That’s What She Goes To School For

Today was a bit of a strange one. You see, this morning, we had a visit to the primary school that we hope Toddler L will go to in a year and a half. In our area, they’ve just opened up the nursery school application form, and as the nursery and school are joined, we got an unexpected glimpse into the future at an open day. Although it’s not imminent, it won’t be that long before she’s wearing her oversized school clobber ready to head off into the big, bad world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to seeing Toddler L continue to grow, develop and become a proper little person. I’m not one of those parents who are upset that their baby is no longer a baby. In fact, I actually prefer the sprog the older she gets – not that I didn’t like her when she was younger. You get what I mean.

The slight hesitation I have somewhere deep in the back of my mind is whether she’ll be ready. With a mid-August birthday, she’s going to be nearly a year behind the older kids. This is slightly worrying. The last thing I want is for her to struggle at school just because she’s been in the world for a shorter period than her classmates. That all feels a little unfair.

Having said that, I don’t have any major worries and don’t see any need to consider deferring her start. She recently had her two and a bit year assessment and passed with flying colours – well, as much as you can ‘pass’ these type of things. She’s a good talker, has impressive gross motor skills, is remarkably confident, is a quick learner and has settled well into part-time nursery since October. As such, the fact that she’ll be a young ‘un when she starts school shouldn’t matter that much.

It doesn’t stop you worrying about the future though. I think it hit home today as we walked around the various class rooms checking out what the kids were doing. Here, there were dozens of uniformed-up kids doing what children at school do. Knowing that this will be her in the future was a bit surreal. I’m not sure what emotion caused it, but I did have two seconds of watery-eyes as I entered the first class room. I’ll blame it on having the smell of onions on my hands from last night’s tea…

Having been really impressed with the nursery and school, I think we’re quite set on her going there in the future. The fact it’s walking distance from our house also appeals to my lazy nature. Now we’re just left with figuring out the logistics as to how we split her time. This isn’t helped by the fact that our county isn’t sure what’s happening with the free childcare hours yet – will it be 15 or will it be 30? Who knows.

Either way, I think we’ll apply for her to join the nursery at the school and make the decision if (fingers crossed) she’s accepted. The way I see it, from January 2018, she’ll either (a) be at the nursery school for six hours, five days per week (assuming the 30 hours kicks in), or (b) she’ll do a combination of her current private nursery (two full days) and the nursery school, which might be three hours, three days per week. Or something like that.

Then, six months later, she’ll hopefully start in Reception at the same school. Strangely, kids in nursery at this school aren’t given preferential treatment when it comes to actually being accepted at the Reception stage. I’d have assumed that it was so that the kid doesn’t go through an upheaval, but hey ho, they probably know better than me.

All in all, catching a glimpse of the future is a mix of emotions. Sure, it shows that time is flying by and makes you wonder whether you’ve made the most of her two and half years on the planet (thanks parenting guilt, you utter arse). However, the overwhelming feeling is one of pride and excitement. Our toddler is growing into a proper little girl. The world is her oyster and I can’t wait to see the person she’ll become.