This week has been mostly about breaking up fights between two children who are basically sick of each other’s constant company, and wondering whether I’ve remembered everything for the first day of school, next week.
It’s a bit more of a challenge this year than normal, because we have a new school start – the graduation from the tender embrace of infant school, to the new burden of expectations from junior school. And things have changed a bit since I made the move, 33 years ago.
The Name Tags
Everything – EVERYTHING – has to be named, of course. I recall my mum sitting, night after night, with her sewing box, the piles of clothes that made up my uniform, and a stack of Cash’s Name Tapes to be stitched in to everything (including the socks). Thanks, Mum – I am so grateful you did it, and so grateful that I don’t have to!
This year, I invested in Stikins – marvellous little name stickers that fit onto the care label of any garment, as well as shoes, bottles, snack pots, PE bags, and everything else that needs branding in case of loss or theft – so I have been merrily attaching these extraordinarily tenacious little chaps to everything. One of the biggest time savers EVER.
(They deliver fast, and will donate a percentage of your spend to your school, if it’s registered with them – find them here)
The online lunch system
We’ve worked a paper-based system at the infant school, where we plan six weeks of meal choices using tick boxes and forms to be filled out for each week with name and class at the top. And, delightfully, all paid for by the government (thank you, Nick Clegg!). Those days are gone (for one of our children, at least).
Now, I log on to a clever system called ParentPay, and select however many hot meals I would like Ben to enjoy at school. We talked through the options together (wholemeal pizza yes, Quorn hotpot no) and booked in school dinners until October half term. Followed by a not insignificant whack to the credit card; but no more carrying the lunch money to school, with all its traditional risks and pitfalls.
Always asking “What did you do at school today?” There’s an app for that…
This is a thing of great wonder to me. I am fortunate to have a fairly chatty child, who can often be quite forthcoming about his day and its happenings; but sometimes it’s like getting blood from a stone, and I know this is not uncommon! So to discover that there is an app, which teachers use to tell you directly what their class has been learning about that day, is just the most miraculous news. So I’ve downloaded that too this week, in eager anticipation of my special parent code being handed out to me next week!
So, I think this very modern school preparation is almost complete. We just have the good old-fashioned New School Nerves to deal with now – for both of us!