I’m one of those people who is OK at most things, but not really good at anything. A kind of jack of all trades but a master of very few. One exception to this I would like to think, is that I’m really quite good at worrying. In fact, having now found myself a job that includes data protection, risk and disaster recovery I’d like to think I’m now worrying at a semi-professional level. So when it comes to my precious first born going to school, naturally it’s something I felt a little anxious about, even before our collective worlds got turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
From the mouths of babes...
There are lots of unanswered questions at the moment, like will she still start primary school in September? What will it be like if she does? What will it be like if she doesn’t? How will missing out on pre-school initiatives to prepare her for school, like phonics and rising 5’s affect her? Amidst this sea of concern I asked my little girl -well I sorted of blurted out in the style of one of those incompetent fathers from a sitcom - whether she’d be OK at school. Without even looking up from the puzzle she was doing, she dismissively replied “I can’t wait to go to big school with all my friends” a bit taken a back I asked her “what about pre-school?”… “Nah, that’s for babies” she said!
The wider point that I’m trying to meander towards here, is that despite my concerns (heightened by coronavirus) she is ready for school, and she knows it. I wouldn’t have said she is the most confident girl in terms of her own abilities, but she still knows. Sure, there might be a couple of wobbly days at the start because she has lost that social space that she has with her peers at pre-school, and spends all of her time at the moment with the same 3 people (and a cat), but developmentally she is ready, and coronavirus isn’t going to regress that. She might be getting more bored with every day that passes, but she isn’t getting any younger and I honestly think, having listened to her, she isn’t getting any less ready either.
The school have been great, to give them credit, it must be difficult to plan. I’m on the committee of my daughter’s playgroup and that’s hard enough, without a formal curriculum. The school have acknowledged the odd world we currently occupy, reassured us that there will still be a strong plan, put some dates in the diary but cautioned that this might well have to change as they know more. Personally that helps me as a dad, to know they’re looking at scenarios, getting a plan together, but being flexible with it. In such an uncertain world, you can’t ask for more than that. The first few steps on the road might be a bit bumpy, but when we look back on this in the context of her whole primary school education in a few years’ time, it’s probably hardly even going to be noticeable.