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What can your reception aged child do?

41 replies

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore · 02/12/2008 13:00

DD1's teachers told me she was behind and I'm trying to work out if she is behind the average uk child or just in her super high acheiving school as she seems to be able to do quite a bit and her school is renouned for being pushy.

She can read simple words but gets stuck with 'th' sounds she knows all of her keywords apart from those with the 'th' sounds in them.

She can recognise most, if not all of her letters and identify the sounds they make, although she had a bit of trouble with 'h' last night. She can write over half of her letters and write and spell simple words and her own name.

She recognises all her numbers and can count but gets a bit confused with 'tens' numbers i.e. she will count 27, 28, 29, 21 but when you make her go back she gets it right.

She recognises all of her shapes and can tell you without looking how many edges and corners there are on a square, triangle, circle, rectangle and semi circle.

I am just being sensative in not wanting to believe that my child is not behind or does this seem okay for a child who is not even 5 yet? Because it does to me

OP posts:
SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore · 03/12/2008 00:54

No it's not a private school but it apparently in the top 20% of the country and hope to be in top 5% by the time dd leaves. They have a new head who had really brought the school on it used to be one of the worst but she works closely with ofsted and the EWO.

I'm not showing off if that's what you are making of my post, Oblomov? it's just that I agree with what most of you are saying that dd is ahead if anything which is why I didn't know what to make of what the teachers were saying. I don't want her to be struggling but I don't want to push her and take the fun away from learning. Obv like any parent I want her to do well in school but I'm not bothered if she is 'gifted and talented' if anything I'd rather she was not as I don't want the extra pressure put upon her.

I sound like an arse now don't I?

OP posts:
Northumberlandlass · 03/12/2008 08:00

Hey SheSells, You don't sound like an arse AT ALL ! My DS also attends a very high achieving state school and again he has learnt a sound a day in jolly phonics. He 'knew' all 44 sounds about 2 weeks ago. DS can read up to 4 letter words and he gets 10 new words a week, which have to be practiced and reviewed every day. In his grey book last week, RT said that DS was getting fustrated and seemed to think it was all hard work !! No shit Sherlock - he does find it hard work. RT didn't seem to have a problem with the level he is at, so find it amazing that your RT is suggesting DD is behind. I am continually amazed at how much information they soak up, all i have ever wanted is for DS to try hard - I can't ask any more of him and he knows that !

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore · 03/12/2008 08:11

I know what you mean about how much info they soak up. DD could only read her name and that was just from constant recognition rather than she knew the letters in it before she started school. I am amazed at how much she has come on.

10 words a week sounds a lot. DD only gets five a week to practise at home and one phonic sound.

OP posts:
Anna8888 · 03/12/2008 08:14

Agree with Franca.

My DD would be the year before reception in the UK - she was 4 in November. But there are plenty of children in her class who are reception aged because the entry year is a calendar year.

The teachers are not allowed to teach my DD's class letters or numbers or sounds. They are still focusing on oral skills and motor skills this year.

This is a relatively high-achieving private school. Lots of ir children will in all probability go on to glittering careers.

brimfull · 03/12/2008 08:50

she sounds like a bright child and the teacher is an arse

I would be more concerned about the shyness tbh although some children take a long time to warm up and get the confidence in school to speak up and lake themselves heard .Not unusual to be shy at school and not shy at home but worth keeping an eye on.

twentypence · 03/12/2008 08:56

In NZ your child wouldn't even be in school.

I would be more interested in the shyness than the academic side.

Oblomov · 03/12/2008 09:07

No, Op I didn't think you were showing off, at all. I didn't mean it like that.
I just meant , kind of, god, I don't know what to think.
Actually, correction, I do. I agree with all other posters. I am happy with where ds is. I think your school is asking alot. and your dd sounds just FINE.
Is what I kind of meant

Oblomov · 03/12/2008 09:08

we have 2 sounds a week. and 4 books a week.

ByThePowerOfBaileys · 03/12/2008 09:20

I find it fascinating that within the same "national curriculum" and " foundation for learning" or what ever it is called now... that there is such variety.

DS1's class sounds as "pushy" as the OP but he is thriving.. there are kids who aren't learning the stuff and these children are not being told they are behind, but the opportunity is there for the children who do.

They started with sounds book 3 new letters a week and for those who know their sounds they get a word box of 10 new blendable words a week they sit with a TA on a friday and go through the stuff to see if they know any of it. some don't but DS1 has had a new word box each week because he knows how to read the words.

They have been put into groups (fruit)and some do colouring and some do writing letters, some do writing words. it is working really well for everyone. The children do not feel any pressure from the school, (if there is pressure from home there isn't much school can do about that)

Yet my friend who lives in the next catchment area - the child is at a school with no computers, no letter or sound work has been done yet, seems more like childcare than school.

Lemontart · 03/12/2008 09:42

Personally, like others here, she sounds very normal and if anything a little above average. Her abilities mimic my )just turned 5) reception child. She is in the top few of the class and meeting her personal potential well (not boasting, just saying it as it is!)

Few thoughts about this:

  1. Hope she did not say this in earshot of your child. If she used language like "behind" and "not achieving" I would be very unhappy. They are so young and it is so important to keep them positive and excited about learning, not giving them such negative images of themselves.

  2. On what "scale" or chart is she judging your child? Is she saying she is not fulfilling her own potential and that she thinks she is personally more capable? If so, she should have identified this sooner and I would want to know what strategies she is employing in the classroom to stretch and motivate my child.
    If it is in terms of the class levels, I would question the sense in judging her against her peers. We all know how variable a group is and cannot expect every child to match the most able in the room. It is unfair, setting false targets and likely to backfire.
    If it is in terms of national levels, there are no national levels and standard levels of what children are supposed to be able to do by end of their first term! Where is she getting her facts and figures from?
    Also, how specific has she been? Is she behind across the board or is it in one area - spoken, written word, maths, physical education, social skills etc etc I imagine that she is not "behind" (I hate that term) in all areas and if the teacher looked at your child holistically, she would have plenty of positive to say as well.

    If you are unhappy with what they have said, disagree or feel you have not been given specific details with targets and strategies to tackle her perceived areas of concern, make another appointment and go back.

    Sorry, ranting a little. Just come out of 2 yrs with a seriously pants teacher with DD1. She would always run DD1 down, concentrate on negatives, rarely praise etc etc and, as an ex teacher, it drove me to distraction!
julen · 03/12/2008 09:52

Sounds to me as if she knows an awful lot already. Dd1 didn't know even half of that when at this stage, and ds, although he's a bit further down the line, doesn't nearly know as much either. Slightly overzealous teacher/school, maybe...?

Oblomov · 03/12/2008 10:24

What a GREAT post by Lemontart.
Agree, go back to teacher, ask her EXACTLY what she means by 'behind'. I think I would be very unhappy about this, now that I have given it some thought.

imaginaryfriend · 03/12/2008 13:12

Dd is in Y1 now but I'd say that in YR she was pretty similar to your dd at this stage although didn't have a problem with th sounds and probably knew all the letter sounds. She was 5 very early in the year though which is always an advantage. She's also in a high achieving state primary and was consistently in the top group in her class at that level of ability. I used to be a parent helper with reading and I would say that at least half the class were not at that level this short time into YR but there were not considered to be 'behind.'

Pushy school for sure, obviously they have very high expectations. Don't worry, just keep praising her and let her progress at her own level.

Have you heard from any other mums about what was said about their kids? Could be that most of the class is considered 'behind' from your school's point of view??

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore · 03/12/2008 14:37

Thanks lemontart that was a great post. I think I will set up a meeting with her teacher and the head. Yes it was said infront of dd, but fortunately she had just come out of dance school so was busy showing dd2 her dance for the play and I don't think she heard much of it. It hadn't even occurred to me to be worried about that as I was focusing on the other things. But yes I agree it should not have been said infront of her.

Re the scale/levels Im not sure where they got them from. Something from Private schooling maybe? I think that the head has came from a private school. She calls herself Madame rather than Miss/Mrs X and has brought a lot of new teaching skills into the school. It was a a chart with different levels and they said that they tested dd1 at the start of year and she was a 2 she is now a 3/4 but she should be higher.

DH asked we could have a copy of the chart and they said no, they need to keep it. They didn't even show us what was on the chart.

They said that she was behind socially re: she won't talk in groups and she won't give answers to teachers, but she is fine in her own little group of friends.

She is behind re her letter recognition and her ability to talk about shapes and her spelling and reading. According to them dd can only spell really really simple words like cat, dog etc. Yet at home she can read 'went' and 'love' etc She knows all of her tricky words bar the ones begining with 'th' although she recognises what sound it should be when she see's the letters alone she can't seem to put this into use when reading.

I do wonder how much work they do with her because I managed to teach her all of her shapes in just one walk to school by looking for shapes while we were walking. Her letters she seems to know well. She has an alphabet chart in her room and we have looked at it and talked about her letters since she got the chart when she was 2.

She has a lot more than 45 tricky words too. She has a whole page full of them in her homework book. I'd say about 60+ and she can read the majority of them without even having to spell them out now.

I was concerned about her shyness so had a word with her dance teacher about how she behaves in class and she says she is in her opinion bright, confident and happy. If anything she is over confident for her age and what I thought was them asking dd if she wants to do things was actually her going up and asking "So when can I start comp lessons then?"

OP posts:
Fennel · 03/12/2008 14:48

There is no way she is below the national average for first term in reception. It sounds very much as though the school has a problem/unrealistic expectations.

As for shyness being interpreted as being socially backward

imaginaryfriend · 03/12/2008 15:08

It's crazy really. Dd is very shy but it was never interpreted as her being 'backward' - at the time her YR teacher said 'it's just her character, nothing to worry about'. But from what you've said your dd isn't shy in any case.

Re. spelling and reading. You might find that she can read a lot more words than she can reproduce in her own writing, perhaps they're referring to that?

However when dd was in YR they didn't even touch on spelling. They said the goal was that by the end of YR most children should be able to make a good phonetic attempt at spelling most basic words. Not all achieved that though. And they were never brought to task on spellings. It's only become more of an issue in Y1 but even there at parents' evening I was told the good phonetic attempt was still considered acceptable.

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