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Support thread for parents of boys who are finding reception hard

57 replies

GooseyLoosey · 11/03/2008 16:39

I am thinking about the boys (like my ds) who are labelled as naughty or something similar by the school and who just do not seem to behave in accordance with the perceived norm. I have noticed that there are a few of us on the board.

How do you get the school to accept them for who they are without demonising them? How do you make sure that they are not unduly "squashed" by school? Above all, how do you ensure that they are happy and nurtured at school?

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3littlefrogs · 11/03/2008 18:13

As a parent of 2 boys and one girl, to me the differences are huge. Having studied developmental psychology in reasonable depth, and based on everything I have read and on my own dcs, it is clear to me that boys are not neurologically and socially ready for formal schooling at 4.

Some children are only just 4 when they have to go into reception.

Boys'fine motor skills are less developed at this age than girls, and they do often struggle with reading and writing.

My boys are fortunate that they are both exceptionally bright, and were generally well behaved, but they still found formal schooling and being in a very confined space very difficult. Dd, OTOH, found it perfectly acceptable, and she was quite a tomboy, being the youngest.

The education system in this country is designed for, and run mainly by, females, and I think boys get a pretty raw deal. They get forced into an unsuitable environment, then blamed and villified when they don't cope.

Sorry about the rant, if you've got this far, but this is a subject close to my heart. (And my dss are off to university this year and next, so I really have no axe to grind.)

Read Steve Biddulph - he puts it much better than me.

mrz · 11/03/2008 18:16

It is madness to expect any 4 year old to sit still for long periods of time (actually it can be painful because of muscle tone development) so as a reception teacher I wouldn't ask my class to sit for longer than 10 minutes at a time. It is part of the reason that a very hands on practical curriculum was established for this age group and why continual access to the outdoors is recommended. Boys (in general) have very different learning styles to girls. As a SENCO I would question any school that is making blanket "diagnosis" of ASD as being ill informed.

GooseyLoosey · 11/03/2008 18:18

3littlefrogs, your rant was most welcome. I am being made to feel that ds is in some way not normal and it is so good to hear that others have at least come across similar issues. Ds is bright too but he picks up information from observing and interacting with what goes on around him not so much from sitting still and listening. School seem to focus only on the latter way of learning.

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goblinvalley · 11/03/2008 18:23

Gooseyloosey, it is possible to look at some other schools in your area. Maybe get a feeling how other reception classes are run, both state and private if you have the choice.

I presume that you have spoken to the teacher. Did she have any ideas about helping your ds?

good luck

Jazzicatz · 11/03/2008 19:50

I have sent my ds to a private school for boys - he is thriving and loves it. The school is geared up for boys - and understands how boys learn. They have been extremely supportive and I am so pleased he is doing so well. I hope that you resolve things for you little man goosy x

fatzak · 16/03/2008 09:45

I'm so glad I have found this thread as I think I am making myself ill worrying about DS at school
He is very bright, very sociable and very boisterous He started reception part time in Sept and has been full time since January and it just seems to be one thing after another. He's in a very small school with only ten other new starters. The other boys are all either very very quiet or very very naughty - I mean (and i may get flamed here) very rough naughty. Put it this way, the boy DS has taken to playing with has a father who we actually saw bring his older son to the playground to beat up a girl who had been calling him names I feel that DS just doesn't have any real friends. His teacher says that he can't concentrate in group situations but on his own is fine. We are looking to move schools but are in this cycle of do we try to move first or do we look at another primary in the area.

Sorry long ranty post with not much point but made me feel a little better

juuule · 16/03/2008 10:59

I'm quite confused about this. What are the perceived learning differences between boys and girls of reception age that isn't just a difference between children? Out of 3 boys and 5 girls none of my children were labelled as 'naughty' in reception although I was told that my last dd in reception (3y ago) appeared to have concentration problems. Is is it a change in school attitudes in recent years (my youngest ds is now 15)? I am wondering why I've not noticed a difference between the sexes, just between the individual children.
I think most 4yo whether boys or girls don't enjoy sitting still for long periods of time.

frecklyspeckly · 16/03/2008 22:15

IMO reception should just be about recieving the children into the school,getting used to the school routines and the school day. My son can be good in class and wild at playtime, not hurting other kids deliberately, just running around like a crazy thing, which some more timid kids dont like. He has exceeded my expectations of him though - and the teachers who told me on day 2' i dont think --- will ever like school'. He is bright but would rather be playing with lego and diggers - like most of the kids described on here. Her other comment was 'Its a very very immature class this year' - fancy, a group of immature 4 year olds!!

GooseyLoosey · 17/03/2008 09:16

Fatzak, gald it helped you.

Juule, I would never have said that there was a difference and perhaps it is not based on sex but on individual children but in my limited experience, far more boys seem to have behavioural problems than girls.

I watch my son (who the school tell me is very bright) and he has no problems in learning things but enormous social issues - in particular he wants to be Alpha male and of course the other children do not want this. School just seem to provide no support for the social side but lots of accademic support. Maybe I am deluded and this is not something which should be dealt with in school and is my responsibility (and of course, much of it is), but I can't help but think that many children seem to have socialisation issues and schools should have ways of assisting them (at 4 and 5 at least) without telling them that they are naughty.

Freckly, I have read a few comments about teachers calling 4 year olds immature as if that were a problem. Don't get that at all.

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Flight · 17/03/2008 09:53

The school where Ds1 is seems very very good - seeing positives in him despite his being utterly wild and full of surprises...

Saying that, the reception teacher is leaving on materniry leave in the summer, and I will be pulling him out at least till autumn.

I had nearly made up my mind last week but he misses his little friends so has gone in today after a week being 'sort of ill'.

He is in two minds about it as am I.

One thing I know is he can't do it if his teacher goes, he is very attached to her.

I am not blaming her for being pg but surely the school could have made an effort to ensure the teacher they took on was not pregnant - she started last Sept and is lovely but was already pg.

The other intake have lost their teacher just now, as she is on secondment - the parents are up in arms, there is school refusal happening and unsurprisingly so.

Don't they understand that tiny children get attached to their teachers?

Sorry to rant.

GooseyLoosey · 17/03/2008 10:00

Flight - that does not sound like an easy situation to deal with.

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Flight · 17/03/2008 11:46

Goosey thankyou for this thread.
Sorry your LO is going through such a hard time.
There are teachers at Ds's school who continually label various children 'naughty' even 'vicious' which was actually in response to an incident she ahd not witnessed but both boys verified separately that it had never happened how she assumed.
The other child's parents complained but we never heard any more.

I despair sometimes.
I'm currently trying to sort out a way ds can meet up with other little boys so he gets his boisterous side well and truly indulged, without the sometimes lunacy that is is not that easy! help

Flight · 17/03/2008 11:47

Btw your Ds sounds abjectly normal and lovely

I must get that Steve Biddulph book.

GooseyLoosey · 17/03/2008 11:52

Thanks Flight - he is lovely! One of my biggest concerns is that ds now seems to get into trouble for things that other children do not. As an example, after a session where a lot of the boys were building models, ds broke them up to put the stuff away, this upset another child. He is quite clear that these are the rules unless there is a name on them and the child has asked to keep it,(when they are put on a special shelf) so he was doing the right thing. Ds was in lots of trouble for this. Last week, another child destroyed his model in the same circumstances and did not get into any trouble at all. Ds cannot understand why this is the case and is now confused about what the rules are!

Its just good to know I am not alone. Dh thinks I over-react, but how can I not, he is my child!

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fatzak · 17/03/2008 17:28

It's so reassuring to know that DS is just like many other little boys!!
Parents' Eve tomorrow so watch this space for a desperate post

Daedalus · 17/03/2008 19:26

Let us know how it goes. Last time I was as nervous as if it were me that was being talked about!

GooseyLoosey · 17/03/2008 19:29

Likewise Fatzak, hope it goes well!

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brimfull · 17/03/2008 19:35

No problem with ds' behaviour,he manages to sit still and do what's expected of him in school-it's getting him to do his reading/writing at home I am having difficulty with.
I can just about get him to read at home once a week atm.

GooseyLoosey · 17/03/2008 19:40

Me too - he pulls terrible faces and resists it as much as possible. Am trying not to force the issue too much at the moment and hope he comes to it on his own.

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fatzak · 17/03/2008 19:50

I'm actually chickening out and sending DH to parent's eve - one of us has to stay at home with the DSes and I'm worried that I'll end up a blubbering wreck. This is bonkers, I'm a teacher myself for goodness sake

bluesushicat · 17/03/2008 21:54

just found this thread and read it back nodding!

I'm currently going through the same thing with ds2 who is bright but challenging. He's the kid who when you tell him not to touch something will put his finger 1 millimetre away and give you the look that says go on then what are you going to do now? He's not making progress in literacy because 'it's boring' . We have made some small progress by reading each book twice - once with the real words and once with his words. DS1 was a different challenge - he never sat still (still doesn't) but he's easygoing and likable and did what he was told to do.

PYBF so what? girls are creative and imaginative - why shouldn't he play with them?

fatzak good luck with the parents evening

juuule · 17/03/2008 22:14

"e's the kid who when you tell him not to touch something will put his finger 1 millimetre away and give you the look that says go on then what are you going to do now?"

Don't they all do that at some point? Mine have. As regards the reading, most of mine have thought it was boring. So did I and so did the teacher. So we read other things, too, and knew we were just reading the reading scheme books because we had to. They weren't all boring but has anyone else read the 'Park Street' scheme .

PYBF - my ds was put with the girls because he was happier there. That was about 15y ago though so perhaps attitudes have changed.

paddingtonbear1 · 17/03/2008 23:11

can I just say, I know this thread is about boys but girls don't always cope better! My dd is in reception (summer birthday) and sounds very like your ds colditz!
her teacher says she is bright but cannot sit still and has a v short attention span. her hearing test at school was a real struggle (they did it twice) as she just switched off halfway through!

GooseyLoosey · 18/03/2008 11:00

Hi Paddington, you are more than welcome. I only said boys as most of the threads I had read were about boys. If I knew how to change the thread title to be more inclusive, I would.

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bluesushicat · 18/03/2008 20:05

juuule - not in my experience - other children (including ds1) stop long before ds2 does. Same with the reading - ds1 didn't complain of it being boring. I'm happy for you that none of your children were labelled naughty in reception but I thought this was a support thread for parents of children who were currently finding reception hard.

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