A Mum’s Guide to Big School: Jackie’s eldest son hits Kindergarten!

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Eeep, big school – where does the time go? So I thought that we were all prepared for my eldest son to start kindergarten this week. We’d taken him to orientation at the end of last year, got his uniform all ready, new school shoes. We completed all the activities that the teacher gave us to prepare him over the holidays. Seriously, what more could we do?

Well, it turns out the only thing we failed to do…was to prepare ourselves as parents for a kid in big school!

Oh my goodness, talk about baptism by fire. This big school thing did not go according to what I had planned. I calmly did the Monday morning drop-off, no tears in sight so I was feeling pretty good. I thought I had everything under control. I was then invited to attend a lovely morning tea which was put on for the parents of Kindy students. It was lovely and so generous for the other parents to open up the canteen to do this. I actually started to feel relaxed. I could totally do this big school thing.

From here, things snowballed. I realised that the school pick-up came around much quicker than I thought. Believe it or not, there no longer seemed like there was much time during the days. This is particularly true when I’ve got the twins at home. By the time I do school drop-off, get home to do morning tea for the boys, a little work and play with the twins, give them lunch then a nap, it is actually time to go back to do school pick-up! Still getting my head around that.

Next, it was parent teacher night on Wednesday night at the new big school. You’d think that should be fairly simple, right? They’ve only just started, what can there be to say? Well… There was a LOT to say!

The headmistress went through a long list of items which sent me spinning. Then there was talk about needing volunteers for this, that and the other thing which I am in full support of. Without the parents rolling up their sleeves to get things done, the school environment would be very different and not the lovely nurturing place it is. I totally support it just not ready to sign up for everything quite yet.

Following the big town hall meeting at the parent teacher night, we broke off into the individual class rooms to talk to the respective class teacher. This is where my head really started spinning. My son’s teacher is absolutely lovely as it made things bearable. We were then given handouts listing timetables, things we needed to give our children to take to school, notes about the curriculum, expectations in terms of homework and parent involvement. We received more on what volunteers were required, the school rewards/awards system, school values and behaviours and the role of the parent contact for the year. And more on volunteers! I did say that I would try to sort myself out in the coming weeks and then volunteer to help in the canteen at some stage. I just needed time to plan my life to fit that in somehow.

I came home and said to my husband that I could understand why some people chose to home school. Big school seemed like a task for the whole family.

And then I received an email. I’m already on one of the rosters as a volunteer. Nothing like making a person feel welcome. I do intend to make good on that opportunity, just feeling a little overwhelmed!

So I’ve had a glass of wine now, relaxed and read all of my piles of reading material. I’ve just decided to go back to square one and take one step at a time. Try to make a list of everything I need to do and when to do it so I can do my best to ensure I get it all done. I’ve got my calendar out and put the important dates on there, including the dates I’ve volunteered at school. It’s all down to planning, planning, planning.

Stay tuned for the next chapter when I can tell you all about my big school experiences, the successes and epic fails. Want more content from Jackie? Check out the Body Beyond Birth blog now.