When I started this blog, the idea of writing a post reviewing my son's first year of primary school would have not crossed my mind. I was too busy enjoying playing with a toddler, exploring toys which didn't go in his mouth straight away, and helping him to develop his growing vocabulary of 50 words, to contemplate his reading age or attendance figures. Don't get me started on the attendance figures!*
However, today was The Boy's last day of Reception, and I find myself in an appropriately reflective mood.
Starting school was always going to be a big thing for us, he had only been into nursery two mornings a week for the year proceeding starting in Reception and 9-3.30 every week day was a huge adjustment both physically and mentally. As he was only 4 years and 3 months when he started full-time education, he was still very immature and ill-equipped to handle the intense range of things asked of him on a daily basis. If I'd been given the choice then he would have been part-time (mornings only) but schools no longer seem to offer this facility.
He adapted fairly quickly though, and soon settled down into the class of twenty children making a few friends with a nice bunch of boys, but mostly girls. It doesn't surprise me though as he's never liked rough and tumble play, preferring to play a game of hide and seek to charging around aimlessly. I'd drive past the school on my way to work on a Tuesday morning and see him digging in amongst the roots of the tree with a few of his female friends, apparently they were making fairy and elf adventure playgrounds, and I'd find it reassuring to see him happy. His friendship circle has changed slightly throughout the course of the year, but by and large he has a core group which I'm sure he'll continue to be friends with.
Homework turned out to be a harder thing for me to deal with than I'd expected! I started out annoyed that we hadn't received anything (not even a reading book) until the October half-term, and ended up refusing to complete the five pieces of homework sent home every Friday to be completed by Tuesday. Reading and spellings were always completed without fail, and the topic-linked activity book was a nice task to work on together, but I frequently
threw in the bin misplaced the letter formation and maths 'sums' sheets.
His homework book was sent home for us to keep and comparing the first piece of writing from him in November to the last written work in April astounds me. In the space of five months he became capable of writing and spelling extended sentences independently.
After he'd written in his 'thank you' card this morning, I added a note to his teacher thanking her for her nurturing attitude and the way she's helped him grow. We'd been discussing it the week before after his class assembly, and I pointed out to her that he was unrecognisable from the young boy who stood on the stage in October, unable to sing the class song, unable to dance, only able to bite his lip to stop himself from crying. Last week he stood on the stage and spoke clearly and loudly, the loudest in the class, delivering four lines on his own with a smile and chuckle. I was overwhelmed with pride at his determination.
This year hasn't been without it's hitches though. Illness has reared it's ugly head time and time again, affecting his attendance*, and it has annoyed the hell out of me. We've also had the first ever behaviour issue with The Boy; he started pushing children over randomly and without reason. This was really out of character for him as in the five years of his life he had never contemplated hurting another child, he'd never even 'toddler smacked' or snatched anything before, let alone pushing his friends over. He had no idea why he'd done it, but he was devastated after school. I was devastated.
And yes, it is part of the reason why we decided to move him to my school.
Not because he'd hit another child and I was unhappy with it, but more to do with why he thought it was ok to do that in the first place. Why had my son (who cries when something bad happens on television, he won't even watch Peter Rabbit) thought it was acceptable to hurt someone? Combined with a few other family and work factors, we decided to try and get him into my school. We were fortunate and a place became available very quickly, a week after going onto the waiting list he was meeting his teacher for next year!
The Boy's report was really complimentary, although as a teacher I'm not naive and know everything must be phrased positively. However, reading between the lines, it was a great report. Some of my favourite comments were:
- He is a confident reader and reads sentences fluently as a whole rather than focusing on each word individually.
- He is able to visualise numbers and use mental calculations quickly.
- He is very knowledgeable about time (don't I know it as he now tells me when we're late for school!).
- He is always patient and kind and demonstrates a very accepting nature.
- He has an enquiring mind, full of ideas and he asks thoughtful and intriguing questions.
- He has a very mature pencil grip (not bad for a leftie hey?).
- He enjoys using the time trail and can balance, jump and land competently, always with a super smile.
- He is a quiet, happy little boy who takes everything in.
- He is always polite and well mannered.
The Boy has changed so much in the past ten months; the things that he's now capable of astound me. He picks up an unfamiliar storybook and reads it to himself, mostly in his head. And he's really absorbed in the story.
Well done my clever, funny, caring and determined little boy!
*87.7% which is 'unsatisfactory' according to the Welsh Assembly Government. I quite agree, however I also feel it's unsatisfactory that my poor child has had 4 double ear infections, slapped cheek, scarlet fever, two bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting, and a relapse of scarlet fever. All since Christmas. So the WAG can take their 'Callio' red light and remove it to a place which sees no daylight, for I care not!