Yesterday was Jake & Ellie’s first day at pre-school. The 3rd stage of their young lives has begun: they were babies, they’ve been toddlers and now they’re pre-schoolers.
It was harder & sadder than both us expected I think. The image of them both walking away into their new classroom holding hands with their teacher, 1 on each side, will stay with me for a very long time.
They didn’t even say goodbye. I think they were expecting us to be there for the first few minutes at least, as was I. The other parents said goodbye at the ramp leading up to the door & didn’t go in with their children so we didn’t either.
I wasn’t even sure what size group they were in. At first I thought they were just in a little group of 4 newbies – just them & their 2 best friends from Karen’s little group – but I have since learned that they’ve already joined the 20 or so children who were already there from last year. That’s a really big change for them! Especially as they join all the other, bigger & rowdier, schoolchildren when they go to play outside
They’ve been with Karen’s little group this last year as preparation, and I think it’s worked well. They’ve adjusted really well to it from spending most of their time with either me or the Mummy in their first 2 years, but this is a big step up.
And for me it feels as if I’m handing over control over what my children see & do to people I know very little about, & who are also strangers to Jake & Ellie.
“Trust”. That’s such a big word when it comes to your children.
Over the next few weeks they’ll gradually increase the number of days & hours they spend there until September. They are then expected to attend full-time; however we’re not at all comfortable with that: they’re just too young.
I don’t really know what they did there. With Karen we could always find out what they did, whether or not they’d used the loo, if there were any accidents (usually not!), whether or not they’d had a nap (usually not!), what they’d eaten, etc. About yesterday I didn’t have much of a clue! To be fair I probably just could have asked the teacher there as they seem very open. I asked Ellie instead, & she was a little vague!
The teacher did tell us that Ellie had had a little cry, very briefly, but not Jake: the opposite of what we had expected. Ellie told me that she didn’t like the teacher! It seems that she had been stopped from doing something she wanted to do & asked to do something else: which I later found out was that she didn’t want to line up! I think it probably had a lot to do with going outside with all the 40-odd older children too. I can imagine it being quite overwhelming. Ellie very often however is a girl who doesn’t like being told what to do!
I can’t imagine where she might get that from.
They seemed happy afterwards anyway, so that’s got to be a good sign. Ellie especially, as you can see, was in high spirits!
You know how you try to get a photo of your darling sweet twins in their new uniforms after their first day of school, & expect then to be all cute & smiley? Very little ever goes to plan with children does it?
My children started school on the day they buried Lady Thatcher. And yes: there was milk there, and it was free.
It really does feel like the end of era, & a new beginning.