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Can you give me an opinion/ advice on this description and situation of DD aged 6 pls? - long sorry

(42 Posts)
DoctorAnge Fri 22-Feb-13 17:49:21

DD was always a bright and responsive child. She seemed to grasp all milestones of speech and movement v quickly and was just very "aware" from an early age.
At pre-school she again seemed to do v well and her reading and writing was coming along. We decided to go for an "assessment day" at the local Independent school with a reputation for being highly academic. She loved it and got a place so we kind of went ahead although I always had misgivings about if it would be right for her.
Year 1 went well but she had a lot of absence as she developed a medical condition that needed 1 week hospitalisation and ongoing treatment. This I feel broke her stride a little although she made progress in a class of extremely able girls.
Year 2 in Nov sadly she required another hospitalisation and treatment which I feel really threw her confidence wise and emotionally and she has struggled academically since. The other girls are steaming ahead and DD just isn't "into" reading, writing and Maths like I assumed she would be.
To give an overview she writes neatly and joined up as they have been taught but has trouble spacing. She reads v nicely when she is set as H/wk, ORT level 7, but doesn't seem to grab the many chapter books I have bought her and read for the love of it like I and DH used to. The kind of things they ask them to do in class is write a story about something. Some of the others write an A4 page nicely spaced and good spelling v descriptive. DD is very basic and less than half an A4 page. She can't seem to make the leap of imagination and put it into her work.
She draws beautifully, has an incredible fantasy life with her toys and is a whizz on the computer but when I steer her to the more "educational" games she won't try and leans towards the games for younger 3-5 group. I must admit at times I have got v frustrated at her for not picking up things quickly asp in maths ( they are working on division and Times tables) and I feel terribly guilty for that sad
She is very articulate at home and has a great vocabulary, but at school I think she doesn't show her true personality although she has socialised brilliantly and is very happy with good friends there. Playdates are always successful. She can be very unsettled by loud sounds and is twitchy which I have noticed a lot recently.
She is empathy personified and makes mature conversation where she asks others about their feelings -almost like a little councillor! and listens beautifully.
My concerns are I don't want her to feel like she is constantly catching up with these dare I say very academically pushy extroverted girls in her peer group when she is a gentle, uncompetative soul really. My instinct tells me to move schools to a more relaxed environment but would that be doing her any good in the long run?
Thanks for reading

musicalfamily Sun 24-Feb-13 16:38:30

Reading your post I would echo what some have already said and would comment that:
1 - Not loving reading is just a phase and it isn't an indication of being or not being academic in my experience. She might feel the pressure to read and I would encourage her to read even 3 or 4 years olds stories if that's what she likes to do (have had similar with DD1...)
2 - It sounds like she has issues with her confidence, which is not surprising considering what she is going through. One of my children has been very ill last year and he is a whole year behind developmentally and is slowly catching up. It's not to say it always happens that way but it can do in my experience.
3 - Moving her is not going to necessarily address the problems as it depends entirely on what the cohort you move her to is like - even in a bog standard state primary you can find a group of extremely bright children, way more advanced of what you have described in the OP. (This certainly was/has been the case in all my children's classes so far). If she was in the middle or bottom group of a different primary and then had to start again with no friends it would be even worse for her - I would be inclined to keep her where she is.
4 - Finally it is true what others' on here have said and take with a pinch of salt what the other children are up to. Some might be very advanced all round or in some areas but I would be shocked if - even in a top selective school - all children are writing beautifully with no help or doing maths 2 or 3 years ahead. There is always a range!
So.......................the first thing I would do is to stop feeling the competition and just carry on making sure your DD is making good progress. Good luck with it and hope your DD is recovering and doing well with her health.

Fairenuff Sun 24-Feb-13 14:52:53

You can't force your child to enjoy reading for pleasure.

Children will develop at their own pace and whilst you can encourage and offer opportunities to learn, you cannot choose what activities they will be good at or enjoy.

I would leave her to get on with her school work at school, help her with homework and then just play with her. If there is a problem with her levels, the school will let you know.

Otherwise, the only person who cares whether she is top, middle or bottom of the class is you.

Just let her play and choose the activites she likes. Her reading skills will develop naturally but by trying to force it, you might put her off completely.

Btw the children in the Year 1 state school that I work in are reading up to level 10 ort and working on times tables and division. But only those that are ready.

There are also children who are still learning simple graphemes and phonemes and number bonds to 5. There is a massive difference in the expected ability at that age, so don't worry about, it's too stressful for the child.

BarbarianMum Sun 24-Feb-13 10:27:23

Is your daughter's confidence knocked by the fact that she is not top of her class (hate that phrase but you know what I mean), or is the worry largely yours?

In all classes there is a range of ability. The more academically selective the environment, the harder it will be for your daughter to be amongst the most able - that's common sense.

If she was making the same progress but was top of her class would you be happy?

Ultimately a highly pressured academic school may not be the best place for your dd because as you have pointed out it is possible to be very bright without needing or enjoying that kind of competition. But 6 is probably too young to make that decision, esp if she is quite happy.

ilovepowerhoop Sun 24-Feb-13 10:01:37

ds is 6 and wouldnt write a page of A4. He doesnt read chapter books but likes it when I read them to him - recently finished the third of the Magic Faraway Tree books. DS has been doing times tables and division but is the only person in his year doing them as they dont normally start that until higher primaries (he gets 1 to 1 maths teaching on a Monday as he has shown a flair for maths since he was at nursery). DD is 9 and reads for pleasure but didnt start reading chapter books until maybe age 7/8.

thegreylady Sat 23-Feb-13 20:46:56

my dgs is in Y1 at a state school where he is said to be doing very well [ORT Purple] etc.He couldn't write an A4 page of beautifully spaced joined up writing! He can write a page of interesting work but it will be obviously by a 6 year old iykwim! Your dd sounds great to me.Relax for a while and let her develop at her own pace.The teacher will tell you if there is cause for concern.

sittinginthesun Sat 23-Feb-13 16:35:36

If she is happy, and if you are happy with the school itself, I would leave her.

But, do try and ignore the work on the classroom wall/other parents etc. I was always amazed by the beautiful neat written work compared to the messy stories written by my DS in infants. The teacher kept telling me it was fine, that his imagination and vocab was the key thing. Sure enough, he was 7th out of 30 to get his "pen licence", and was described as a "comfortable level 4" at the end of year 3. This is a child who could hardly hold a pen in year 1.

Your DD sounds a bright girl. I think you maybe need to encourage, but don't stress.

Hope her health is settling.

Biscuitsneeded Sat 23-Feb-13 13:25:31

If she is happy where she is, then leave her. Maybe she isn't the very best reader or writer of stories, but she sounds as if she is doing very well nevertheless. The other stuff will come, if she is intelligent and articulate. My Ds1 was a bit like this, did fine in Y1 but without shining, didn't really want to read chapter books etc. I worried a bit because as a child I always had my head in a book. He found his stride in Y2 and that teacher and this year's (Y3) have both, unprompted, used the word 'bright' to describe him. He now reads Harry Potter books for pleasure at night and wakes up talking about them, he misses nothing, he can hold a conversation on lots of topics and is shrewd and perceptive. Given the choice he would still prefer to write a story on half a page rather than ten pages, but that is not a measure of intelligence! I think your daughter will thrive and flourish in the next year or so, and if she is happy socially I wouldn't jeopardise that. Being in a very able class can only do her good as she will progress with them, instead of perhaps being the best in a less able class and not having the motivation to make further progress. It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing, ultimately!

ipadquietly Fri 22-Feb-13 23:37:13

A few of my Y2 class write an A4 page+, but many don't. Your dd sounds completely normal and, luckily, has the verbal and social skills to help her progress.

Before you move schools...... it is documented that service children who often move schools need about 6 months 'settling down' time when they move. It seems like lots of people are happy to move their children from their perfectly reasonable schools without considering the detrimental effect on the child.

At my school, the 'transient groups' of children always lag behind the children who have been at the school for all the primary years.

dikkertjedap Fri 22-Feb-13 23:33:44

She has had to deal with a lot of stuff, in spite of that she has been good at establishing friendships (which is often one of the areas this age group struggles with in my experience as a primary school teacher). I would leave her where she is. She needs some time to catch up. You can help her catch up during weekends maybe, but I would first speak to the teacher to see if this is really necessary.

I expect that if she can have an uninterrupted run, she is going to be fine.

tiggytape Fri 22-Feb-13 23:25:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Haberdashery Fri 22-Feb-13 20:46:27

I do not think that even easy chapter books are that much fun for someone on ORT 7, I'm afraid. I see exactly what you want for her but it's no fun struggling with the mechanics of reading in order to get a good story - more fun for you to keep reading her the chapter books and develop her love of stories. Her reading will get fluent in the end (ORT 7 would be a bit above average in my Y1 DD's class so it's really fine).

simpson Fri 22-Feb-13 20:38:16

ORT 7 is pretty good for yr1.

If you do want to try chapter books you can try the "Morris the Cat" books, I think my DD managed (and enjoyed) them at stage 7.

It sounds like she is doing well. I would have a quick chat with the teacher if you are concerned.

breatheslowly Fri 22-Feb-13 20:14:15

For some children, what they do at school is "work" and in the same way that we don't want to work outside our normal working hours, nor do they. Attempting to get her to read at the edge of her current capabilities at home may simply be too like work. Dropping back to easier books at home could provide a fun way to consolidate her existing skills and provide a steadier platform for her to go on from. Don't feel that doing so isn't helping her to advance - it will both help her to practise existing skills and get her back to reading for fun. If you get to the point of fed up and tired then you will be reinforcing any negative feelings she has about the situation or activity.

Writing imaginative stories is hard because you have to keep the ideas in your mind while sorting out spelling, punctuation etc. Once these things become second nature to her, the imagination will move from her spoken stories onto paper.

It is also very easy to hear about individual skills of other girls and combine them into one. It is likely that X will have neat handwriting, Y will be better at constructing sentences and Z can do her times tables. There will occassionally be children who can do all well, but most children have comparative strengths and weaknesses. This will be magnified by what is on display (unless the school displays all the work or does so more fairly) and what the other mothers say.

All of that said, I think that some children are better off being at the top of a mixed ability class than in the middle or bottom of a selective one. It all depends on the child in question and you might like to think of moving her for year 3 (ideally to somewhere taking on at least 50% of their year 3s so she isn't "the new girl") or secondary level to a more mixed school. At the moment she may not know that she is at a selective school and that even if she is in the bottom 25% there, she is still in the top 10% of the wider population (or whatever the figures are).

SunflowersSmile Fri 22-Feb-13 19:51:25

It does sound like a very high achieving class- more like your average year 3!
She sounds a very bright little girl.
Keep an eye on whether she is happy at this school.
Chat to the teacher if you feel her confidence is down.
Good luck.

basildonbond Fri 22-Feb-13 19:48:13

honestly she sounds like she's doing fine considering she's only 6 - in any other setting she'd be right at the top

fwiw when ds1 was half way through Y1 he'd only just started reading at all - but was reading chapter books fluently by the end of the year so they can make astonishing amounts of progress in a very short space of time at that age

At that age he could barely write a sentence and it certainly wasn't joined up, however he's 16 now and predicted all A*s and As for GCSE

Do talk to her teacher and make sure they flag up any possible concerns sooner rather than later - a friend's dd is at a very similar academically high-flying prep attached to senior school and she's been advised that her dd won't make it into the senior school so they need to start looking somewhere else for her

TuesdayNightDateNight Fri 22-Feb-13 19:46:09

DD is also 6 and in year 1. She is at the brighter end of average in reading and writing, in the top 5 of the class (I know this for various reasons) and working to level 2b in reading and level 1a in writing. She reads well but her spelling is pretty random and very phonetic. She can write very neatly, but doesn't always and her spelling is not always consistent.

Maths wise, she is probably about average for her class. There s literally no way that she could do times tables or division and is really only just getting the number line straight in her head.

She is at a very good state infants, but for what it's worth, her friends at private school are much the same and in fact working at a lower level. It's possible you are unlucky in that the other children are exceptionally bright, but this might push your DD on. I honestly don't think you have anything to worry about though.

I found myself concerned that DDs maths is not up to her literacy, but I am trying to remind myself that she doesn't need to be top of the class in everything and that someone has to make up the middle ground!

fluffywhitekittens Fri 22-Feb-13 19:12:39

Dd is six she is probably the higher end of average. Very articulate and writes pages of stories at home for fun. Her writing however is not joined up, not very neat and spelling is "interesting".She has just started beginning to read very short chapter books. She was never interested in reading and writing particularly at Pre school or even reception. She has come on leaps and bounds ths year because she wants to. I never pushed her reading, although part of me wanted to.
It would seem the other children at working at a very high level but you really need to speak to the teacher to see how your daughter is doing.
A change of school may or may not help. She would possibly be top end of the class in a non selective state school or she may catch up with the others in her existing class later.
Part of me just wants to say FFS she's only six.

DoctorAnge Fri 22-Feb-13 19:09:18

totally wow thank you for such a thoughtful post. Some wonderful suggestions. It is clicking how anxious I have been and how off putting that must be for her. I will truly try to relax and do things for the fun of them get her thinking that way.

Llare your son sounds amazing. I think when you say there is a range in his class that is something DD really does not have in this school - they all seem v clever. Lovely girls but all quite similar in ability - high!.

pink Yes DD sees a play therapist. I actually met with her HOY to discuss DD and to explain exactly what she goes through in hospital - painful IV treatment for hours at a time sad. She was shocked and made notes re. her confidence and said they would do some circle time about self esteem. She was great actually, her class teacher less empathetic.

Thanks again for your kind and reassuring comments

MammaMedusa Fri 22-Feb-13 19:02:09

I wouldn't push chapter books at all. Six is so young and you do not want to put her off. If you are worried about exposure to stories, then audiobooks are great. Otherwise just have lots of lovely books around, including all her old picture books, and read to her loads.

When she is reading a bit more comfortably (for my kids, this was more like ORT 10 / 11), then I found reading the first couple of chapters of a book and then leaving it lying round worked quite well! I'd go to finish reading the book to them and get "but I've read it, mum".

Kithulu Fri 22-Feb-13 18:59:32

I am shocked to b honest that they are reading chapter books in year 1. Mine only started to read chapter books in year 3. DS1 is predicted A* s at gcse now. so don't worry.

pinkpaperpiggy Fri 22-Feb-13 18:58:38

I also have a 6 year old dd. She in in the equivalent of YR 1 (not in uk) and they are no where near times tables and division yet!

In fact they are on the number 8 - talking about 8, writing it correctly, making groups of 8, doing 1+7, 2+6 etc.

So if your dd is managing what they are doing in her class she is doing very well indeed in my opinion.

Your description of her being 'unsettled' and 'twitchy' sounds like my dd was after many hospital stays etc. I think people underestimate how much that can affect a young child.

We tool dd to see a Play Therapist and it helped her so much.

Llareggub Fri 22-Feb-13 18:58:13

Just as a way of comparison, my son is also 6. He is articulate and questions everything. For example, we were watching the news together one day and he said, without any prior discussion, "that the news programme tell us what they want to us know, not what is actually happening in the world." He shows me constantly that he is capable of ndependent though; he designed and made a safety gate with a child lock when our holiday gaff didn't have one. It was awesome.

He doesn't read or write much. I think he is on ORT 2 or something and reads one sentance pages. He can't spell for toffee.

Do I worry? Maybe a little, especially when I see the lovely neat pages produced by the girls in his class. But my son is wonderfully quirky and I am sure he will write eventually. They are still so very young and there is such a range of ability at their age. I am pretty sure it all evens out in the end.

If she is happy where she is, leave her there.

totallyrandom Fri 22-Feb-13 18:52:22

OP your DD sounds like a wonderful bright child with lots of imagination and talent. So her creativity/imagination will filter into her writing when she is ready.
Do you play "making up stories" with her? I was trilingual as a child and loved reading, but remember it being difficult to write properly until I was about 8. I had too much imagination and did not know how to capture it in writing as I struggled with structure. By secondary school, I had got it and was really good at essay writing. My mum helped me as we used to make up stories together and then write them (together). You could make up stories together and then she could draw them if your DD loves drawing (with a bit of writing if she wants). She might even want to do a mini "illustrated" story.
Re reading, just keep reading to her. Does she like listening to stories? I think reading is all about passion and that will come too when she is ready.

Re educational games, does she like girlie board games (e.g. princess snakes and ladders) at all/playing shop with money etc? Why does it matter if she steers towards younger age group games when they are educational?

She sounds happy and settled at her school. Are you sure she wants to move (rather than you worrying that you made the wrong choice by putting her there)? What do her teachers say re her progress? I think you should keep boosting her confidence by focussing on all the stuff that she is really good at so she knows she is talented and clever.

If it is an independent school and she is happy, I wouldn't move her yet but talk to her teachers in confidence re her progress and what to do to make her feel confident about her abilities.
Also, how does she feel about her health? Is it possible, that the anxiety about her health has knocked her confidence a little if she is a sensitive soul?

DoctorAnge Fri 22-Feb-13 18:49:57

Thanks everyone. Lop she can just about manage rainbow fairies with support as you say. But she gets tired and fed up so I usually finish for her. Today I bought her a horrid Henry chapter book with larger print and lots of pics and a book with a fluffy kitten on it!

lopsided Fri 22-Feb-13 18:46:21

Doctor, sometimes people exaggerate their child's abilities smile

Not everyone can be at the top of the class and she sounds like she's doing well, especially as the teachers aren't worried.

The class work sounds quite advanced for yr 1. I don't think ort 7 is a good enough reader to read many chapter books, perhaps try rainbow faries with support.

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