Monday is the day that everything changes. I can no longer change daycare/preschool days around to suit my university schedule, or drop Hannah off at 7am if I need to in order to make it to an exam by ridiculous o’clock in the morning. The option of leaving Hannah at preschool until 5 to maximise my kid free time to finish all of my chores and writing and gardening will no longer be available.
On Monday, Hannah starts school. Not school as such, only prep, but prep is at the school, she still has to wear the uniform, and the days and hours are set and can’t be changed. So it’s pretty much school. It’s totally school in her eyes. She’s been raving about it for months. She’s even overly excited to wear her gender non-specific, way-too-big-for-her uniform that cost an arm and a leg.
If you’re scratching your head right now wondering what prep is, it’s pretty much a step up from preschool, but not quite kindergarten. They get used to being at the school, and is either 2 or 3 days per week (we chose 3 to make the transition to 5 full days next year a bit easier. There is no am or pm for kindergarten over here, it’s just BAM, 5 full school days straight away).
Only private schools (around here at least) have prep, and if your kid doesn’t go to prep at the school, it’s really hard to get into kindergarten as they only reserve a couple of places in kindy for kids that didn’t go to prep. If your kid does go to prep, he/she is guaranteed a place in kindy. Since the local primary school near us is ranked one of the worst in the whole state, and I don’t particularly want Hannah swearing and smoking in the bathroom when she’s 8 (as I’ve heard lots of kids around here do), she’s going to private school.
One of the worst things when I went to school was changing from elementary/primary school to middle school. The middle school was fed from 4 different elementary schools, and none of my friends were in any of my classes. I had to make new ones, which was hard when a lot of other people in my classes managed to get into classes with friends they already had.
After I finally made some good friends in middle school, we had to move to high school, which was the only high school in the town and fed by 2 different middle schools. There were 3 different lunch times. For the first couple years, I was lucky, I had classes with friends, and lunch with some of them too. But then the last year came, and maybe the year before that too, I can’t remember, and my lunch break didn’t correspond to any of my friends’ lunch breaks. I was all by myself. I had to find people to sit with or face looking like a total loser in front of 1/3 of the school. That year (half a year really since I came here the second half of the year) was really hard. I spent lots of lunch time skipping the eating part and going to the library just so I didn’t have to sit by myself somewhere. Eventually I found a table full of other people like me who didn’t have friends at that lunch time and we all sat together. But when everyone was finished with their lunch, they all dispersed and I again went to the library.
I don’t want Hannah to have to worry about stuff like that. I don’t want her to be forced into making a whole new group of friends twice during her schooling. Her school is from prep to year 12, so I’m extremely happy that she won’t have to. Unless we move at some point. Then I’d feel awful for her, but it we did ever move during her schooling, it would probably be to a small country town where the school kids would be happy to have someone else to play with.
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Copyright 2014 Sheri Thomson