What support can I realistically expect for Reception child who is 1-2 years ahead in maths?

(29 Posts)
Mrscog Tue 15-Oct-19 11:04:15

DS has settled into school pretty well, but I am concerned that his thirst for learning has gone. Before reception he was at a brilliant nursery which was so well resourced that each child had genuinely well set goals tailored to them. DS is pretty much at ELG stage for everything already, and in most areas it's not a problem, but he is super ahead in maths. His nursery said that they had never had a child so young so able at maths, and I sort of brushed it off, but having done a bit of research myself he can easily do everything outlined not just for the ELG but also year 1 and in some areas year 2.

I get that reception is a play based year, and I have no problem with that, but he is expressing disappointment with learning to count to 10 etc. At home he's adding and subtracting simple fractions and asking about negative numbers.

Anyway, it's parents evening soon, and I want to know if I should mention anything with school. It is a small school and he's in a mixed Yr R/year 1 class, so there might be an opportunity to at least do some of the yr1 maths activities.

Parents - what would you do?
Teachers - how should I approach this?

OP’s posts: |
Greenleave Tue 15-Oct-19 13:10:02

It really depends what you want for your child really. My yr1 isnt learning much in terms of maths and hasnt had any maths homework since beginning of the year(state school) so her school wont help. Some other schools might be very different. If you’d like to push then ofcourse go and ask the teacher, head teacher, some state schools do go extra mile in supporting children who is very ahead in certain subject. My elder child was good in maths too however I chose not to guide her to the academic route(she preferred to sit and worked on a maths problem for hours or always seen with a book. I instead introduced her to music and swimming. Its really up to you in what you’d like to pursue for your child. If his school isnt helping then you could give him extra work at home, it could be time, reasoning, word problem. There is a gifted section in mumsnet here for very gifted children with plenty of great suggestion even for children at younger age. Good luck.

Happyspud Tue 15-Oct-19 13:13:10

Could you get him a tutor outside of school to burn off mental energy? I don’t know, I think that it would be great to say ‘July kid has special abilities’ but in the context of life, does it really matter now? He’s very little. If he’s talented there will be a time for him to be supported and helped excel but getting ahead on his kiddy maths doesn’t seem that important when there’s such critical learning to be done at this age around play and friendships etc.

Onatreebyariver Tue 15-Oct-19 13:15:31

Is it state or private? A lot might depend on resources of course and class size.

My twins are year 1 and one of them is gifted and now doing year 4 maths. In reception he had his own worksheets. Now in year 1 he has 1-1 learning support once a week and in the class is just working through the year 4 curriculum. He just loves maths.

If he was bored I’d be gutted. Saying that you’re only 5-6 weeks in so maybe the school hasn’t noticed he is ahead?

I should add we are at private school so resources may be easier to access especially with only 17 in the class.

ScatteredMama82 Tue 15-Oct-19 13:20:07

School is about more than doing sums though. I wouldn't be keen to be 'pushing' a child that young. By all means do things to keep him interested but I'd be wary of basing your assessment on some googling and what the nursery worker said. Sorry, I know everyone wants to think of their child as gifted, and maybe he is, but if he is gifted he's not suddenly going to become 'ungifted'. Through his school work his abilities will still be obvious.
Your son attended a nursery where it sounds like they started the EYFS curriculum early. He's obviously a bright child who picked it up quickly. Maybe the kid next to him in class didn't go to nursery, maybe he spent his days with Grandma making cakes and finger painting. Based on what times tables your son can do compared to his little friend, he may well appear gifted. That doesn't mean his friend isn't. What will happen now, throughout reception is that they will level off. Reception kids are a blank canvas. Some are nearly 5 when they start (like my sons) or some are only just 4. That makes for a huge variety of ability too, and again it tends to level off by the time they are in Yr 2.

Just let your son enjoy school. Telling him he is gifted and pushing him at this young age won't really do him any favours IMO.

Lolakath19 Tue 15-Oct-19 13:22:43

What can your son do concretely? can he add/substranct 2 digits numbers together (with carry over), can he read time, knows time table?
I am sure teacher are assessing children regularly (maybe that is a question you can ask at the next parents meeting)

brilliotic Tue 15-Oct-19 13:29:55

Tbh, I don't think you can expect much, but you can always hope!

Getting Y1 work would be quite the opposite of what you'd want, I think. Reception stuff tends to be much more open-ended, allowing the child to pursue it as widely and deeply as they care for. For example DD in reception used to bring home sheets of blank paper on which she had worked out number bonds to 100. Now in Y1 she gets worksheets where she has to find 'one more' or 'one less' than a number, and there is a lot less scope to go anywhere beyond the specific (usually very simple) task set.

What you can hope for, IMO, is that the reception teacher provides resources and time for the children to explore maths things deeply. You can also hope that as it is a mixed class, they might use this kind of 'reception' approach also in Y1!

Once we had started on the NC from Y1, we found that occasionally DS would get 'challenge' problems that were interesting and fun, but generally he just learned to make sure he got things right at school, and that fun maths would have to wait for at home. Now in Y5 though we may have struck lucky with a teacher who is going beyond the expected to engage and challenge him.


mumderland Tue 15-Oct-19 13:33:19

My DS is advanced in maths too, much on the same level as your DS. He even corrects my maths sometimes!
When he was in reception his teacher was brilliant and did a separate lesson plan for him pulling work from ks1 and this has continued now he's in year 1. The teacher lets him use his "own" numbers rather than just 1-20 that the rest of the class are on.
Do you play number games/do maths work at home with him as you know what he's capable of?

InspireMyHoliday Tue 15-Oct-19 13:37:02

Is he nearly 5 or just turned 4? How old he is makes a big difference. Can he tell the time and use money?

Onatreebyariver Tue 15-Oct-19 13:40:11

It isn’t about pushing a child, or school being about so much more than maths. Those are both correct but it’s also about a child not being bored.

In reception they usually need to learn to write the numbers correctly. So he may be great at mental maths but can he write a 5 neatly and the right way?

I think (going by my experience which I posted above) that year 1 is when they will really start differentiating more fully.

Reception is so play based. Think of it as another nursery year really.

cometothinkofit Tue 15-Oct-19 13:45:32

In my experience, none whatever.

FinnMcMissile Tue 15-Oct-19 14:02:51

My 5 year old is in Y1 and also very good at maths. His reception teacher said he was a strong mathematician, but I'm not aware that they gave him any different work, or that they do now in Y1. To be fair, we have never asked either. He rarely talks about maths he has learnt at school, yet at home, particularly if left to his own devices e.g. over the summer holidays, he has done things like work out all the prime numbers up to, say, 30, and figure out all the different ways you can split up a give number evenly. He did a lot of this with blocks, and with very little input from us.

I have bought him a couple of maths related things for home, e.g. a bingo game where the bingo card has numbers expressed as e.g. 22 x 2 or 38 + 6 etc

Siddalee Tue 15-Oct-19 14:31:23

In schools now harder maths isn't about bigger numbers but about reasoning and problem solving leading to a deep understanding (mastery).

For example a Y1 child who can add together two single digit numbers won't be moved onto two digit numbers. Instead they'll be directed to deepen their understanding (mastery) through reasoning -for example if the calculation 6 +7 they will explore the many different ways this calculation could be completed

Bridging through ten 6+4+3
Near doubles 7 +7 -1
Doubles 6+6+1
looking for patterns- I know 5+5 = 10 so its 10 +1+2

In the same way a child asked to divide a square into quarters may explore
- four triangles
-four squares
-four rectangles
-two squares and two rectangles
- divide the shape into16 smaller squares and cut out four irregular shapes each one containing 4 of the smaller squares

Kathy11 Tue 15-Oct-19 14:52:40


Definitely raise at Parent's Evening. Play based is great - but outstanding schools foster a love of learning and should encourage every child in their areas of interest.

The school should be able to share data with you (Quantitative Score - through GL Assessments) which should enable both you and them to monitor progress over the year.

Hope this helps smile

Mrscog Tue 15-Oct-19 16:32:34

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses, they're really helpful. He's 4.5 so middle of year in terms of age.

I'm not really after wanting to 'push' him at all - I don't really see the point, he's in the state sector and there is no chance of private where I think there might be more to gain through going 'ahead' because they're more geared up for it. However, I have noticed a change between nursery and school - after nursery he'd be brimming with joy and always have new things to tell me, whereas although he enjoys school and has friends he seems to find it just a bit underwhelming and I think it's because of the levelling the playing field, which I understand and support as an approach - it's one that suited my other DS very well.

There are some ideas here for me with things I can do more of at home too - money and time. He can do the basics of both, but actually I can think of lots of brilliant game type things we could do that he'd enjoy.

I've already added in some extra curricular 'stretch' with taekwondo and drama and he really enjoys both of those.

I agree with the sentiment about reception being about another year of play and exploring things deeply - I just think they're probably not going deep enough for DS. And yes, I would agree it's too early to know whether he's gifted or just ahead of the curve for now, but equally I would like him to remain as enthusastic about learning things as he has been up until now.

@Happyspud I had wondered about tutoring, but I wasn't sure if I'd get someone who would be able to just provide fun exploration at the right level rather than pushing ahead. Is it something you've had any experience of?

OP’s posts: |
LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Tue 15-Oct-19 16:41:40

Maybe try Kumon? The thing about kids who are good at maths is that early arithmetic can be done quickly and easily in their head but they really need to learn how to write down their sums, show working out, checking their work, etc.

cabbageking Tue 15-Oct-19 16:45:06

They can move the child to work in year 1 in appropriate subjects or in small groups of children of the same ability. This is normal practice based on the childs development.
They already do double digits in Reception class for some children.
The work will be based upon the childs starting level assessment and this is often at odds with information from nursery.
Parents evening would be about establishing his starting level and if any interventions are planed.

Feenie Tue 15-Oct-19 18:00:37

The school should be able to share data with you (Quantitative Score - through GL Assessments) which should enable both you and them to monitor progress over the year.

No, they shouldn't - not through GL assessments, anyway. They're in no way statutory and unlikely to be used.

Mrscog Tue 15-Oct-19 20:54:28

Has anyone got any advice about what exactly to say to the teacher - given that everyone thinks their child is god's gift, without making her think I'm being overly pushy etc? All I really want is for it to be borne in mind that he is pretty capable and interested in certain things. I've just had a 30 minute conversation with him about photosynthesis - he has an older sibling and listens in and just picks it up and asks for more and more.

OP’s posts: |
cabbageking Tue 15-Oct-19 21:24:24

You just ask if he has settled in and how is he doing.
Be led by the teachers response.
You might only get a 10 minute slot so let the teacher inform you.

shoebedobedobedobedoo Tue 15-Oct-19 21:55:14

IME none. DS in yr 2 at 3rd school. We moved him from state to private because of this. Private school 1 did nothing. We unexpected had to relocate. Private school 2 have been actively obstructive. As far as I’m concerned they think they have a bright kid and don’t need to do anything with his skills. I’ve had 3 meetings with his teacher this 1/2 term. He is bored. Might as well talk to the wall.

BubblesBuddy Tue 15-Oct-19 22:57:43

Schools must have a maths lead teacher. I know YR in some schools isn’t play based for all. My DD was in an exceptional year group and learned at lot! Her state school definitely stretched brighter children so they were not bored and recognised them too.

DD2 went to a prep where many DC got scholarships to senior schools. They certainly knew an excelling child when they saw one. Not all schools fail to recognise or teach gifted children.

Talk to the maths lead and your teacher to try and get him more suitable work.

shoebedobedobedobedoo Tue 15-Oct-19 23:02:13

Talk to the maths lead and your teacher to try and get him more suitable work

I know this wasn’t directed at me, but my DS’s teacher IS the maths lead.hmm

CoastalWave Tue 15-Oct-19 23:11:30

Realistically, not much. Unless your child is actually gifted (and by this I mean sitting A level Maths at age 9 - yes, I've had that child in my Year 4 class), we class them as 'bright' hence we will differentiate accordingly. However, most schools will not want children digging too far into the next year's curriculum if I'm honest. It can be very frustrating from a teacher's point of view too.

I might just add though that I've had a few children described as you have above. They may well have been bright academically, but all of them lacked social skills and the ability to mix well with their peers. Personally, if it were my child , I would allow them to chance to enjoy school. It makes zero difference at primary how bright academically they are. As stated above, unless exceptionally gifted, they will still follow the same path as their peers.

If you're desperate to give them more thirst for learning so to speak, just engage them at weekends with trips to museums etc. You could always get a tutor in to work with them on their grammar and writing. Pointless to push them too far ahead in maths as they will then become incredibly bored in school.

Embracelife Tue 15-Oct-19 23:17:20

Brining in music outside school eg piano could be a great idea

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