Boo is now 4, so I have just embarked upon the exciting journey of choosing a primary school for her. And I think it needs to be exciting, as this is a huge milestone. Now, I say I’ve just embarked, which means I’ve been to the school I was very much leaning towards most before the round of visits commenced, and the truth is that along with just embarking, I’ve also just completed this part of the journey! Yep, application was submitted last night, as I did love the school that much – phew! I’m not one to hang around!
He didn’t really talk about results, academia, homework, though of course he did explain the core subjects, learning objectives and curriculum. He actually skimmed over SATs, pointing out that all of the schools in the local area perform well at those, so why bang on about that? He’s right, of course. No, he wanted to talk to us about how he wanted to make the children in his school enjoy every day there, shape them to be confident and independent individuals and have fun and enjoy their educational experience. This was what I wanted to hear. I don’t know that this was the priority for every other parent sat there. Some may have wanted more results shared, clear indications of the children’s academic lives, I’m not sure. But for me, I was looking for an environment that allows my daughter to further develop her thirst for knowledge, her confidence in making and maintaining friendships, continue to encourage her self-belief and positive outlook on life.
He talked about something that really struck a chord with me. They have something there called ‘Making A Difference’. The pupils are encouraged to make a difference. Now, this may be anything, from wanting to help out a local charity with a cake-bake, through to writing to our local MP or the Prime Minister if they’ve a burning issue that they want to address. The point is that they are emboldened to believe that they can make a difference in the world. That what they do does count and they can do and be anything that they want to be. Before Boo was even born, I knew that as a parent, I wanted to work each and every day towards her being happy and confident and believing that she could do whatever she wanted to do in life. I’ve expressed this quite strongly to the Husband (you know him – fabulous, I adore him, but hugely pessimistic which kinda lends itself to a resigned way of thinking rather than sky’s the limit thinking!). He hopes that the children will adopt my ways rather than his! This school will definitely back me up.
The school itself? Woodland to go and explore in and carry out their scientific experiments (they’ll often come home dirty, I’m told!), every classroom is open plan, and books and mini libraries line the corridors leading to these open plan spaces (I know of a school that scrapped their library, because apparently iPads are the new books, so I need the reassurance of seeing books aplenty), and our tour was conducted by a year 6 boy who quietly informed us that ‘personally, I think this school is amazing’ – bless him!
It’s funny, but the whole time I was there, and indeed in the entire run up to this process, so I guess the last four years, I was thinking about my daughter and how she’d fit into a school like this. That’s natural, I suppose. But when I got home, for the first time I considered Little Man, too. As clearly, wherever Boo goes, he will follow. This is a decision I’m making for both of my children, and actually, I think it’s more important to think about Little Man. I feel that Boo will do well wherever she goes. She has an aptitude for school it seems, judging by her pre-school progress. She loves to learn, is very sociable, keen to help others and never breaks a rule (at pre-school that is – home is an entirely different story…!). I’m confident she’ll be fine. But Little Man, well, who knows? Truth be told, at just 13 months old, it’s a difficult one to call! His personality is definitely different to his sister’s, but I figure that if I work on the assumption that this school is all about engendering a strong sense of self and encouraging learning through play and activities, it’s an ethos that I can fully support, so he should do well there.
So yes, I believe we’re sorted. It’s just that long wait that I’ll be ridiculously impatient about now to find out whether she does have a place there for next year. I’ll be keeping everything that I have crossed, as my heart and gut are telling me this will be good for my children.
What about you? Are you in this boat, too? If you’ve chosen in years gone by, how easily did you make your decision?