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How are bright children stretched in Year 1?

(174 Posts)
noseynoonoo Thu 06-Dec-12 23:04:20

My daughter is relatively bright. Her teacher tells me that she is the most able in the class by some distance. However, she doesn't tell me what is being done to stretch her other than encouraging her to tidy up her handwriting. I have witnessed the teacher telling DD not to participate in some work because others will copy her rather than work it out for themselves. This is great for everyone except her. A few ways to stretch her were suggested by previous teacher but current teacher doesn't 'believe' in these ideas.

I appreciate that she can't teach DD parts of the syllabus in advance but can she be stretched in a sideways direction? I'm a bit intimidated by the teacher, I don't want to sound like a pushy parent but I don't understand how DD is reaching her full potential as things stand.

The school is making a point of making efforts to help children with special needs and on the G&T register but I haven't been told how this applies to DD.

What should I expect to happen?
How can I ensure that DD is stretched (whilst not looking like a pushy-mum)?

noisytoys Fri 07-Dec-12 22:23:56

I didn't have her tested for Mensa. She was referred to an ed psych at her 2 year check by the health visitor who did an IQ test as part of her report. The ed psych recommended Mensa because they have close links with NAGC and Mensa accepted the ed psych report for membership. Membership at her age is £1 a month so nothing to lose. I wouldn't have even thought to do it otherwise nor would I have gone out of my way to do it

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 22:26:07

My dad tells an amusing tale of attending an evening course at warwick university some years ago. The adjacent lecture theatre was overflowing to the point of bursting with folks - when he asked what was going on he was told it was a lecture on 'how to deal with your gifted child'..... There was also a fascinating series on radio 4 last year following up on child prodigies, now grown up. Most of their tales were sad.

As a mum of 2, who prob would have been G&T had it existed in the 70s, please just keep it real, make sure not all the eggs are in the academic basket, encourage all the interests just are you are doing but never lose sight of the bigger picture (which is to be happy and sane in life). Many of the kids I remember doing well at primary school didn't end up doing anything unusual even by univeristy level. I also have a nunber if highly successful academic collagues who were (sometimes very) late developers.

sorry for the lecture, a busy and stressful week...

adeucalione Fri 07-Dec-12 22:37:28

OP, I would expect the teacher to be differentiating every lesson for the most able, although this may take the form of differentiation by outcome or asking her more challenging questions in the plenary (so not necessarily something you could tell from looking at her books).

In maths and science I would expect your DD to complete the basic work and move on to an extension activity that stretches or broadens the learning objective.

In literacy she will be encouraged to consolidate the skills needed to achieve the next NC sub level. At our school the children have their targets pasted into their books, so your DD may know what hers are.

All of this will almost certainly be happening as a matter of course, and if your DD is progressing and happy then you have nothing to worry about; if not, ask for specifics from the teacher.

allchildrenreading Fri 07-Dec-12 22:41:30

Underlying all this is the misery for the child who is subjected to 'dumbing down'. There are heaps of 'sideways' approaches that don't entail pressurized learning, but what is difficult for a chlld is to be constrantly understretched. The potential is so enormous in the early years and the disillusion is very real when leaden, repetitive, mechanical approaches are all that is on offer. Children who are bright sbould be given as much care as those who need 'catch-up' provision:not more, not less.

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 22:51:18

I think we need a bit of perspective here. When we're saying that our four or five year old daughters can read the Ladybird edition of Red Ridinghood we're not saying that at that point she should be considered for a chair of physics at Cambridge. What we're saying is that maybe the next book should be the Ladybird edition of The Three Little Pigs.... (And then the chair of applied mathmat) sorry.

mrz Fri 07-Dec-12 22:55:52

Mensa won't test until 10.5 years bamboostalks

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 22:58:00

like it learn and say.

I just don't get why everyone is in such a rush, surely if your DC is doing well it's just great, a lovely opportunity to get on with some lovely books at home and absolutely no stress over academics/trying to learn phonics etc rather than anything to be concerned about?

mrz Fri 07-Dec-12 23:05:33

The other perspective is a child is only in school for a few hours a week so there is an enormous opportunity to stretch children in areas that just aren't available in most schools. It is highly unlikely that a child will encounter mechanical, leaden, repetitive approaches in an EY setting but neither are they going to have access to nuclear physics 101

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:08:50

I'll be honest with you, monkey, I believe today it's all caught up in targets; everybody has to meet them. But yesterday it wasn't any different. I've a dear rural friend who tells me sad stories of academically gifted children who were taken out of school to work on the harvests and whose families (I presume fathers) objected to them being in school because that meant that an able hand was missing from the field. Aren't we all caught up in our environment? Personally I think it's all a little silly. But let children read and write if they want to read and write and I, for one, will deal with tomorrow tomorrow.

cassell Fri 07-Dec-12 23:16:02

Monkey - have you known the misery of being a bright dc who is bored rigid at school and miserable because you are constantly told by the teachers to repeat work you could do standing on your head because the rest of the class have not caught up yet and not allowed to read the books you want to (and are perfectly able to) read because they are deemed beyond your class? That's why it's important - so that bright children are encouraged and supported to achieve their best and enjoy their time at school. It's not about doing exams early or anything like that (IMO) it's much more about meeting and encouraging the thirst for knowledge instead of turning the dc off learning because they are so bored.

OP - don't worry about being seen as a 'pushy parent' sometimes you need to be for the benefit of your dd. My DM had a constant battle when I was at primary school to get the teachers to give me work that would stretch me and allow me to read the higher level books etc and I remember and value her input - my time at school was hugely improved by her 'pushiness'. I vividly remember starting school at 4 and being so disappointed that I was made to repeat things I could already do. A decent school and a decent teacher should be able to provide your dd with the work and attention she needs. Unfortunately there are teachers (like some posters on here) who believe in teaching to the mediocre and almost seem to take a delight in holding back bright children (certainly many of my teachers did). I'm in the process of choosing a primary school for my ds1 and am depressed to find that not much seems to have changed.

Good luck with meeting the g&t co ordinator, I hope s/he can step in to ensure your dd is given the greater challenge she needs.

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:26:40

Cassell, I think monkey's original point was that Warwick's lecture theatre was bulging with proud parents, just as mumsnet's gifted and talented section is bulging with proud parents. Parents have a reason to be proud, their children are keen and bright. But if every parent had equal access to preferential schooling, as you are so pleased that your mother wrestled out of a school for you, then what sort of resources would be left for every child whose mother wrestled extra resources out for her child? Rather than fighting the school, I believe a mother who thinks that she has a bright child should get her bum down to WH Smiths, buy some educational manuals and spread them out on the kitchen table.... (or get a tutor.)

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 23:34:29

Sorry if I have understimated how bad some schools could be: I just never saw anyone bright being bored at (my state primary) school, it's such a busy place even for the brightest. Especially not at such a young age.

I don't think the OP is being pushy, I just wouldn't see that 'being stretched' at school is entirely necessary in year 1, and certainly could be achieved at home if the child was interested.

monkey42 Fri 07-Dec-12 23:36:29

learnandsay i think we sing from the same hymn sheet.....!!!

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:45:14

Well, maybe if they'll listen to us, monkey, (which I sincerely doubt that anybody will) then this year WH Smith's educational department will have a bumper year! (I raise a mince pie to you.)

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 23:48:10

Well,I don't believe that my DC school are hugely good at extending the bright children once they get into KS1 (hence my concern) but my main concern is that DD is happy (she is only in reception now) and "wants" to read or whatever she wants to do iyswim,although reading seems to be her passion ATM.

However I do think that things open massively once they get into KS2 later on...

My theory has always been that the school teach my child how to read and I teach my DC a love of reading, but DD had other ideas!!!

And yes,quite frankly I obviously don't want her reading physics 101, I just want her to be happy and progressing well in school (and don't think there is anything wrong with that).

simpson Fri 07-Dec-12 23:50:05

Learnandsay -check out the £££ shop, they are cheaper and have some books which DD loves, some of them are wipe clean,to be used again....

learnandsay Fri 07-Dec-12 23:52:33

A mince pie to you too, simpson, my dear. Hope all is well.

cassell Sat 08-Dec-12 00:05:15

My mother did do a huge amount of extra work with me at home as did my father, across all topics. That did not get away from the fact that i was bored and miserable for 6 hours a day. It was not extra resources I wanted at school simply to be allowed to read books from eg year 2 when I was in reception and do the work from year 2 etc. I hardly think that moving me up a year (which was one of the results she achieved) disadvantaged anyone else - in fact they probably got more of the teacher's time when I wasn't there complaining every 5 mins that I'd finished the work and wanted more wink

There are plenty of resources it appears (and all the schools I'm visiting now go on about this) for those with learning difficulties - well fine, they should be supported but why should bright children suffer as a result? Why can't the resources be provided more fairly? Bright children have as much right as those with learning difficulties to work at an appropriate level.

<demanding child turned into pushy parent>

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 00:11:39

<<cheers>> LandS!!

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 00:18:29

I see no need for labels age 4,5,6. Am with monkey and las. Breathe, enjoy, engage with your child. Job done grin

noisytoys Sat 08-Dec-12 06:46:59

I think the issue is, if a child is assessed to have an IQ in the bottom 0.1%, quite rightly I would expect some different provisions to be made so they are learning at their level without being expected to learn at the level of the rest of the class. Why them does a child with an IQ at the top 0.1% have to learn with the rest of the class? Thankfully DDs school feels the same and does differentiate work for DD

mrsshears Sat 08-Dec-12 07:11:58

Well I think it's best to start as you mean to go on and tackle the issue asap with children who are gifted/working ahead.
My own dd is 99.9th percentile and is nowhere near as far ahead as she was in nursery, still ahead and is predicted 3's in her sats but nothing like in nursery, its a long story but school are not dealing with dd well across the board not just academically and we are permanently contemplating a move.
Schools need to identifiy these children early on and provide for them to stop other issues setting in imo the earlier the better.

SantasBitch Sat 08-Dec-12 07:29:38

My daughter was the same as yours in Reception, Yr 1 and Yr 2. She entered Reception as a free reader and was light years ahead of her contemporaries. They allowed her to use the junior school library and she had "extension" literacy classes (I say classes, she was on her own). Her maths was also at a similarly advanced level, and she was given work to stretch her. On entering Year 3, her reading age was assessed to be that of a 15 year old (and apparently she had the highest reading age in the school) and she did English with the year 5/6 class. Impressive, no? Like your kids?

DD1 is now 14. While she is undoubtedly bright, and has a gift for creative writing, her contemporaries have now all caught up. She is no longer "the bright girl", she is comfortably in the middle of the top set for all of her subjects except maths (where she is in the second set). No question of her being G & T now. So children do change - while your child might not be any less bright, prepare for him or her to be overtaken and a raft of others to catch up at some point.

Oh, and I have an unread copy of "Raising a Gifted Child." PM me if you'd like it!

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 08:39:18

I can't help thinking that these stories of clever children being caught up or overtaken are entirely the fault of the parents. If a seven year old has the mathematical ability of a fifteen year old she can solve problems, understand simple geometry and if they're explained clearly and simply enough she can understand basic equations, (or depending on how creative her teacher/parent is, understand harder equations.) If she's only being given times tables to learn and primary school maths, then of course her classmates are going to catch up, doh!

So, the fact that she wasn't given work the next level up is entirely the fault of her silly mum. Nobody can expect primary schools to teach seven year olds algebra. But mum can.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 09:12:18

Cassell, your own childhood experiences are hopefully a thing of the past as the vital importance of differentiation is well understood, taught by teaching training providers and, more importantly, easy to implement. I have experience of a number of schools and have never come across a teacher that didn't care about differentiation or take pride in the achievement of the brightest pupils; copious assessment points and spreadsheets ensure it.

Unfortunately some parents do not always understand how it is done, grow restless when their child's lead begins to wane, want something that teachers know is not in their child's best interests or simply have an unclear picture of their child's abilities.

Clever children don't usually get bored; their lively minds take an idea they already know all about and take it to the next level, they write amazing stories, they wonder what will happen if they move the decimal point, they want to know what space is made from. You see these children launch into secondary school and know that they will do amazingly well.

Meanwhile the clever children with the wrong attitude - arrogance, self esteem reliant on achievement, disdain for less able peers, inability to work in a group, easily bored, no interest in subjects they or their parents consider unimportant, no respect for school staff etc go on to flounder. In Y1 I would urge parents to concentrate on all of these attitudes and the rest will come.

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