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Am I just being biased or is she a bright spark?

(41 Posts)
jojoduck Sat 07-Nov-09 01:47:58

My little girl is 4 and has just started school and is loving it (which is the most important thing to me). today we received her first report and shes doing great but to be honest i have been surrounded by people telling me shes very bright and her report is showing shes mostly average. I was just wondering whether i have been misled by my family and friends.

She knows her numbers up to 20 and can count to 100 with some prompting, she can colour in and stay in the lines (mostly), knows all her letters capital and small, can write all of these independently and can spell most cvc words, is reading simple stories, and has always talked about everything and anything clearly and descriptively. She dresses and undresses herself, can ride a bike without stabilisers and can add small numbers together, knows all her colours (light and dark) and all her 2D shapes. She can use sissors to cut in a straight line or follow a shape and she also has an excellent memory and can remember stuff like what colour wrapping paper she had last christmas.

I know i sound like a paranoid mum and i probably am but i thought she'd do better as when we went for our teacher parent interview at the beginning of school the teacher seemed surprised by what she could do and she seems so much older than all of her friends in many ways.

jasper Sat 07-Nov-09 01:53:45

Don't worry for a second about her report.
She sounds completely normal for a 4 yo starting school

Earthstar Sat 07-Nov-09 06:46:53

Why not share your concerns with the teacher?

Goblinchild Sat 07-Nov-09 06:53:39

I work in a 'leafy green' area and our school has a largely middle class catchment area with very aspirational and supportive parents on the whole. Your daughter sounds able, but she'd fit in with about half of our current reception intake who can mostly do the things you list.
What are you paranoid about exactly?
'I thought she'd do better'
Is her reading level or writing level not what you expected in school? She will be getting a lot less individual support in class, and have the distraction of being with other children as well.
Interesting that you don't list any interactive social skills.

ScummyMummy Sat 07-Nov-09 06:55:36

She sounds like she's doing really well- what do you think she needs to do better at?

mrz Sat 07-Nov-09 07:45:50

I don't teach in a leafy suburb but you could be describing any number of four year olds. Please enjoy your little girl and don't be disappointed by her report.

FlamingoBOOMbo Sat 07-Nov-09 07:51:56

I think you should stop thinking about how bright she may or may not be and just enjoy her and let her enjoy life. It really doesn't matter, especially not at this age, and I actually believe it can be harmful to put so much emphasis on academic ability at this age. Be proud of her because she's funny, and friendly, and happy and please, please try to ignore how much she can spell/read/add/whatever, or at least just quietly be proud of it and don't talk to her about it.

justaboutautumn Sat 07-Nov-09 07:56:00

Message withdrawn

GunpowderTreasonAndDragons Sat 07-Nov-09 07:57:47

FGS, she's four. Stop worrying about her school report.

Flightattendant Sat 07-Nov-09 08:02:19

Jojo I know what you are saying, it sounds as though she is very capable and has good motor skills, is very bright etc.

I am not sure what people have said to you, but I know my mother was always saying how clever ds1 was, also lots of strangers commented on his language and brightness etc when he was around 2-3yo.
It was true - he was a very very good talker and a bright boy in many ways.

But as soon as he went to school, he quickly became one of the stragglers wrt reading and writing, as it just wasn't his thing...his speech was no longer specially commented on because everyone else had caught up and obviously they could all talk pretty well by yr1! His building and inventing 'work' he'd been so clever at at home, got sidelined when he went to school, and although he is well liked and still bright etc he is now regarded as slightly below average academically.
It makes me sad that kids are classified in this way, because where has my 'special' boy gone - nobody notices him any more!

However I think this is something very personal to most parents/families - their child is wonderfully bright to them, and you do have to get used to their being average or just a bit above/below that, to everyone else - they change and go in kind of spurts, so a kid who is reading level 6 or whatever in yr1 might slow down and be totally average by yr3, while the others have caught up by then.

It is a weird thing. I think you will know by the time she is midway through secondary if she is particularly great at one thing. Meanwhile, I don't think there's any need to feel disappointed, she sounds great. smile

mrsruffallo Sat 07-Nov-09 08:03:13

I agree that it's about curiosity and questions at this age.
She sounds normal for a child who has been taught quite a lot at home (nothing wrong with that if the desire comes from her)
Be careful about wrapping her self worth up in her academic achievements. As she gets older and the work gets harder she may be devestated that she isn't top of the class.

Flightattendant Sat 07-Nov-09 08:06:33

..hope that didn't come across as patronising btw...not meant to. I am actually going to admit I am disappointed that I've had to adapt from being the mother of a very bright preschooler to the mother of 'him who can't read very well' - it does feel very sad! But I still think of him as very very clever boy. It's just not in your standard kind of way iyswim grin

LIZS Sat 07-Nov-09 08:13:40

She's only been there a short while. Myabe she hasn't shown her full range of skills consistently yet, but she does sound fairly typical. Let the fact she loves it and is doing well be enough for now.

JoeyBettany Sat 07-Nov-09 08:18:37

Flighattendant, you could have been describing my 7 year old ds!

He was such a bright toddler and pre-schooler ,met all his milestones really early, was described as incredibly bright by everyone and now sadly struggles at school sad
(although he still makes incredibly detailed and creative models at home.
I think our cureent education system doesn't do some kids any favours at all.

sassy Sat 07-Nov-09 08:43:09

Sounds bright but not exceptional. My 4yo is the same, can do the same as yours and she is bright as well. But not exceptional!

I am far more concerned about how she is doing socially at school, can she listen nicely, manage toilet/changing for PE etc. This is what really matters in their first ever term at school.

thegrammerpolicesic Sat 07-Nov-09 09:36:15

Agree it's bright but not off the scale and there would be quite a few in a typical primary school reception class like this from what I know.

Maybe the teachers only include things they have actually seen in class and they haven't witnessed some of the things she can do at home yet.
Or maybe she is shy at school and worried she'll get things wrong.

TBH I'd want to have a quick informal chat with the teacher about it to understand the report.

But I do agree with others about the dangers of emphasising all this to yourself and ending up disappointed down the line and more importantly leaving her feel like a failure.

TotalChaos Sat 07-Nov-09 09:37:23

in what way does the report show "mostly average" out of interest? just wondering how you came to that conclusion?

bruffin Sat 07-Nov-09 09:45:19

A lot of what really bright children are capable isn't measured or is even measurable in primary, but it doesn't mean that they don't get to use skills at school.

Also I do think that some children concentrate on different skills earlier than others but not necessarily because they are less bright it's just they have a different priority of skills IYSWIM

DS could understand everything really well long before he could talk but he concentrated on learning to walk early rather than verbal skills.Before he was a year old he was pulling boxes round with him so he could climb on them to get to work surfaces.
He decided to swallow a dictionary 2 days before his 2nd birthday and was spouting new words all day where as DD had been slowly adding a new word every few days for months at that age.

DS speach also wasn't that clear and saw a speach therapist until he was in reception. His reception report probably showed him as below average in something and average at others but his SALT tested him as having the grammatical reception of an adult.

What I am trying to say is that some children have the showy skills that say look at me i'm bright, whereas others may be much brighter and have it all simmering underneath

He is Year9 now and his very ordinary state comp are saying that he is Oxbridge material.

IdrisTheDragon Sat 07-Nov-09 09:46:57

What sort of report was it? Did it have "levels"? Seems quite early to be having a written report - are you having/have you had a parents' evening to discuss with the teacher?

snorkie Sat 07-Nov-09 10:10:07

A lot of teachers aren't gushing when it comes to reports and the best ones always try to put in areas for development as well as things that a child can already do. It's not PC at most schools to give a class ranking either, so the report of one of the best children may well read in a similar way to that of a more average child (but with different targets). So what is it about the report that is average? If it's effort grades - well, perhaps she could do even better with more focus and even if it's attainment grades they may well have been 'adjusted' for ability to some degree. I'd be glad that the teacher is pushing her a bit & thinks she can do even better rather than allowing her to coast.

Quattrofangs Sat 07-Nov-09 10:20:20

I think it's the sort of thing most parents have to adapt to tbh. Only happens with the first one.

All friends and family will of course insist that your pfb is a genius of the calibre of Einstein with fabulous social skills to boot and more than a touch of special sporting prowess. This happened to us. I blame grandparents tbh

So it came as a bit of an unpleasant jolt when the school reports indicated that in there were areas where DD (our own pfb) was not ahead of her peers.

In fact she works hard and does well and stays in the top three for most subjects and it is an academic school. So she's doing fine. As is your DD. And ultimately, isn't fine all we need?

SofaQueen Sat 07-Nov-09 11:21:48

As other have already stated, your daughter sounds quite normal. What was it about the report that dissapointed you? Actually, it' not a bad thing to not be tops always - it means that your daughter will learn the key lesson in life that to do well, one must put in an effort. Much more important than to be the best all the time.

jojoduck Sat 07-Nov-09 11:43:00

Thanks for all the comments-never thought i would get competetive about this sort of thing as I was never that bright and get angry at the way the education system in this country only rates intelligence by exam results. Feel like i've turned into all those parents i used to criticise for putting pressure on their kids and not looking at them as the whole person. She is a happy, fun, warm hearted little girl who loves life and is full of mischief-what more could i ask for??? Thanks for the wrist slap! (BTW our reports are tick boxes so most of the boxes checked were average).

Clary Sat 07-Nov-09 14:58:01

jojoduck I agree with others that she sounds lovely and certainly well on, tho not in the "unheard-off brilliance" league.

I am more concerned about a report rating children in a tick-box method when they have been at school for about 8 weeks hmm

justaboutautumn Sat 07-Nov-09 15:01:48

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