Sunday 30 August 2015

That first day at school....again

That first day at school. I've been there a good few times now, and you would think it would all be old hat. After 17 years of taking my little one to school that first day in September, you'd think I'd be able to saunter in there and casually drop off my child with a flippant wave and a quick 'hiya' to the teacher. Actually I'm way too soft for that. Nope, I'll be the one who won't look you in the eye and is desperately hopeful no-one tries to sympathise with me. I'll be the who sheds a little tear on the way home (I've always managed to hold it in until they're in the door at least) and frankly I won't even be able to adequately explain why.

Watching your child walk away from you in clothes that you are hoping still fit next July. Staring as they wrangle a giant bag which contains an Adventure Time pencil case and 43 smelly erasers, but by 3.30pm might contain anything from 16 x pictures of 'an alien blowing up the Earth' through to 14kg of text books 'I have to pay a deposit on and return at the end of the year, don't forget to remind me'.

In their 'room to grow' clothes and bag they look so tiny. They don't seem old enough and you worry about how they'll cope. Will they be bold enough to ask to go to the loo? Will their shoes rub? Will they ever have to deal with big bad bullies who say mean things and swear? How will they cope without me? Will they make nice friends who'll look after them?

The answer of course is that for the most part they'll be fine. Our youngest started full time school last September, but he moves over to the big building this year and that will be far more grown up and work based than last year, and he especially will find that hard. So I worry. Somewhat bizzarely now we only have 3 children left at school - our 4th eldest left last July and will be starting at college. So I worry.

Our children have for the most part liked school, and done well academically and socially, so sending them off to school or college should be easy, but it still isn't. No matter how old they are, they're still your little people, they're still your charge, your responsibility, and handing them over to someone else out of your sight can be really hard.

Hard as it is to let go, for the most part we do, because we know that education is absolutely vital. Being able to communicate via the written word is what separates us from the animals. It is how we pass on all of the information gathered over the last 5000 years, so that each new human doesn't have to start from the beginning. Spending time learning from experts with their peers is usually the best way to achieve the knowledge that will underpin the rest of our children's lives - whatever they choose to do.

Around the world 58 million children don't have access to basic education, and another 130 million will reach year 5 without achieving the basic reading, writing, maths and social skills necessary to achieve their potential.

UNICEF have teamed up with Persil to launch the 'Learning For Tomorrow' initiative. Funded initially by a €1.4m donation from Persil and Unilever, it aims to provide education opportunities for 10 million children in Brazil, India and Vietnam. They've asked parents around the world to share their experience of their child's day at school...

Persil also want YOU to share your experience of school for a chance to win a prize. To celebrate the Learning For Tomorrow initiative with Unicef, Persil are running a Photo-A-Week challenge. Each week for 4 weeks, Persil will announce a school theme on their Instagram page and ask you to upload your photo to Instagram - tagging @PersilUK and using that week's competition hashtag.  

All of our children have loved learning and I'm very grateful that we live in a country where education is not only excellent quality, it is free to all. This is my first year out of 3 where I don't have a child starting school for the first time. This year I won't cry at all.....probably....

This post is in collaboration with Persil & Tots100 and I was paid for the time it took me to write this post. All words and children my own.


  1. I think we'll all still sob when we send them back next week! Every time we send them back they're a year old and a year closer to independence. You are of course right though, their education is priceless and we are extremely lucky to be able to take them to school in the first place x

    1. We are - however much we moan about it, it's definitely something to be grateful for! :)

  2. Aww bless. I hope they have a great time. Big hugs and love all the pictures x

    1. Thanks Susan - hope your lads are having a good time at school already - we have just a couple of days left :) x


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