Before I had children, it was so cliché when parents came out with, “it feels like only yesterday…” blah blah blah. Yeah, right! But it’s so true. Joshua is turning five years old next weekend and I can’t believe my baby has grown up this quickly. In some ways, it 100% feels like five years, in fact there are days where it feels like I’ve been a parent my whole life. But I like to think it’s mostly because I can’t picture my life without him now… but he does drive me up the wall… so it’s probably the latter.
With Joshua turning five years old, he is also starting ‘big boy’ school just a few days later. Four days to be exact. I have four days of my baby being five years old before he heads off to Primary School.
In a lot of ways, Joshua is so ready for school – he’s intelligent and he thrives whenever he’s in position to learn something new. He already knows simple mathematics such as division, addition and has such a creative and problem-solving mind. I just know that school will be the making of him and allow him to flourish.
However, it often seems that in many more ways, he will struggle at school. Luckily, he’s been in a preschool setting for two years, so he has gotten used to some type of school routine. But going through Joshua’s induction week made us realise just how much he struggles with the ‘simpler’ stuff.
Ever since Joshua was little, he has never liked anyone other than me and Jamie telling him off. He just can’t cope with it. But it has now developed in such a way where Joshua cannot understand if/when someone is asking him to do something (nicely!) or telling him off. For example, on one of his induction days his new teacher asked him to follow me to collect his belongings at the end of the day. Joshua completely broke down in tears because he thought she was telling him that he had done something wrong, that him playing was wrong. He tried explaining to me that all he wanted to do was play in the kitchen area, but it took me cuddling him for a few minutes and explaining what she actually meant before he calmed down. After he understood, he was fine again. So, I worry that during the day his teacher, who will obviously, be disciplining the children in appropriate ways as well as asking them (nicely!) to do certain things – whether it’s to stop playing and sit down for a story or that it’s lunch time now and to queue up – will end up upsetting him without meaning to. Joshua has always been such a sweet and sensitive boy, who crumbles at the slightest upset, and I cannot bare the idea of him spending even a moment upset without me there to explain to him what they actually meant.
Speech and Communicating Better
What also makes his lack of understanding worse is his speech problem. Joshua is currently having speech therapy, which should continue into Primary School, and has been assessed to having the speech skills of a two year old. This is clearly going to be one of my main concerns, because in school he needs to be able to talk effectively to other children and his teacher. To be honest, I don’t worry too much about him with other children as they always seem to understand each other in some way but adults struggle so much more. Joshua is aware that people don’t understand him which has knocked his confidence, so what I don’t want is him to be easily forgotten or feel left out because he isn’t able to take part as well as others. Because he has low confidence in himself with talking, he will never offer out his voice or opinion – which is heart-breaking when you know he wants to get involved.
What I’m hoping is that as well as having speech therapy, that mixing with children for six hours, five days a week will help him enormously.
Joshua also doesn’t have initiative in certain tasks, which he will need at school for various things during the day. The main one for me is Joshua knowing how to queue for lunch time. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? What five year old kid doesn’t know how to queue? Well, mine doesn’t. He will be guided to where to queue for lunch and that’s where they will leave him and that’s also where he will fall apart. He isn’t one for staying in line, as in if another kid came along behind him, he would let them go ahead of him. Which means he could be queuing for such a long time. As I had the opportunity to have lunch with him for one of his induction days and knowing how it operates, I know it won’t suit Joshua at all. He will have to queue up, be able to communicate that he is having either a hot dinner or packed lunch that they have provided him with and then get into another separate queue for that. Joshua will then have to point out which items he would like. Without someone else there to guide him, to help him communicate what he wants and explain what every item is, he won’t know what to do.
We had planned on Joshua having one of their prepared meals each day, however I feel that, at least for a while, a packed lunch from home is the only way to ensure he doesn’t feel lost, upset or unable to communicate what he wants.
All in all, I’m hopeful that Primary School will be the making of him and allow him to develop all these skills, to allow him to flourish in every way possible. I’m sure that this time next year, I’ll be wondering what I was worrying about all this time. But for now, it sucks.
Did you have any worries with your child starting school? How did you tackle them?