Released On 16th Apr 2021
Sonya’s Blog - Friends at two metres
My son started school in September 2020. Whilst it was in the midst of global pandemic it felt completely natural and my son adapted extremely well. There was the understandable anxiousness of any parent of whether he will settle in, whether he will make friends, and how he would adapt to attend school every day as opposed to a couple of days a week at nursery. The transition to school went really well. Luckily, all the children have settled in extremely well and enjoyed this time to make new friends and get to grips with the start of their school life. In fact, I am a bit envious of them having their own class bubble, and able to mix and play and have that time together during the school day.
The only real difficulty I have found since September is making that all important connections with the parents. The drop off and pick up from school is very different, and there are staged times for all the classes, and of course the two metres distance needed in between the waiting lines. When my son first started in September the parents/carers were not required to wear masks at the beginning (but that was short lived) so in a way it was nice to be able to see people's faces with a welcoming smile and a nod. It was the talking part that was a bit harder. I often find it hard to strike up conversations with other parents even when my son was a baby at the various baby groups we attended. But in a funny way it was my son who helped me start the conversations. It was his birthday shortly after starting school, and I wanted to arrange a small get together with a couple of his new friends (in the rule of six) as a local role play centre. I did book it and send out invites, but unfortunately due to COVID19 it was unable to go ahead as further restrictions were put in place. But I did manage to get the mobile numbers of two of the parents. This has helped in building connections and relationships. This was especially helpful after Christmas when the schools were closed, and we were all at home. We were able to have a couple of video calls, and text messages to keep in contact.
The school has been very good at keeping in contact whilst at home and they arranged a couple of zoom calls to have a couple of parent meetings on phonics and maths. The teacher became quite emotional about what we had missed out on e.g., the Christmas nativity, the school fairs, the hustle and bustle of the school drop off and pick up. I must admit I was quite teary on the call. Whilst we have missed out on things, there will hopefully be a chance to experience this in the years ahead.
Overall, I have tried to strike up conversations with other parents to talk about how the children have settled in, the weather, and general chit chat, but since we have started wearing masks, it has made the connection slightly harder, but I am hopeful that as the roadmap of the easing of restrictions continue then the connections with the other parents will follow, as we get to know each other on our school journey together.
Sonya, 42, works three days a week as a Personal Assistant within the legal sector. She lives in Kent with her husband, 5-year-old son and imaginary kitten.