Well my beautiful big boy has been in full time school for a whole half term now, 4 full weeks, and what an eventful 4 weeks it’s been.
The first week was marred by stories of in-class fisticuffs and even year 6s bullying Noah’s bestie at lunchtime.
The first issue I kind of expected, it’s a big class with some big personalities and I suppose they have to sort out a sort of ‘pecking order’. This did resolve itself to a certain degree by the end of the term but the two children involved seemed to have pretty much alienated themselves because of it. Noah often comes home of tales of how ? and ? have been naughty and no one wants to play with them, which is a little sad.
The latter issue however, had the majority of the parents raging. It brought up the uncomfortable reality that the school was integrating our reception children with the rest of the school at lunch playtime. Something the school (on numerous occasions) told us would never happen. We were told that the lower school never mixed with the upper school accept with their appointed Year 6 ‘buddy’ who come into class to help them with their reading and in the dinner hall.
There were several stories of reception children being chased, trapped, mauled by year 5/6 children and the teachers apparently thinking it totally appropriate for our children to be ‘treated like dolls’. To say I was livid is an understatement. In a world where we are told to teach our children, from a very early age, that they have a right to their own personal space and to voice when they are made to do something they aren’t happy with where their bodies are concerned. It is very concerning that the school seemed to think it fine for the reception children to be manhandled against their will because the older kids think they’re like ‘cute little puppies’ (words actually used by a teacher to an affected child’s mother).
Needless to say the amount of complaints that arose has actually put a stop to this though the children are still in the main school playground for a time at lunch, we are made to believe it is with the lower school age groups only.
Thankfully Noah has been totally unaware of both issues and thoroughly enjoyed his first full week at school, even if it has left his emotions teetering on a knife edge when at home.
Week Two started badly for Noah as he had a raging temperature at the weekend and into Monday so I kept him off for the first day, though still under the weather for the rest of the week his fever dissipated so I sent him in, I now totally forgive my own mother for often sending us in when we had a cold and all we wanted was to stay at home 😂.
At the end of week two the novelty had most definitely worn off. Whether this is because he was unwell, or he has just had enough of going every day I don’t know, but he doesn’t understand why he has to go there EVERY SINGLE DAY 🤣.
To say his emotions are on a knife edge is an understatement. I have never, in all his (nearly) 5 years experienced the tantrums we are now privy to. He has always been such a placid child and we breezed through the twos and threes with relative ease, now we are paying for this.
Honestly I could not start to describe in words the level of rage that he climbs to on a pretty much daily basis over something small. I have read articles on ‘After School Restraint Release’ (I will refer to this as ASRR from here on in) and am putting it down to that for now but, by god, if his attitude doesn’t change soon we are going to have to implement some serious consequences to try and curb it because at the moment he’s wanting everything his way and RIGHT NOW. I will tolerate this for so long blaming it on the ‘ASRR’ (where we are supposed to placidly ignore the eruptions) but if he thinks he can get his own way all the time if he throws a tantrum then it’s not going to help him going forward.
Whilst at school, the in class speech ‘therapist’ (I use that term loosely as I’m not sure she is an actual therapist but she is trained on working with speech issues) has been working with Noah to sort out some sound issues he has (he lisps Ss, pronounces C’s with a T sound, G’s have a K sound). Even after the first week he was making a conscious effort to say S’s properly and they continue to work on the other issues.
I am astounded how far Noah has come in 4 weeks. Honestly, dumbfounded. They progressed a Phonics stage in a week and he is reading most three letter words using the letters S, A, T, P, M, G, D and O. They are learning how to correctly form letters, the proper way and are concentrating on less and more in maths.
I am super happy with what they are doing with them and my fears that a huge class would affect their learning has actually been unfounded.
The teachers set weekly homework challenges in their end of week newsletters which we tackle on a weekend, I quickly learned that there was no point doing anything on a school day as he just will not concentrate and makes very silly and basic errors.
Noah has settled in fabulously and loves the fact he gets to play with his friends everyday. Alongside his core group (Farley, Ethan, Toby and Mila) he has continued to make new friends and at the gate there are often squeals if excitement from several children when they see him. He’s still TERRIBLE when it comes to recalling their names mind.
At the end of term the school held a Halloween themed disco for the school (lower school and upper school had different times) and it was so nice (if a little stressful for us) to see him playing and socialising with all these different children and seeing his popularity and the ease in which he mixes in a huge social setting. I was taken aback by how he even made an effort to play with one of the ‘punchy’ boys too which just goes to show what a sensitive little soul he is.
By the half term break Noah started telling me that he finds lesson time boring but I have a feeling this is largely to the amount of playtime they get, he just wants to be playing all the time. He loved learning at pre-school and I hope this is just a blip.
He’s not impressed he has to go everyday but enjoys ‘playing with his friends all day’. He loves his teachers and often talks about them at home with only positive connotations.
Barring the first week I am happy to say I still love the school. Believe me when I say that I doubted our decision in the eye of the week 1 storm, I panicked like fucking hell! I was fuming that I’d been lied to, I was frustrated at being sent from pillar to post, I was anxious that I couldn’t get a definitive answer from anyone, I was beyond angry that emails I sent were left unread (or worst, ignored). I am now pleased to say it’s all been rectified (though my emails remain unanswered).
My concerns over the size of the class still niggle me a little but I have no worries that it is affecting Noah in anyway, in fact it only highlights what a confident and sociable little chap he is turning into.
I love that all of Noah’s buddies are in the same class and that he is settled. I am also beyond happy with the education he is getting; from phonics to forest school he is developing at such a rate of knots that my head is spinning.
Slow down a little, time. You’re robbing me of my precious baby and I’m not sure I’m ready to let go.