With the new term not that far away, my mind has turned to making sure that my son, Harry, is ready to start school. He goes into Reception in September and he is so excited at the prospect that he tells everyone about his teacher who “lives in yellow class and has brown hair”.
In truth, I’m more worried that I’m ready for him to start school than that he is – haven’t quite done the school uniform yet, nor the shoes, coat, labelling, PE kit and bag, not even the book bag. He, on the other hand, has managed to tick all of his boxes – he can go to the toilet independently, wash his hands, do up his coat, put on his shoes, etc etc.
I am a failing mother!
Seriously though, I would like to start a discussion – and, more importantly, sharing of good practice – about how primary schools handle the first few weeks in school. At our school, the oldest children start first – a small group has an afternoon with their teacher, followed by a week of mornings. They are then joined by the next oldest and this continues until all the children are attending. Half-days continue until the half term holidays, after which children may go in full time if both school and parents agree. I know that every year parents complain about how difficult it is that their child(ren) only go to school in the morning, when they are used to being in childcare all day.
My thought on this is that schools should do what is best for the children, not what is best for the parents. School is far more tiring than childcare, and I really can’t see how working parents cannot somehow come up with a means of either taking some time off work, or organising with a friend or relative to have the children.
However, I would be interested to know how other schools handle the introduction to school and what they have found to be the pitfalls and/or benefits of their system.