Starting School – One Year On

shaniah with a letter board giggling

I cannot believe that it’s been one whole year since Shaniah started school.

The 3rd of September 2018, everything changed. I remember waking up on that morning scared shitless about what the day had in store for her. I remember worrying whether she would befriend anyone, more still, whether anyone would befriend her!

I remember crying into Ryan’s shoulders, worried that I didn’t do enough to prepare her for the massive journey that she was about to face. They say this milestone is a hard one for the child, but my word is it hard for us parents too.

As I walked her to school, swamped in her crisp school uniform and bookbag, I remember the feeling of guilt and anxiety rush through my body. My tiny 4-year-old was now in the hands of strangers, in-fact I was that unfamiliar with them I certainly wouldn’t have been able to pick them out in a line-up. Shaniah wasn’t phased, like every challenge in life, she faced it head-on. Hand in hand we walked to the classroom door, inside my head I prayed that she would settle, I prayed that there would be no tears and that she wouldn’t feel as though I was palming her off. I just prayed that she knew this was key for her future.

I didn’t know why I worried, Shaniah thrives in crowded areas. The more people that surround her, the more confident she became. The fears that once consumed me were suddenly replaced with pride and a sense of accomplishment.

Shaniah is standing in a pile of leaves smiling with her thumb up.

It suddenly hit me that the way she was, was down to us, we unknowingly prepared her just right for her next chapter.

It wasn’t always as easy.

A few weeks later the novelty wore off. She was no longer smiling when she woke up, the thought of school was no longer filling her with excitement. She would quite happily stay at home if she had the chance. It was tough, waving goodbye to her at the door whilst her teacher held her hand and led her away, tears streaming down her face. It hurt, oh how it hurt to see her struggling.

I would beat myself up until 3 pm, feeling that mum guilt for leaving her behind when she so desperately wanted to come home with me. You see, what I didn’t see was that once she had settled in each morning, found her friends and forgot about me, she was back to her happy self. Teachers aren’t monsters, they would more than happily call me up if she wasn’t settling, but she was.

Those few moments that feel like hours when she was walking into the classroom were nothing like what was going on in her school day.

Looking back on those days, they didn’t last long at all. Of course, in the moment they felt like they were never going to end but they did. School is a massive change to someone who has only been wandering the earth for four tiny years. Once they familiarise themselves with their new routine, it’ll be a breeze.

Fast forward to now.

We are one week into year one. Shaniah has been at her school for one whole year and honestly, shes acting as though she has been there forever!
After those six weeks off she was raring to head back into the classroom, back laughing and learning with her friends.

This year is so much easier than last year, we know our routine, we know what works and what doesn’t and Shaniah knows that I will always come back.

Reception is just the year of settling in and understanding what works for you as a family. There are guaranteed difficult days as well as days that will make you go “wow”. Talk with your child’s teacher, they’re there for you, just as much as they are your children.

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