I am having some major anxieties about the boys going back to school next week. My anxieties are not about the actual schooling but about getting there on time.
I'm giving myself some grace. I am in a new city I am not at all certain with. It's a new route and it's a fair drive.
I love the rhythm that comes with being at home. Sleep when you are tired. Wake when you are ready. Not it's bedtime because we have school in the morning. School doesn't really fit rhythm, it requires a schedule. At 7.30am we need to leave home, we need to wake at 6.30, finish breakfast by 7.00am... brush teeth, hair, get dressed. Have you got your backpack? Packed lunches? Clean clothes?
I completely understand the reasoning. Teachers cannot have children wandering in as they like. Late children can disrupt a classroom (even a Montessori one) but most of all most children don't like to be late. The last one to the party. I've heard it described like this by teachers, a late child feels like they have turned up to a party that has already started, and everyone looks at them as they walk in. When they are late it's harder for children to settle. Especially when they are at a new school, especially when they are an introvert.
A settling technique that we used with Caspar (when he was three) was to get him to class early and working before most of the other and older children arrived. It definitely worked. In Cycle Two (6-9 years) I've been told that children that arrive early (at the earlier end of the start time) are more productive. Children who arrive late may also feel out of their school rhythm, or get to school feeling rushed. Caspar's previous class started the day with breathing exercises and on the occasions he missed it he was disappointed and felt out of sorts for the rest of the day.
So perhaps like many parents I am working on adjusting our rhythm so that the school bedtime and wake time will come naturally. Dinner and bath will have to come forward. Also getting the kids (especially Otis) into the practice of having breakfast, brush teeth and getting dressed following getting up in the morning will be important. During the school holidays it can be mid-morning until we are all dressed.
Now (a week out) is the time to prepare and put plans into action to get the kids ready to get to school on time. It's also the time I start gently talking to the children about going back to school, what to expect and I try to pick up on any concerns they have. It's also the perfect time to think about haircuts, new shoes, backpacks and lunchbox recipes!
Most of all the children are ready to be back at school. The sense of community that comes with being a part of a Montessori school (it's likely that this same sense of community exists in many schools) is something we really need and are looking forward to.
P.S. I know that being late to school is not the end of the world and that children are resilient. I'm just facing my fears and getting organised!