This morning my little girl went off to school in her brand new uniform and carrying her book bag and I couldn’t help but think that she just looks too young to be starting school. She was four in April so definitely not one of the youngest in the class but I just did not feel ready to hand her over to someone else. I gave up my job to look after her when she was born so she has always been at home with me.
I really didn’t think that I would be one of those parents who cry at the classroom door but once we got inside I just started to well up! Lily was totally fine, she already knew lots of children in her class so it wasn’t as if she was alone. I think the thing that really got to me was that I was actually handing her over to someone else to look after. It’s different from pre-school, that is not mandatory – you can take them out when you want to, keep them at home if they are tired – they are still YOUR children. Now suddenly that seems to have changed. She has been ‘handed over’ to the Education system and she’ll be expected to be there every school day now for the next 14 years.
The four years that she has been at home with me have gone in a flash and I can’t help feeling that she has left her childhood behind at the classroom door. OK, so they still play for the majority of the time and I know the classes do not involve a lot of ‘structured activity’ whilst in reception class but she doesn’t have the freedom of being at home with her mum and little brother. She’s not free to play with her own toys, lay on her own bed, run around in her own garden or visit her grandparents for lunch.
It just feels like it is too early to start school. Why can’t we have the same kind of system that they have in Scandinavian Countries where they start school when they are seven?