Saturday, 26 October 2013

Living with a MAT

It was parents' evening earlier this week at Squeaky's school.  Yes, the same school that she only started going to, for 2 hours a day, at the start of September.  They don't waste time.  Aside from the shock to the system that a parents' evening bears no resemblance to the concept of "evening" as understood by any other part of civilisation, starting as it did at 3.30pm, I was looking forward to it.

Squeaky gets regular homework, roughly every other week, which I do my best to help with - though google did come to my aid when I was faced with a circle map, a concept I'd never heard of before.  But the school also run a monthly family challenge called Family Values, and I was hopelessly confused by it, so I wanted to ask some questions about that.

Well, anyway.  Squeaky's teacher is lovely, we had a comfy seat in the staff room & she proceeded to tell us that our precocious little madam is, well, just that, in not so many words.  Apparently she's smarter than the average Squeak, and they want to put her on the More Able & Talented programme (MAT).  At 3.  Having only been there 7 weeks.

Not this sort of mat
Image courtesy of 
 John Kasawa/
Well, obviously we already knew she was a small genius, what parent doesn't?  But it's rather nice to have it confirmed by someone who knows about these things.  It's such a cliché of parenting in the internet age, every Mumsnet/Netmums member's child is reading War & Peace at 2, and composing symphonies over their home-made sugar free baby led weaning flapjacks.  And I'm secretly Kate Moss.

I loathe competitive parenting.  I've agonised over telling, well, anyone about this (and was beaten to the decision by Squeaky Daddy who posted it as his facebook status within half an hour).  I've told people I trust, but there's no way on this little green earth I'm mentioning it to the mums in the school gate queue.  After all, all I know of their children is the few minutes a day I see them outside the gates, I don't know how easy or hard they're finding things.  Wouldn't it feel terrible if your child was falling behind at a young age, and someone was bragging about their tiny overachiever?

So, once they go back to school after half term, Squeaky will have her own Play Plan, designed to give her some extra challenges & extra stimulation to move her forward & reach her potential.  It's something I think is very positive - the same terminology is used - Play Plan, Individual Education Plan, for children with additional learning needs at either end of the spectrum.  I'm encouraged by the recognition that smart children need support as well as those who are struggling.  It didn't happen in my day (old fogey that I am), I remember being bored rigid by the school's choice of books for me, reading Judy Blume books long before I was old enough to understand what periods were, and effectively being left to self-teach in maths because I was working a full term ahead of the rest of the class.

So wish us luck, we've got a challenge ahead of us.  Keeping Squeaky motivated, maintaining the momentum from school, and just trying to keep up with her.  I'll do my best to record what life is like in the MAT programme, or at least as much as Squeaky will tell me of it.


  1. Take it at her pace .. J is G & T and we take it slow ...
    She gets the brains from you obviously ..

  2. I think this definately something to be proud of. Don't be afraid to celebrate your childrens successes. :-)


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