1st day of school!

It only seems like yesterday that my eldest daughter was born and yet here I am nearly 5 years later, and my baby girl is starting primary school this week!

I have to be honest and admit that I have very mixed emotions about it. I am sure some parents cannot wait for their child to start school but to be truthful, part of me doesn’t want her to go. Obviously, I won’t share this with her at all, I have been and will continue to be incredibly supportive and positive about her starting school. However, it has affected me more than I thought it would. I knew this day was coming but the closer it gets the more emotional I feel.

It’s bizarre because I taught 5- and 6-year-olds for more than 5 years and I know that those children who are tearful when leaving their grown-ups are often fine within a few minutes.

Yet here I am as a teacher and a Mum, and I feel as though I am handing over my baby/my little girl to a complete stranger (her teacher), and I don’t like it. Nobody knows my daughter like I do and I’ve not been inside her new school or had chance to talk to her teacher due to Covid restrictions.

I know that my daughter is ready for school, and she is looking forward to it, deep down I know that she will be fine, and she is ready for the challenges and fun times ahead.

I’m not sure if my emotions have stemmed from being a mother or whether feelings and memories been resurfaced from my own childhood. To be fair, I have lovely memories of most of my time at primary school. I remember being in reception and my first ever teacher – Mrs Duck! She was so incredibly lovely and everyone I went to school with remembers her fondly. I remember her playing ‘Congratulations’ by Cliff Richard in assemblies and how she would let us have a nap on the bed she had in her classroom. If we ever hurt ourselves, we would get given a jelly baby – I wonder how many children pretended to hurt themselves just so they could get one! Whenever it was a wet lunchtime, we would all sit in a room and the dinner ladies would bring in the television and put on Sesame Street for us to watch and every Friday afternoon our Headmistress would come and read us ‘The Naughtiest Girl in School’ books by Enid Blyton. Although we all stood up whenever she came into our classroom and being threatened with being sent to see her was enough to make us all quiver in our shoes, I have fond memories of her, not least because she gave me my first nickname (a nice one!).

However, those of you who have read my other blog posts will know that I also had some horrendous times towards the end of primary school and at the start of secondary school, which ultimately resulted in me being home educated. It is a shame that my fond memories of primary school have been tainted by my Year 5 teacher and the new Headteacher forcibly carrying me into school by my ankles and arms because I was too anxious to leave my Mum.

Not only that, but I am struggling with the expectations that are put on such young children and how much we require them to conform e.g., when children can eat/drink or go to the toilet. I appreciate that children are very good at adapting and that they are generally very resilient, however I suppose I don’t understand why we expect so much from them at such a young age.

So many countries across the world don’t send children to school until they are 6 or 7 and even then, a lot of countries have a much less conformist way of educating their children, particularly when they are young.

If I could home educate my children I probably would, as unlike when I was home educated there is a lot more help and support out there now and so many more social opportunities. However, all I can do is support my girls as much as possible and hope that they both have a good experience of primary school.

Fortunately, my daughter wasn’t around to see my shiny eyes as I got out her school uniform ready for next week! Whatever the weather I will have my sunglasses ready just in case my eyes get shiny again on her first day!

I will no doubt find it hard to begin with and will miss her, but I am sure that I will feel better when I pick her up after her first day and hear all about what she has been up to.

For all the other parents/carers out there sending their children off to school for the first time, I hope you can be kind to yourself, after all, this is one of their first big milestones in life!

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