E+E Column: Without so much as a backwards glance…

(I’m a little behind with posting these on the blog so there might be a few this week so I can catch up! This was in the paper a few weeks ago)

Today was Isaac’s first day at nursery. This morning as I hurried to get him, the baby and myself dressed, cleaned, fed and out the door by 8am, I felt a combination of nervous, excited and emotional. Isaac has always been much more of a ‘velcro’ (aka clingy) child than Sophia was. He still won’t go out to Sunday School without Dan or I, he can be nervous even in groups of kids that he’s known for a long time and up until about 3 weeks ago, has categorically refused to go anywhere without me or Dan, his grandparents or one or two very close friends of ours. However, he is also a very boisterous young man who thrives on being outdoors, running, shouting and climbing trees.

Consequently, ever since I heard that Exeter Forest School (where we already attend for a home ed group) were setting up a kindergarten for 3 and 4 year olds I’ve been trying to persuade him that he might like to go. Up until recently, he was adamant that he didn’t want to go. I kept asking him though, sure that a day away from me would do him the world of good and that it would also facilitate me to have some one-to-one time with Sophia to concentrate on some more formal education that she is requesting.

And all of a sudden, he said he’d give it a go! Jumping on his tentative yes, we went for a visit last Monday and he seemed very keen so we kept the ball rolling, booked him in and he started today. Since the visit last week I was sure that he’d change his mind or that at the very least, that he’d need a long settling in time today. So it was with utter shock that I watched him run off, happy as anything in the icy woods without so much of a backwards glance to me. I stayed for half an hour and then he basically told me to leave! So leave I did and he had the most wonderful day, building fires, colouring in a cosy safari tent and playing with other kids in the woods. I picked him up at 3 to find him raving about how much he loved forest school and declaring that he wants to go there every day!

Dan laughed at me embodying anxious mothers everywhere in being more upset about the separation than Isaac himself was but I am happy that it was that way round. I’m really pleased that we waited until he wanted to go rather than forcing it before he was ready. I’m not going to lie, I had started to wonder if he’d ever want to do things without me (silly I know!) but he obviously just needed more time to ready himself than Sophia did. I think by letting him take the time he needed and following his lead, it made the first experience a completely and utterly positive one. So, a very public Thank You to Chris and Emma at Exeter Forest School for being so wonderful and holding such an amazing kindergarten in the wild! He can’t wait until next week!


Happiest outdoors!

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