After christmas, your son will know who he likes and wants to invite over and you'll have a better idea of who you might have a rapport with.

The advice about joining the PTA is excellent advice. Its a great way to get involved in the life of the school and make friends.

Re: reading/ work, etc. My DD didn't bring home reading books until February in her reception year and is an excellent reader, so don't worry too much about it.

Everything will slot into place.

PastSellByDate Tue 06-Nov-12 07:05:14


Like all have said above there are many of us that are shy or like my name suggests 'older' Mums (although ancient may apply in my case).

I think the advice to smile at people - maybe say good morning will help. Remember that friendships take time and shared experience. As some have suggested - organise play dates or a birthday party. We found offering parents a coffee or tea at our DD1's YR birthday party and introducing ourselves and talking to them a bit about their child and their impressions of the school was a great way to 'break the ice'. I also found volunteering to help on field trips was also a good way of putting names to faces of my DDs friends.


Now the other side of your post is that you don't really understand what should be happening. This is a failure of communication at your school (which many schools - ours included - are guilty of). They know what is going on and don't seem to realise they haven't made that very clear to the parents, especially new parents to the school.

Our school was very traditional and treated the first term of reception as a time to settle children into the school routine, start to assess their ability and begin to introduce more formal aspects of learning. More formal school work tended to pick up after Christmas.

To help you understand the main curriculum areas but with the health warning that this is ideal world stuff - I'd recommend you visit the curriculum pages for primary school on Campaign for Real Education: This should be seen as what could happen in a perfect world and your school will most likely not be working to this - but it does help to give you an idea of what is possible to cover at a given age.

Now Class R in my experience (DD1 now Y5/ DD2 now Y3) was about:

Settling into formal education
Learning social skills
Learning to follow rules
Starting to learn to read (we used Jolly Phonics)
Starting to learn to write
Starting to learn to count (to 20 or 30 but ultimately to 100)

More able pupils might learn number bonds to 10 or to 20 (by which I mean the following:

1 - 0+1 or 1 +0
2 - 0+2, 1+1 or 2+0
3 - 0+3, 1+2, 2+1, or 3 + 0
4 - 0+4, 1 + 3, 2 + 2, 3 + 1 or 4 + 0

and so on

Counting by 2s (also learning concept of even and odd numbers)
Counting by 5s
Counting by 10s can also be introduced at this age

All of these things can be supported at home - and there's lots of lovely resources on-line but try starting with Oxford Owl here:

At parent/ teacher meetings ask the teacher 'Is there anything we should be working on at home?' - and really make a point of listening (maybe noting it down) and then go away and gradually work away at whatever the teacher suggested (maybe sounding out words [possibly saying blending - so knowing c + l = cl and o makes almost an ah sound and ck makes a strong K sound which all together = clock), reading with more expression, predicting what will happen next in a story, making up alternative endings, etc... or working on maths areas (great with food, buttons, marbles, etc...) or playing maths based games like Snakes and Ladders or on-line games.

My four tips are:

Try and find out what the phonics scheme (the system of understanding how to sound out letters or groups of letters) is they are using and see if you can't help at home with some workbooks. Jolly phonics is very popular and there are some lovely workbooks with lots of colouring in to do which are available on-line through amazon or at most major bookstores/ newsagents.

Try and read together as much as possible. You may be doing most of the reading at first - but if your DS is starting to sound out simple one syllable words let him have a go now and then and gradually start to shift the bulk of the reading over to him over KS1 (Y1 and Y2).

Try and encourage as much counting as possible - and use games with dice where you have to add on 1 - 6 or 1 - 12 to move forward to start giving experirence of addition. When you get to subtraction play games like snakes and ladders backwards to practice counting back.

If you're really confused about what you should be doing - talk to the teacher (catch them before school and say that you are very uncertain what you should be doing at home - could you maybe meet with them at some point to discuss what you should be doing?)

Now back to the first issue - not knowing anybody - you now have the ultimate subject of conversation for parents with older children in the school. Say hello and ask them if they've been at the school for a few years. Explain that you're new and really don't understand what is going on and then ask them if they can explain a bit more about what is happening in Year R. You'll find parents have all sorts of energy to discuss teachers/ curriculum/ etc... Take it all with a pinch of salt - but after talking to a few people you should have a better idea of what is going on and you'll have made some contacts at the school, some of which may bloom into friendships.


LeakyLoftHatch Tue 06-Nov-12 20:13:30

I felt exactly the same for pretty much the whole of my DDs reception year - especially as friends whose DC had started at other schools seemed to making 'mum-friends' really easily. This year she is in Year 1, I am finding it much easier for two reasons:
- I realised that not everyone is in a clique, it just felt like that to me, and when I really started to look, there were lots of other parents stood on their own
- I remembered that I have plenty of friends already, and decided not to care about making 'mum-friends' - if it happens, it happens.
So now I just turn up in the playground, smile and say hello if anyone catches my eye. I have chatted to a few people while waiting and at parties etc but have not made any what I would call friends, and it feels fine. Seems to make no difference whatsoever to my DD either. HTH.

lljkk Tue 06-Nov-12 20:29:19

Playing outside a lot sounds fantastic to me.

DC4 comes home from reception with reading books with many words in it. He can't read a single word of it.

You may never connect in my experience, but it doesn't matter as long as your child has a school social life they appreciate.

BeaLola Mon 12-Nov-12 13:29:05

Thank you all very much for your advice/tips. Some I was doing (just hadn't realised it myself) & other suggestions will try plus have DS party to meet parents at (or some of at least).

Vickles Mon 12-Nov-12 19:28:00

Our PTA held a 'mums/dad's night out the other week. It was a great success. Not just was it good for us Mum's who have known each other since pre-school, it was great to get to know the other Mum's and Dad's, who weren't at the school's pre-school. We all wrote our contact details on a sheet, and we were all emailed it. I got to know most of the other Mums's of girls, and boys, that I didn't know before. I always say hello to them when I see them, and try and have a natter, if the kids are not trying to escape!
Could you maybe suggest it?
My middle daughter is in Reception (August b'day) - and she is only bringing books back with no words in, and we talk about the pictures. She gets the odd letters and words.. but, not alot to be honest.
We had a curriculum evening a few weeks ago, and got to meet some of the parents there too. The teacher was saying that things have changed this year... that the Reception year is not mostly social and playing skills... All the children need to do is recognise the numbers 1-10 and most the jolly phonic sounds/actions/letters by the end of the year.

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