Tomorrow. Just tomorrow and then Kitty will have finished her first term of school and she and we are more than ready for it.
It seems like only a moment since she first walked through the gates in September and also as if our days and weeks have always been this way, punctuated by the school run, the constant laundering of uniform and a million and one forms and letters and requests for tombola prizes that burst out of her folder like scholastic confetti at every chance, but now the end of term really is near and that will be that, one term out of three been and gone for her Reception year.
We’re not the new class any more. Kitty knows her way around not just her classroom, but the whole school, we know just how late we can leave home and still make it before the school bus, and we all know that Biff, Chip, Kipper et al are just ripe for a spoof version for grown ups.
We know the other parents to chat to at the school gate and when neither H nor I could go to Kitty’s stay and play day the other week because of work/the littlest two I love that the other mummies who were there looked out for my girl because they knew she’d been upset that we weren’t. And then they all jumped on the WhatsApp group when they got home to tell me how she’d been – absolutely fine and having a blast.
And I think that sums up Kitty’s school days on the whole. She adores her teacher and her teaching assistant, runs in confidently every morning and comes home with tales of dinosaurs in the school vegetable patch, what her headmaster said in assembly, and a detailed run down of what her friends had in their packed lunches.
Starting school pushed her a big leap forward into the first stages of independence and I can see how much of an impact it has had on her, both good and bad. We’ve had conversations about how someone else’s actions are not how we act within our family and there have been days when I’ve had to make myself step back and realise that she’s just trying on someone else’s personality for size and that it’s just part of her finding who she really is.
And then I’ve seen her desperate for us to bring the sweets she won at a party when we pick her up so that she can share them with all her friends, or of her own volition be the little girl at Halloween who thought trick or treating meant knocking on doors and offering people a treat, and I know that at her core she is still the kind friendly confident little girl she has always been, but now with an added boost of self confidence.
It’s been as much a learning curve for me in my parenting as it has been for Kitty
Back in June I wrote about my thoughts on education in the early years, questioning why our children start formal education at such an early age when it flies in the face of all of the research. And lots of lovely people tried to reassure me that no one was going to make Kitty sit still at a desk for hours and hours until she could spell antidisestablishmentarianism backwards, and I wondered whether I’d feel differently once I’d seen our current education strategy in practice.
Truthfully, I haven’t changed my mind. I can see the benefit of an early years play based education outside of the home to help build friendships and collaboration skills but I’m not convinced that Kitty would be any less happy were she playing more and working her way through Biff Chip and Kipper less; hitting her targets is not what keeps her running into the classroom each morning.
But what I do know, and am hugely thankful for, is that her school is awesome. I knew it was good by reputation and that reputation is fully deserved. They are phenominally committed to their children and incredibly proud of them and the children respond to that care. Her teacher is wonderful, clearly knows our Kit very well, and is always coming up with new and inventive ways in which to introduce topics. nd I think that perhaps that’s what really matters; if they are loved and they are inspired, everything else will follow.