On Wednesday we had Harrison’s first reception parents evening. My mum and dad watched the kids so Graham could come along. He didn’t make it to any of Harrison’s nursery ones, and I don’t think he quite knew what to expect – he was really nervous about it!
Our appointment was at 6.20pm, and we got there a few minutes early. We had a chance to look through Harrison’s books to see what he has been up to. I know from my own teaching days that children in reception do work, but to see that Harrison, our own baby, does ‘proper’ work was weird! He’s quite cagey about what he does at school – he may tell us he did some writing or some painting, but that’s all we get, so it was interesting to look at.
He’s been doing phonic for a good few weeks now, and I know he loves it. Every day he brings home a sheet with the sounds he has been learning, and once a week or so we get a list of words to practise reading and writing. The school uses the ‘Read Write Inc’ scheme for phonics which I was vaguely familiar with, and it is really good. We write all of Harrison’s words on flashcards and he loves to practise them. It is absolutely amazing how a few weeks ago he could only read and write his name, and now he can read and write lots of words!
Looking through his writing book we could see that he is trying to write simple sentences, and is using his phonics knowledge to identify sounds in words. They’d done some writing about fireworks, using words such as ‘pop’ and ‘boom’, and it was lovely to see. His other book focused more on numbers, which is the area which Harrison is less confident in. He is an absolute perfectionist at home and it looks like he could be the same at school. One of his maths sheets had a comment on that he was very cross when he had done it, and had asked if he could do it again. He did do it again, and did it better. I love the fact he knew he could do better and challenged himself, but I really hope he doesn’t get too upset when he can’t get something right straight away.
We then went through to speak to his teacher. She went through how he is doing academically (absolutely fine!) and talked about his targets, which is to recognise some more numbers and carry on with blending sounds. His other target was to make sure he gets his ideas and thoughts heard. When he works with a partner or in a group situation he doesn’t always volunteer his ideas. There’s some strong personalities in the class, and whilst Harrison is no wall flower, I think he sometimes gets overwhelmed by others. His teacher pointed out that Harrison’s beautiful manners stop him shouting out or talking over someone else. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing but we also want to make sure that he doesn’t get lost – I know that as a teacher it is incredibly difficult when you have 30 children, and some are more forthcoming than others!
Then we moved onto how he is doing socially. We know that Harrison adores school – he loves his teachers and all through half term was asking if he could go to school. We’ve never had a problem with him going in – in fact we have had the opposite! A few weeks ago he was under the weather and we were going to keep him off. He cried so much because he wanted to go in we ended up taking him in! His teacher confirmed that he enjoys school and is always happy. He has his best friend Luke, but will also play with other kids in his class. His manners are beautiful (as we know), and he is a ‘delight to teach’. Graham said he almost welled up when she said that!
We do a lot of work with Harrison at home – reading, writing, numbers, shapes etc, and of course we both want him to do well academically, that goes without saying. But much, much more importantly than that is that he enjoys school, has friends and is happy. He will be in education for the next 14 years or so. They’re not always fun or enjoyable, so we want him to make the most of these first few years. We know we have picked a good infant school for him – there are teachers there that taught me and my brothers 20-odd years ago, which I think says a lot about the school!