This is a question I and countless other parents ask ourselves everyday. But what does it mean?
With less than 8 months until my biggest baby starts school, I’m panicking. I caved and bought too many ‘Starting School’ themed workbooks. They promise to prepare your child with early writing skills, simple addition, letter recognition and a PhD in how to not be the only child struggling to keep up. That’s what it boils down to. A fear that our child will be THAT child, the one that can’t quite follow instructions, isn’t always top of the class, the child that needs extra help.
I asked around on mummy Facebook groups, I asked friends that worked as primary school teachers and I asked friends who’s children had already started reception. They all told me the same thing. DON’T PANIC! It’s their job to teach your child how to read and write, it’s our job to support our children’s learning and working with the teacher. What teachers really need is a child that is ready for school because they can:
- Go to the toilet
- Wash their hands
- Dress/undress themselves
- Feeding themselves
- Tidy up
W has Developmental Coordination Disorder, he attends OT sessions to help him develop this skills that are W-friendly and appropriate. He has a special chair so he can sit still, he has caring cutlery so he can hold it correctly and he is learning how to dress and undress himself without help, even if it’s frustrating at times. He’s getting ready for school by mastering the skills he needs to be able to learn.
Even though I don’t know what the future holds for W but I know that I want to make the most of the time I have left with him before the pressure of our education system hits. We are breaking eggs to make cakes, we are splashing in puddles and shouting in the rain, we are making memories. And those workbooks I bought in a moment of fear and panic? They’re collecting dust on my bookshelf.