Monkey started school!!
His first day was on Friday and as he walked out of class after the two and half hour session he turned to me and asked why it was so short and could he go back…plllleaaaasseee? Well I will take that as resounding success. Ask me in two weeks time when he’s been there full time and realises its five days a week non negotiable. And I will let you know if he’s still loving it. I’m not really sure what I was expecting? In my head, on social media and in various discussions it was deemed a big thing. Now don’t get me wrong it is a big deal, because its the next phase in his life. But for me its no where near as big a deal as leaving my tiny little baby in childcare at the age of six months!
I have already written a letter to him about leaving nursery about how proud I am of our little boy. Even if he does delight in pushing my buttons and generally having a smart comment come back for everything. Anyway it got me thinking about my first impression of school and whether things have changed. The other children at the school did not seem to be any more upset by the whole experience than Monkey did. If anything the majority were really excited, a few looked a little quiet but there was no screaming or hanging onto their mothers skirts. I have a vague memory of this, whether it was me or another child under the table crying inconsolably on the first day of school I can’t quite remember. That definitely wasn’t going on, on Friday.
I was a little emotional in as far as this is our next step, a new phase and he looked so cute in his uniform, but I felt no need to shed a tear. I was also incredibly proud at the same time, Monkey just took it all in his stride. So why the difference? Whats changed in the last thirty years? I have a couple of ideas and don’t want to alienate anyone here but generally due to the cost of living nowadays both parents work, either through necessity or choice. The older generation would probably argue at this point that we live in a ‘want it now society’ (yes I would probably agree) and that in fact if we scaled back our consumerist lifestyles that actually one parent could stay at home quite easily. Maybe but thats for another post. The only friends I have where one parent doesn’t technically work (i.e. in a 9-5 job – because lets face it parenthood is a job 24, 7) home school their kids. So drawing a comparison all the children I know that started school in Sept have been in childcare one way or another. I’m wondering if this has helped with the transition?
Even if we ignore conventional ‘baby’ childcare, with the introduction of free hours most children now attend a preschool prior to going to school. Many are attached to the school that the child will attend. Which means they are use to the environment, seeing the older children playing in the playground and maybe even wearing the same uniform.
When I started I am pretty sure before the day I satrted I had never took a step into a classroom. Whereas Monkey has been to his for story time twice, once with me in the same room and once without me. He was also invited to the Summers sports day, fete and a teddy bears picnic. So even though he didn’t attend the preschool he was use to the environment. Therefore when he went there for real, in his little uniform it was just an extension of his previous trips. His teacher even came for a home visit, that definitely didn’t happen thirty years ago. Now I know none of this happens by accident and that the process has been tested time and time again and developed by people who understand and have experience in the way kids minds work a lot better than I do (even my own).
SO thinking about it, why am I surprised it wasn’t such a big deal? I think we as parents actually run the risk of making a bigger deal of it than it is. By passing our emotions onto our little ones we can create more issues than we solve. For example Monkey did have a few sleepless nights before starting school, about making new friends and leaving his old ones behind at nursery. I was the one talking to him about making new friends. He’s four. He doesn’t have the capacity to understand that he makes friends easily – which he does, even on ghost trains (who would have thought it). To him I was creating a scary situation that he hadn’t thought about. I saw it as a positive as he’s such a social little thing, but he’s no comprehension of that at the moment. Meaning all I did was add in another dimension, duh!
Anyway that was our first day at school experience. He’s already looking forward to going again this week and is eagerly asking when he will be allowed to stay all day and eat there. Fingers crossed his positivity continues. If your little ones have started this year too I hope they have settled quickly, I would love to hear about your experiences below.
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