I can’t believe we are hurtling towards the end of term, and the end of Monkey’s time in Reception. Before I know it he’ll be moving to Year One and heading for his sixth birthday. This academic year has seen some highs and lows as Monkey adjusts to school life.
A friendship grew with a special friend, his shadow, two little peas in a pod. It’s been wonderful to see this bond grow and his friend really is a lovely little boy. I couldn’t have wished for a nicer first best friend for Monkey. They’ve helped each other through their Reception journey, given each other the confidence to try a few new things and join in a little more. But there has been a down side, Monkey has become very dependent on his friend. He often wants to know what his friend is having for lunch so he can copy. He would hold onto his friend when walking to different areas in school and struggled to let his friend play with other children.
Monkey would play with a few other children, but his best buddy was always his safe place.
For the second year running Monkey has had to deal with a change of teachers during the year. He loved Miss P and was sad when she left at Easter. We’ve had Mrs M and Mr C ever since. He adjusted well to being with Mrs M, but a male teacher has proved a challenge for him. It’s unsettled him. Some days it’s been hard, hard on both of us. But we’ve nearly got through it.
Monkey’s started reading whilst he’s been in Reception, for a bookworm Mummy, this has been an absolute delight. Every new word learnt is a triumph, and I hope it will prove to be a lifelong love for him, as it is for me. He makes me laugh, school books are for him to read, but every other book, poster, magazine in the world is for Mummy to read to him. That’s ok, as long as he loves learning and being read to, I’m not too worried, it will come.
Writing. Oh boy, this has been a steep learning curve for my son. He’s taken after me and is a leftie, and again like me, he holds his pen and pencil really well. But actually putting that pen to paper! It’s not something he enjoys or wants to do at all. Writing his name in a card can take hours of coaxing. But over the last month I can see that he is starting to make an effort at school and I hope that by moving to Year One he will continue to improve. It’s certainly work in progress.
I think it’s fair to say after Sports Day that Monkey isn’t a competitive child and certainly isn’t an athlete. That’s ok, he takes after his Dad, I wish he felt able to join in, and I do feel sad for him when he doesn’t, but that’s Monkey and I have to accept it.
I have a very shy son, it’s a trait that is deep rooted inside him, and no amount of baby groups and activities over the last 5 years have helped him come out of himself. Sometimes I feel I’ve really failed him, I feel it must be my fault. But then I try to step back and look at this wonderful little boy who has the most amazing imagination and realise I can’t teach him everything. Some things he has to learn himself, and confidence is one of them. I can show him the joy of friendships, of trying new things, of taking a few risks – but only he can actually decide when he is ready to jump in. Being as shy as he is makes school a daily challenge. Being picked to fetch the register has been a major trauma for him, where for others it’s a treat. He struggles in group environments, he will rarely be the one to volunteer information, even when he knows the answer. He is the little boy who won’t speak up when another child picks his toy up for Show and Tell. He’s the child who tells the teacher afterwards that that toy is his.
But I can see his growing confidence, it’s a slow burner admittedly but it’s there. He’s much happier on climbing frames these days, happy to not be permanently attached to me. He is a happy boy at school, who is helpful and attentive, his shyness is holding him back when it comes to all of their ‘performance indicators’ which yes, I do find frustrating. I know my son is more than capable, but he is not confident enough to share his skills with his teachers. Will this change with moving to Year One? I hope so. I’m scared that it won’t I’m scared that he will fall behind if they don’t have the time to nurture him. Time will tell.
But moving to Year One holds other fears and concerns. A creature of habit and routine is my son. Having gone through the trauma of moving to Stage 2 in swimming recently, I am fully aware of what is likely to face us come September.
We had transition day (half day) on Tuesday. We told Monkey on Friday who his teacher was going to be, I also had to break the news that he wouldn’t be in the same class as his best friend. I’d held that news for the week, and it had broken me. It was one more hurdle for my boy to navigate. But so far he seems to have taken that news in his stride. He enjoyed his morning with his new teacher. He’ll be in a half Year One/Two class and he knows some of the older children too. It went better than I could ever have hoped. Maybe it will all be ok. But I’m preparing myself for the teachers to have to peel him off my leg come September when reality hits. A new teacher, a new class, new classmates (even if he knows the majority already), new routine, new key worker and then work. Sitting at a desk, working. That will certainly be a revelation and a challenge.
Moving to Year One will have lots of challenges and I’m really hoping that Monkey settles well and feels able to express himself to his peers and teachers. I really hope that they all see the boy I see and that he enjoys the journey ahead.
But I’m now on countdown, the holidays start the moment I pick him up from school next Friday. I’m determined that we will enjoy every moment of our summer together. We will file September away, and not worry about it until we turn that page on the calendar. A summer of fun awaits.