Is she ready?..........Hold on……Am I ready?
The lead up to the first day of school, for my daughter,has certainly been an experience that we were not expecting to have. As we are all very aware, a global pandemic was thrown upon us and turned our lives upside down, adding increased pressure to an already apprehensive time.
It could be said that our school preparation began when Miss C was 18 months old, when I took on a preschool phonics class, with the view that this would benefit her in her early years learning, she attended every class with me and developed the most incredible passion for stories and letter sounds, something that has gone on to be a real strength of hers.
So for the past 2 years I have had a lot of confidence in the concept of learning through play and promoting thisat home, this alongside attendance at nursery and then onto preschool for the more formal side of early years education , I felt Miss C would absolutely be ready for school when the time came.
Fast forward to March 2020, I am about to return to work following the birth of my second child and the UK is placed in lockdown, due to the global pandemic, and my husband and I are not only having to adapt to working from home with a 3 year old & 11 month old around the house, I had to return to work after a year off, and we were totally responsible for getting our little lady ready for school in September.
We started off organized, lots of activities planned working on key areas such as phonics, numbers, writing etc. But this quickly became more difficult as we were all becoming frustrated being at home, demands of our jobs not getting any less and the blurred lines of what was home life, work life, school life was an experience we all shared.
Miss C started to become resistant to any activity we tried to do, no matter how child led. I regularly felt I was letting her down, I was failing her, my normal levels of patience and tolerance were quickly diminishing and I felt like the worst parent in the world, she was going to be behind and it was going to be my fault.
Fortunately, we overcame our challenges in lockdown and managed to keep Miss C’s learning and development on track, after a difficult few weeks we were able to adapt and by placing less pressure on myself to get it right, I was able to think creatively as to how to get Miss C enthusiastic about learning again. The power of play should never be underestimated.
Fast forward once again, this time, to 28th August 2020, preschool graduation!!!!! We made it!!! I was so proud of her, walking up to the front of the room in front of all of her friends and teachers to collect her certificate and her graduation photo, I was absolutely beaming from ear to ear, not that she could see as my face was covered by a mask, which all parents had to wear, so I was frantically giving the thumbs up knowing if I stopped or even relaxed my facial muscles I would begin to sob, the emotions were running so high.
Alongside feeling proud, I was feeling relief, relief we made it. Excitement, the excitement of watching her continue to grow and what she will achieve next. Worry, the worry of how she would manage this next chapter, worry of whether we had done enough as parents not just educationally, but also emotionally.
We have noticed some changes in Miss C, she’s much more tearful at the moment, moods are up and down, she needs a lot more reassurance, and bedtime is becoming a bit of a challenge. Her worries are around making friends, which has never been an issue for her before. I can only put this down to the reduced contact she’s had not only with children her own age, but also people in general. I’m hoping she has enough resilience and these feelings will begin is dissipate; I’m hoping it all falls into place when she starts next week.
So we are trying to reassure her the best we can, letting her know it’s natural to feel apprehensive, answer as many questions as we can and offer a positive mantra on a daily basis. Like with every aspect of parenting I have no idea whether we are doing the right thing, whether we should be doing more.
Yet it’s not all worries, she’s displaying excitement and curiosity and eager to start. Trying on her uniform at the weekend was something she particularly enjoyed. We meet her teacher soon and this may then enable her to begin her new journey positively and with enthusiasm.
This is a major new chapter for us both, she will gaining more independence, more skills, more friends, more knowledge and I’d like to think she’s ready for the challenge, that we have done enough to ensure she is ready for the challenge.
I am gaining the increased knowledge that my little lady is no longer a baby, she’s gradually making her way out into this big world and that fills me with such pride and excitement, but sad that its all happening so fast and apprehension as to how this will work out for her.
There’s a quote I often come back to when I can’t quite put my finger on how I feel,
‘I constantly go between wanting you to be my baby forever, and being excited about all the amazing things you’ll do in this life’
Here’s to all the amazing things our children will do in their lives, and us parents with our frantic thumbs up, every step of the way.