Do you remember a time when your biggest worry was what lesson was looming over the timetable horizon next – and what delicious dish was coming up for school lunch? Well, perhaps the last one never happened (my memories are mainly of mince and mashed potato, followed by semolina, or some rather nasty pink custard and sponge cake). Those worries colour your whole world, however big or small you are – and worries were on overdrive before the end of the holidays Chez RLC. Our youngest was leaving the warm embrace of infant school, for the austere corridors of junior school…and the last few weeks saw much lamenting about the merits of infants v juniors, and dark predictions about the unknown horrors that would lie in wait for him there (not least of which was hand dryers in the toilets – oh yes).
But now he’s had the chance to settle in, I decided to ask for a more rounded view of the differences – and to involve his big brother, too, who made the same leap some three years ago back, and who now carries a far more jaded, experienced and world-weary view of these matters. So this week, journey with me back to a simpler time of life, because it’s over to the boys (here designated as Year 6 and Year 3) to write the blog post, along with Editor’s Notes from me.
1: It’s Serious
Y6: When you start at infant school, it’s all just playing. We didn’t really learn anything <<err, I think you did: it was just cleverly disguised. No, you really did>>. Now it’s just learning all the time and you can’t do much joking around with your friends. <<Good!>> There’s quite a strict system about going to the toilet in lessons as well, so people can’t hang around in there for ages and not go back to class. <<I should think so too>>
Y3: It was nice having the same two teachers all the time at my old school, but I love that I have lots of different lessons now with new teachers. I really miss the people I was in a class with at my old school, but I can see some of them at playtime, so that’s good. To begin with I sat on my own a bit at lunchtime, but I’m playing with more people now. <<oh…sniff>>
Y6: This bit’s brilliant – it’s like Harry Potter. We’re all in different houses and you can earn points for your house if you do something well. Luckily you don’t lose points for being naughty, like they do in Harry Potter. Ours houses are all of famous people who did amazing things – David Attenborough, William Shakespeare, Jean Valentine and Emmeline Pankhurst. <<Just so you know, Y6, Harry Potter doesn’t have the monopoly on houses. Malory Towers ran a highly effective house system too, and I do think your school should consider point-docking for really irritating offences, like leaving your water bottle at school.>>
Y3: I’m really glad I’m in Shakespeare! <<Good boy>>
3: Crime and Punishment – and Praise
Y6: ugh. This is a big difference. You can get in a lot more trouble at junior school. I haven’t really – but I’ve seen it <<Readers, his face darkened and eyes looked far into the distance at this point – I tensed for the horrors about to unfold…>>. You have five minutes’ time out, or you have to miss Feel Good Friday – and one time someone even had to go and see the head teacher. <<ah I see – phew. I mean, excellent and quite right.>>.
Y3: yes, at infant school if you got in trouble, your name tag got moved from Green Face to Amber Face, and if you were naughty again, to Red Face. Then you had to go outside for a bit. Here it’s a bit different and your name moves if you’ve done well at something – if you’ve shown one of school values. I’m only just getting used to it when the teacher says my name needs to move!
Y6: Yes, it’s not good if you’ve done something wrong, but it’s really good when you’ve done well. Feel Good Fridays are awesome – you get a special treat, like popcorn or a bit of iPad time, maybe even a film – that’s very rarely though. And if you’ve done something outstanding, you get to go to The Tea Party and eat cakes with the head teacher and governors, instead of being in class. It’s brilliant. <<wow, I think I might start a similar reward system for RLC Words…tea and cakes for myself on a Friday sounds like a great idea…>>
So Infants v Juniors – which is best?
Y6: In juniors, you have to do more learning and sitting still, but you do get some great fun stuff that we were too young for before. In infants, you get fun stuff for longer, and less learning. <<no really, you were learning – you were!>> I think overall I like juniors best, even though it’s harder work. They are both great, really.
Y3: I miss infants. It was my first school and I was really sad to leave it. But I think I had learned everything. I had definitely played with most of the toys. So it was probably time to go.
So there we have it – and I think that last thought sums up our rites of passage through life quite neatly. Perhaps in the next life, we get to do it all in reverse – now wouldn’t that be nice?