Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First day at new nursery

Oliver ready to head off to nursery (once he puts his drink down).

Today Oliver started at his new nursery. We decided to change after a year at his previous nursery for a couple of reasons. Firstly it would give him a new environment and he wouldn't have to repeat the year he's just finished (enjoyable as it might have been). Secondly, this nursery always gets fantastic reviews from every parent we speak to as well as from Ofsted.

This morning's first "settling in" session was 2 hours long and a parent was obliged to stay. As Hayley was going to have Lucy plus two chilminding kids on her hands at the time he was to start, I jumped at the chance to go along with him.

He has been very upbeat about starting this new chapter and so we haven't made too big a deal of it. He will know a few children there but none of them very close friends with whom he often has playdates. But none of that seemed to bother him last night when I told him I was coming with him. He simply relpied, "But I'm a big boy Daddy, you can drop me off."

We walked there, just the two of us, and on arrival met his friend Harry who attends the same swimming lessons. I also pointed out a couple of other familiar faces.

Once inside he met one of his two teachers, found his name and hung up his bag. Then after a few minutes playing with some astronaut characters, he asked to go outside. He knows this place because he used to go there with Hayley as it ran a child-minder drop-in last year. So he was well aware that outside it has a good sized garden into which they have built some mini-roads along which a variety of trikes and scooters are available to ride.

He played outside for a good hour, giving another boy a ride on one of the trikes with a rear seat and also playing on the climbing frame. There he also met his other teacher (who turned out to be the wife of a former colleague of mine).

I was given forms to fill in (so late in the session due to the number of people attending this morning that I had to take them away to bring back tomorrow) and Oliver sat down with his group for snack time. As he had been all morning, he remained chatty. To my surprise he chose milk as his drink rather than water (something he rarely does at home, so rarely in fact that I don't usually bother offering him milk any more) and also had a segment of orange (which didn't surprise me as he enjoyed that in Spain).

Another teacher, whom Oliver knows from his previous visits, also made a point of seeking him out, which was nice. (She also asked about the wedding which was thoughtful of her.)

After snack time there was time for him to play a little longer. He made a small drawing and stuck sellotape to it, taking it to show his teacher as we left. Both teachers and several parents commented on how he wasn't having any problems settling in, but for all the loud and excited fun he had today, I'm very aware that he knew I was around, even though I was mostly just chatting to other parents.

This evening he told Hayley he wanted to go back to his old nursery, which is understandable as his friends are there. He also told me that he wanted me to stay tomorrow when he goes again, which could be awkward as I haven't booked time off. In theory I can't afford to stay more than about 15 minutes, but if he's upset I will stay on as long as needed, as work are usually pretty understanding, not to mention I'll more than make up the hours and would be no use to my company worrying about my son. (At the end of the day I work to look after my family so it's a "no brainer", to use an expression they'd understand.)

Encouragingly though, at the park this afternoon he met the boy who sat next to him at snack-time this morning and then, despite not having even spoken to him this morning, played with him for the rest of the time in the park.

I hope and and am quietly optimistic that Oliver will settle into what seems a very good environment for him. He will be one of the oldest boys in his year when he goes to school, but despite that I think this extra year will be good for him. And just as importantly, I think he will enjoy it.