Category: Education (Page 1 of 7)

The first of many

Gulp. Last night I made Small Z’s lunch for the first time in preparation for the next day. Got out what she was going to wear in the morning. Checked her bag of spare clothes that she had helped me pack, and took out the various face-washers, toys and socks she had added. I felt the future sort of unrolling in front of me – years of making lunches and getting it all together. It wasn’t so bad…

Today was her first day at ‘Two Group’. This is the group at the Montessori preschool that is for kids aged between two-and-a-half and three years old. It’s like a transition to their three-year-old kindergarten. And whereas mainstream three-year-old kindergarten is (I think) maybe three hours twice a week, the one at this place is either four mornings a week (three hour mornings) or two full days. So I thought that it would only be fair to Small Z to have the chance to do the ‘transition’ semester before launching into it next year.

This is also for her to establish her own little routine and social network before her world is invaded by the impending Pikelet. So yeah. We whizzed off this morning and arrived there at 9.30am. We put her photograph above her very own hook for her very own backpack, hung up her ‘spare clothes’ bag and then I said,

“See you later Boo – I’m going shopping and I’ll be back at snack time.”

“See you later Mama,” she said.

And I left. Going all the way to another room about twenty metres away and plugging in my laptop. Yeah. So I’m a pussy. I’ve never left her anywhere before and I wanted to be close by if she freaked out. The staff there didn’t raise an eyebrow, and said people often sit in the staffroom for the first few times, or in their car with a book.

I headed back in almost two hours later and heard her before I saw her, narrating her lunch as she sat at a small table, eating the cheese from between two slices of bread. I knelt down beside her and suggested she eat the bread as well. I turned to have a word to the teacher and Small Z came around behind me and gave me a hug. I am so relieved it went well. She didn’t want to leave!

First day at preschool


I am valiantly trying to avoid a replay of Small Z’s issues when she was tiny. I have avoided dairy since Small D’s birth (with only one regrettable hiccup), almost given up on cloth nappies (despite the fact that the eco-disposables are making a hole in the credit card) and have been swaddling her to sleep for the past week or so.

Small D is just like Small Z, in that there is no way she will go off to sleep in an even slightly damp cloth nappy. I am sure changing Small Z’s nappy five or six times a night when she was tiny did not help her AT ALL in the sleep department….

My aim is simple. It is to have the most stress-free existence possible -for all of us, but particularly Small D and me, because it’s hard enough assimilating a new little one into our lives without added complications. But, oh gosh, I hope she learns to love the car…because Small Z hated it for her entire first year…when we lived in a place that, to go anywhere? We had to get in the car. Thank goodness we’ve moved to Hastings, where I can largely avoid ever using it…

After our miserable excursion to Balnarring the other day I had significant dread about the half hour drive to take Small Z to her preschool. It was not unfounded. I made sure that Small D was asleep when I put her in the car, but of course, there were roadworks and I had to stop the car for five minutes. And the screaming began…

Needless to say, we did not make it to preschool. After stopping at a fruit store to de-stress and get some strawberries, we turned around and headed home. Small D yelled most of the way back. Too. Fucking Hard. The thought of doing that once a week – driving 30 minutes each way for Small Z to go to preschool for a total of two hours, suddenly seemed both ridiculous and impossible.

When we got home I called up the preschool and withdrew her. Most importantly, she didn’t care. Her attendance has been up and down, and she has never completely settled into staying there alone despite our initial success. Such relief. I comforted myself with the thought that Small Z is only two and a half, and doesn’t ‘need’ to actually go anywhere at this point in time – I had just thought it would be good preparation for next year when she might attend proper three-year-old preschool. And that I could use a break…

I hope to find an alternative closer to home. Or not. There are no shortage of playgroups around here. I will see how we progress over the next month and ponder on how I am going to start working two days a week again in January. My brain feels squeezed. I’m going to investigate a few nearby childcare places and see what they’re like. The ideal scenario would be for her to go a day a week, or a couple of mornings with the aim of this becoming the norm by the time I start work again.

So it’s goodbye to Montessori for the moment, which is a bit disappointing – it was such a lovely space, with lovely people. But the degree of difficulty for me was too high. Pick your battles…

The first full day

I say ‘first full day’ because it was Small Z’s first full length session of three year old kindergarten yesterday. For the first two weeks they have the kids there in half groups (so Small Z was with eight others) for an hour and a half. Yesterday it got serious and was the regular 9am until 11.30am session. With all the kids.

Many of the them had never been in such a situation before, but there were apparently no tears. Small Z was sanguine as Small DB and I left. I didn’t say anything like, “I’m just going shopping and will be back soon.” I said, “Bye! We’ll come and pick you up when it’s home time!”
And walked out the gate.

Admittedly she has been left places before – the Montessori school and the child care centre. Neither being successful. But this was different. And it felt different for me. Since she hit THREE she has pulled together a new kind of sassy self confidence. This doesn’t always translate to social situations i.e. if there’s only one other kid there and they are kind of in her face, but in a group scenario where everyone is engaged in activities? She’s into the swing of it.

I think she likes the structure of kindergarten. She’s not bored. Everyone is the same age. And there are many activities to do. The two teachers are awesome – a bit older, lots of fun, but you can tell that they will also lay down the law.

We were told at orientation that if any kid has chocolate, chips or lollies in their lunchbox that the offending article would be thrown away. I quote: “Please don’t put those things in your child’s lunch, because when we throw them away they tend to cry.” Ha! I love it.

I Painted a Sea Urchin. Small Z.

When I picked up Small Z she gave me a huge hug, showed me her artwork, and ran all the way home next to the pram. She was chilled out and very proud of herself when I told her that she had stayed for a whole proper session.

First full day of kindergarten. Done.

When we got home, she worked for at least half an hour on her own making ‘Petal Soup’. Which was awesome because I had one of the most difficult days with Small DB that I’ve had to date. Largely to do with her teething and her nap being interrupted by kindergarten committments. I could not believe how chilled out and self sufficient Small Z was for the rest of the day!

Petal Soup

The way home

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