In a couple of weeks, our kiddies will be heading back to school. The uniform has been bought. The kids are bored. The parents are at their wits’ end. O is about to go into Reception at his new ‘big’ school rather than the private pre-school he has been attending since he was 8 months old. But his new ‘big’ school has stated that the Reception class will be attending for the first week between 9am and 12pm, and the second week between 12pm and 3.15pm. Cue: Full Time Working Parents Vs Part-Time School.
I am, quite frankly, at a loss as to why it is necessary to halve the school days for the first two weeks of term. I can imagine the counter-argument now… At 4 years old, I know that they’re only young. Heck, O only celebrated his 4th birthday a couple of weeks ago so I ‘get’ that! But surely the majority of children have attended some sort of pre-school for the last year or so, generally on half days. Like O, some children have been in nursery for up to 40+ hours a week whilst his parents went out to work.
I’m already having sleepless nights about having to arrange childcare for all the school holidays. I have worked for the same company for almost 10 years and so I’m entitled to receive the maximum allowance of 6 weeks annual leave a year. My husband also works full time and receives a similar amount of annual leave per year. Still, 12 weeks, doesn’t quite cover the entire years’ school holidays and inset days – especially if we actually want to spend time as a family in that 12 months!
Kids need time to adjust. I get that. They need time to process the changes. It’s a big deal! But I’m of the view that by introducing them to half days, then changing to opposite half days, then changing to full days, leads to more confusion which is just unnecessary. Breaking them into full-time from the beginning makes much more sense to me. Maybe the kids would be feeling a little more tired than usual for the first couple of weeks, but isn’t that normal for any kid going back to school? I sure remember feeling like that!
The first two weeks of O’s first school term will see his teachers meet our entire family (almost). My Mother-in-Law, Father-in-Law, Step-Dad, Sister-in-Law and both his Dad and I will be dropping him off and picking him up on various days throughout those two weeks. Talk about confusing! That’s 6 different people in a variety of ways over 10 days. We’re lucky, I suppose, that we have family that work shifts or flexibly and are able to help a little – I imagine those without would need a pretty awesome child-minder!
How does/did your School handle the first term of the Reception year for your kids? How did you handle the childcare? Are you a full-time working parent struggling with childcare?