Last week the twins started school, and although I knew the transition wouldn’t be overly difficult, a small part of me worried that things may not go smoothly. On the eve of their first day of school I found out I had to travel north for a family funeral without them, which also added to the mixture of stress and excitement.
Last year, beginning Montessori was a monumental change, but it prepared them well. Up until then, they had been at home with me and we were rarely apart. There were lots of tears – theirs and mine. If you like, read Bye-bye babies to see exactly what I mean. That piece brings me straight back to that time. Back then, they looked like big toddlers and a lot has changed since I wrote it. It really hurt to leave them when they initially couldn’t appreciate why I had to leave.
We knew this year would be easier as they would be moving to a new classroom in the same building with many of the children they met at Montessori. A few weeks ago they tried on their school uniforms, and I half expected them to look ridiculous, like toddlers in uniforms and far too young to go to school. Not a chance. They looked like proper school kids, rearing to go. Last week went even better than expected, with no resistance whatsoever. They trotted off and greeted their new teacher and school friends whom they’d been missing all summer. Now, every morning, they proudly tug their backpacks up onto their shoulders and smile for all the teachers on their way down the corridor. It’s funny to see how they’re already into the routine of hanging up their coats and taking out their lunch box without being coerced. In one short week they’ve grown more independent and now consider themselves big kids.
I have to admire the teachers and their clever ways of creating a genuinely warm and welcoming atmosphere for the children. The school played a big part in easing their transition. Since they began Montessori, the other teachers have been greeting the Montessori children and learning their names, and now they give them the warmest welcomes and admire their new uniforms. Their Montessori teachers also brought them for several visits to their new classroom, helping to familiarise them with their new room.
Overall it’s a great relief, to see them content and handling the changes well. I’m also relieved I didn’t cry! For this, I admit to a special tactic which served me well. I put my blinkers on and utterly ignored all teary talk of kids starting school. Anything that could possibly make me blubber, I didn’t watch read or listen to. I avoided emotional blog posts, radio, and that darn advert for Denny ham where the teeny kids walk into their massive classroom looking bewildered. It used to get me every time. I was also extremely lucky not to encounter any other parents who could tempt the tears by asking ‘Are you OK?’ with a sympathetic head tilt, willing the tears to flow.
Most days they come home with a new song or how they scored points during story time for listening well (I wish I’d thought of this). It’s clear now that the two month summer holiday was too long. They were getting bored and missing their friends, even though we did lots of daytrips, and went camping. It’s clear to see how ready they were for school. Over the summer holidays we played ‘school’. I was appointed as the teacher and told what to say and what work to give them. (Can you guess who was in charge??)
Since the kids have started school, I’m learning how to make the most of my time and fit in time for running and writing and just maybe I’ll tackle my mountain of ironing, my laundry-berg. However, my greatest triumph this week is how to put a blasted elasticated tie on a child without pinching their ears or hair. (I learnt the hard way!)
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathangarcia/3748383024/”>jonathangarcia</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>