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Is DD1 behind?

(36 Posts)
Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 11:10:31

I have dd1 (5.2) in primary 1 (Scotland) and dd2 (3.1) due to start school nursery in August. Also have ds (11 months).

At parents' night I was delighted to hear that dd1 has settled well and made friends. I didn't ask about reading and counting as I didn't think it really mattered at this stage.

At the teacher's suggestion, we go over letter sounds at home and dd1 now knows most of them. She can also recognise her name and a couple of words but cannot blend. She can count by rote to ten and objects to 5.

The teacher didn't raise any concerns. Perhaps this is because dd1 is youngest in class?

Dd2 is a different kettle of fish. Knows all letter sounds and recognises hundreds of words though cannot blend (to my knowledge). She counts past 20 by rote, recognises numerals to 20 and counts objects until about 12 before getting lost. Unfortunately she is March born and will be oldest in year.

I wasn't worried until I looked on mumsnet because it seems like DD1 is miles behind most 5 year olds. Can any primary teachers give me a second opinion?

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 11:16:58

I am not a teacher but don't children at schools in Scotland start later than in England? Your daughter is probably exactly where they would expect her to be.

My daughter is 5.5 and is the oldest in her class. She is able to do things that the ones who were 4 only a couple of weeks before she was 5 can't do and wouldn't be expected to be able to do yet. For her age she is a bit ahead of herself in some things but she only missed being the youngest in the year above by a matter of hours so had she been in Yr1 she would have been more average I expect.

At this age differences can seem so much more pronounced but they will all even out. The teacher would have said if she had any concerns I am sure.

And second children do tend to pick things up quicker because they hear so much more at home being talked about with the older sibling. Some kids pick up things more easily than others too or in different ways (one of mine likes to learn the word and isn't keen on blending because it doesn't come naturally to her, the other likes blending)

remember there is a difference between a 5 year old who is very nearly 6 and is in year 1 and a 5 year old who hasn't been 5 for long or been at school for very long.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 11:53:45

Thanks Periwinkle, that's very reassuring. She's only been at school since August last year. I didn't realise English children started earlier. Silly to worry!

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 12:09:21

In England they start reception the september after their 4th birthday and year 1 is the september after their 5th birthday. I wasn't sure where Primary 1 equated.

She is still very young and I haven't been on here long but it can sometimes seem like everyone's child is extremely bright and way ahead of things just because of the topics people post for advice with. That doesn't mean a perfectly normal child is behind if they aren't advanced.

I honestly think the teacher would have said if there was a problem but I know it is hard because you want your child to do well, be happy etc.

mrz Tue 09-Apr-13 12:18:19

Scotland has a very different curriculum so it isn't possible to make direct comparisons (apart from every child is different) if you are concerned it is a good idea to chat to her teacher

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 12:23:51

Thanks Periwinkle. In Scotland they start Primary one between the ages of 4.5 and 5.5.

Because dd1 was born on 27th Feb she started at 4.5. Dd2 will be 5.5 when she starts because she was born on March 2nd. The cut-off date is 28th Feb.

We did have the choice to defer as all Jan and Feb kids in Scotland do but she is very sociable and wanted to go to school with her friends.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 12:27:35

Thanks mrz. Of course most of the children discussed on here will be English so would be wrong to draw comparisons.

I think I will trust the teacher's judgement in the mean time as she is making progress and is very happy at school. I think periwinkle may well have a point about most of the kids discussed on here being very bright and way ahead.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 12:52:41

well and of course you have to remember that on here we are just giving OUR opinions of our children and some of us could be WAY overestimating their abilities whilst others might have the children who are going to go on and become a famous scientist or something. We aren't necessarily a good benchmark. If she is happy and her teacher is happy with her progress then that is most important.

I am probably a very pushy parent and that is primarily down to my awareness of my inadequacies in other parts of parenting, teaching stuff comes more easily to me than digging for worms for example.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 13:27:34

Yes Periwinkle, I've met one or two like that at the school gates. One mum told me her dd was in the top group and my dd was in the bottom but I've no idea how she knows that as dd's group is called yellow group not bottom group. The teacher didn't mention groups at parents' night.

However I don't mention dd2 to them because I don't like bragging contests which I'm sure they would see it as!

I maybe should be a bit pushier but I'm more of a playpark and painting type. Getting mucky comes easier to me than phonics.

The kids are very happy little ones despite their differing abilities as we don't make a big thing of it.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 14:01:27

met one or two like that - pushy parents banging about their kids to folk who didn't ask! Not pushy parents who do academic stuff because they and their kids enjoy it I should clarify! I don't think that's pushy anyway if everybody's having fun.

What sort of things do you enjoy doing with your kids, Periwinkle? Do they like the orchard games?

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 15:19:36

yes they like the orchard games we seem to have quite a few, jigsaws we do a lot of as well, reading stories to them and they do a lot of imaginative play with puppets and lego etc.

Sadly I just don't really enjoy being a mother, I always thought I would, I was desperate to have them and I love them to pieces, they are amazing little people but I just don't enjoy it. luckily daddy does so weekends he does a lot with them and he normally does bedtime etc too if he is home from work in time so they get the laid back fun parenting from him and I suppose I deal with the homeworky type stuff.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 15:33:24

I don't think they do ability groups at that age anyway so I don't see how anyone could tell. Certainly from what we were told with groups they said they would mix them around to try and keep a mix of ability in each group as they learn so much from each other when they are little. I think next term they are planning to split them out more for literacy and numeracy as they know now which ones need to concentrate on what to develop.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 16:03:12

I can't say I enjoy motherhood as much as I thought I would either. Dd1 came after a lot of trying and miscarriages but I think in that time I'd built up motherhood to be this magical thing. And to be honest it's just pure drudgery a lot of the time, especially when they're all ill at the same time.

But the kids do little things every day that make me smile and I wouldn't miss them for the world so I haven't gone back to work yet.

I have it on dd2's authority that Daddy is far better at lego aeroplanes than me but I do the messy stuff!

I'm not worried about ability groups. If dd1 is in a different group from pushymum's daughter then that's fine by me because pushymum's child needs to learn a thing or two about being nice to others!

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 19:06:28

gosh I am glad it isn't only me then. DD1 was the result of fertility treatment and DD2 was a bit of a surprise but I was the same I think, I had built it up to be something so big and I think I also convinced myself I obviously didn't deserve it. I had bad PND as a result of that and because I still can't deal with the girls being ill (I have emetophobia badly) I then think it makes me rubbish at it all.

I haven't gone back to work either. Part of me wanted to just to have something not involving the children but then I think I owe it to them to be at home with them if we can afford for me to.

I am better at the tidy games than the messy ones, that is daddy's area in our house smile

its funny, I don't think the other mums in my daughter's class are at all pushy, or not in a gloaty way. Some of them do push the children but they don't gloat about it. They probably think I am very pushy because my daughter's reading is above what you would expect but I hope I have been helpful to them as a few asked me for advice on encouraging reading at home because they knew she had learned before she went to school and that my other daughter has started reading too and I have tried really hard to help and encourage them with phonics etc so it will support what the school are doing. I think my daughter feels some level of pressure though as she is the oldest in the class and she has come home and said things like 'I should be better at x because I am the oldest' so someone has obviously said that to her. I have tried to explain that she MAY be best at something at the moment because she is a bit older but that as people get older and learn things she may not stay best in that but might find she is very good in something she hasn't tried yet and that if she isn't best at something at the moment then it doesn't matter about her age, it just isn't her best topic/subject and she has to work a bit harder at it. It is hard though because I doubt the teachers have said anything to her about her being the oldest so I think another child must have done which means their parents must have said it to them.

who knows. for me the aim was to get her reading so she can enjoy books and we seem to have succeeded with that. now if we could just make her handwriting legible.....

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 20:55:36

I think a lot of people find motherhood isn't the fairytale they dreamed of in their care-free childless years but not a lot of people admit it. But for me, even on those bad days where you feel utterly trapped and exhausted, it is better than those years of ttc and failing. Also pee, poo, snot and spew don't phase me so I think that helps too!

I did find it very hard with my first though, just the transformation from working in a fast paced environment with seven guys and the inevitable banter to being stuck at home with a tiny squaling creature hanging of my boob day and night.

Well done for teaching your daughters to read with all the phonics and stuff. Bloody good job. I know I would never have the patience to do that with preschool kids in a month of Sundays.

The school gates aren't that bad, honestly. For dd1's class there are twentyodd normal parents/carers and two nutters. Dd1 has worked hard to get where she is and I'm very proud of her.

Maybe the teachers have told your daughter she is the oldest. At primary school in Scotland they used to line us up by age at the start of every term. I was second youngest but like my Dd2, very quick at reading and maths. Dd1 is more like Dh who was a late bloomer and struggled in early primary. Dh now has a high flying jet set career and a masters degree in engineering so who knows, maybe she will catch up.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 21:07:30

hehe she knows she is the oldest, and the tallest. taller than virtually all Year 1 as well and taller than quite a few Year 2 children too.... poor kid.

sounds a nice small class. There are over 60 in my daughter's year, 2 classes.

I think that is very hard, losing your identity a bit. I saw something in the news the other day about how a mother of a 4 year old gets asked more questions than get asked in Question time! I think it was very accurate. the current questioning line seems to be 'what are eyes made of?' 'why do we need to see and hear?' and so on.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 21:25:42

There are a lot of advantages to being very tall. You can reach stuff on the top shelf in the supermarket hehe.

Yes I can sympathise with the constant questioning. Dd2 never stops. That's how she's managed to recognise so many words despite me not being very hands on with that sort of stuff because as soon as she could talk she started asking what they said. Her questions of the minute are mostly to do with plumbing, sewers and germs. Oh the joys.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 21:35:33

oh an interesting topic there for you. I remember my eldest kept going on about what happened with the stuff we flushed down the toilet. she wouldn't stop asking, whatever I told her so I passed her to my mum, an ex primary teacher. SO my mum smiled and then launched into a long and detailed explanation about how sewage treatment plants worked. My daughter sat there for about 2 minutes listening then walked off and she never asked again. so perhaps just give a very long boring answer and see if it puts her off.

Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 21:44:01

Oh believe me we've already explained about Sir Joseph Bazalgette and treatment plants and all that. She is just fascinated by everything no matter how mundane! She already knows far more about car mechanics than I ever will!

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 21:46:13


Onemole Tue 09-Apr-13 21:46:18

She loves that programme with Ed China and the Cockney guy, can't recall his name where they explain car repairs in depth. Mind you, makes a nice change from In the night garden!

PastSellByDate Thu 11-Apr-13 02:05:46

Hi Onemole:

I think Periwinkle & others have given a lot of great advice and only just wanted to add that 5 is still very young and that in some countries children don't start school until the year they turn 7 and they end up way ahead of Britain in educational achievement league tables. So do remind yourself it's a marathon not a 100m dash.

I found it hard when my DD1 was way behind her peers. I'd go to reading mornings and we'd be struggling to sound out a sentence (all of one syllable words) but I could overhear others reading beautifully from much harder books. Parents were obviously proud of their DC's and would talk about being this or that group, etc... I never got that wound up about it or saw it as bragging - I just saw it as proud and pleased parents who were happy for their child and bubbling over a bit about it all.

About Y2 I realised there were real problems and started asking harder questions of the school. The KS1 SATs officially confirmed there were serious problems and I decided I had to get serious about helping DD1 out. We started tackling sounding out words and reading and maths (through mathsfactor) because we felt that leaving it to the school (which we tried) wasn't working for whatever reason.

I just wanted to say that there is time. Try and work with the school. But if that's not going as you like - you can do a lot at home to support learning. Regularly reading, going to libraries, playing games involving counting, using odd bits of time (whislt you're cooking/ cleaning) to encourage your DD to play educational games on line or through school website, etc... do all bit by bit add up to a lot of practice and build those skills.

For me seeing DD1 in Y2 in bottom groups and struggling was really hard because I thought she was a bright and curious thing (sounds a lot like your DD) and just needed those basic 3Rs skills. I just kept searching out there for things that worked (and thank you Mumsnet and many here who've helped along the way). We've just plugged away quietly in bite sized little bits day by day and now in Y5 DD1 is flying high (yes she's in top group in maths - but started at bottom group YR - Y2). I don't think that makes her better than anyone else in her class or means 'I was right and the school was wrong'. DD1 was a slow starter and clearly is strongly visual in her learning. What I really care about is that she's learned that with practice and a bit of effort you can achieve anything. I think of all the lessons I may teach here, that's the one I'm glad I put the time in on.

So Onemole as you start your own marathon with your DD - keep the faith that her curiousity is a sign she is a bright thing and remember that someone out there was in a similar position and did get through by slowly and steadily working away at it. I've found the whole process incredibly rewarding now we're out the other side, but freely admit it felt like climbing Everest at times.

Wishing you all the best of luck

Onemole Sun 14-Apr-13 21:03:51

Thanks for your reply PastSellByDate. It is nice to know that others have had the same experience. DD1 is still very young and I hope I will be able to help her along the way with a little bit of extra help.

cloutiedumpling Tue 16-Apr-13 18:58:13

I am in Scotland too and have three DCs also. I'd have a chat with the teacher just to check that she is happy with your DD's progress. My DS2 is in P1 and he wasn't doing so well before Christmas with his reading. We've spent a bit of time working on it and found that the alphablocks website was really, really good. He seemed to think that watching the programmes and playing the games afterwards was really fun and not like school. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Taffeta Tue 16-Apr-13 20:33:35

Op, two things I'd like to mention. MN is NOT the norm. People that post about where their child is at on MN are very often above average. So it is not the norm.

The other point, which has already been raised, is that children progress at different rates. My DD, Aug birthday, was probably near the bottom of her Y1 class when she was 5. A year on, she's in the middle. She gets things when she gets things, and not before!

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