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Reception class - not teaching maths or handwriting?

(24 Posts)
IDefinitelyWould Thu 02-Mar-17 19:10:03

I'm posting because I only have experience of my dd's school, and I'm hoping to hear how it compares to other schools with regards to its approach to teaching.

First of all, my dd is in reception. They say they follow a mainly play based learning style that covers various topics and uses the jigsaw curriculum. Now to what I see as the issues. They are heard read once a week at max, and my dd hasn't actually done reading at school since January. She is a fluent and confident reader, but no expansion has been offered and despite me asking repeatedly there seems to be no plan. She is allowed to choose her own book from any of the key stage 1books, which she enjoys but seems a bit aimless. I have said I am willing to do extra at home if they can just point me in the right direction. She is getting bored with reading school books as she 'doesn't see the point'. I do not encourage this attitude but I can see where she's coming from! We are reading children's classics at home and she is enjoying them. Oh, and the class teacher has never listened to her read, only the ta.

They haven't done any maths work beyond 'who can count to 20?' (Confirmed by the teacher. They are not teaching handwriting (Again confirmed by teacher) and they plan to start this in year 1.

I am unhappy, I feel like my dd is losing her love of school and learning. She is bored and will quite often sit by herself in the corner writing short stories and drawing pictures. I feel like she is being ignored because she is already at the standard to move to next year... but surely she should be being supported to achieve her full potential? Does anybody have any ideas how I can (again) approach the school to get them to be a bit more proactive.

PhilODox Thu 02-Mar-17 19:12:39

Change schools?

IDefinitelyWould Thu 02-Mar-17 19:23:35

That's pretty much where I'm at. I was wondering if it sounded normal and I shouldn't worry because she's only in reception?

IWantATardis Thu 02-Mar-17 19:31:35

That's very different to DS1's school - he is also in Reception.

Literacy - they teach reading using phonics (Jolly Phonics scheme). They covered all the one-letter sounds last term, and have moved onto two-letter sounds (e.g. ch, sh) this term. The teacher or TA hears him read at least once a week, usually more, and we get a reading book every night, selected by the teacher / TA.

Writing - they're being taught the correct letter formations, and practice writing at school.

Maths - they do counting, and are being taught simple addition and subtraction, as well as being taught about shapes and concepts like more / less than, inside / outside.

The school have also provided resources to parents - e.g. handouts about letter sounds and correct letter formation, links to useful educational websites, and suggestions of educational apps - to help parents support learning at home.

Coconut0il Thu 02-Mar-17 20:08:44

I can't comment about all your issues but with regards to the reading my DS1 never read his scheme book to anyone at his school from YR to Y6. They had phonics and guided reading and the teacher listened to him then.
I'm a TA and I hear readers for my class, the teacher I work with hears the childen during guided reading. It's pretty much the same in the other classes too.
I haven't worked in early years for quite a long time but our children are definitely taught maths and we use cursive handwriting right from YR.

JamDonutsRule Thu 02-Mar-17 20:29:23

I agree that sounds rubbish OP! Our Reception was much like IwantaTardis.

IDefinitelyWould Thu 02-Mar-17 21:11:24

I think I'm going to go back and request a meeting with the headteacher. He is the eyfs coordinator. They don't do guided reading. The teacher told me he has never heard her read.

JamDonutsRule Thu 02-Mar-17 21:30:23

Gosh!!
Yes, I think a meeting sounds like a good plan!!

Thinking back to what DC did in Y1, all the basics were already in place (all kids could do basic reading and basic arithmetic). I think Y1 will be a struggle if they've not done YR properly!!

IDefinitelyWould Thu 02-Mar-17 21:35:45

It just seems like they're treating yrR like another preschool yr. We were recently invited in to see the children's work. There were 3 half completed displays on the wall, about 5 handwriting books (for the whole class) and no real organisation. And this is when they asked us to come in! I'm drinking wine and getting more and more indignant about their treatment of my pfb!

IWantATardis Thu 02-Mar-17 21:51:26

We have to take DS1 into his classroom to drop him off in the morning, and there's displays of pupil's work all over the classroom, and the corridor outside.

The kids each have their own workbooks for handwriting etc too. We've seen DS1's at parent-teacher meetings.

I think a meeting sounds like a good idea, I'd be concerned about things in your position.

Oh, and re. displays of work - DS2 (3yrs) is at nursery. Its very much play based obviously, given his age. But his nursery still has displays of work the children have done, stuff like paintings and crafts themed around whatever the current topic is.

NapQueen Thu 02-Mar-17 21:53:39

Yep ours do more than that.

Dd is reception and currently they are doing 3d shapes, the more complex 2d shapes, halving and doubling numbers, counting in 5s 10s etc, onto words like Said and House (simpler non phonetic words).

NapQueen Thu 02-Mar-17 21:54:53

Oh and this term is all Junk Models. The amount of repurposed crap models Im gettinf brought home is great!

Dds latest was a "kite" - a plastic 4 pinter (empty) of milk tied to a ribbon

irvineoneohone Thu 02-Mar-17 22:15:32

My ds was quite ahead in reception, but I don't think he was doing anything particularly different from other children .

If she is allowed to choose any books, I wouldn't worry so much about reading. Just let her keep reading what she likes and talk about it. Electronic dictionary was big help for my ds. (Easier for small child too look up the new word.)

Maths and writing is quite easy to supplement at home, using work books, educational websites etc, and generally writing anything she wants. My ds used to make word books when he learned new word, and still writes diary. We bought small white board to practice writing recommended by the teacher.

I think true problem start to show once they start more formal education in yr1. So, good idea to talk to school now and plan ahead.

IamFriedSpam Fri 03-Mar-17 06:49:32

My DD was similar and personally I don't see what the problem is, in most countries she wouldn't have started formal education yet. All the evidence suggests that the later the better for formal stuff. It would be a problem if she was doing formal work that was much too easy for her but that doesn't seem to be the case. Most reading happens at home anyway - just go to the library together and choose whatever books excite her - if she can read confidently you don't need to choose phonics books, my DD could read normal children's books before the end of YR.

The last thing you want to do with a bright child is move forward into the following year's work there's absolutely no need for it. Just let her enjoy her interests - take up a musical instrument and broaden her curriculum.

user1471462428 Fri 03-Mar-17 06:54:40

Please don't get obsessed with displays, they are a complete waste of time and very distracting for the children. Low key environments are better for children's learning.

Nelllo Fri 03-Mar-17 06:55:26

Good! All that play based learning sounds absolutely lovely.

The only thing you need to know is that they have a coherent strategy for moving them up to year 1 - maybe it's how they always do things, maybe it all works just fine. Have you spoken to any parents of older children to see if it would out ok for their DCs? A meeting with the head would be a good idea to reassure yourself that they are on it.

Nelllo Fri 03-Mar-17 07:01:09

*worked out ok

teacher54321 Fri 03-Mar-17 07:01:47

In ds's reception class they have tonnes of free flow activities to do with whatever topic they're doing that week; e.g. Space or animals or whatever. But they also have an hour of phonics everyday, number time three times a week and timetabled other activities; swimming, ICT, music, dance, PE, all with specialist teachers. They teach handwriting and set homework every week. Ds is absolutely thriving, and adores it.

IDefinitelyWould Fri 03-Mar-17 07:15:20

I'm not obsessed with displays user it was just disappointing that on a day we were invited in there wasn't much to see. They could have put pictures on the wall, examples of work, anything! Play based learning would be fab, but I'm not convinced there's a plan or structure to achieve any learning really. It all seems haphazard. I'm going to pop in and see the head today (small school, he's very accessible which is a bonus).

The choosing her own books is because she can read anything in the phonics scheme, the other children are following a more structured approach. It just seems that because she can do it she's been ticked off and ignored, instead of being offered activities to broaden her ability.

irvineoneohone Fri 03-Mar-17 07:22:17

My ds was choosing his own books in reception, and it's was way better than following scheme books.

Reception looks like extention of nursery/pre-school. But it really isn't. It's a very good environment for able children, they are allowed to follow their interests, nothing to stop them pursuing what they want to do.

user1483972886 Fri 03-Mar-17 07:24:00

Tbh we were underwhelmed by reception at our school. The first term was learning the alphabet which DC already knew. They frequently said they were bored.
The teachers expectations seemed low and the main focus was whether they had made friends etc. We weren't impressed.
However DC did end the year on ORT level 4 and they did for jolly phonics daily.
Year 1 is much more structured and DC learnt more tangible stuff.

Ginmummy1 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:35:45

I feel for you. I was in a similar place with my DD last year. (sorry this is long!)

In Reception in my DD’s school they said they read with all the children at least once per week (mostly this was parent helpers, but sometimes teacher or TA). Not true in the case of my DD, but I picked my battles – I didn’t see the benefit of pushing for more 1:1 reading time as my DD didn’t need it. She made it obvious very early on that she could read everything on the walls, worksheets, whiteboard, story books in the class library etc. Reading with a teacher would just have taken time away from some child that needed it more. HOWEVER, the teacher did not limit her to YR books, and I definitely think you need to raise this if your DD is reading at a much higher level than the class books and is effectively wasting her time with them. My DD was sent off to another classroom once per week to choose books. We had occasional useful dialogue with the teacher in writing through her reading record – as soon as I commented that she was rattling through the books, the teacher spotted this and assessed her and she normally went up a level at this point.

On reading alone, I would be inclined to keep doing what you’re doing at home, and treat the school reading material as secondary to the natural progression that’s going on at home. Just make sure you pick her up if she misses out words or ‘assumes’ what a sentence should be. And ask lots of comprehension questions. Once they’re at this level, there’s a limit to how much value a YR teacher is going to add (other than consolidating phonics which will happen very slowly but is still important).

I agree with the general trend of comments on this thread that YR is about learning through play and establishing the school habits and the social side (how is she socially within her peer group?). It is too much to expect that the teacher will arrange fully differentiated work and push her ‘ahead’ in a formal way. However, my DD was happy in YR because the teacher was able subtly to challenge her by asking the right sort of questions. For example, in writing, the children had to write their name every day, but soon DD was asked to write a sentence, and then later to write longer sentences using a connective, and later, by starting the sentence in different ways, and then by asking a question which created the need to for a deeper and more descriptive response in the next sentence. Also, although phonetic spelling is the norm in YR, once the teacher noticed that DD was spelling some more difficult words correctly, she started correcting some spellings in DD’s work.

The same applied to maths. Extension challenges just seemed to emerge naturally. We could tell this was happening, because when the main class teacher was out, DD would comment that the phonics or maths was ‘easy’ that day. It was clear to us that her teacher was experienced enough to keep the brighter ones engaged. The YR teacher was the EYFS co-ordinator, by the way.

For handwriting they mainly concentrated on correct letter formation and basic punctuation (capital letters and full stops). Again, it’s easy enough for a teacher to have a brief word with a child to challenge them further.

I would definitely suggest you speak to the EYFS co-ordinator at your DD’s school (which I notice is the Head). It sounds like the class teacher needs a bit of support to keep the brighter ones interested and really foster that love of learning.

icanteven Sun 05-Mar-17 17:49:39

We had this with our two. When dd1 was in reception she was taught precisely nothing. This made for a lovely relaxed year, but was a little frustrating for the teacher in yr 1 who was presented with a class of near-illiterates. She had to spend the year doing very basic stuff instead of progressing the children. We then moved schools and dd1 basically had a year of remedial reading to catch up (which she achieved with aplomb!).

While dd1 was in the new school, dd2 was in reception with a new teacher & ta, both very conscious of what had happened before, so dd2 WAS taught reading, maths etc. and when SHE made the move to the new school she was bang on target & had a much better time of it.

While many of us might WISH that education was handled more gently in this country for young children, it is not for a reception teacher to decide for herself to implement a Scandinavian laid back approach when the year 1 teacher then has to fix it all.

JamDonutsRule Tue 07-Mar-17 03:40:31

How was the meeting OP?

You may have seen it already, but this website is great for following the expected curriculum. Click on each topic for example questions. If you meet with the Head again it might help to have a copy on you so you can ask what they will be doing when?

Maths:
https://uk.ixl.com/math/reception

Hm, for some reason the English only starts at Y2 on that website. I'm sure you could google the relevant Phonics blocks though?

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