Off to ‘big’ school

Regular readers, and especially those who follow me on Twitter will know that Leo started his new ‘big school’ last week. It was something I was very nervous about, right from the start when I enrolled him back in January not having a clue what I was doing.

We had put him in Nursery back in June as in addition to my nerves about sending him to an all Greek school, I was worried about sending him somewhere on his own for the first time  around the time I was due to give birth, I thought this might be a bit much for him to cope with at once/ Although in some respects we achieved our aim – get him used to the idea of school five days a week, it can’t really be classed as a resounding success.

At first in his ‘baby school’ as we now call it, as expected there were tears but after just a couple of days he went in reasonably happy as long as I did everything in the same way each day (get him out the car, put his bag on his back, hold hands and then choose a coloured peg for his bag before delivering him to his teacher then making a run for it!) But each day as I collected him he charged at me with tears in his eyes and when asked what he had done he only ever replied ‘waited for you Mummy’    He never played or did anything as far as we can tell.

In August the school closed for a week over the big Cypriot bank holiday and afterwards he was even more reluctant to go, this then got worse when he was taken by my parents while I was in hospital having Loukas. In the end he was screaming and crying and had to be carried away by his teacher whilst shouting ‘I hate my school, I want to stay at home’

We took him out because of this a week before he was starting ‘big school’ I was dreading the start and really hoped he would get on ok there. I expected more tears certainly at first but was optimistic about it as it is a proper school – the last one wasn’t very structured and Leo was one of the oldest there. He used to say the babies cried a lot!

Tuesday was his first day, and Aaron and I took him together, there were lots of tears from him and in the end we had to leave him with a kiss and run – by the time we got outside though we could hear that he had stopped and Aaron heard his teacher say ‘Bravo Leo’  I had to collect him at 11am and he came out happy as anything, telling me he had played with bricks and ‘made all sorts of things’  and played outside on the toys, he showed me the playground and I smiled when I saw there was a train there!

Thursday was the only day where he went in with no tears but most importantly he was happy every day when I picked him up. He likes his teacher and each day has come home with some ‘work’ he has done during the morning.   I can’t tell you how relived I am!

This school is a government school and is classed as a Pre-primary, children can attend from 3 years (on the 1st September of the year of enrolment) but it is compulsory to attend from 4 years 8 months until 5 years 8 months (on 1st September) when they will move up to Primary. We could have kept Leo back until next year but I really feel that will hold him back with his Greek considering all of his friends have been in nursery for over a year and have picked up the language well.

My next mission is to help him improve his Greek, his teacher has told me twice this week he needs to learn it so he can communicate with the other children, he does seem to be a fast learner so hopefully he will get there soon!