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Nursery and Reception Teachers - advise please! xx

(38 Posts)
Andratx Sat 30-Mar-13 18:25:47


Last week I had a parent-teacher consultation for DD who is 4 and at pre-school, linked to a primary school. DD is misbehaving at Nursery; occasionally doing unkind or stupid things like throwing sand or hitting. She does this at home too, has always been like this.

I am NOT in denial about this....I told them before she started Nursery that she was bright but liked to push the boundaries. And that I was strict with her because of it. I do not let her get away with hitting, hurting etc. And they said her behaviour at Nursery was not too bad, otherwise they would have told me before.

We did have a long conversation about what I could do at home to improve things and I said I would take on board these things.

The teachers follow the same discipline technique as me - warning and then time out. But they say (I agree) that on asking her WHY she has done something naughty, she replies "I don't know"....and both they and I believe her - she really doesn't appear to know. So I know I have some work to do.

But I am wondering - I have told them several times that DD seems to be a natural reader. She can 'just' read. She has been lapping it up when her older siblings 'teach' her phonics. And she races through their reading homework (reception level). Last night she read sentences in a book like "On Tuesday my little sister broke my model. I felt cross. On Friday I lost my teddy bear. I felt lonely". I feel that she is probably on Year One (??) reading level without much teaching from me.

I asked Nursery whether they thought there might be merit in trying to run with this reading skill - letting her read at Nursery, perhaps 10 minutes 1-to-1 with a teacher sometimes, really praising her for her reading, to try to improve any negative feelings she has. BUT the teacher said they just don't do reading at Nursery because "it spoils the experience in Reception". So they don't even do vowels, or the first phonics - nothing.

My friend is a nursery teacher and she says go back to them and tell them to do reading with her. I don't want to upset the apple cart but my friend says that DD is bored. I don't necessarily feel that she is bored, but I do feel that if I can take on board their suggestions for home/parenting, they could take on board my suggestion to push her self-esteem with some reading.

What are your views please?

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 19:21:07

BUT the teacher said they just don't do reading at Nursery because "it spoils the experience in Reception".

HedgeHogGroup Sat 30-Mar-13 19:23:38

As a Primary School Headteacher I would be really pissed off if my staff said something like that - what happened to individualised learning?
Go back and tell them that they should be engaging with your child at her level.

Be prepared though - nursery education is not compulsory education so they don't have to (I don't think - but I'm prepared to be told otherwise!)

squiby2004 Sat 30-Mar-13 19:31:31

I teach nursery and have a full time class of 24. 13 of my class are learning their key words (48 total). The whole class does daily phonics and I have a small group of 5 girls doing guided writing because they are ready. Your nursery teacher is talking crap about not doing reading because it spoils the experience win reception. This is the foundation stage and all children will be at different stages and ages of development. Some reception children will struggle with reading because even though they are chronologically in that class they might not be at that stage yet. Learning should be differentiated.

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 19:35:29

They have to follow the statutory EYFS curriculum and provide
"a secure foundation through learning and development opportunities which are planned around the needs and interests of each individual child and are assessed and reviewed regularly"

lljkk Sat 30-Mar-13 19:47:56

My view is that it's rather sad that your DD doesn't enjoy socialising with other children: so much so that she turns violent. Encouraging her to bury head in books even more doesn't seem like a good way to help her develop better social skills, self-control and self-awareness of why she is lashing out.

Periwinkle007 Sat 30-Mar-13 20:18:28

she may well be a bit bored but it could also be she just doesn't know how to mix in properly. My eldest was reading at year 1 level by this stage of the year in preschool but we never had any issue with it. they listened to her read a bit every couple of weeks but no different to any other child. How many hours a week does she spend there? Does she had problems choosing what activity to do? most preschools do a lot of artwork, creative stuff, cooking, games and other activities so I wouldn't think it was really possible to get bored. I know towards the end my eldest was saying she wasn't enjoying it as much but she was there for 6 terms as she is an early september birthday and she started to get fed up with all the very little ones coming in and she really did want to just start school so playing was starting to annoy her a bit as she would have preferred to do it at home with her own toys I think. 6 terms in 1 room is a long time I suppose.

What does she like to do other than read? if she wants to read then I would do this at home and not push for them to do it, it may be that they aren't confident or experienced in children reading or that they have a personal preference for children to be learning other skills or spending time outdoors etc

My youngest is reading at the same level as a lot of my eldest daughters reception class and we have had problems with her not wanting to go to preschool but it was because she felt uncertain about how to choose an activity to do and join another group of children. once involved in an activity or group she was very happy but she lacked confidence to go over and just join in. Could it be something similar with your daughter?

AbbyR1973 Sat 30-Mar-13 22:04:19

Mrz- a strange but surprisingly common reaction from nurseries.
When I mentioned to DS1's nursery that he could read I got the same reaction. It was basically said that this wasn't a good thing, that schools don't want children to read before school, that he'd be "bored in reception".... And I hadn't even asked them to do anything with this skill he had. His behaviour deteriorated towards the end of the nursery year.
OP- DS2 is at a different nursery from DS1 and his experience is entirely different. They are keen to find out what DS2 can do and develop it. They support his reading and phonics development and have been doing some simple maths (adding and taking away) with him because he is very secure with numbers.
Also just to reassure you and disavow the myth- DS1 is very very far from being bored in reception- they provide him with appropriate challenge and his ability to read has been in no way problematic. When looking round schools, not one was phased by the idea of having a child coming in able to read despite the nursery's assertion.
I do think however that you can't expect nursery to "teach" reading per se although I think they should support where they can :-)

Andratx Sat 30-Mar-13 22:29:39

Thank you so much for your valuable replies; they are really interesting and thought-provoking.

I think that the Nursery believe that the main things this year are learning how to socialise, behave, listen etc. And I do not disagree. The nursery is extremely well-regarded and they do lots of making, cooking etc.

But I am very interested to hear from the teacher above who said half of her class are onto key words already....shows it is done elsewhere. I am also interested to hear learning should be adjusted for each child at this early stage.

What do they do exactly with children in reception who can already read? I guess they spend some time checking the basics are solid, but what for the rest of the year? Am not sure whether to continue vague teaching of reading at home, or let reception do it properly next year?

caffeinated Sun 31-Mar-13 05:58:26

OP 10 minutes 1 to 1 with a teacher sometimes? Good luck with that. That kind of reading provision hasn't been provided at my dc's school ever. The preference is group reading (with children of similar ability) which is rarely with the class teacher but usually another adult helper.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 07:47:19

AbbyR1973 I would be very concerned about any teacher who ignored the individual needs of children in her care. If a child can read there is no reason at all why they can't share a book with an adult 1-1 for a few minutes every day. As a reception teacher it was always a pleasant surprise when children arrived with basic reading skills to work with.
I would be less happy if I inherited a child from the teacher who has taught 48? key words! hmm

"What do they do exactly with children in reception who can already read? I guess they spend some time checking the basics are solid, but what for the rest of the year?" teach them to read more fluently, develop comprehension, inference, express opinions about what they read and a host of other skills over their school career well beyond reception year.

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 07:50:33

I am baffled that so many early years people are saying stuff like " it will spoil the experience in reception". Have they not read any of the guidance that comes out in industrial quantities? Are they not worried about what OFSTED might say? Is it remotely possible that sometimes parents misunderstand?

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 08:03:57

I recall my son's reception teacher saying she wasn't allowed to let him do any work so gave him a pile of Lego everyday and complained when he wandered off to see what Y1 were doing.

I'm baffled why a teacher is teaching 48? key words (I'm also baffled where they plucked the number 48 from) confused

squiby2004 Sun 31-Mar-13 10:39:41

The 48 key words are non CVC words such as was, went, like etc... They are broken down into sections and the first section in my school is 48 words long. Reading is much easier if you know these linking words. I teach them to those that are ready along side phonic skills. So your point is what exactly?

squiby2004 Sun 31-Mar-13 10:42:01

To add my child is 8 years old and can read but still needs assistance with some words. I have yet meet a child that can read with the fluidity of an adult in reception so it's it as if they have no reading skills yet to acquire one they can read basic level 2/3 books? It's an ongoing process surely!

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 10:47:27

The old Literacy strategy had 45 HFW and Letters and Sounds has 100 HFW (+200 more for KS1) so I wondered where your 48 had come from.

The 48 key words are non CVC words such as was, went, like etc...
was is a cvc word ... like is a cvc word ? confused
reading is even easier if you have the skills to read the words

squiby2004 Sun 31-Mar-13 10:57:18

Oh well I am obviously shit then. Never mind what OFSTED think ( and have observed), my parents are always complimentary and happy and my kids are always happy to come in to class. They make fantastic progress. But never mind all that because some nobody on a forum has said I don't know what I am doing.....oh no my confidence is forever ruined!

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 10:59:42

Well obviously you don't know a cvc word when you see one wink

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 11:03:27

Was is most definitely a CVC word........

staverton Sun 31-Mar-13 11:10:01

I have a 3.5 yr old dd who is similar. (and 2 other children)
She has been writing her name since she was just 2, knows letter sounds and a few words.

Her behaviour was extremely difficult - complete defiance, hurting people and things, running into road etc. She is a gorgeous, bright, funny little thing when she has your full attention or is engaged in something.

However her behaviour has turned around since I changed my strategy. I would totally recommend the book divas and dictators by charlie taylor- its about giving positive attention, and minimal punishment. It works! It's sounds ridiculous praising your child for tiny good things they do but it's all about attention...

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 11:19:01

"Was is most definitely a CVC word........"

as are other reception "key words" ... look, this, come, said, like ...

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 11:24:44

Ah. I must be wrong too then. I though CVC stood for Consonant-vowel-consonant- so, hat, cat, rat, was, tip and so on. What does it mean?

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 11:35:32

It means consonant vowel consonant as you said but remember consonants can be written with one or two or even three letters and vowels can be spelt by one, two, three or four letters
In like the sounds are /l/ /ie/ /k/ it doesn't matter that the /ie/ sound is a split spelling there are just three sounds in the order of cvc similarly for come in this the initial consonant is a digraph but the sounds are /th/ /i/ /s/ in said the sounds are /s/ /e/ /d/ spelt <s> <ai> <d> etc

teacherlikesapples Sun 31-Mar-13 11:57:23

If your child is exhibiting some anti-social behaviours it wouldn't be ideal to plan regular activities where she is further excluded from the group or seen to be getting something special that the other children are not (1:1 with teacher)

The nursery teacher does have two main responsibilities here though - & she could kill those two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Firstly in regards to your child's literacy ability- the EYFS quite clearly states that the planning should come from a child's interests & strengths. Although the nursery might not offer formal reading lessons- the teacher should be extending, supporting & encouraging your child's literacy ability. I have no freaken idea what she means by saying "it spoils the experience in reception". Reception also uses the EYFS- the transition from nursery to reception should be a smooth one, where the teaching style & provision looks & feels very similar.

The teacher has a duty to support your child's literacy. This can be done in a way that also supports your child's personal, social & emotional development. In fact it is the perfect vehicle for addressing the areas she is struggling with.

Ask the teacher if she is familiar with the Department of education document 'letters and sounds'. There are a tonne of fun, social age/stage appropriate activities that could promote social skill & extend your daughters literacy. Many of the activities work well in small groups- giving the teacher the opportunity to promote some nice social skills & offer plenty of positive, specific feedback & attention. Small group activities are more likely to be able to happen (as opposed to the 1:1)

The teacher could also plan activities where your daughter is involved in some peer tutoring- i.e Helping when the children come in to self register- supporting the less able to find their name. Giving her a role as a helper, providing opportunity for other children to view her as not only capable (self esteem boost) but also someone who helps, who is kind. The timing of self registration would be great to, as the parents of the other children would see. If she has been hurting many other children - her reputation with (with other children & their parents) could possibly do with a bit of a positive boost.

In summary (sorry for the essay here!) The teacher has a duty to plan & support both the literacy & behaviour issues here. She could easily do both at the same time.

Let us know how you get on!

donnasummer Sun 31-Mar-13 21:33:36

I teach a mixed N/R class and they definitely follow the same curriculum, at individualised levels.
I am surprised Phase 1 phonics isn't being offered in N. I agree that learning should be tailored to the child - however, the behaviour seems to be a separate issue. Is she bored at home, too? Part of the curriculum addresses personal social and emotional development, and I'd be looking at how your dd can be supported in this area at least as much as in her reading.

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