Sam has now been going to preschool for about a month and seems to be loving it. He drags his feet getting up with Bill in the morning, has to be persuaded to leave Bagpuss with me, and leaves the house saying he doesn’t want to go to school, but Bill assures me that when he gets to the car park he happily hops out of the car eager to see all his friends and charges headlong into some activity without looking back. I have no real idea what he does all morning when he is there but when we come to pick him up he is worn out, very happy and we can usually play “guess what Sam’s been doing today?” by the state of his clothes.
I actually got to stay with him on his very first day at school on August 25th when I stepped in at the last minute to be the parent helper that day. I was nine months pregnant and thought it would be a good idea to get a volunteer day over with while Bea was still in my tummy and I didn’t have to worry about where to put her. That afternoon and the next day I was aching all over and could barely move but I did survive the morning with eleven two year olds.
Sam’s first day at school had its ups and downs but mainly ups. It was a long morning for him and crankiness began to set in halfway through and he did have a few upset moments. When I had to leave the room to prepare the snacks in the kitchen I was really surprised when a howling Sam was brought in to be with me because he’d got so worked up and upset at my leaving the room. My independent little boy missing me? What?! Usually he barely seems to even acknowledge I’m around and likes to run off on his own. His teachers did say that the kids generally have a harder time adapting when their parents are the helpers as it can be frustrating seeing mum or dad’s attention being divided.
It was wet and gloomy that day and I spent much of my time trying to keep the muck that was being walked into the classroom from the playground under control while the class chaotically clamoured around me. Sam was a sweetie and when he wasn’t playing with the trains, doll house, musical instruments, or anything else that caught his eye, decided to help me sweep up the wood chippings and dirt with a little broom that he found.
The morning passed really quickly with the children flitting from one activity to the next. There was no group activity as such and the children each seemed to be doing whatever they felt like. Teacher Brianna read a story to whomever decided to wander over and listen, but if the kids were more interested in investigating the fish tank or being intrigued by Amy and the lightbox in the atelier that was fine too.
I did have to step in a couple of times when Sam and another boy started to have an altercation over various toys, but generally I was able to keep out of the way and let Sam negotiate and make friends with the other children on his own.
Despite the miserable day it was nice to see that the class were still able to go outside for a spell and have a run around the playground. The children got a little dirty and damp, but no worries. I like that.
For snack time I provided a box of Trader Joe’s crackers, a huge pile of sliced apples and a couple of packets of cubed cheese. I thought I’d brought plenty with me to be on the safe side. I ended up refilling the snack tray three or four times as the children greedily devoured everything in sight and demanded more!
Finally it turned one o’clock and it was time to go home once I’d straightened out the classroom. The afternoon playtime children started to come into the room for their naptime and beds were laid out on the floor. Sam decided that it was night night time for him too and after such a fun morning my exhausted little boy fetched himself a mattress pad and blankets and tried to lie down with the other sleeping children and take a snooze.
Once I’d managed to extract him from the pile of blankets and we were heading to our car with his hand in mine, Sam stopped a moment, turned around, waved to the school and said “Bye bye friends!”
Back at home both Sam and I passed out for the afternoon. School is tiring.