When did my little boy become old enough to start school?
Because it appears that in September, he will be doing just that.
And I'm not ready.
I'd like to pretend that he's not ready but that would be a lie. He is ready. He's ready to have the further stimulation which a trained Reception teacher can offer (I'm juniors trained). He's ready to mix with other children more regularly and make friends. He's ready to learn more formally (not that much more though, thank you Foundation Phase). He's ready to learn the discipline which can only be gained in a classroom.
Don't get me wrong though, he's still very emotionally young and I do think he will struggle with the full days and being away from us for so many hours. However, as the school only has one opportunity in the year for entry, we have little choice but for him to start in September or wait a year.
This is why we accompanied him into his new school a week ago for his induction into Reception. It's the only time that he's been there, and will be the only opportunity before he starts full-time education for the next fourteen years (just writing that is making me cry, he's so little still!). I do have a problem with the lack of link-building, but again can do nothing about it.
We walked down the road, around the corner and into the school. We were greeted, given name stickers (mine said 'Mum', I felt like scribbling 'my' on the end of it), and shown to the Reception class. This is where I discovered that it is a lot larger than the one block that I knew of from when I had a nursery-nursing placement there; in fact they had another building at the back of this with a covered courtyard in between. They had a gardening area, bikes and trikes to ride along the painted road layout on the ground, a small timber trail, climbing frames and a fenced off area. There was so much to explore.
The Boy was completely enthralled with it all, "Mummy! They have glitter and glue! Shall we do some craft? Oh look mummy there's Shopping List! Mummy shall we play some music?" I have no doubt that he will enjoy playing with the other thirty six children, cared for by the two teachers and two LSAs; all seemed caring and 'on the ball'.
We walked home afterwards holding hands with The Boy, him chatting about the activities and his uniform, declaring that he no longer wishes to go to nursery. I exchanged a look with my husband over our son's head, a look that said 'where has our baby gone?'. A look that shared nostalgia for the precious last four years of discovery where we have governed his routine, his learning, his play. A look that realised the days of freedom and nonconformity to a timetable were coming to an end.
A look that demanded one course of action…