BACK IN JULY...
Ah, schools... Before now, I've only ever studied in them or worked in them, but this year my baby is going to start in Reception class!
Like parents across the country, at the end of last year I started the daunting task of researching the different primary schools in my area, going on tours and checking out the staff, pupils and facilities on offer. I'm not sure if the process is the same across the country or not, but in Kent we have to choose 3 schools and list them in order of preference. The Council then allocate schools, and so on. Having submitted our choices in January, we were eagerly awaiting the notification of which school we had been allocated. Despite claims (kentnews.co.uk article) that 97% of children were allocated one of their top choices, we sadly fell into the 2.56% that weren't offered any of their choices. We were instead allocated a school that we hadn't considered. I went along for a tour to see what it was like, but I decided that it wasn't the school for us. So we were now in limbo. I immediately put us on the waiting list for all of our choices, and we just had to sit and wait for the reallocations. It was a long two months, listening to other parents talking of their children's schools and plans to meet up with other people going to the same schools. However, we got no further with the reallocations, at which point I was getting a little worried! I started looking further afield and managed to find a school that was actually relatively near us, but I'd never been to the village before so hadn't considered it. More importantly, they had one space left! I put my son's name down and went to view it that day, and what a lovely little school it was. The staff were really nice, and I got a really good feel from it. A huge weight had been lifted from my mind and I was now happy that my little boy had a lovely school to start at come September.
FAST FORWARD TO NOW...
Well, through a busy summer of trying to spend as much quality time with each other as possible before school started, I managed to find my way through the ordering and labelling of school uniform and other necessary paraphernalia. It is worth noting that I bought a stamp and ink from Stamptastic and it was so easy to label everything! I think it took me about 10 minutes, if that. The clothes have been through the wash and tumble dryer, and the names are holding fast. To be honest, even if they do wash out at some stage, I don't mind as they are so quick to redo. Anyway, my son had u-turned on his excitement to go to school and now wasn't too sure, but his first day was soon upon us. I think he's still adjusting to the shock of actually having to go to school every day for five days each week, and I'm still adjusting to having to get up and get both boys (and myself) ready to do the school run each morning too (for some reason this hadn't occurred to me!). However, we seem to be surviving and, despite his best efforts to not tell me anything about his day, he is making friends and learning things. We love the school that he's ended up at and, although it wasn't originally on our radar, we're really happy that he goes there.
It's official, my baby is growing up! But it's all got to be embraced with a certain amount of humour - we've already had one cold, one timeout, one accident report, one school-wide notification of nits, countless emails from school...and it's only the end of his third week (first full week). However, I've been reassured that this is all perfectly normal! We're so proud of our young man and how he's coping with the huge adjustment in his life.
What an all-encompassing adventure the start of your child going to school is. Although the school selection process could well be improved (in my opinion), I am extremely happy with our outcome.