It was bound to happen.
We recently had a letter sent home from pre-school explaining how they plan to help transition the kids into their first year of primary school, a.k.a reception. And this week we headed into school to join him on his first transition morning. In September he’ll be waltzing into school in his little red jumper, grey shorts and shoes. And my heart broke a little bit. It’s been said by every parent, every year… but HE. IS. MY. BABY! School? Are you kidding me? I remember his first day at pre-school clear as anything and now we're four weeks from the end. Terrifying.
Over a year ago I wrote a blog called ‘Nursery’ and here we are, almost a year and a half later readying him (and ourselves) for school in September and everything they say is true, time flies. I have no idea where it goes. My head is battling back and forth on the subject; “it’s far too soon”, “he’s only four!”, “will he enjoy it?” then jumping to “I bet he’ll have a great time!”, “he’ll love being with all his friends”.
He currently goes to pre-school 9am - 12:45pm and he has a whale of a time and always comes back messy having played with his mates, carrying paintings he’s done, singing new songs he’s learnt. Some days we get the whole “I don’t want to go to nursery, daddy”. But we don’t worry too much because at drop off he runs in and sometimes we don’t even get a cuddle or a kiss goodbye and come pick up time he often doesn’t want to leave. Why do kids do the “I don’t want to go…” bit? I like to think he’d rather stay at home with his dad all day and chill.
We’ve recently booked him in play club after lunch til 3pm two days a week. I thought it’d be a perfect way to get him used to a full school day, but truth be told, he won’t even remember what school is after a six-week summer holiday, will he? But it’s been a good test for us to see how he gets on and I am so pleased he’s loving it for those two days. He is really tired come 3pm and goes down to sleep at bedtime like a dream on those days.
But I guess I do worry about school and the expectations and pressures the kids seem to be under. I know in the early years they learn through play, but I can’t say I agree wholeheartedly with the curriculum, at the same time I know he does thrive in the school environment. It’s a real 50/50 for me. Making friends, learning valuable social skills, building that confidence… I know it’s good for him.
What he (and I) may struggle with is the pressure but this is where I think parents play such a huge part. He won’t be getting any of that pressure from us at home. If he is struggling, we’ll take it on together. My love is unconditional, not based on your ability to remember stuff (because that’s what exams are… let’s face it). So, you’re not great at maths? Oh well… I think I almost failed my GCSE maths, I have no A-levels and didn’t go to uni. I’m not doing so bad. School will teach him amazing things, but it will also teach him things that will help him develop into the man he wants to be. He’ll learn what he DOESN’T want to do or who he DOESN’T want to be like when he’s older. And I love that! This is all part of his experience growing up.
I had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do when I was at school, more so in the later years. But primary school was just so much fun. I sense a huge shift these days, kids are so much more self-aware and confident which is hopefully helping them not be as affected by the demands? I don’t know. All I know is, as September approaches and we all embark on this new chapter together, I am ready to be his sidekick, his biggest supporter and help him along the journey in every way, shape and form I can whilst at the same time learning/struggling to let go and let him experience life on his own… Give me time, give me time, he’s only four… he still needs his dad, right?