Goodbye Nursery, Hello Big School

No matter how many times I mention about how quickly time flies as a parent, I am still compelled to rethink the subject with every significant event in my kids’ lives.

While all of their new developments deserve attention, some are more noteworthy than the others. One such event was my 4-year-old’s nursery farewell. Funnily though, I can’t remember being as overwhelmed by any of my transitions as I was with my son’s academic baby steps. Come to think of it, he would merely be moving from his nursery school to the primary school. But, the build up to the farewell had made me emotional a couple of times.

I was overwhelmed partly because of my maternal instincts: where the whole journey of his little life flashed across my mind, often getting stuck on his baby and toddler moments, somehow irreconcilable to his present rather grown up self. My little floppy baby is now a confident and expressive young boy, much eager to get ‘bigger’.

Partially also, in sincere thankfulness to his key-person and the amazing staff who supported him when I was away. There were times when he was struggling with toilet training, or bumped his head in the playground, or just missed his mummy. But he was promptly comforted with good advice, kind words and warm cuddles by the amazing staff at his nursery. More than him, I think I would be remembering them with gratitude.

So, yes, time flies and it did fly quite swiftly. From a toddler of few words, literally, to a swift-talking, kind, gentle and confident boy, my son has seen a steep transformation in his personality. It is a pleasure to watch him unleash the sum total of all his nursery knowledge every now and then.
“Baby (his little brother), wait for your turn. It is my go first.”
“Mummy, did you just shout at my little brother? I saw you. Please say sorry and be friends. I will help you shake hands.”
“Do you know about Concorde? It was a big plane, very noisy and very fast. But it does not fly any more.”
“Mummy, do you know that magnets attract metal, iron, not wood or plastic or paper?”

Our conversations have been increasingly interesting and inquisitive with every passing term at his preschool. His teacher has often appreciated him for taking pride in his achievements. He doesn’t seem like much at home, but his feedback has been quite a delight.

His nursery maintains an online log of children’s activities to enable parents to keep track of their learning. In the run-up to the D-day, the portal was particularly busy with activities including photo sessions with friends and teachers and preparations for the primary (big) school. They had updated it with a ‘learning journal’, which was basically a compressed version of the good times spent at his preschool. Going through the document did ruffle the emotions a little bit. It meant saying goodbye to a place where your child learned, grew, built relationships and enjoyed his time.

Parents were invited for the farewell ceremony with invitation reading “...Please bring your tissues. We know we will….” I was prepared to focus on the good bits and make it memorable. The kids were all seated in the centre with parents around them. They sang their favourite songs with actions as the parents clicked away zealously. Only the graduation hats and gowns were missing. My son greeted me with the widest smile and happily posed as he finished his songs. The children were given their folders with the everyday nursery paraphernalia: name cards, lunchtime cards, photos, etc. It is a treasure trove of another kind. And the day ended with thank you cards, big hugs and good-byes.

My son hadn’t been talking much about how he felt about leaving his nursery for good. He was aware of joining new school but perhaps didn’t know he would be leaving the old one. As we left the nursery one final time, I pressed him for more thoughts. I was rather stunned with his response as he said, “Mummy, I don’t think I need to go to my nursery anymore”. What more can I say son, I think you have got it!

I am hoping he settles into his new school with equal ease. The transition process for new kids has been designed to help them adapt well. After admissions to the primary school were confirmed, parents were invited to a meeting with the teachers and the support staff. My son was offered two ‘stay-and-play’ sessions, one with me around and the other with a buddy from Year 6 of the same school. During one of the sessions, my son’s teacher came over to comfort him as a familiar face from the nursery. This is a usual practice followed by most nurseries. Similarly, the new primary school teacher visited him at his nursery school to observe him at home grounds. They would also come for a home visit to allow him to familiarize himself to new faces. Other than that, my son has played pretend games at nursery, dressing up in his new school’s clothes. That sounds like a lot of effort to go into saying “hi big school”. But, I am hoping it proves to be worth it.

From his enthusiasm and current understanding of the situation, I am hopeful he will settle in quickly. After all, nothing beats the feeling of seeing your child come out happy from school.

No comments:

Post a Comment