Eeek! Starting school is finally on the horizon for my eldest daughter. Following months and months of every adult asking about her how she felt about school, we had made a conscious effort to minimise all the school talk at home. I hadn’t anticipated so much school chat from so many places so early on – and with a daughter who likes to know exactly what’s going on – she was starting to get confused about when it would all actually take place and what would happen:
Once we knew what school she was going to we could at least start to paint a more accurate picture - taking regular walks via ‘her’ school to look at the big field to race in, the chickens pottering about that she’d help look after and the play equipment that she could climb and start painting a positive picture to get her excited for life at “big school.”
Now we’re firmly in the settling period starting school is very much a reality and I’ll admit I’m both more excited and more nervous about the big day than I thought I’d be.
I think we’re off to a good start. Her new teacher and teaching assistant have visited her at her pre-school and come for a home visit. This proved to be brilliant opportunity for them to find out more about her, us to find out more about them and for me to ask all those silly questions that I’d been wondering about.
She’s was excited for her first taster session and although she had a few tears at a couple of points she came away excited and looking forward to going back. One of the things I had been worried about was that the majority of her class all go to the same pre-school and its only 5 or so that are coming from elsewhere. I knew that the unfamiliar faces might be a bit difficult for her in the early days so I’ve started to schedule various playdates with her new classmates. As well as being lovely for her it’s also been really nice for me to have some people that I can chat through everything with, make sure I haven’t missed anything and so us adults can help each other out.
The second settling in session was in July and when she burst into tears when Dad dropped her off, a quick "lets go and see if new friends Harry and Anna are around to play" soon had her distracted and smiling again.
Our welcome meeting was good but was unfortunately held on the night that England played and although we came away with lots of information about what the first couple of weeks would entail and the schedule of the day, the chatting to other parents part of the meeting was somewhat rushed as everyone made a quick exit home to catch the second half! However, one of the parents had already set up a Facebook group for new parents to plan for meetups over the summer.
So at the moment we’re both feeling happy about the transition and starting to organise school uniform, what schools labels would be best, what water bottle to get, and what school bag to buy. All the little things that shouldn’t really take much thought but as its all so new, there seems like more pressure to get it just right!
The school has provided us with a couple of things to help with the transition over the summer that have already been really useful:
1) A book full of pictures of the classroom, the playground, where the toilets are, where they’re pegs are etc to refresh their memory over the summer
2) A calendar with stickers to countdown when they start school so they have some visibility of when it is
3) The first month of menu options so they have some idea of what they can expect
However, one of the things that they said at the welcome meeting though that really stayed with me was:
“We’re just people. If you have any concerns, any questions, any worries just pick up the phone and talk to us”.
So simple – but for me brilliantly reassuring and something that seems to get easily forgotten in the #BeschoolReady conversations.