Like many children Scotland, I’m also going back to school this August. In fact, there’s not been a single year that I’ve not returned to an educational establishment since I was 4 years old. It’s funny but the feeling never really changes. I absolutely adore the summer holidays but there’s also something nice about returning to routine. I have a new planner and my pencil case is once again organised to start the year.
But this year is different in that Katie is also starting school. She is now the 4 year-old with the long educational journey ahead of her. I wonder where it will take her: Will she like it? Will she bristle at the rules or flourish in them?
On the one hand, I am sad. I think she will miss the hours of free play. I adore how her imagination has been allowed to blossom in pre-school. She has learned a huge amount in the last couple of years purely by being allowed to explore the world. Does she really need to know what numbers make ten? What difference does it make if she has a reading book now or in another few years? But… given that we live in Britain and since I’m not in a position to homeschool it’s off to the system we have.
Katie is beyond excited about this. She has practised wearing her uniform – both summer and winter. She has continued in her practice to pretend to do ‘homework’ by writing each evening – albeit in a make believe language. And she has asked question upon question about what primary one will bring.
That said, she has also been more clingy that ever before. Bed times have become difficult and she’s even started to cry when I go to the gym. Whilst this might just be a strategy to avoid going to sleep – I think it’s also an indication that she knows change is on it’s way. Change is hard at any age but I’m mindful that she’ll really need help with this transition.
Getting Ready for School
One of the things I’ve done over the last week is use a Mila and Pheebs ‘What’s the Weather’ craft box to help get her ready for school.
This month’s box contained a lovely rainbow pencil case and some gorgeous rainbow pencils that have quickly been utilised for Katie’s ‘homework’ time. Although I chuckle at this myself, spending time sitting and focusing on a task is a helpful thing to practice. She’s about to spend several hours a day sitting at a desk. Taking a bit of time to focus on one of the activities hopefully will mean she doesn’t find this too tricky.
One of the things Katie decided to do was ‘write’ cards from the set to each of her brothers using her new pencils. Whilst I’m not sure they appreciated them all that much – given one can’t read and the other couldn’t read Katie’s writing – I thought it was a really sweet thing to do.
We’ve also been counting down to school by noting what the weather is like. I marked important dates on a calendar such as playdates with school chums and of course, the big day itself. We’ve then simply ticked off each day by observing the weather and choosing one of the stickers to match.
Katie sat for almost an hour completing her button rainbow taking care to use the ‘proper’ rainbow colours which is a new move for her too! I hope that this may be a sign that she is sometimes willing to follow convention which I suspect may be helpful for school.
That said, whilst I’m not hoping Katie is disruptive in any way – I do hope that she will continue to dance to her own tune. I hope that as she starts school, she stays true to herself and is proud that she has her own mind.
I recently found my own school report from Year Two of Primary School. I have to say that my teacher was pretty damning of all aspects of my ability however the Art report really stood out:
Laura puts much care into her painting and drawing, taking a lot of time to complete them. But the results are disappointing.’
I have to say that I don’t think the same criticism will be levelled at Katie. If it is, then I would have to restrain myself from giving swearing (lots). But then I also think – what would’ve happened if my parents had shared that criticism with me aged 7? Would I have believed I wasn’t good at Art and just given up on being creative?
Incidentally, I actually have a GCSE in Art and an A-Level in Graphic Design. I’ve had two solo exhibitions of my photography and absolutely adore interior design.
I’ve written before about what I really would like education to look like. Personally, I am concerned that we funnel children too much and spend too much time indoors. I absolutely believe that education should be a broad as possible and we should never send a message that children CAN’T.
Children are happy, optimistic and at times, unstoppable forces. I just really hope that Katie does’t lose that.
What’s the giveaway?
I promised a giveaway in the title – so a giveaway we shall have.
Mila and Pheebs have kindly donated a THREE-MONTH subscription to one lucky Edinburgh with Kids reader. Just follow the link below:
If your child is starting school or even continuing with their own school journey, I wish them every happiness and hope that they can enjoy every minute of school. As a teacher, I will endeavour, as with every year to ensure that each of my charges can find their own individual joy.
Prize is a 3 month subscription to Mila and Pheebs, there is no monetary exchange available. The prize will be distributed by Mila and Pheebs direct to the winner, Edinburgh with kids cannot be held responsible for lost prizes. All winner decisions are final, the winner has 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be drawn. Contest closes at 12.00am on Wednesday 6th September. UK Entrants Only.