Thinking of my Grandson today, as he takes his first independent journey across the playground, into 'Big School'. We have shared so much in our own little world of fun and laughter over the past four years, I don't mind admitting, I am going to miss our days together hugely.
It occurs to me that we ask a huge amount of children at this tender young age. They are expected to cope with wearing strange clothes, being left at a strange building and then taken into an unknown world by someone they may have only met on the very briefest of terms. We ask that these little people trust their parents to be there when they exit theirnew classroom at the end of the school day and also to understand, that this rather brutal separation from everything familiar and secure in their world, is somehow for the best.
Over the past few weeks, I have watched as my own Grandson and his Mummy and Daddy prepared steadily for the start of term today. I couldn't be more proud of them both for the calm support they have given whenever he has been overwhelmed by the turn his little life now has to take. There have been moments when our intrepid little dinosaur hunter has broken all our hearts with his desperate four year old pleas not to have to start school and I am absolutely certain, that if any one of his parents, or grandparents, could have waved a magic wand to make school disappear, we would have happily done so for him ... but the Law is the Law and for Toby, the time for this first educational milestone has now arrived.
I saw my own children safely into school for the first time as a young mum more than thirty years ago and of course, found myself gulping back tears when the classroom door swung urelatingly shut behind my entire world. The ensuing hours until 'home time' seemed never ending. As with most parents, my heart was in my mouth as I walked back to school to collect them later that day ... but thankfully my fears were needless and my son and daughter both exited through the same door, clutching school bags, clearly relieved to see me but also eager to tell me about their first day at school. I remember feeling mixed emotions of relief and pride as I reached possessively for them ... tinged a little sadness at the budding sense of independence I could already see taking root.
Years ago, I worked as a teaching assistant in the reception class of a local infant school. I absolutely loved my job and was always excited to start a new year, with a fresh intake of four year olds. It never ceased to amaze me how well most coped once inside the classroom. On the inside of that door, tears and trepidation at leaving anxious parents, were quickly replaced with curiosity and an eagerness to prove themselves capable. It was never long before the children settled to play and began to enjoy their new activities. School routines were soon established and little personalities were quick to emerge.
My super-thoughtful daughter-in-law, took a moment before school this morning to send me a photograph of my Grandson wearing not only his new school uniform but most importantly for this anxious Nana, a confident smile, before he climbed into the car for the journey to his new school.
And I don't doubt that for one moment, that both mummy and daddy both drew a deep breath to steady themselves, as they proudly waved their son off across the 'Big School' playground for the first time ...
Well done gang.
I am so proud of you all!