The first of many judgements.
As you may know if you are a reader of my blog, Pops is in reception. A few weeks ago we had our first official parents’ evening. I say official because we had one in October but that was more to discuss settling in. Luckily we were told she had and appeared to be enjoying her time at school.
So far she is loving going to school. Of course she has the odd day where we get a longing plea not to go to. But we’ve never had trouble getting her to go. My heart would go out to the mothers whose children were glued to their leg at the school door.
What is clever?
This parents’ evening, the focus was more on academics and how they are doing. During my daughter’s life we’ve regularly had comments that she is really clever. I never really know how to take comments like that. We all say it to children. They do something and we say ‘aren’t you a clever boy’. They use a random word that is more than a couple of syllables and again they are ‘clever’. I do actually think she is learning at a pace I can’t keep up with. She is so switched on to the world around her. I hate to label children by ability but I don’t want to ignore her need for learning. She asks us to ‘do sums’ with her, to read with her and if she can write things such as birthday cards.
I find it hard not to compare her to others. They are individuals after all. However I think it’s important to take an interest in how she is getting on at school. If she isn’t getting on, I want to be able to help her. I know I’m at risk of being branded a pushy parent. Honestly, I don’t want to place too much emphasis on academic achievements but I fear if she falls behind then there could be a parallel to being unhappy at school. I really don’t want that for her. I want her to find school a happy place. A place to thrive. Maybe I’m overthinking it?
So when parents’ evening came up I was a bag of nerves. What would they say about our little girl? It feels a little odd that you invite someone who knows your child less than you to judge them. Or maybe, it feels strange because for the first time in their lives someone else is influencing how they develop and learn. Of course I would be over the moon if they told us she was excelling but mainly I wanted to know that she is settling into school life and interacting with everyone. I wanted to know that she is ok and plays with friends.
My daughter has bags of confidence. She will make a conversation with anyone. She will include everyone in her games and is in general a smiley, happy girl. However she is rather sensitive. If her kindness is not reciprocated she gets upset. If she doesn’t get to have things her own way she gets upset. So I did worry that that she would have trouble settling in at school.
On arrival we found that they were running late. So we waited half an hour to be seen. Which I half expected so it wasn’t an issue. Her teachers are lovely and friendly and she holds them in high regard. We were told that she is doing extremely well. That her writing skills already meet the requirements for the end of reception. We were told she is excelling in her reading skills and that she will thrive in year 1. This made us feel so very proud.
Then we were told that she hasn’t defined her set of friends yet, that she regularly plays with different people. At first this upset me. My main concern was that she would struggle to establish strong friendships. Was she lonely? I discussed it with my OH and he didn’t seem concerned, he said that it was a good thing that she didn’t need the security of a group. I spent the next few days mulling over what we were told. Worried that my little girl wasn’t settling in.
I needn’t have worried
The next week at school, everyone was asking about parents’ evening and how it went. I raised my concerns to some of the mums. It seems I shouldn’t have been worried. Most of them were told the same thing about their children and how they were making friends. It seems that actually my OH was right. Perhaps it is better that she is able to form relationships with many in her class and not just a few. I actually feel a bit daft for being worried. I just want her to be happy.
I need to share this too. I think I’ve mastered how to get a snippet of information out of her after school too. I used to get ‘I can’t remember’. I ask her to tell me the funniest thing that happened in her day. Sometimes it may be something daft pertaining in no way to activities at school but sometimes it gives me insight into her day. Most of all I hope she knows I find what she has to say is important.