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Problems in reception - advice really appreciated

23 replies

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 10:02

OK, here goes. Ds is 4.10. He is acknowledged as very bright (but also lazy). He has had issues socially integrating in school as he can be loud and bossy and has a very strong sense of what is right and wrong and gets extremely upset if something happens which he percieves is wrong. He also wants to tell the teacher everything he knows and is having to learn to put his hand up and wait to be asked.

The class has a traffic light system of discipline. All the children start on green, move to the edge if they are naughty, then on to amber and then to red and see the head. Ds has never been on red but he has been on the edge of green and amber more than any other child. I know this as I monitor it carefully to try and assist with ds's behaviour.

Problem is that in the past week I have been told by an adult who helps out that ds never gets asked to answer questions. Unpromted ds also said the same to me. Finally, I was told be 2 children separately that ds is naughty. When I asked them what made them say that, they said it was because ds was on the amber light a lot but they could not identify anything he did that was naughty. Ds himself often appears not to know what he has done but thinks it is for talking when he should not have been but I know that other children who talk more than he does are never out of the green zone.

I am now worried that (a) the class teacher does not like him and ignores him and (b) he is being demonised which will add to his problems socialising.

If you have got this far, I thank you and would ask, am I over reacting or is there a problem here and if so, what should I do?

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robinpud · 18/02/2008 10:14

It's understandable to feel anxious about your ds GL. It is early days in his school career, but try not to percieve it as a bigger issue than it is. It sounds like you ds is lively and articulate and ready to learn; all of which are positives. I would be wary of forming opinions based on what other children say or indeed another adult who helps in the class. This class has a very structured disciplinary system and it is clear that your ds is perhaps coming up against its rigidity. Every class has chidlren like this and a talented teacher can engage the child and channel their enthusiasm into learning whilst gently encouraging them to curb their exuberance a little. Maturity is a great help, but that takes time.
As you are concerned, I would ask to see the class teacher privately without ds. Explain your concerns and see if she shares them. Then together you can perhaps decide the best way forward, but whatever it is, it needs to include opportunities for your ds to see his achievements celebrated. I don't know how they reward good behaviour in his class.
Settling into school takes time; both child and parent need to develop resilience as there will be hiccups along the way. Don't worry that he will be demonised, perhaps invite a friend to play each fortnight but ensure there are structured activities for the two of the to play and do together so that the friend and ds both have a good time. I always used to throw bits of playmibile about to look inviting so that when they walked in they were drawn to it.
Good luck.

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 11:19

Thanks robin. I kind of have a concern that the teacher is not trying to engage with ds at all and have watched her ignore him when he is trying to tell her something. I know I should be wary of what other people say especially children, but it seems to be forming a bit of a pattern. Oh dear, my heart aches for him and I have no idea what to do!

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Flllightattendant · 18/02/2008 11:23

It doesn't sound like your Ds's character and enthusiasm is being encouraged...being labelled as 'naughty' when all he has done is show a keenness to learn and share knowledge is insane

Have you considered HE? It would be so sad if he were put off learning and given the impression that he is a 'naughty' boy when he has done absolutely nothing wrong - only not managed to control his natural and wonderful urges in a classroom.

Shocked by this - I don't think it happens in my son's class (same age) - if it did I would pull him out, full stop.

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 11:33

Thanks FA. I am considering whether another alternative would be better.

To give you more of an idea of exactly what is happening, teacher asked class why it was getting warmer, ds put his hand up but she chose another child to answer (perfectly OK) and the child said "spring", ds put his hand up again to add something, he wanted to say "climate change is also making it warmer" but she just said, "not now ds, question has already been answered". Ds really wants to tell her this and keeps on and then gets moved on to the amber light without ever being asked what he wanted to say.

I have been told this both by ds and another adult who was there. This just does not feel right to me - he had something legitimate to add.

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robinpud · 18/02/2008 12:15

My son is not disimilar to your Goosey. Last year we spent a year abroad and he had to settle into a new class. He is the sort of child that you either love or hate. Luckily his teacher who was experienced, chose to love him whilst making it clear that he had to take turns; answer questions when asked and listen to others. That, together with being a year older have meant that he is almost unrecognisable now.
Perhaps the teacher does find your child harder to manage successfully. If you can talk about it with her, without getting emotive or upset that really is the best place to start. If not then a good head should be happy to listen and manage things for you both.

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 12:25

Thanks again Robin - I do think he is a love or hate child. He is amazing in many ways but he can be agressive, wilful and domineering and the teacher in question is very sweet and feminine and has a reputation for preferring girls. I have tried being subtle with her - she knows I check their traffic lights every day so I am aware of what happens with ds. I have asked if there is anything I can do to assist the school and she had no suggestions. Maybe I do need to be less subtle and say that I notice he seems to be in trouble more than other children and is this really the case and he also perceives that he does not get an adequate chance to answer questions. Do you think that she is likely to do anything about it?

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wannaBe · 18/02/2008 12:44

Who is this other adult that is going into class and then coming back to report to you? Is it a parent helper? Because if so then imo it?s not her place to do so. I help out in my ds? reception class once a week, and while I have a very good idea of what goes on, and what children are often in trouble and why, both from my experiences in class and from what ds comes home and tells me, I couldn?t possibly begin to know what goes on during the other 4 days of the week when I?m not there. So unless this other adult works in your ds? class full-time, what she has told you is based purely on her limited experience in class. And if she is a parent helper, she is there to help out the teacher/TA, not to observe her friends? children and report back to them on their progress. Sorry, that?s not a pop at you but it makes me very when parents go into school and then seem to be unable to keep what happens in class to themselves.

I would just smile sweetly at the other children who say that your ds is naughty. 5 year olds have a very black and white perception of action/consequence, so if the amber zone is generally used for bad behaviour, then to those children amber equals naughty, so child on amber equals naughty child, iyswim?

I would arrange a meeting with the teacher, preferably without your ds present, and and mention to her that your ds has said he?s on amber more than the other children, and I would then ask why this is, and whether ds really is that much more disruptive than the other children. I would then ask her what ds needs to do to keep him on the green light, that way you?re giving her the opportunity to justify her actions and to tell you how she would like it to be.

It can be frustrating for children when they want to add to answers of questions etc and are not given the chance to do so, but tbh if you have a class of 30 children all wanting to say their piece whenever they have something to say nothing would ever get done, so there do have to be some limits. I would imagine there are opportunities during the day when children get to have free speech, but sometimes they do also have to learn to listen and not talk as well.

Good luck x

eyeballsindebt · 18/02/2008 12:50

sorry haven't name changed... but have you thought of it from the other pov? The teacher recognises that your ds is keen to answer questions, so doesn;t need to encourage him. whereas other kids need encouraging to speak out loud in class. Maybe she also knows that he will kow the correct answer and wants to see if any of the others know. He also needs to learn to take his turn, and accept that he just may not have a turn at talking that morning(let's face it if every reception teacher listened to every child that wanted to talk at circle time the whole class'd be there for days listening to little Petrinella wittering on about her bl**dy hamster/gran/fairy outfit etc). Maybe her way of encouraging him to do this is to not let him answer a question even if he is ken to do so.

It's difficult but remember to you he is the centre of your world, to the teacher he is one of 30. Maybe explain to him that the teacher knows he knows the answer but has to check whether the other children so too.

robinpud · 18/02/2008 13:00

There's always another point of view and I think GL understands that the other children in the class have needs.. as does her ds. Of course he needs to take turns and other children need to be encouraged to speak. There are teachers who can do this effortlessly and ensure all children grow and develop and feel positive about themselves.
Beware of reading too much into it GL; stay abreast of the traffic light thing, but make sure you don't make too big a thing of it with ds.
Talk to the teacher quietly; is it a huge problem or one she things will sort itself out. In the meantime, encourage your ds but ensure that the behaviour expected at school is expected at home. so make sure he takes turns and doesn't interrupt you etc

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 13:20

Thanks all for your responses.

I absolutely realise that ds must wait his turn and cannot and should not speak out whenever he wants to. There are shy children in his class who need to have the chance to talk and we have worked on this a lot with ds. My concern is that he never gets a chance to speak and his frustration leads to other problems and he then gets into trouble (and other children who act in the same way do not).

I don't have a problem with other children telling me that he is naughty. What concerned me was that the reason that they thought this appeared to be that he had been labelled as such on the traffic lights and not anything that he had actually done.

The adult did not report to me as such. She knows I have concerns and I asked her how ds was and how he was integrating and whether his behaviour really was all that bad. I know that she does not see what happens all of the time but it is the only view I have inside the class.

Seems maybe I am over reacting and should talk to the teacher.

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wheresthehamster · 18/02/2008 17:37

Ask the teacher if it's possible for DS to come to her at the end of the morning or the afternoon and tell her the answers to her questions that he wasn't allowed to say. He obviously feels it's important and by keeping on while the teacher is trying to move on he is breaking some of the carpet time rules. If he knows he will have an opportunity later to tell her then maybe that will be enough for him to settle down and thus stay on 'green'.

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 17:52

Thanks hamster that might work and I will mention it to her. He's just so eager and its upsetting me that he feels he is being ignored and then doing this to attract attention. He says she never asks him anything (and he is actually quite obsessive about this kind of stuff and does count so he may well be telling the truth). I never thought it would be this difficult - I just want him to be happy!

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carolyn1941 · 18/02/2008 17:57

Hi there. Lots of really good advice here I reckon. I'm a teacher (he he) so couldn't resist having my say! I have taught lots of children who sound like your DS and it's true what was said about trying to be skilful and bring out the best in every child, and yes it is hard sometimes with a class of 30. One child I teach is just like the girl and the hamster...if I let him he would happily talk all day and we would never get anything done! Usally he has to just answer a couple of questions then learn to get on quietly. A good tactic is to occasionally let him have a free reign to say what he wants. You might suggest to the teacher that in say a weeks time DS would give a little talk about something to his class...realise he is very young but say a book/game/toy/trip out?? I would always much rather talk to the parents and try to work together...teachers are often wary of parents reacting badly when you tell them about how their DC has behaved when in reality 90% are supportive! team work and communication are they key here I reckon. Hope this has helped???

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 18:03

Thanks carolyn - very helpful. Ds would love to talk to the whole class - whenever they have show and tell, he never wants to take toys in but wants to take pictures he can talk about (icebergs, how to make concrete, the solar system, what he has planted in the garden). I know his impulse to talk has to be curbed, but I kind of see him losing his beautiful spark at the moment and becoming resigned to just sitting there. Must talk to teacher.

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emmaagain · 18/02/2008 19:52

"losing his beautiful spark at the moment and becoming resigned to just sitting there. "

That's tragic. You know you can't let that happen.

He might need a smaller classroom.

He might need not to be in school yet.

He's only 4. He doesn't even legally have to be educated at all yet. If he's not ready for turn taking at 4, then fine, give him more time in a smaller group situation, and help him to segue into the big group when he is ready not to have his bounce squashed by it. Just my 2p worth.

avenanap · 18/02/2008 20:02

This sounds like my ds. I made him a badge with the traffic light on it so that it was a permanent reminder. My ds spent less than 1 year in reception because I pulled him out. I'd never have thought that 4 year olds could be depressed until I saw it for myself. He was always in trouble, disruptive in the class, unhappy and anxious at home. Like your son my ds is very bright. He was reading books for 8 year olds when he was 4, maths was advanced, he could do a key stage 1 science paper at level 2b when he was 4. Reception can be very boring for these children. They want to play and they want to learn. In reception, they can't do both so they play up. Once my ds had the 'naughty kid' label he couldn't get rid of it. He used to get told off for stepping onto the grass, pathetic things. I moved him to a private school where they could give him the support that he needed and so that he could start again. Rules didn't work, he was just bored.

GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 20:16

Thanks emmaagain, you're right, I do need to do something. Avenanap, that does sound familiar, although I am not sure that my ds is quite as bright as yours, he does seem to have a "naughty" label and appears to be increasingly disappointed in school. This is my first child at school and I'm not sure if I am being over sensitive.

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Feenie · 18/02/2008 20:35

he could do a key stage 1 science paper at level 2b when he was 4.

Not wanting to challenge your ds's intelligence, avenanap, but there are no key stage 1 science papers....wondered where it came from?

avenanap · 18/02/2008 20:43

It was a CGP book for key stage 1 science. sorry. He did the whole book though. Twas the key stage 1 maths paper he did at 4.

I thought I was being oversensitive until I saw the poor lad sit on my sofa and cry his eyes out.

carolyn1941 · 18/02/2008 20:44

I'm agreeing with emmaagain and avenanap....if you feel he is "losing his spark" or personality, or depressed you must act. Even though in my job i generally believe school is a wonderful place, I'm absolutely sure it isn't right for everyone, and all children are different. It could well be that he is bored! or as said above, just not ready...even though he is bright. And, much as it pains me to say it...some teachers are better than others, and some schools are. Not all 'good' schools offer the right environment for every child...your ds may well need smaller group size, more freedom. Again, good luck with whatever you do. Please keep us informed.

cat64 · 18/02/2008 21:11

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GooseyLoosey · 18/02/2008 21:28

Thanks cat - I am wondering if I should ease off too. Don't think I have gone this far yet - have only spoken to teacher once and not asked her to do anything special, just watched what she has done. In fact I would shy away from any special treatment as I would worry that would increase his social problems. I hasten to add that if he is on the amber light, he does not get in to trouble at home (although he does have to tell me why) and the only consequence is that if he is on green all week, he gets a special treat. Should I not be doing this? It is so hard to know what to do.

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cat64 · 18/02/2008 21:36

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