As with N’s reception year, Year 1 has whizzed by. It’s been a good year for him, and after spending the majority of reception playing, this year he’s got to where he should be for his year group. It just goes to prove that things have to click for them. And eventually it will for pretty much all children.
Class structure adjustment
N’s year was a little strange in some ways. In his school, Year 1 children are the only year group who’re split up. Those like N who spend reception year playing and avoiding reading and writing, or those who need that little bit of extra time to adjust to sitting down all day every day to learn, stay down with the foundation stage children in Class 1. The rest of Year 1 go up with year 2s. But depending on their strengths, the year 1s come together for certain parts of their learning.
So N went up to Class 2 with all the year 1s for topic work, did their PE with the other Year 1s, and because their maths were stronger, they went and did maths there for most of the year too. His group of year 1s didn’t move up for everything like some other years do (his year group is over capacity which I don’t think helped that), but by the end of the year, they were only doing their literacy still in the lower class.
Year 1 meant extra adjustment and learning to be flexible for the lower year 1s. They had to cope with 2 teachers, 3-4 TAs, working with younger and older year groups.
N wasn’t impressed with being in with reception children. He was so funny because he’d say that they were distracting while the year 1s were trying to do their work. Because ‘all reception do is play’. He seems to have forgotten that last year, he spent basically the whole year just playing!
From now on N will always be in with all of his year group which is good.
Reading and literacy
Last year, N was on the lower end of expected with his writing in particular an area he needed to work on. It was all about lack of confidence and needing to become independent about his writing.
This year he’s cracked it. It’s painful, he still struggles with knowing what to write. But he will just write and not worry about the spelling – most of which is dubious. He doesn’t relate what he knows from his phonics to writing. But I’m just glad he’s confident about writing and will write. His writing has improved a lot too – and I can understand most of what he writes. It’s lovely to see how it’s changed from the start of the year to the end.
Reading was painful last year. While N is hot on his phonics and blending, reading is a struggle to get him to do it. But after a summer of no reading, he went into year 1, all of a sudden able to read level 3 books fluently. So he missed level 4, and cracked level 5 quickly. Level 6 took a long time – his school work through not only Oxford Reading Tree, but Story Worlds, Ginn 360 and various other books at similar levels before moving them up. He finished the year on level 7 but having given a level 9 book a bash when it came home randomly.
N does still blend a lot of words. Even words I know he knows. But he’s reading confidently, gives every word a try, and is now reading things outside of school – signs, other book titles, menus. I’m happy to see this improvement, and it’s great to know that he’s now well on track to what he should be compared to where he was in reception year.
Confidence in performing
I don’t think N is ever going to be a performer, but he’ll give it a go. He’s a text book child who’s happy to please and do what’s right. So he’ll learn his lines for assembly or church performances, he’ll want to make sure everyone is doing what they should, and is keen to get it right. Hopefully he’ll continue to enjoy these opportunities to stand up and speak. He’s not the loudest child amongst the class, and will always be competing against a huge proportion of boys in his year (15 to 2 girls) but he’s happy to take part.
The same is true of sports day. There’s some really good natural sporty boys in his year, but N knows where he fits in the levels, and is happy to do his best. That’s all you can really ask (well, I’d love for him to be more competitive like I was, but at least it means he has no disappointment in not winning).
While the school do Learner of the Week and Star of the Week for each year group, N’s highlight is the VIP daily awards. Like last year, he was awarded it a fair amount of time, and sometimes it was even for work rather than doing helpful things. He’s always so proud to come home with a VIP sticker.
This year N’s had VIP 16 times, a pretty good tally and over the odds for his year group. Hopefully year 2 will see him still aiming to win that daily award and hopefully help his House team to a better score than they achieved this year.
Aside from his school work, N has grown up so much this year. He’s happy to just go into school without me trekking round with him, he’s more confident in choosing friends to play with. Their playtimes often see children playing across year groups, and that’s certainly the case with N.
His closest friend has changed this year with the splitting of the year group. It’s good he’s been able to make a new good friend, but also play with others in the class too.
There’s also a pride in his work. N isn’t great at doing his homework – it takes a lot of nagging, and his interest in spellings has flagged towards the end of the year. But he’s always really excited when it’s open morning and I can go in to look at his books.
N’s certainly ready for Year 2. His teachers are pleased with his progress and it seems his confidence in class has increased, with him now speaking up more.
My hopes for year 2 are that:
1, N continues to progress as he should for the year
2, He still enjoys school
3, He has good friendships
4, Going swimming with school works out well for him and he copes ok going without me.
5, He’ll be a good role model for the year 1s in his class
6, He gets lots of new experiences, through different sports, music opportunities and school trips.
7, He’ll stay a nice boy and stay enthusiastic about everything new.
So that’s the end of Year 1. One long summer holiday to get through, then it’s roll on Year 2. Hopefully he’ll achieve as much as he’s done this year.
If you have Year 1 going into Year 2 children, how have they got on?
Was Year 1 the big transition year for your children?