Thursday, 6 November 2014

Their first parent feedback session and the education environment

Three-year old twin boys.
Part-time school.
I know there is controversy around this.
There are advantages in England, depending on your view.
Your 15 hours of free childcare can be spent, within reason, as you choose- childminders, nurseries, playschools attached to schools, etc.
In Wales there is no option, your 15 hours are offered at a school with a nursery facility, which may not be your local school or attached to the school you are intending to send your child to for their mainstream education.
And of course, everything is optional. You need not look for nursery places for your child, it does not disadvantage your application for primary school education.

And yet, oddly, I have never had any doubt, of taking advantage of the opportunity.
From 6 months old, Seren had one day a week at a private nursery. 
We had no-one locally to offer any respite, to us or Seren, and this made sense to us.
It stopped ahead of the boys being born.
But within 6months we decided Seren needed more stimulus than we could offer at home with two babies, and we applied for a place at the local playschool which was attached to the school we had hoped Seren would attend, as she was under 3 this was financed by us.
And on arrival in Wales, we found a playgroup and continued the arrangement.

And we echoed Seren's arrangements for the boys.
We were fortunate to find a childminder for one day a week.
And from 2 years the boys moved to a playgroup setting.
And, like Seren, since they turned 3, they have attended part time school, in addition to their playgroup.

Are we wrong for this decision?
Of course we're not.
We know our children, and we've made a decision based on that.
It's not right for everyone.

Do I watch them thrive?
Every day.
As difficult as the first week is back from any holidays, 
I am amazed by how much school exhausts them, compared to how much I think we exhaust them.
Their thirst for knowledge and learning astounds me.
And that the Nursery team interact with my boys, and echo and enhance my understanding of them, means I have reassurance.

The boys began Nursery after the Easter break, an informal chat after their Summer Festival reinforced the views we had received from the playgroup, and both reinforced and introduced me to new elements about the boys.
(Most positively, they are not known to sumo-wrestle, this is obviously reserved for when they are bored, and fortunately this doesn't happen in a learning environment.)
And so, echoed by the presentation by the head teacher of the primary school today I reflect.
In Seren's time of part-time Nursery, and Reception, and now Year-1, Seren has never said she doesn't want to go to school.
The only reason Seren doesn't go to school is when her parents say she is too poorly (or because we're going away- sssshhh!).
And the same is true for the boys.
And this is down to the school. They embrace and introduce children from 3 years old.
And, based on three children, they do not appear to give them any reason to do anything other than embrace learning.
And I cannot believe how much my Year 1 child knows.
And I love the development my three year olds have returned from the summer break knowing the expectations, now the older children, and of course, compared to Seren, will benefit from a term as well as a full year at Nursery.
Touch wood, since September we have 100% attendance. (Which will change as I've picked up the 'Unauthorised [acknowledged/ request] absence request form today).
And I think this is testament to my children who love the learning environment nearly as much as they love us.
Because, especially for me, working mum, I have never doubted my children's love, it is not affected by the time in 'child care'.
My boys, are mummy's boys, my daughter is a daddy's girl.
And it works.
And we know them.
And today we are so proud.
To have the feedback from their teacher and the team which support them.
To have the opportunity to observe them.
And to gain direct feedback.
For the first time to be convinced.
That separating them, as twins, in a school, with two-form entry, might not be necessary.
To be reassured.
To receive feedback.
And to give them an extra cwtch.
Because we are so proud.

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