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DS hating school because it's all play and no work.

(36 Posts)
Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 12:32:22

He just started in reception and is already deeply disillusioned. He's been desperate to learn more writing skills. He already knows quite a few letters and has been writing phonetically for over a year.

His brothers and sister do pretend school with him and have taught him a fair bit.

I know there are plenty of kids, especially boys, who really don't want to do much writing at this age (4.5) and I understand that reception is designed to be about socialising through play and singing etc ... but he's hating it!!

Is there anything I can do? Could the teacher, for example, give him work sheets to help him with his writing even though he's possibly the only one who wants to do it at this stage?

I don't want him to feel held up and disillusioned already.

sarararararah Tue 22-Sep-09 12:39:16

How is he generally socially? I agree you won't want him to be disillusioned already but could he be hating it because he's finding the social stuff tricky? I could be way off mark. Obviously I don't know your DS. smile

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 12:43:16

I'm not sure sarararararah. I will check with his teacher. He's always been fine socially as far as I can see not least because he has two brothers and a sister and so we have a very busy household so I don't think it's an issue.

He's very bright and has absolutely exhausting energy levels so really needs to be stretched.

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 12:43:51

But there must be some things he's learning? Even just learning to be part of a group, listen when asked to, be quiet when asked to. And they do loads of painting/arty stuff. Listen to stories. PE. Plus all those other children to interact with. I'd be very surprised that any 4/5 child could be seriously bored in reception. I suspect there is more to it than 'boredom'. I would ask the teacher how settled he is, if he plays with other children - the usual stuff.

But no harm in asking the teacher for extra work sheets though.

roundabout1 Tue 22-Sep-09 13:01:49

Spidermama - my dd has just started in reception, she's the yongest in the class but very disappointed that she's not learning much! She is learning new things, new songs, her writing has improved but in her opinion there is too much playing! I think in my dd's case she finds the mixing with others hard, she doesn't have any close friends at school & the class seems to be full of cousins, step cousins etc so she does feel a bit left out.

GooseyLoosey Tue 22-Sep-09 13:05:53

Ds (now 6) was very much like this and expected all knowledge to be laid out before him on day 1. He constantly complained that he learned nothing. I never did really find a solution apart from telling him as much as possible at home. He was not always that happy in reception and did not like the unstructured slightly chaotic environment either. However, I did keep promising him that this was an introductory year and Yr 1 would be better and come Yr 1, he was ecstatic!

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 13:14:54

OK good to know he's not the only one.

Do you think it would be unreasonable of me to ask the teachers to give him reading worksheets?

Orm he specifically wants to read and write.

sarararararah Tue 22-Sep-09 13:17:13

As a reception teacher I would be extremely reluctant to give worksheets. I never do anything through worksheets; now they are boring!

It's only very, very early days. The teacher will still be busy sussing out all the little characters. Your DS will learn more reading and writing, but frankly, I'd be worried if he were doing too much of this at this early stage. They need to gell as a group, learn the routines, get to know the staff, learn how all the resources work etc, etc, etc!

I do agree with OrmIrian about asking the teacher how settled he is and also how he's doing socially. Then you can take it from there.

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 13:17:41

if he really want to do that then I would definitely ask the teacher. I'm sure she'll be pleased he's so keen.

OrmIrian Tue 22-Sep-09 13:18:30

Uh-oh! x-posted with sarah. Perhaps she wouldn't be so pleased then grin

showmethewaytothenextwhiskybar Tue 22-Sep-09 13:26:41

dd was really excited about going into 'big school' from nursery because she thought she was going to start learning loads of stuff at school - like your ds she was very disillusioned that it was basically pretty much like nursery, except all day

unfortunately y1 was very similar - she would always choose to go and do some writing or reading and she's still complaining in y2 that the work they're doing is too easy

we've done lots of experiments, craft projects (not my forte!), baking, days out to museums etc but the problem with that is when they do similar stuff at school, dd's already familiar with it

although I'm sure the learn through play approach suits most children, it doesn't work for all of them hmm

your ds may well find it more satisfying as he goes further up the school - my eldest is now in secondary and really loves being at school

sarararararah Tue 22-Sep-09 13:27:00

grin maybe. maybe not! depends on the teacher! wink

smee Tue 22-Sep-09 13:32:47

Wait 'til he moves to Year One, then he'll be wailing that there's no time to play.. grin

Toffeepopple Tue 22-Sep-09 13:51:29

Maybe you should ask the teacher what happens during free play.

When DS was in reception a large proportion of the morning was free play - lego, dress ups, shop corner, outside, etc. There were also always worksheets and more structure activities available at this time (numeracy and literacy).

jaded Tue 22-Sep-09 16:48:19

Worksheets in reception? No No NO! why on earth would you want that for him? He's four for crying out loud! If he's as bright as you make out, he'll teach himself to read

choosyfloosy Tue 22-Sep-09 17:01:35

jaded she doesn't want it for him, he wants it for himself...

i'd go in for a couple of mornings and eyeball the situation tbh, if the teacher is up for that (very relaxed in our foundation stage, don't know how common that is). But the teacher should hear from you what you're worried about first.

also in our school, you can start violin lessons at 4 (not that I did this) - might he enjoy something like that in school time?

also, how many of the children in his class does he know? maybe fix some teas and things with one or two classmates so they can get to know each other more? this helped ds no end.

maybe he could have a special pen and notebook of his own that he could practise writing in, that you provide, if he wants to do this?

maybe he could 'read' the odd storybook that he knows by heart to other children at the school? he might like that scenario?

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 19:36:37

Good ideas choosy. He's desperate to read his classmates the book wot he wrote. grin

It's about a boy who is all alone because his mum and dad are dead and he has to clean up his own throw up. shock It's the saddest situation he could possibly think of.

mrz Tue 22-Sep-09 19:41:05

worksheets teach children how to fill in worksheets they certainly don't help any child with their writing. Perhaps your son is disillusioned because he expected worksheets?
There should be plenty of opportunities for your son to write independently in a reception class and actually learn about writing.

trickerg Tue 22-Sep-09 20:21:27

It is clear from these forums that it is going to take a while to convince people that organised and structured play in YR (and Y1) is actually all about learning: learning social skills, learning how to use initiative, learning how to follow instructions, learning how to respond appropriately, ON TOP OF learning how to read, write and use numbers. The social and personal skills are of paramount importance in later education (and life) - how to think for oneself, how to work independently, how to fend for oneself, how to mix with and respond to other people...etc, etc.

If you want a work sheet, get it off the internet.

mrz Tue 22-Sep-09 20:46:31

By choosyfloosy on Tue 22-Sep-09 17:01:35
jaded she doesn't want it for him, he wants it for himself...

Sorry choosyfloosy but most reception children wouldn't know what a worksheet is never mind want one unless someone has introduced them to worksheets - an adult?

As a reception teacher I would be more than happy for a parent to spend time in the class but I won't be supplying any worksheets.

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 21:58:43

Oh forget the bloody worksheet thing. I don't know. If worksheets are shite then I'm happy to accept this.

This is coming from him not me. He desperately wants to learn to write and he assumed school would teach him that. I want to avoid him feeling disappointed and make sure he's given the best start in education he can have and is enthused.


choccyp1g Tue 22-Sep-09 22:07:48

Are you sure he is "just playing" though ? Perhaps he thought that when he went to school, he would suddenly be magically able to do all the reading and writing just like his siblings, and is a bit disappointed to find he has to actually learn it bit by bit.

Spidermama Tue 22-Sep-09 22:11:58

There's probably an element of that. I think it's frustrating being the fourth child and always the baby.

trickerg Tue 22-Sep-09 22:12:45

Buy him a special book to 'review' his reading books from school, or books you read him (or TV, or films). He can 'write' something about the book, with a smiley or frowny face (stickers?), and then take it in to show his teacher. Also, if you have a word with her, I'm sure she won't mind writing a comment every now and then.

singersgirl Tue 22-Sep-09 22:21:57

Most children (however bright) aren't bored by playing, though. I understand the element of disillusionment, but what I found with DS2 was that he could learn new stuff at home and still enjoy playing at school. Don't most children like play? If he really wants to learn to read more quickly, why don't you spend 5 minutes a day teaching him in the evenings until school gets up to speed?

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