Thursday, June 12, 2014
Settling Into Full Time School
The first term of full time school for Grace has come and gone and we are already nearing the end of the second... sixteen weeks of settling into a new environment and routine for us all. Before any more time passes, I thought I should record my thoughts and experiences here of how we've found the 'settling in process'...
Term one for Grace began on a teary note. She was very nervous about all the changes associated with starting at a new school, as well as the first time experience of a five day school week scenario. Leaving her in tears each day and walking with Sophie back to our car was horrible. To be honest, at the beginning of the year, I felt lost... not without things to do or ways to fill my days, but battling to find my feet and to wear the ‘school Mum’ hat.
As the term progressed though, we adjusted to our new norm. Getting ourselves ready quickly in the morning and constantly watching the clock became things I stopped trying to fight. I learnt to accept that slow mornings lingering at home were no longer possible on weekdays. Whether I liked it or not, the school routine was now a huge part of our lives, waking Sophie each afternoon from her nap for pick-up time was inevitable and getting out of bed when my alarm rang in the morning was essential for a smooth start to our days.
For Grace, we kept out-of-school-life as simple and free from obligations as we could. Apart from the odd call in to the local grocery store for a needed item, we came straight home after school. Tummies were filled with afternoon tea and free play was enjoyed until dinner time. On the one or two occasions we did have to be somewhere after school, Grace fell asleep in the car on the way there within minutes. Bedtimes were also made slightly earlier, allowing plenty of leisurely time snuggled up together for a story and a chat.
For myself, being on top of things in terms of school days and dates was important. The state of organization in our home was seriously lacking, but I ensured my calendar was well-used and kept me on track with all things pre-primary related. Socially, (not being naturally extroverted), I made an effort to chat to the other mothers around me at school drop-off and pick-up times and in the process made friends with a lovely fellow Mum and have gotten to know a few others. I volunteered for canteen duty and helped out in Grace's classroom. Paul joined the class on an excursion. Sophie and I started going along to the assembly each fortnight. We became part of the school community.
Now, well into second term, as hard as it still is to get out of bed when my alarm rings each morning, the whole full time school caper is beginning to feel more 'normal'. Grace is happy and loving every aspect of school life and Sophie and I have adjusted to our new pattern of days together. One day, I know I will look back on these primary school years with fondness. I will miss the paintings decorating our fridge, the school bag and shoes dumped by the front door and the afternoons spent searching the house for an interesting object' to bring for news. Knowing this, I have done my best to embrace this new phase so far as best as I can... for all of us.