Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Big School Orientation Sessions

What is it with these sessions?

The Little Man has four sessions. They are making him apprehensive. I guess it could be worse, on the weekend I heard from another Mum (of one of his friends),  that her son had to attend 9 compulsory sessions!!

I went to the local Catholic primary school.  Mum took me in to meet the Principal and sign the paperwork sometime towards the end of  the year before I started school.  We were there a few moments and then we walked home via the local shop for milk and bread.  I didn't even get a treat.  Pretty mundane, but I have a memory for that kind of detail.

On the frst day of school I went straight into my class on my own and 13 years of my education began.  No one cried, now that is how I remember it, but thinking I might have been wrong I asked my Mum and some friends from my kindergarten that i am still in contact with.  They agree, it was only the parents who shed a few tears as they left us at the gate (they didn't even come onto the school grounds in those days).  Then about two weeks into the year a new girl started and she spent half of her first day crying, but she did not speak English, she had just arrived from Portugal.  Who can blame her?

These sessions are making the Little Man, less enthusiastic and more worried about starting big school.  He walked into his pre school on the first day and joined in with some kids and waved "Bye Mum" to me from across the room.  I expected the same from him for the start of big school.  Not now.  Now I have an agitated child on my hands.  He's scared and wants to know why I can't be there.  I know there will be clinging and tears.

So sometime in the last 35 years (yep I started school in 1976) these orientation sessions have become the norm, all schools have them.  I think it is funny because very few, if any of my classmates would have attended pre school or formal day care.  We were really just thrown in and it was a transition we pretty much all were happy to make (I'm not saying that was perfect, just the way  experienced it).  The kids starting school in 2012 are the polar opposite.  It's a good bet all of them have attended pre-school or daycare and logically seem to be predisposed to not requiring an orientation into attending formal education on a daily basis.

In theory I can see how they are a good idea, letting the kids feel familiar in the surroundings and getting to meet their class and teacher, but in our case I am wondering if they are a big mistake.

After discussing it with a few Mum's a birthday party on the weekend, my son's reaction is not an isolated incident, but there are other's who  have kids who just can't wait to start.  I also learnt about the activities for the parents.  Tears and tissues morning tea for example.  Maybe that points to the real reason for the orientation sessions - they are for the orientation of the parents!!

As it is my first child starting school, I'd love to know what you think.  Are the orientation sessions for starting Big School a good or a bad thing?  What's your experience?  Are they about the Kids or the parents?


I'm flogging this post for FlogYoBlog Friday.  Go over the Where's my Glow? and check out what others are flogging this week.



  1. We have an orientation program at our school now (we didn't two years ago when Nugget started). Doo Dah isn't going. He knows the school. I think it causes unnecessary pressure and/or a very looooong wait over Summer for school to start. To each their own but it is not for us. Good luck with your little fella x

  2. We're a wee way off 'big' school but I love hearing other peoples stories, gets me ready for some of the things to come!


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