Back To School – September 2020
It’s been a really odd year, and hopefully, one we never have to relive again. Who’d have known what we were going to be faced with back in January and how our children were facing 6 months off school. It was a really tough 6 months too, juggling keeping safe, keeping happy, keeping kids educated through home learning (what a disaster!), keeping an essential business operating and keeping 2 parents sane in the process. Somehow we survived, the kids have returned to school and we are hoping they will keep safe in school and allow educations to return.
I didn’t want to jinx things by blogging about their return to school straight away, so I’ve left it a couple of days when I’ve managed to gather more information from each child with regards to how their school days are forming so share with you their experiences.
This year was a big year for us, as my eldest child is now 11 and has started in Year 7 at our local secondary school. He’s progressed to his new school with no transition days, little preparation physically for this change (although his previous school did an amazing job at preparing him mentally) and not fully getting a feel for how secondary school life will be like. But Lewis is extremely excited for this transition and is willing to face any challenges with his stellar bravery and strength.
Meanwhile, Leah is being left behind in her Junior School and is now going into Year 4. She will no longer has her brother to annoy in the school yard anymore. Unlike Lewis, Leah didn’t have any time in school prior to the summer holidays so she hasn’t been able to get a full idea on the procedures put into place at the school.
Back To School after Lockdown
I’m not going to lie, in the run-up to the kids going back to school I was nervous, the kids were also equally nervous too. We didn’t know how their day would be structured, didn’t know if things that happened during their day would unsettle them nor how drop-off and pick-up would fully operate. It was all a bit unsettling but I also kept telling myself that the schools needed to find their footing and routine in this new time. Eventually, when the time was right I mentally got the kids ready by showing them short videos the head’s of the schools had created for them, showing them how classrooms were prepared, some simple rules and the cleaning routines that had been put into place for their and everyone else’s safety. With all this completed the kids were ready for going to school.
Leah was the first to return to school last Wednesday, and she woke up very excited for her first day back since 23rd March 2020 (which was conveniently the day of her 8th Birthday). She was so excited she was dressed and ready for 7.45 am, an hour before we needed to leave the house.
During the summer holidays Leah and her best friend had formed a support bubble between them, this was relatively easy for us to do as families as neither family have a large family or relatives overly local. This helped both the girls prepare for their return and can support each other.
On the first day back we’d arranged to meet Leah’s best friend on the walk-in, the girls then had a bit of time to take their minds off things and stop them over worrying about their first day back. This worked an absolute treat as Leah had shed a couple of tears upon leaving our house due to worry but all was soon forgotten about when she saw her friend. Thankfully to the girls both sit together in class so their support bubble has bloomed massively and the girls can look forward to their days at school knowing they can conquer anything.
Since then the girls have walked in daily together, happy with their comfort between them and has given them both some excellent days in return.
Leah has now been back in school a week, gone are her fears and discomfort and she is having a lovely time. I feel this is all helped by the support Leah has with her friend but also a recovery curriculum that the school has put into place to help children readjust to being back in the classroom, focusing on mental health and wellbeing.
Now, Lewis is the one I should have been really concerned about. Going to a new school, moving around classrooms all day, a massive increase in student numbers whilst also working on his maturity and independence. But I failed to be overly worried about this transition. This was all helped by Lewis’s excitement. As the big day approached and we were preparing his uniform and backpack he’d break into a big smile and occasionally chuckle to himself. I knew he was beyond ready for this next stage and being the sensible young man that he is he would face the obstacles in his way in school with ease. Which he has!
Lewis started the new term last Thursday and was looking forward to his day instantly. We’d read the guidelines from the school, knowing roughly what to expect and what to do. All he needed to do now was put it into practice. His staggered start time is 8.30 am and as we approached the school gates it was a little chaotic but we knew things would relax in the coming days. Prior to going through the gates, he had to have his temperature checked and this is a practise that is still in place now and for the foreseeable future.
After his day, he came out with the same big grin on his face that he had as he went into school and this momentum has continued since. He’s adjusting wonderfully to his life in secondary school, following the rules and having a good time. Although I am a little gutted he doesn’t text me at lunchtime when he’s allowed to use his phone, he’s growing up and frequently uses the term “Mums embarrassing” but I still get my secret cuddle in the morning before he leaves with his friend so I’m happy.
All in all both kids are adjusting to their “new normal” wonderfully, come home with tales to tell of their days and it is doing their mental health wonders being back into a routine.
Let’s all hope the 2020/2021 academic year goes a bit better than last years!
Find out more about the kids here.