Today I enrolled Little Miss in primary school for next September. Big school. And my heart skipped a beat. If I thought it was bad her starting Montessori, then I’m going to be a mess when she joins the líne with her little friends. Her school uniform perfectly straight and ironed in those first few weeks, socks pulled up to the knee, shoes polished and oversized bag on her back. A right of passage. Growing up.
My mum walked me to school in those first few years of primary school before my independence took over and I walked with friends. The school was a hop, skip and a jump away from our house, right around the corner. She would stand outside the gate waiting for me every day, rain, hail or shine. And always happy to see me and squeeze my hand as we walked home together.
You may remember, before we moved to the countryside, we lived in my home town, which started out as a village in the 80s and gradually became a mini city before we left for the quiet and solitude of living amongst the cows. I had wanted A to go to my old primary school because I loved it there and because I remembered so vividly those moments with my mum. But living there meant I wouldn’t have those moments, with commutes, mortgages and schedules, it would have been impossible for me to be the Momma Bear at the school gates of my old school.
When we were hunting for a house (a painful experience you might remember which I never want to go through again), I wondered what type of school life Little Miss would have. The more we looked, the further into fields and emptiness our choice of house became – an annoyance I’d soon come to get frustrated with as couriers and even the local movers struggled to find our house. Then again my directions were poor but it is the countryside so it’s ok to point out landmarks like “pass the small graveyard, drive for a minute or two and you’ll see a house with a church door. Take the left avoiding the bump in the road.” I may as well tell them to count the trees in the fields and the pot holes in the road. But I digress!
When we found our forever home it had one of the biggest advantages I hadn’t realised until now – a country school a short walk away (or 30 second drive on my lazy days). Every morning I see a mum walk her little one down our country road to the local school. Despite country roads being a lot more dangerous she does it and so will I. High vis vests at the ready, I will be the Mom at the school gates.
Even though she was two when we moved here, Little Miss was and still is very much a city kid. She’s more streetwise than I ever was at four. She’s more knowledgeable and defiant. She’s strong and her attitude can be fierce when she wants it to be. She’s a kid who would stand out amongst the thirty other students in my old class.
Her soon-to-be new school is tiny. A true country school with a long history and a classroom extension which everyone still talks about fifteen years later. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone is involved.
There is no where to hide for our city kid. Less than 90 students are enrolled in the whole school, making possibly fifteen kids in her class. I came from a school where teachers pretty much only knew the name of their own students and there was a whopping 30 in each and every class. There may very well be more kids in A’s Montessori at the moment in comparison to her new school. It’ll be a culture shock for her but she’ll manage.
Probably better than I will since I’m sure I’ll be on first name basis with the other parents in a matter of days which is somewhat daunting for a social recluse such as I am. Like I said, we don’t live far away so there is no where for me to hide either. But isn’t Knowing your neighbours a benefit of country living? I hope so because two years in and I barely know anyone yet!
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