Back in December I did a Live in the Now post, for the first time in months, where I took some time to just look around at our life and reflect on where we all are. I’m going to try and keep that going throughout 2013, as a way of remembering the little things that don’t really warrant a post to themselves.
It has been quite a busy start to the year for us. DorkySon’s school application was due in earlier this week, and I’d only managed to visit one school before Christmas. I spent the second week of January checking out some of the others, and in the end we listed three preferences on the form. For someone who grew up on a small island where the only option was to go to your closest school – like it or lump it – this whole process has taken some getting used to.
That said, other than the fact that my map-reading skills have obviously gone to hell and I got lost on my way to not just one but two schools, I found it all much easier than I expected. Everywhere I visited each had a very distinct character – in some schools the focus was more on maths and science, in others it was more about communication and creative arts. In one the tour was given by the headteacher, in another it was given by a couple of year fives. Some schools are packed lunch only; others provide hot school meals for everyone. Some schools run a buddying scheme for new pupils, some have computers in every classroom, some have composite classes across two year groups. It was a lot of information to take in, but it meant that we had some fairly substantial factors to base our decision on.
I decided to ignore all the official reports about results and teaching standards, and instead we made the choices based on which schools felt like they would be the best fit for DorkySon, and where we could imagine him settling in most easily. At this stage I’m still convinced that happy children and welcoming staff are more important than anything else, and if we get that right everything else will take care of itself.
So now we just have to try and forget about the whole thing until April, when allocation results are announced. Fingers crossed that we are given one of the places we asked for!
As a lovely break from thinking about schools, we headed up to Edinburgh last weekend. We hadn’t seen any family over Christmas, so it was great to spend some time with DorkyGranny. DorkySon marched straight into her flat, took his trousers off, checked in the freezer to make sure there was ice cream, and immediately tipped his box of toy cars all over the floor. Nothing like making yourself right at home!
It was also a real joy to spend a day with two of our close friends who moved to Australia eighteen months ago, and were back in Scotland for a visit over the holidays. We used to see them every few months so it has been sad for all of us being so far apart, but last Saturday reminded us that if you have true friends you can go a long time without seeing them and then pick up exactly where you left off with no awkwardness.
Or not much awkwardness… last time they saw DorkySon he was barely talking in sentences. This time, when they walked into the café where we were meeting for breakfast, he looked up and said “Oh good, you’re here at last. Mummy says you’re always late!”
Thanks for that, DorkySon.
As I write, it is snowing steadily outside, and I am wondering whether to suggest that DorkyDad comes home early before the trains get too chaotic. There was a wee flurry of snow in Edinburgh last weekend too, but this stuff looks a bit more serious. We have a birthday party to go to tomorrow (at a soft play centre – you know how much I love them) and DorkySon is super excited about it, so I hope the roads stay clear enough for a trip down to St Albans.
No I do… really I do.
Have a lovely weekend where you are, and stay cosy.
Good luck with the school place. We live in a big village with one, oversubscribed, school. Our two oldest are there now, but it was stressful.
I totally agree with you about going more with the feel of a school than the minutiae of reports. There’s a scrum round here to get children into the “best” school in town, but then all I hear from the parents are complaints about the culture, the pressure and the rigidity.
Especially at infant stage, I think being happy and confident counts for so much more – the learning (I hope) follows naturally from that.
Sounds like we are very similarly minded about it all. There is huge pressure round here too, but even the least loved schools are absolutely brilliant compared to most in the country. Important to keep it in perspective I think.
Oh, trust DorkySon to show you up! why on earth, I wonder, would he take his trousers off? Just love his comment when you met your friends. Priceless! Tee hee hee, I did chuckle!
I think it’s the preschooler equivalent of taking your tie off and unbuttoning your collar after a long day at work 🙂
Really enjoyed reading this, and I am so in agreement about what to look for in a good school – friendly staff and happy children – the best fit for your child. You can always rely on children to tell it like it is! ,
Shame we all lose that honesty as we get older! (Or perhaps not…)
Agree with you and all commenters – we ignored ratings and went for the one which felt right, & have not regretted it. Hope you get your choice!
Find that very reassuring, thanks so much!
Good luck at the soft play centre. They’re my idea of hell on earth too.
**whispers** it got cancelled!!
I hope you are having a fab weekend, I like these posts. Think I might just have to latch onto this idea too Mich x
Thanks sweetie 🙂 I would love to read your take on one, although R2BC is also a great way of recording these wee memories that would slip by otherwise.
Hah – the soft play centre – sounds like what I refer to as a germnasium. I cannot believe how complicated finding the right school is. So many comedic scenes are built on this process – but now I see it is true. Good luck to you, DorkeyFamily!
Urgh, that’s a gross but very appropriate word. I’m completely squeamish about public swimming pools for the same reason *shudders*