The Next Stage: Starting Primary School
In the space of a few short weeks, we will be receiving a similar email to the one I received last year which I wrote about in The Next Stage .This time though the school confirmation email will be about my youngest Siena, she is due to start primary school in September 2017. Where did the time go?
It seems like only yesterday the fact that we were expecting an addition to the family on Facebook. For many people, it was quite a surprise as we had been told that we couldn’t have any more children after Grace. For me, it was a huge shock to find myself pregnant at nearly 42, but it was a very happy one.
Before Christmas, we went to visit Siena’s prospective primary school. It’s very small with just 200 pupils and fairly local to us. It is also the primary school that I attended back in the 1970s. Obviously, quite a lot had changed, but I still managed to bore Siena with my tales of a seventies childhood. The classrooms were all still set out in a similar way and the benches and piano in the hall were the ones I remembered from my days there. I was so impressed with the school though, it had such a warm welcoming feel to it. Everywhere I looked there were displays by the children and quotes about doing their best and being true to themselves. That might seem twee to some people, but I love inspirational quotes and often use them in my work and day to day life. Our children are young and precious and I think it is so important to give them a sense of worth from a young age. Siena seemed impressed with the school, as much as a 3 .5 year old can be. It has a lot of outdoor space and an outdoor classroom which I loved. It was clear that Siena was most impressed with the chickens though!
I put her application in for the school back in December and now we must wait until April for the decision. As is often the case I had to chose 2 other schools and this has been difficult as I am so keen on her first choice, I’m finding it hard to imagine her going anywhere else. The other schools I have chosen are good schools, in fact they both have better academic results, but at primary age I am more concerned about a nurturing environment than SATs scores. There are 30 places available in my first choice school and normally I would be confident of her getting a place. However, her second choice school which has always been very popular, moved sites and is now located about a mile away from where it used to be. I’m a bit concerned that this may impact the decision of some parents to choose a school which is a bit closer to home, which would be my favourite school. I guess we will have to wait and see.
My emotions are mixed about Siena starting school. As I mentioned in A Heart of Stone there are certain things that I don’t tend to get emotional about and starting school is one of them. I do feel a bit strange though for two reasons. Like many other mothers before me, this will be my last child starting school which is the end of an era. Secondly she still seems really young! She only turns 4 in June and has been a bit late in meeting some of her milestones, so I sometimes see her as being younger than she is. I tell myself not to be silly, having a birthday in July, I was even younger than her when I started school. My positive feelings about her starting school outweigh the negative ones. She started going to pre-school in September and absolutely loves it. I have seen her blossom and grow into her own little personality with her own group of friends and I know that this will continue into her primary school years. If she does get the school we want she will also be starting at the same time as two of her very good friends, M and Z so at least she will know people. Although when Grace started primary she didn’t know a soul (having been to nursery near to my workplace and not in our town), but she soon settled in.
As a mum I have to admit the bit I am dreading a little is the other school mums. Playground politics is definitely alive and kicking and it’s something I would rather keep out of. It’s hard to strike that balance though between getting in with the clique of ‘yummy mummies’ and appearing aloof and snotty! I think I will have to re-read my own blog post 7 Things Primary Mums Should Know to reacquaint myself.
It will be a tense few weeks as we await that email. I do really want her to go to that school, but I know whichever school she gets she will be happy. I will feel a little sad as I take off for her first day at big school, but I don’t think I’ll need waterproof mascara. If anything I’ll be a bit shocked when 3.15 comes around far too quickly and I’m still sat on the sofa watching Escape to the Country!
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