It still feels a little strange but reality has now set in and I am coming to terms with being the Father of a school kid. When school shuts its gates on Tuesday so that the kids can have a week preparing for Santa’s visit, Robbie will have completed his first term at school.
It felt so strange dropping him off on his first morning in September. As an August baby, Robbie had barely turned four and it just didn’t seem to me that he was ready for school. Of course he had been going to nursery since he was just a baby and had spent years growing up with many of the kids in his new class and as a result, he appeared almost complete unfazed by the change of scenery.
I was far more nervous. I really had very little idea of whether we had done a good job of preparing Robbie for school and to be completely honest, I was not even too sure exactly what being a reception age kid involved. It’s been a very long time since I was in that position.
At first I imagined it to be a little like nursery in that the teachers would be overseeing the kids playing together with very little structured learning involved. It was hard to imagine my boy sitting down and paying attention to anybody for very long and it felt as though he was not ready to be a pupil. I knew that he had always been pretty good with numbers and letters, though converting that to maths and words would be a whole new world for him. Should I have done more of this before he started? I’m still not sure.
What I did know for sure was that my Son was almost a year younger than some of his peers and it was very possible that he would be a little further back in some of his development than others in the class.
Those first couple of weeks were both exciting and hugely frustrating. With Mum and I desperate to know every tiny detail of his day, Robbie had other ideas. Every question we asked was met with the response ‘don’t know.’ From broad questions such as ‘what have you been up to today’ through to simple closed questions such as ‘what did you have for lunch,’ the answer remained the same. ‘Don’t know.’ It seemed as though school had somehow made our child lose his memory.
To add to this, primary school is very different to nursery. When we picked Robbie up at the end of each day from his nursery we would have a ten minute chat with the teachers about anything and everything that he had been up to that day. School is way too busy for that and simply waiting outside until he is unleashed from the classroom to come and see you gives very little away about what chaos has happened inside.
Aside from Sarah being involved in a few ‘Mum chats’ on social media with other parents from the class to gather a few clues as to what was happening, we were pretty much in the dark.
Now here’s something I never said in my old school days, homework is a saviour. As much as Robbie is determined to keep all of his school activity and learning top secret, it is clear that he is taking it all in. He is sent home with a different book every Monday and in just one term we have gone from slowly working out each letter and sound as a team to piece together words, to Robbie flying through reading the book by himself in just a couple of minutes.
He has also developed a love of art, worrying for me as it is a subject in which I have zero talent. I will admit to having to Google how to draw a simple car as he wanted me to show him how it was done so that he could learn from an expert. Amazingly my car still looked terrible but I am now slowly getting better! Robbie is constantly grabbing pens and paper and filling the sheet with an array of letters, numbers and pictures. The boy clearly loves learning and his development astounds me.
Our only other insight into his primary school life was a recent parents evening. Once again, we were far more nervous than Robbie who was more concerned about which games we could play when we got home. It almost feels that at this age, the parents are the ones being judged far more than the kids for their behaviour and fortunately we avoided a telling off. Robbie is being pretty good at school, though he is a little hyperactive apparently… I would never have guessed!
I have no doubt that school has been a great experience for Robbie so far and he has the perfect blend of both enjoying playing with friends and learning a little along the way. It brings me both great joy and a touch of sadness to see him growing up into a little boy rather than my cute and playful toddler, though he still has endless energy to burn charging around the house with me when he gets home.
Today we are off to see him sing Christmas carols with his classmates before he breaks up for for the holiday tomorrow. It’s been a great first term and I’m sure that by the end of the holidays, we’ll all be looking forward to his second term starting!
Thanks for reading and best wishes to your and your family for Christmas and the new year, Dad.
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It’s no secret that I have a terrible memory. Sadly I remember very little from my own childhood and my short term memory is even worse. I have zero sense of direction and will have to do a route approximately five thousand times before it becomes vaguely familiar.
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