Starting school is fraught with its own difficulties, but moving to Key Stage 2 has felt almost worse. Settling in time is over and now the *@&% has really got real.
The first day at school is a huge milestone in every family’s life – full of hopes and fears, anxieties and tears. Much of the stress lies in the fear of the unknown.
With that factor behind us, we face a new challenge this term as we move into Year 3: the fear of the known.
- Homework – now with added homework.
- Maths – now with calculators and all the trickier times tables (8×7 anyone?).
- Literacy – now with adverbs and fat books.
- Teachers – now less cuddly, more demanding.
- Standards – now stricter.
- Expectations of independence – now scarily high. Trusting the child to relay vital information and bring the right kit.
- Friends – now with preconceived ideas and existing bonds.
Of all these, it’s the last two I’m worried about the most. I know this may seem mad – obviously I care about my son’s academic progress and I don’t want him to struggle, but I trust the school to do its teaching job here and see this as something I can help with.
Independence is something I obviously want my son to develop further, and I can help by checking his kit every day and using the school’s other information sources to find out important stuff for myself. But I feel sad that he might get told off for forgetting a reply slip or his football boots, or for getting his homework wrong because he misunderstood what was expected. I hope the process will be gradual and the teachers lenient.
But friends? That is completely out of my control. Our classes have been mixed up this year, so while my son has a few familiar faces in his class, the others he knows less well. So far, my son has had no trouble making friends and luckily three of them are in his class. But I am afraid of the combination of existing impressions and friendship groups and the fact the children are older – and potentially a bit meaner.
It’s not even full-scale bullying I’m thinking of, as I am fairly confident that the school will be quite tough on such behaviour (please don’t tell me this is just wishful thinking).
It’s the off-hand slights, the casual exclusions, the football not passed that I fear.
All things that are part of growing up, of growing a tougher skin, of gaining resilience.
But if I could learn them for him, if I could be his skin, I would. He’s seven now. But he’s only seven. He’s still my baby.