Friday 23 September 2011

New school life in reception - good or bad?

I really don't want to sound too smug about this, but Sasha has had an amazing start to her school life. Two and a bit weeks have passed, and I can tell she is still enjoying it and wants to go in everyday. She is happy and confident, and loving the routine. For me, it's so amazing and almost makes me want to cry with relief!

We had a major wobble on the third day in, after the weekend, when I had to leave her screaming in the classroom in the morning when she didn't want me to leave. It was full on screaming, not just a little whimper, and it took everything I had to extract myself and leave as quickly as possible. I spent the morning wondering how it was going, and expecting a phone call, but thankfully heard nothing. I got no direct feedback at the end of the day (well 130pm, short days for the first half term, that's a whole other post), so I assumed it was no real problem. In her communication book it did say she joined the group again fairly quickly - I'm grateful that her curiosity gets the better of her and can calm her down!

On the Friday of the first week we did hit a stumbling block with assembly. All parents are invited every week (though fortunately not expected!), and children are often presented with certificates after talks on a theme. For the first assembly, I really wasn't sure how Sasha would cope with having to sit quietly and listen for an extended period, so I was nervous myself before going in. I thought it would be best if I sat at the back so she couldn't get to me easily, but somewhere that she could see me as she came in so she wasn't worried about me not being there. My plan backfired slightly however, as the second she saw me on her way in, she stopped dead where she was and refused to walk any further. She then spent the assembly lying on the floor by the wall near to where I was sitting (i.e. not sitting at the front with her classmates). She moaned and whimpered, but fortunately didn't create a big fuss, and the teachers were very good at just sitting with her and letting her 'be'. Of course, what she really wanted to do was come and sit on my knee, so I had to spend the rest of the assembly looking the other way and not making any eye contact, so as to not give her the opportunity. That was difficult when she was only inches away!!! Toward the end she did 'up' the crying, and started trying to shuffle towards me, so she was then led back to her classroom slightly earlier than her classmates. A couple of new mums sitting by me were sympathetic, and that did bring tears to my eyes! I wasn't upset because she wouldn't join in, and am in no way worried about what other people think, but it did just highlight again how different she is from all the other 'conforming' children, and how difficult her life may be.

So this morning was the second main assembly (they do them on Mondays also, but without any parents present) and this time I had decided it would be better for Sasha (and me, if I'm being honest!) if I wasn't there. It was planned as a welcome assembly for all reception children though, so it seemed a shame not to be there. The main sticking point was that it was to be a mass as well, which meant an even longer time for Sasha to sit down (and try to listen to a priest who even the adults find it difficult to understand!!!). At the last minute I was persuaded to stay, but in hiding at the back of the room, and I'm so glad I did. Sasha came in with her classmates with no problems, and sat right at the front where she could see the action - great intuitive thinking from her teachers. There was a lot of words, and a lot of standing up then sitting down again, and even queuing to go up to the priest at the front, but also a lot of singing and interaction from the older children in the school (Tamsin helped give out welcome stickers to all the new starters!). I made sure she couldn't see me, so from where I was, I could only see the back of Sasha's head if I half stood up. I did that a few times to see her just watching everything intently. I had to leave before the assembly finished (it had been going over an hour at that point!!), and as I snuck out, my greatest fear was realising I hadn't seen Sasha go to the toilet that morning, and that she may well have an 'accident' as she wouldn't know to ask for the toilet in such a strange environment! However I also knew that there would be other mums of 'normal' children fretting about that, nothing unusual there. Several other parents commented later in the day at how well behaved Sasha had been, and it really was a huge relief to me. Maybe after a few weeks I'll even be able to work back up to sitting in the front row again!

My major worry now is that everyone thinks Sasha is doing so well and that they assume I'm making up the difficult times! I can live with that though... 

I know other friends and bloggers who are not finding life so good at the moment, and struggling to get their children to attend school, or having difficult meltdowns post school. I'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed for them that things improve and they start to go back up the roller coaster.


  1. Sounds like a good week over all! Your little girl IS settling in. I used to go up to the school and secretly peep through the windows to watch my sone olay in the yard! He once came over to the window, as I quickly ducked out of sight, to LICK it!!He constantly did that. Now he's just like any other child out ther ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  2. Thanks jazzygal - yes I think all mums would like to be a fly on the wall for at least a few days out of their children's lives. It's probably best not to know sometimes though....!


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