So, the end of the school year is nearly here! To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about the holidays. I love the fact that there’s no routine, no lunches to prepare, no uniforms to get ready and no PE kits to hunt down! On the other hand, there is the anxiety of what we are doing for the six week stretch (and that’s just me!). If I give out a programme of activities to Ellie, I won’t hear the end of it as each situation is super analysed and questions (the same ones) asked over and over again. If I keep information under wraps, there are meltdowns that we aren’t doing anything this summer and its going to be rubbish! We actually had one of these on Sunday with two whole weeks to go! Joy!
Anyway, I digress! I want to talk about the end of term and events that our AS children find particularly difficult – Sports Days and Exam Results.
Sports Days have always been difficult – especially in the early years. The cheering, the waiting around, the heat (if we happened to have a hot day) the co-ordination required to do the races and following multiple instructions.
I remember the first sports day Ellie had with the teaching assistant running along with her. We felt a huge sense of pride, but also saddened that she wasn’t able to do it on her own like the others. She stood out as being different. What I do know, is that everyone loved her. All the parents were cheering her on and were genuinely as pleased as we were that she was competing.
Something then happened at the Year 1 Sports Day. Ellie managed to do one race, along with the assistant running with her, but everyone cheering her name and encouraging her to finish, it all got too much. Ellie sat back down in tears and didn’t want to take part in any more races. My heart went out to her. Her peers were always so caring and really looked after her – they made her feel like it wasn’t a big deal – I loved them for that.
The following year, Sports Day was rained off … twice! Aaaah, those rainy memories of 2012!
So, onto Year 3 and a major achievement! Sports Day was taking place at the local park with all of the Key Stage 2 children – some 240 children plus parents. Once again, we were apprehensive about whether Ellie would want to take part. My heart was thudding as she stood with her team mates ready for her race. I can’t tell you the pride I felt as she ran down the straight towards the finishing line. As I looked around, hubby, Mum and my Dad were all tearing up as well. Over the other side of the track, I could see Ellie’s teaching assistant wiping tears from under her sunglasses. Yes – Ellie had done Sports Day all by herself.
And by the time Ellie did her final Sports Day last summer she was nailing it!
Exams and results are also a big part of the summer term.
We were very fortunate with the SATs that Ellie took last summer, as school didn’t pile pressure on the children and we certainly didn’t with Ellie. Surprisingly, Ellie’s assistant reported that she had her best week ever at school during SATs week. All the routine and structure was a dream for Ellie. In the end, we didn’t even find out the results of the SATs – we knew that Ellie had made progress during the year which for her was the goal.
So now fast forward a year. This week we had a panic attack about this year’s exam results? Where did we lose the ‘being proud of the progress’ attitude.
Its not that we would ever compare Ellie to any of her peers, but it was just a shock to see how she did in a paper that the whole of the year took. Admittedly, it was Maths, which has never been a favourite ( Ellie used to be scared of Maths) but to see that she only got a handful of questions correct out of a score of 60 really got us worried.
The story was similar in other subjects. All I could think was ‘what are we going to do?’. I was imagining Ellie sat in her classes, not benefiting from the curriculum in any way. I couldn’t understand why they would test her on a paper that she hadn’t even been learning (Ellie does Maths at a lower level away from class).
Thankfully, Ellie is fortunate once again, to have a super teaching assistant who kindly asked the Head of Year to give me a call. Talking things over with her made such a difference. She explained the processes and the reasons to why they tested everyone the same and that for Ellie, she has made great progress during this year… not only academically, but more so socially, gaining confidence and independence in lots of aspects of school life. She has her own targets to strive towards and school were very pleased with her progress.
And that’s were it’s at… progress. We don’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing – as long as our child is moving forward, be it big or small, and most importantly, if she is happy, its all good.
So, I’m now on countdown to the start of the summer holidays! Best re-stock that wine fridge! 🙂
Until next time,
Love and hugs xxxx