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More able child - education psychologist and school help

(105 Posts)
Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 19:39:19

Hello everyone,
I am seeking advice for our child who will be four next month. She will start reception in September. We (as well people who know her) believe that she is of high ability.
Couple of things which indicate the same are - she spoke early (at 7 months of age), by 15 months she was bilingual and speaking in sentences. She taught herself to write before she turned three and taught herself to read couple of months after she turned three. She is nearing four now and can read a lot and very fast. She is good with numbers, can do basic addition , subtraction. She also has an amazing memory. For example she knew my phone number when she was two simply from overhearing me tell it to someone. We haven't done much. It's all been self initiated, with us providing her access to resources.

We are considering consulting a private education psychologist to understand more about her and what best we can do for her. She will most likely start reception in an outstanding state school (we are very close to it). While the school is considered very good in the area, it doesn't do much for more able children. So I think seeking help from a professional will also help us in advocating for her when needed. We are new in the country and don't really know how to go about it. Will really appreciate recommendations from your personal experience or from people you know.

Also, we are considering buying home next year (right now we are renting) and want to know if there are any schools in London which cater to high ability kids better compared to other schools? We want to shortlist areas where we can consider buying.
We have thought of independent schools but it seems like we won't be able to afford them. Unless they provide scholarships based on ability. Do some schools provide that? We don't think we will quality for bursaries based on our financial situation.

We are really confused right now. Looking to get help from parents who have been through the same.

I know it's just reception right now. But we want her to be an environment where she is understood and where she can retain her curiousity.

Thanks for your time. We really appreciate your inputs.

OP’s posts: |
wrapsuperstar Thu 28-Mar-19 19:44:51

Contact Potential Plus UK. They are a charity that provide advice and advocacy for ‘more able’ children. Your DD is very very young and may or may not be gifted, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt to seek advice. Our DD1 aged 7 is highly able and I wish we’d ‘officially’ known sooner so we could have advocated differently for her during her first couple of years at school when she was having a hard time. Best of luck!

coragreta Thu 28-Mar-19 19:51:34

Impossible to write before you can read surely?

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 19:53:32

Thanks @wrapsuperstar. That's our reason for wanting to know more as well - to be able to advocate for her better if required.
I wrote to potential plus UK and they advised us to become members. Do you think the family membership will be useful? From what I read about membership, I felt that the phone consultation might be helpful. But it would be nice to know if they are really good and beneficial.

OP’s posts: |
hazeyjane Thu 28-Mar-19 19:56:04

Hello. Your dd sounds great. Is she in an early years setting at the moment...preschool? Nursery?

She is obviously very switched on academically, how is she in other areas of development? How is she with other children her age?

hazeyjane Thu 28-Mar-19 19:59:11

Also don't know if you are aware but there is a gifted&talented board on MN, here where there may be other helpful posters.

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 20:01:05

@coragreta, I understand your confusion. She knew all the letters (by pointing at them and asking us while we read story books) and just one day started writing some letters. Every couple of days she would write a new letter on her own. She would also talk like "if I draw a straight line and another straight line from the middle, it will become T" and then write it when she felt like it. So writing like that. She would ask us simple spellings and then write it, like when making a card for someone. Few months after she turned three she started reading a lot everywhere and reading simple books (and that's what I meant by reading).

OP’s posts: |
Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 20:07:44

Thanks @hazeyjane. She is in nursery right now. She has a lot of fun there. She is into role playing so does a lot of that there. Also, loves art and craft, playing with blocks etc. In her last report they mentioned that she helps others with numeracy and literacy tasks. She loves being with other children. I think in physical activities she is at par with what's expected from that age. She has always been more sensitive to kids not following rules or being "rude", which I didn't notice in most three year olds I met.

OP’s posts: |
Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 20:08:25

Thanks @hazeyjane. I didn't know of the specific board. I will post there.

OP’s posts: |
JustRichmal Thu 28-Mar-19 21:42:05

She knew all the letters (by pointing at them and asking us while we read story books)
Perhaps she picked up reading from this, rather than teaching herself.

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 21:49:34

@justrichmal, that's how she started recognizing letters. I believe that kids are taught to read after they are taught the letters. But if a child who knows all the letters (all self initiated) and starts reading words and simple books, isn't that teaching herself to read? She is still three and obviously doesn't know all the words, she asks when she needs help and she figures out on her own sometimes. She is still learning to read. But she can read a lot.

OP’s posts: |
JustRichmal Thu 28-Mar-19 22:08:01

I would say that if a child teaches themselves to read they have had no parental input into their learning. An adult telling a child letter sounds, I would not class as "teaching themselves." I am happy to accept that she picked up reading fairly easily at a young age, but if someone has sounded out letters for her, she has not taught herself. I do not think it is possible for a child to teach themselves.

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 22:10:48

@justrichmal - Alright!

OP’s posts: |
JustRichmal Thu 28-Mar-19 22:25:15

On the bright side, you are doing a very good job of teaching her and she does seem a lot more advanced in her reading than most who start school.
If she is keen to learn, I would do more rather than less and see if she finds learning other things, like adding, counting in twos or learning simple science things fun.

LondonGirl83 Thu 28-Mar-19 22:50:32

Op, don't take it personally. just comes on all threads about gifted children to tell parents its impossible for children to teach themselves to read. Most people understand what you mean in the common meaning of that phrase of course.

I've PM'd you regarding some specifics

JustRichmal Thu 28-Mar-19 23:04:16

London, you are right. I did not mean it personally against the OP. I just do not see why there is this denial that those with more able children are teaching them. However, I think the "common meaning" of the phrase is only established on MN as "what teaching we did, did not count". In RL it still sounds ridiculous.

blue25 Thu 28-Mar-19 23:13:16

Just let her be a child, play and have fun. Your language is sending shivers down me. I've seen plenty of parents who think their child is gifted. The pressure and expectations placed on some of these children is awful. In many cases their peers catch up with them anyway. It's crazy at this age.

LondonGirl83 Thu 28-Mar-19 23:19:42

Just you have argued in the past the even reading to your children counts as "teaching" them to read. Both on and off mumsnet I don't know anyone who takes such an extreme definition of teaching.

Of course all children need exposure to something to learn it. However, self taught for most people simply means learning something without the typical instruction most people would need to master something, particularly when the interest and learning is is self-directed.

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 23:25:37

Thanks a lot @LondonGirl83. I will respond to your message as well. I am glad that you understand where I am coming from.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Thu 28-Mar-19 23:27:45

The truth of the matter is that few primary schools ever see a truly gifted child over s period of years. I have asked experienced teachers about this and they said about one every 10 years in a 2 form entry school in a grammar school area.

It does no harm with facilitating learning for your DD but I don’t think seeking out certain schools will be fruitful. Teachers just don’t see many highly gifted children and therefore won’t have experience of their needs. Many of these children end up at private schools on scholarships where parents believe their needs might be met.

In the meantime, I would just live where you want to! Certainly talk to any school but just see how it goes for the moment without putting any pressure on her.

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 23:29:35

@blue25 thanks for reminding me on how to let my child be. She has plenty of fun and is being a child. I don't understand how my language is causing you to shiver. I am sorry that you have seen a lot of traumatized children. But for your peace of mind, I want to assure you that mine is not. I didn't teach her to talk early and I don't force her to read. She goes to the library like most children. Picks up books she wants to read and reads them.
I don't know why I am even trying to explain it to you.

OP’s posts: |
JustRichmal Thu 28-Mar-19 23:31:06

London, I do not deny that all children do not pick things up at the same rate, so there is no "typical instruction", however, there is instruction to some degree in every case.

Amumhere Thu 28-Mar-19 23:31:29

Thanks @BubblesBuddy, makes sense.

OP’s posts: |
anniehm Thu 28-Mar-19 23:39:53

She sounds lovely but be aware that kids learn at different paces and being "ahead" at 4 means very little. Make sure she's happy and has a wide range of experiences at this age rather that booking that tour of Oxford colleges.

Music lessons are a great way to exercise the brain, dd has got so much from both lessons and orchestra, I really recommend, but please let her be a kid. My dd was very advanced at 4 and I got so fed up with people telling me I should withdraw her from school and hothouse her, happiness is the most important part of early childhood

JustRichmal Thu 28-Mar-19 23:41:15

OP, I realise I am derailing your thread. I can sort of see what you mean about your dd teaching herself, I don't fully agree she is. However, I can see what you mean by her wanting to read being her initiative.
I shall leave you to it, but I am of the view that if children are finding learning fun, then teach them.

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