Dear COVID, please stop ruining my child's first weeks at school

Thursday, 24th September 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th September 2020, 3:57 pm

This month saw the waiting end and the big day arrive for our household – little one’s first day at school.

It certainly felt like a parental rite of passage as we got her ready into her school uniform for the first time and I think we were as excited as she was.

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Some parents speak of having problems with children on the first day for a number of reasons, often with the child feeling understandably nervous or apprehensive.

This wasn’t the case with our child, she couldn’t wait to get going.

The only issue was over wearing – or rather not wearing – a coat.

Eventually we compromised and put the coat in her bag as telling her the school says she has to have a coat with her each day just in case of a turn in the weather, was falling on deaf ears.

Of course, before she and her mummy left to make the short walk to school, there was the obligatory first day at school photo to then be shared with everyone on Facebook, her picture no doubt joining thousands of others across social media all starting out on the same journey.

Doubtless, same as us also, these pictures then winged their way electronically off to grandparents with hard copies to follow to go on the wall, on the mantelpiece or on the fridge.

And the first week, which was mornings only, went swimmingly, she settled in perfectly and came back each lunch time excitedly telling us about the new friends she’d made.

In fact the only drama came after she’d finished on the first day and gone to play with her friends on the park on the way home.

In her haste to get on to some climbing apparatus, she didn’t look where she was going, tripped over herown feet and smacked her head on the said piece of play equipment.

John Smith juggles multimedia duties with JPI Media with being a modern father-of-one

Thankfully, there was no concussion and no broken bones.

What there was instead was a beauty of a black eye, which no amount of time spent pressing on a pack of frozen peas was going to prevent from being noticed.

Going to school on the second day with a shiner wasn’t exactly what we had in mind.

Nor was having to explain to the teachers that it was nothing more sinister than a classic childhood playground bump.

I had warned the teachers of this when we went for a meeting with them prior to the first day and told them that my daughter is the one in the class who will always go for danger level ten in outdoor activities.

Still, week one went smoothly, same story (minus the black eye) for week two and we were thrilled that this was all going so well.

And then came week three and – nothing.

No school because COVID had reared its ugly head again.

A staff member had tested positive and everyone in my daughter’s bubble told to stay at home for two weeks.

We were quickly sent some excellent online material by her teachers for homeschooling, but this led to a screaming fit as she wanted to be the teacher, not mummy.

It does make you appreciate just how skilled teachers are.

It also makes you see that home is not the best place for learning.

Schools are designed for the purpose of learning, there is a kind of unique atmosphere about them that puts you in the frame of mind for learning that you can’t get at home.

And more to the point, she is really enjoying school and that is priceless.

I hope that when she gets back, it will be for good this time.