Well my eldest started school last September and time has just been whisked away from us since then. I feel dreadfully sad in one way that I hardly get to spend any time with him now but also incredibly happy that he is loving school and has settled in so well.
He is a really bright little boy but.. he is a little boy! I am totally not one for categorising boys and girls into their gender roles at all but this article thinks boys and girls do learn differently. I know he has never really been one for sittiing and concentrating for very long and I really don’t believe in forcing him to do something he doesn’t want to. I have to admit though, to feeling a little concerned when I heard about his friends who could do this and that. You can’t help sometimes comparing your child to her/his peers even from when they are tiny babies but as his teacher said “every child has their own learning journey”.
When he started school he could write his name, count to 20 and recognise a handful of other sounds. Since then he has learnt lots and is now putting the words together and has grasped the basics of reading and counting. His concentration is much improved too. I have noticed though he is motivated mainly (only!) by activities that he has an interest in and/or have a practical use. He is still much more interested in playing, which I think is only right for a (just) 5 year old. They spend enough of their life in education and interestingly children in many European countries, who do just as well (if not better) long term, don’t start their full time schooling till much later (six or seven years). I read this article about when the right time to start school is, with interest.
I spent a couple of sessions volunteering in the classroom; decorating biscuits for Diwali and listening to children read/practice their words. It was really lovely to see Ethan interacting with the other children. I felt so proud and happy to see him sitting with his little friends, putting his hand up and answering the questions. He looks popular with the other children – boys and girls alike – and happy and comfortable. We chose the school in part because boys do equally as well as girls (as opposed to girls achievement being higher as is the national average). I’m not sure what exactly this school does to make the difference but hopefully this will be the case for him.