Preparing for Big School by Rhianon

For better or for worse, we’ve taken our rising four ds out of full time nursery this September to put him into the local preschool, with a childminder picking him up for the afternoons. Not that the nursery was no good, but it was quite toddler-heavy, making me worry our ds might be twiddling his thumbs (and I know from experience that boredom is mischief’s best friend). Also, lots of his friends moving to pre-schools (unfortunately not the same one), and I think things are never the same once your friends go!

[advert:mpu] He’s a happy, gregarious little fellow, but began to have sleepless nights the moment we took him out of nursery to go to ‘big school’. “They won’t like me” he sobbed, “I’ll be in the corner of the playground on my own because I won’t have any friends!” We tried to focus on the positive, the great games they’d have and how everyone would be new like him, but soon any mention of the Big Day only made it worse, so we stopped talking about altogether a week before he was due to start.

And if he was on edge about this new beginning, what about us? The teachers in our area come on home visits to meet all the children before they start school, and I’m a little sensitive about my inability to keep the house simultaneously clean AND tidy. How do you all do it? Mistrusting, I felt like the home visit was an excuse to check out the parents and the environment – like Kim and Aggie but reporting to social services.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Ds’s two preschool teachers arrived, all smiles, last Friday morning and within minutes I could see that it wasn’t about the parents at all, but about making the new pupils feel comfortable with them and excited about school. They brought him a school book bag, talked with him, played with him and made a note of anything special he likes to do. We filled in a contact form with the teachers and they told us a bit about how the school works and what his first week would be like.

As a result, ds feels important and special, and we are all much more relaxed about the whole thing. In fact, ds tells everyone that his teachers have been to his house for a cup of tea, and keeps asking when he can go and visit his pretty teachers and play with them again.

Which is handy, because he starts school tomorrow…

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