Starting school is a BIG deal, and not just for school starters. If I am to be truly honest, I have to admit that I am finding this new transition far more difficult than Cammy. It’s not being right by her side that has me feeling anxious and a little sad.
I guess I am a bit of a helicopter parent. I have never been far away from Cammy. Always watching, guiding, helping, playing and, I’ll admit, often interfering. Now I can only hope that I have prepared her well as she spends a significant amount of her day without me. I hope that she treats people with acceptance and kindness. I hope that she participates with enthusiasm in all areas of school, eager to try and learn new things. I hope she shows confidence and common sense in new situations. I hope she handles conflict with respect. I hope that she lets her true colours be seen by those around her. Mostly, I hope she enjoys her time at school.
I really wanted to mark this new transition with a gift- a meaningful gift for Cammy and a gift of reassurance for me.
My children usually receive books for birthdays, milestones and special occasions, but giving a book to Cammy to mark her first day of school didn’t feel right this time. We’ve been reading lots of books about preparing for school. We’ve read about Mothball’s funny school adventures (Wombat Goes to School) and Sunita’s first day (Starting School). We’ve read how Jessica made a new friend (Jessica’s Box) and about the girl who had to help her mother through their First Day. We’ve also read about the girl with The Terrible Suitcase. Cammy didn’t need a story about another child’s experience of school. What she needs is a story about her own experiences.
Starting School Gift: A School Adventures Kit
I chose to create a School Adventures Kit for Cammy. My hope is that this gift will not only mark her first day of school but also capture her school journey. In the kit are:
- A suitcase
- A rag doll
- A journal (Titled My School Adventures)
- Two pens (One for Cammy and one for her rag doll)
About the School Adventures Kit
The School Adventures Kit really has a number of purposes.
- I chose a doll that I thought reflected Cammy; I was drawn to the princess tiara on this dolI. I hope that the doll, which I have named Amity (meaning friendship), will be a confidante for Cammy. Someone she can talk to at night about school once the lights go out; Someone who can give her the chance to formulate her thoughts and ideas before she is ready to talk about them with me.
- I often find that because school days are so busy children don’t even know what to begin telling their parents when they get home from school. Amity will act as a great catalyst for conversation between Cammy and myself because, until Cammy can write independently, I will help her record her school adventures. This helps me to stay in touch with Cammy. (I might even add some emotion stones or cards to the kit at some point to prompt thoughts for Cammy to share with Amity).
- The journal itself has a number of purposes. Its first purpose is simply as a diary to record significant school experiences and events. I’d love Cammy to keep this journal forever and read it as an adult, reflecting fondly on her school journey. (Once we have a Polaroid photo of Cammy in her school uniform, we will add it to the front page.)
- The second aim of the journal is to allow correspondence between Cammy and Amity. Cammy loves fairies and magical beings and I hope to keep that magic alive for as long as possible. I envisage Amity leaving words of encouragement and praise for Cammy on the eve of important school events.The first entry in the journal is a letter from Amity to Cammy.
- Finally, the journal provides Cammy with another avenue to write meaningfully.
Did you give a gift to your child on their first day of school?
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