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First Day at School

Earlier this month, for the first time I really felt like a parent.

This might seem like a slightly odd confession given that I have two children; but bear with me and all will become clear :)

My eldest is now 3 and this month started doing half-days at a local nursery school. As part of the "settling in process", on the first day, you take your child into the class and spend the session sitting on the sidelines; on the second day, you take your child into class, but then you leave them there and go and sit in the staff room; then, finally on the third day, you take them in and are allowed to leave the building.

At Perform, I'm obviously used to seeing it from the teacher's point of view. I've been running sessions for over ten years so it's second nature to reassuring anxious parents (and of course children). We bring the children into the session then encourage the parents to go off and grab a little time for themselves.

So it felt really strange being on the other side - seeing things for the first time from a parent's point of view.

Fortunately my son is pretty confident and independent; he needed little encouragement to go and get stuck in and absolutely loved it.

I, on the other hand, felt a little out of my comfort zone. I was the parent not the teacher - which was always going to feel a little strange so I guess I sort of expected that. But I didn't expect to feel nervous around the other parents!

I felt a little like I did on my first day at University - nervous of my peers! It seems odd to admit it - after all I'm around parents all the time. But this was a little different. Being around parents in a professional capacity is what I do most days. But I wasn't there as "Lucy from Perform" - I was" Lucy the Mum". I found myself worrying - will they like me? Do I look ok? Perhaps I should have dressed a little smarter / more casual / a little more 'on trend'? Yes I know I was being ridiculous; and of course the other parents were all absolutely lovely and not at all scary once we got chatting.

What did I learn? Well it's given me real insight into how parents feel when they drop their children off at Perform. It's really easy for us teachers to be blas�. We're confident that the children will have a really good time and of course we've seen it all before with hundreds of other children. But it's natural for parents to worry.

That said, children really do pick up on the emotions of their parents. When it comes to first days at school or after-school activities, if you're nervous or worried, your children probably will pick up on it. So if you believe that they'll have a great time, they're more likely to; and if all else fails bring out your very best game face :)

Do let me know about your first day at school experiences via the comments :)

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    From Lucy Quick
    Angelica I'm so sorry to hear that!

    Have you tried talking to the school? It doesn't sound like they handled things very well.

    I understand your feelings completely - I'd be reallly upset if that had happened to my child; but it's really not your fault.

    Hopefully once you've spoken to the school you'll feel a bit better about things; but if you're unhappy with the school's response then it might be worth seeing if there are other schools in the area which you might be able to try.

    Best of luck and try not to be so hard on yourself.

    Lucy x
    From Angelica Krivokapic
    Hello Lucy,
    While you seem to have sailed through the first day at school, mine was a d i s a s t e r!
    I went there with my son who had a cold and had no worries about leaving him in their care. Two and a half hours later I returned to collect him and he was lined up to be collected, with a look of a startled Bambi on his face, red cheeks, bewildered, sweaty and generally looking worried.
    The handover of children was very speedy, no time to talk to the staff, the one who handed him over to me just quickly mumbled that he had an accident and she had no spare clothes to change him - I tried to remind her that he had it all in his bag, as we previously agreed with the nursery staff, and she said that she asked my son about it and that he said that he had no spare clothes in his bag!? That was it, next one, please! I had a good look at my son's face and realised that it was all crusty on the cheeks from dried up contents from his nose! It transpired that his 'accident' was a huge spillage of milk offered at snack time, which was now covering both sides of his trousers. Silly me, I actually thought that he wet himself.
    After that we had to hurry home in order for me to hide in the bathroom and cry feeling helpless and useless... Three days later I still feel the same - hope no other parent feels like me.
    From Lucy Quick
    Wow - it certainly sounds like we are leading parallel lives!

    Great to hear that both you and your son are getting on so well!
    From Louise
    Hi Lucy, i'm loving your Blog and it seems we lead parallel lives! Having been a perfomer/teacher i too had my experience last week of my eldest 3 year old son going to pre-school, i felt the same as you! so used to being on stage or up front teaching it felt very wierd hanging around with a new bunch of people and more experienced mum's on the small talk mum's thing i just seemed to talk rubbish at 9am!! After feeling so uncomfortable the first few days i thought sod it! I am a performer i'm outgoing and that's the way i will be - dress how i have always dressed even though i still wear leg warmers and funky hats, i will crack corny jokes to get a laugh and be myself, i'm actually really enjoying the second week and it's my son who had his first week at school he was more confident than me!
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