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Friday, November 04, 2011

Playing Around with the Eleven Plus

How do you know if your child is going to be successful in winning a place in a grammar school? It is easy! Abandon the tests, visits to tutors, internet based papers and eleven plus books from the major retailers. How do you do it? It is easy. Look out all your old home videos!

A very bright child is likely to have play interests that are highly intellectual. This is not to say that prospective eleven plus candidate does not play boisterous physical games in favour of quiet pursuits. The play of a bright child may be more like the play of older children. Some bright children even prefer the playing with children that are older than them.

One problem with a bright child is that he or she makes the games a bit too complicated for the other children. He or she may be considered to be too little to join in the games. The games a bright child may choose to play may be more varied and mature than those of some other children.

Act One

Scene 1

(A bright six year old child is playing chess against the computer. Her older brother is working through an eleven plus exercise. Mother is in anxious attendance – worried that her much loved son will score less than 80% on a paper.)

Mother: Find the number that does not fit: 1 4 13 40 122 364.

Son: I think I can see the relationship. But I’m not sure.

Mother: Do you remember that you have to use four rules? You did this so well on the last question.

Son: But I am not sure what to multiply and what to add.

Daughter: (Without even looking up from the computer.) Multiply by three and add one.

Son: Stop it. I hate it when you interrupt.

Mother: Good girl. Be nice to your older brother.

Son: Oh I see. I multiply 4 by three to get twelve and add one.

Daughter: Told you.

(A brief scuffle erupts with mother trying to keep the peace.)

But who influenced the little girl’s play? Did she learn to play the game on the computer by herself – or was the wise hand of father involved? Who, however, had fitted time into an incredibly busy schedule to take the little one to the local chess club that met at 7.15 on a Friday evening – and who had to wait patiently on a semi comfortable chair while adults heaped praise on the little one? Who sometimes wished that the chess club could meet on a different evening because the week was so full that everyone in the family was a bit worn out?

Bright children need to be intellectually stimulated – the eleven plus offers many children the opportunity to be challenged and extended. What eleven plus candidate cannot help to be enchanted by a question along the lines of: Four times a number is four less than a number that is ten more than thirty. What is the number?

If your old home video shows your two year old child playing a complicated game – then you KNOW that an eleven plus pass is in the offing!

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