First half term at pre-school.

So today is Luca’s first day back at pre-school after the October half term and I thought now would be a perfect time to reflect on his first half term at ‘big boy’ school as he likes to call it.

Back in September before the school runs started, I blogged all about my worries associated with Luca starting pre-school and the reasons, the many, many reasons, I just felt plain old scared about it all.

That first day has been and gone now, and despite my crying all the way home it went perfectly smoothly.  When we arrived he did seem a little nervous but he also seemed really excited too.  After settling him in for a few minutes and noticing he was pretty enthralled by the sand and all the sandcastle moulds, we asked him if it was ok for us to go.  He looked me straight in the eye and simply replied “Yep”.  After a quick kiss we left him for his first day alone at school and I burst into tears. I’m such a softie.

Since that first day it got easier and easier for us all.  I no longer cry when I leave him and his confidence and willingness to be there has increased day by day.  He was so happy he was running off without even so much as a goodbye, until I made a grab for him and forced him to kiss me. Poor kid.

He seemed to be really, really enjoying it and I can’t say I’m surprised. 

Once a week, rain or shine, they walk down to the school’s forest classroom and the first week they went blackberry picking before baking blackberry and apple crumble.  He is also part of the book club, which is right up my avid little readers street, and loves picking a new book every week.  He regularly comes home with new works of art, including a wand he made and some rainbows he painted.  Finally, they have a castle and dragons to play with, seriously, what’s not to love.

My worries vanished into thin air within a week.

However, he then started to cry at lunch a few times.  I’m not totally sure why either.  We couldn’t decide if he finds the formality of eating too stressful, food is a relaxed issue in our household and Luca can feel under a lot of pressure to finish his food in other settings which isn’t how it works at home.  I have told school how we work with food and if he doesn’t eat much that’s fine with us, so I’m hoping they take that on board.  Or it could be that he goes onto a bigger playground at lunch and it’s a bit busier and a bit scarier. Or possibly that dinner time is less planned and the kids are left to their own devices much more, so he is really aware that we aren’t there during that time and he feels lonely.

Just when I was starting to really worry he seemed to turn a corner and the tears at lunch time stopped, which was such a relief as I can’t stand to think of him being upset at school without someone he loves being there to cuddle him and make him feel better.  It literally breaks my heart to think of him clinging onto another persons hand for reassurance.  But like I said he seems to be feeling much better about it now and he proudly tells me after school that he hasn’t cried.

Then a few days later the tears began on a morning instead. Argh!!  

I have had to try my absolute hardest to stay strong when he’s been clinging to me and crying whilst begging me not to leave.  Luckily they haven’t lasted that long either, and with a little bit of persuasion and distraction from his teachers, the tears stop and I’ve been able to leave.  The last week before half term though he seemed to be getting the hang of things again and despite not wanting me to go initially there weren’t any tears and I’ve been able to go much more quickly.

Luckily Luca’s teachers are fabulous and make sure he is fine as soon as we walk in.  They have listened to all my concerns and advice and been nothing but reassuring towards him and myself which I am so, so grateful for.

I’m praying that the half term break has done him good and not reversed all the progress we have made.  I can’t bear having to go through all that heartache and guilt again if we end up starting from scratch.  We shall see.

I’ll tell you one thing though, something which I hadn’t considered, the effect the increased amount of concentration and intellectual stimulation for three days a week would have on him.  By Wednesday morning our usually cheerful little monkey is a very grumpy and stroppy little monkey.  Looks like bedtime is going to be moved forward so he is getting a bit more sleep in preparation for his busy days.

The verdict so far though is looking good and whenever people ask Luca if he likes school he replies immediately with a very enthusiastic “Yes!”.  He also likes to tell people the names of all his friends, including ‘the guy with the orange hair’.

I hope this half term cements a love for school for him.  I really want him to be like me and fall in love with learning from the get go.  Fingers crossed.

Until then I’ll settle for a content little boy who runs off into the classroom again.

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