Categories
Education

Red card, Green card

Now that I’m a new member of the school mum’s club, I am privy to various methods used to convince our children to behave. I’m sure that managing 30 4-5 year old is not an easy feat so I wasn’t entirely surprised when W (4) ran to me after his second morning of school shouting “We did rules today, Mummy!”.

It’s not so long ago that I don’t remember the various school rules and sanctions imposed for breaking them from secondary school, but I don’t really remember anything from primary school. I think at that age, the mere thought of being reprimanded for even the smallest toe out of line, was enough to keep me in check.

I suppose it’s a sign of the times that various incentives and behaviour systems are being applied in an effort to not only encourage good behaviour but also as a classroom management tool. W’s school is employing a red card, green card system. You start off with a green card and extremely good behaviour is rewarded a ‘superstar’ card. Anything that doesn’t meet expected behaviour standards receives a warning, after that it’s a red card and a phone call home. There was also something about marbles and when they manage to collect a certain number of marbles they can have movie and a popcorn as a class.

W has, as with everything, taken this all in his stride and is convinced that not only will he remain on a green card but also achieve a superstar card and the movie/popcorn reward seems well within his reach. However, I do wonder about the children who are a little more sensitive to the fact that their names are on display in the classroom for all to see where they sit on the behaviour chart. I know there have been various other mummy bloggers that have spoken out about traffic light systems for monitoring behaviour in the classroom, especially when during Reception years undiagnosed conditions can reveal themselves in the form of ‘bad behaviour’.

W thrives on rules and knowing how things work but B (2) this system would no doubt fill him with anxiety. I am very interested to see how W and his peers will fare under this behaviour management system and perhaps how it will change as he moves through the education system, if it is something that I can also apply at home or if it will conflict with practices I already have in place. Will it be a realistic preparation for life after school, working on the assumption that the red cards of today will dictate the path a child will take? I don’t know, while I understand the need for behaviour and classroom management, I wonder if there are more fluid approaches and methods available?

Categories
Education Parenthood

Starting School: Schultüte 

A Schultüte is a wonderful German tradition for the first day of school. My grandmother is German and so it’s a tradition that we are passing down and I intend to keep within our family. I remember receiving mine when I first started, so of course I had to make one for W (4) on his first day!

For those of you that don’t know, a Schultüte is essentially a cone packed with goodies, to celebrate the year ahead. Some parents are more creative and able to make fantastic cones but I just stuck with card, wrapping paper, tissue paper and ribbons for W’s.


What’s inside?

You can put anything inside of these, I tried to think of things that I thought W would need as well as enjoy. I got him a couple of new books to read and Star Wars themed workbooks to support his learning (I can’t help but giggle over P is for Padme, or the saying on the back ‘Learn well. You will.’). The notebook, pencils and skipping rope are from Cath Kidston and I found a CD of alphabet songs to add to the boys collection.  W loves taking photos on my phone so I popped in a disposable camera for him to have a go at taking his own (the old fashioned way), also picked up a boys fragrance bottle from Next because he always wants to borrow my perfume! The Lego set and the Go Fish! game are just for fun and great activywe can do together. Not pictured are some triangular colouring pencils as they are easier for him to hold that I also picked up for him.

How to make it? 

I cut out a square of wrapping paper, stuck it onto some thing card, put glue along one side of the square and made a cone shape, sticking it down together. I glued tissue paper along the inside at the top, stuffed a ball of tissue into the base (a little like a cornetto) and then filled it up with presents, before tying the top with some ribbon.


He had already been given a new school bag and a Swatch watch at breakfast, so the look on his face to be surprised again when I picked him up was totally worth it! I couldn’t be more proud of him and so excited to see what the year ahead has in store.

 

Categories
Parenthood

New Beginnings

When I left my ex and moved back to London, W was still an only child, we had a few more weeks left until B would join us. I took him to Greenwich Park, I wanted him to experience the park that had been a large part of my childhood. I took this photo of him as he embraced the view of London I had grown to love sprawled in front of him. I felt like it was a new beginning for the both of us and this photo represents exactly how W approaches any new situation or environment, with open arms.

Last week we had an information session at W’s new primary school that he will be starting at in September. We were introduced to the headteacher and class teachers, the children were invited to play in what will later be their classroom and he went. He ran off to play with his new friends, full of excitement, he didn’t look back once. Parents around me were emotional and tearful at the idea of their little ones off to school and while I could relate I wasn’t going to start crying about it. Others couldn’t wait to wave their children off, as the rejoiced at the idea of no longer being somebody’s snack b*tch 24/7, asking if there was a summer school program to sign them up to, and already organising the details for wraparound care (breakfast clubs and after-school activities).

I, however, felt a mixture of relief and disappointment. I was disappointed that it was a day I had to navigate alone as a single parent, without a partner to feel excited or upset with. Nor did I have my mother, who we had lived with until she lost her battle with cancer last summer, so she wouldn’t be home that evening to relish in our shared love of paperwork. Despite these negatives, I was relieved, the day signified a new beginning, it made everything a bit more permanent. I have uniform to buy, I had forms to fill in, he will be at this school for the next few years and B will join him there at a later stage, our lives and the dream of bringing my boys up in the London I grew up in and love has become a little more concrete.

I know that W will be fine, he will make new friends, he will charm his teachers, he will learn and grow, laugh and play. He will be fine and so will I. Though I may be saying something different come September, you may find me at the gates with the other parents holding back the tears. But for now I am celebrating with a glass of prosecco* and saying ‘cheers, to new beginnings!’.

*because that’s all I could find