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Settling into reception

(11 Posts)
longestlurkerever Wed 21-Oct-15 16:35:07

Is anyone else's dc taking a bit of time to settle into reception? Dd1 is a Summer born which just moved from pre school at one local school to reception at another. None of her nursery friends moved with her but she knew one little girl from an outside activity.

She's normally so confident and self assured, to the extent that she happily went to holiday club with older kids and normally runs into activities like gymnastics class without a backwards glance but she's been clingy, emotionally sensitive and reluctant to do any of her usually favourite activities. She's dealing with a new sibling too but this has generally been going very well and it wasn't till school started that the clinginess materialised, though it is obviously in the mix.

School have said they're having difficulty getting her to sit down for carpet time (though I was a bit upset at how they approached it - calling her "a nightmare").

She was exactly the same when she started at pre school but got better throughout the year and her teachers said she was the most enthusiastic joiner in of phonics and story time on the carpet by the time she left. Nursery said she's difficult to motivate as she's not that bothered about praise or doing the same as everyone else but once she's intrinsically motivated she's the most enthusiastic in the class.

I'm a bit concerned that school might be writing her off as a trouble maker and I want to know how best to approach it, with dd and with school. I don't want to turn her off school and learning for life and my instinct is that she's testing the teachers and trying to assert a bit of control while she's feeling insecure rather than genuinely struggling with the expected behaviour so my instinct is not to come down too hard on her but I don't want to be one of "those parents" who think their pfb can do no wrong. I own that she's stubborn and wilful. I have my suspicions that she's very bright but she's certainly no scholar and isn't streets ahead of other children her age in terms of reading etc.

She is showing a real interest in what they're being taught but I think, tbh, is struggling with having to share the attention with so many others. She couldn't wait to show the autumn things she'd collected but her turn didn't cone for several days and she cried because they had all shrivelled. I think it might have been that disappointment that turned her off carpet time.

Any tips on how I can get her to learn patience and sharing the limelight with others without crushing her spark and enthusiasm? And is there anything I can suggest to her teachers? Was wondering about suggesting they speak to her nursery teacher for ideas on how to motivate her but don't know if that would go down badly. I obviously appreciate they have 29 other children to deal with and can't give dd special treatment but they have asked me for help getting her to behave so think they might welcome practical suggestions...

In case it's relevant, ofsted rate the school as outstanding and its results are good but it has a very privileged catchment area and some parents reckon its "value added" isn't so hot.

Sorry this post is long and rambly. There are lots of different issues and I'm finding it hard seeing her so unlike herself (though the not listening is more typical!).

Blueskies80 Wed 21-Oct-15 16:52:14

I could have written your post a few weeks ago. Dd1 is bright, strong willed. Spirited and mid August born, was due in sept too.
She was refusing to sit and was being punished for this - normal 4 year old behaviours! All this after a few days and no settling in period!
Ridiculous! Our School also v hot on discipline.
Anyway I've been back and forth seeing the teachers, head, deputy. We are finally in a better place.
What's worked? We are doing part time, which is a legal right of parents before term after children turn 5. Means she is less tired and more able to cope with the demands of school (and they are much less cosseted than in nursery, and navigating the school is hard for a 4 year old, plus all the noise of 30 kids and lots are so much bigger too!)
Also, positive strategy when they don't comply (should they really be sitting for very long, but that's another story!).
Basically speak to them about your concerns, but approach it from a we want to work with you sort of approach, collaborative. Say that she is enjoying phonics etc, to make it less negative. What works at home? Make suggestions and explain what she is like personality wise, part of the problem is that they're all getting to know each other. But do be persistent And voice your concerns. You are not being pfb you're looking out for your child, you know her best and if she is not happy.

I would also say it's hard for them all, so tiring. It is too young for them to be starting school imo,and it's too much especially for the younger ones. I wish we could learn a thing or two from European countries in this regard. We shouldn't aspire to little scholars at 5, should be a happy childhood! (The hippy in me!)

Good luck! Xx

longestlurkerever Wed 21-Oct-15 17:10:39

Many thanks blueskies. Was expecting to be flamed so it's reassuring to hear not everyone thinks she sounds like a nightmare! We're early days really as they had such a staggered start and they did to be fair have loads of half days but this didn't really help as the limbo and hyping up "long days" to come just made her unsettled and whiny. I did approach them before school started about a day a week at forest school to give her a break from the classroom. They were very against the idea but maybe I'll raise it again now they can see for themselves what she's like and why I thought it might benefit her (though forest school might not have a place now).

KohINoorPencil Wed 21-Oct-15 17:33:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

longestlurkerever Wed 21-Oct-15 18:01:46

Well forest school is a different setting so the expectations are tailored to that environment but it's definitely not running riot. Turn- taking, following instructions etc are even more important there in some ways. It's just not the same four walls all week and has the element of physicality so just might give her the break she needs. My preference is for her to settle in happily though.

Thanks for the practical suggestions though. I actually bought some of those games today to put in her stocking. Perhaps one could make an early entrance.

KittyandTeal Wed 21-Oct-15 18:07:39

This is really common. We still have a few that haven't fully settled. It's a work in progress, especially as they're only just 4.

I cannot imagine ever using the word 'nightmare' to describe a child to their parent! He/she struggles; were working hard on xyz; if they were really really hard I might say he/she finds it really hard to sit etc.

longestlurkerever Wed 21-Oct-15 18:17:24

It was the TA rather than her teacher that used the word nightmare, but still. I expected it to be common, especially as they had the whole summer off, but they approached it from the perspective that "everyone else is sitting nicely, your dd is the only one....". It was the same at pre school last year and she was only just 3 then, though we grew to have a good relationship with nursery . It's the expression of surprise I find disconcerting. I would expect experienced teachers to be used to wilful children and have tried and tested strategies. Do they think these aren't enough for dd?

Thanks for the suggestions of playing schools. I did find her awake one night making her toys be each other's partner etc. I'll try and eavesdrop again!

KittyandTeal Wed 21-Oct-15 18:23:54

Yes we should have strategies to help children settle.

My policy is that if I'm using those strategies and they're making a bit of a difference then it's not worth making a it deal out of with the parents. I might say 'it's taking a little while for her to settle but we're doing xyz to help and it's starting to work, maybe if you also did xyz that would really help us out'.

KohINoorPencil Wed 21-Oct-15 18:28:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

longestlurkerever Wed 21-Oct-15 20:18:23

Thanks. I'm reassured when you talk about personalised approach. Tbh I think what would help a bit is if they reacted a bit more enthusiastically when she's excited about something like the autumn collection or the book she made for her teacher. She was so crushed not to get to show her collection and not all the children were bothered at all so it seemed a shame but I didn't want to ask for special treatment at the expense of other children. Mainly I think she just needs time to get comfortable with it all and then she'll sit and listen because she wants to be involved.

findingschools Wed 21-Oct-15 22:26:23

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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