World schools for little humans

I am in shock tonight. From my Facebook feed I just realised that for many of my childhood friends who I have met through the years in my country of origin before moving to the UK, it’s their kids first day at primary school this September… Because I chose to come to live my life in England before starting our family, my son who is their children same age (6), has instead just started year 2 a few days ago: he reads 4 books at a time, write stories, sometimes teaches me some physic or geographic notions and solves long rod equations…

I know what emotions my friends are talking about these days, I lived them 2 years ago when I left my son in his brand new reception class, aged 4 and wearing his very first uniform instead of our grembiulino (typical Italian school wear)… And in a few years time he will be anxious about his GCSEs and his A Levels instead of fearing the scary Baccalauréat (very strict French equivalent of A Levels)…

I wonder tonight what it would be of our lives if my husband and I had not started this adventure 12 years ago? What would it be of our little man today if we had not made of him a little Brit whose favourite food is home made pizza and favourite movie character is Monsieur Hulot? His prospectives and habits would be very different and our experience as parents would be very different too…

And now that Brexit is happening, when he will grow up what will he feel he is deep down in his heart, Italian, French or British?

I hope that with his unique experience of an Italian father, a half French mother and being raised in London, within such an open and multiethnic environment, one day he will simply reply ‘just a human being, as we all have the same needs despite cultural and social diversities…’

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The end of an era

When your youngest child stops going to the nursery which the older siblings attended too before them, because he/she starts to move on to the next school level, it feels like the end of an era. You know the whole staff names by heart, you remember how each Xmas show went every year, you recall when that class room was painted in green and now those walls are orange… You are so used to the journey from home to the nursery, you cannot imagine you will never do it again (unless you have another baby in the meanwhile!).

It was a difficult choice for us to make, we absolutely loved our kids first nursery and will never stop recommending it. However we feel that our youngest is ready to move to bigger spaces in a preschool nursery for kids from 3 to 5 years old as her older brother did at the same age. And the fact that we are now offered 30 hours a week for free (9am-3pm Monday to Friday) with only lunches and after school clubs to pay the days we are working until 6pm, is also another main reasons that lead us to give our notice to our previous nursery. Not only she will have teaching staff who is more specialized in her age group, with amazing indoor and outdoor spaces and activities; for us it will also feel like we had an increase of salary without actually having to ask for one… When you combine budgeting factor with thriving conditions, the answer becomes quickly quite clear.

 

Dear nursery manager,

It is with great regret that I am giving our 8 weeks notice to remove my daughter from your nursery.

My husband and I want her to follow her brother’s step and have a year at a preschool nursery before she will start reception in Sept 2018.
It was a very difficult decision to take, our children had the best years of their toddlerhood at your safe, loving and stimulating nursery.
Their little personality will have been shaped for ever by the input of the Montessori method and the great care of your staff as a whole.

We wish all the best to the school, the teachers and the kids and we never know, you may have a third little infant of ours attending in the future or maybe not, we will see!

Kind regards,
C.

Why boarding schools should be abolished

My son and I are currently reading together ‘The Midnight gang’ by David Walliams. I found the book in Tesco the other day for £5 only and since at the moment he is loving ‘The World’s worst children’ by the same author and I can see how this encourages him to read on his own if he wants to continue the story when I leave his bedroom at night, I had no hesitation to add it in my shopping basket even if at first I had had no intention to buy him a new book that day. The strawberries and bread I had purchased that day would make him stronger and taller but there is nothing like a good book to feed a soul!

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Goodbye and thank you card to the best childminder ever

Dear Jennifer,
There are no words to describe what you mean to my kids, especially my daughter!
I will try to summarize as best as it is possible: you are wise and sensitive, gentle but firm, practical but tender…
With you they were safe, happy and stimulated the whole time and there are so many things I would love to pick up from you or needed your advice on!
My daughter recently and my son 3 years ago could not have had a better start in their childcare experience, detaching from us to get close to you: their future experiences might really struggle to live up to their emotional and intellectual expectations!
It really went too quickly and I wish we did not have those practical reasons for them to start nursery after they had been under your care at a very young age.
I hope you will be happy to have them occasionally through the years (availability permitting) when they have a day off from school or during the summer holidays, as they would benefit so much from having you in their lives!
Wishing you all the best to you and your husband and the boys and do not hesitate to give my number for references, it will be my pleasure!
With love,
C.

Looking for alternative educational systems…

If you want some ideas here are a few:

Montessori in early education (our chosen children’s nursery between 1 and 3 years old is a Montessori one);

Steiner system (we have been considering this option if our son does not get into a primary school of our preference);

Bilingual schools (such as French, German or Italian, though I am not sure about the existence of other languages… Usually private so you need to consider if affordable for your household).

For once, I have just thrown some suggestions out there, I will let you study your options more into details by yourselves 😉

Returning to work after your maternity leave… or not?

It may seem yesterday that your tiny little baby entered your life changing it forever in all the amazing ways they do (and all the hard working, depressing and exhausting ways too, to be very honest 🙂 ). Therefore, the end of your maternity leave feels so far ahead you have not even considered your options. But as a matter of fact, even when you take the maximum time allowed in the UK (the entire year from when you stopped working, not from when your baby was born), it goes faster than you think and one day all of the sudden you may have 2 or 3 months left to decide what to do and inform your employer as well. It is a very important decision you are taking, that will strongly influence your child’s life and yours as well for the years to come.When you evaluate what is the best solution for your situation, there are a few factors to take into account. Here is a guide of what I personally experienced first and second time around (having a 3 years gap in between my two children).

Financial affordability.

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