Now we’ve moved to the Netherlands we are learning about how a new school system starts. The first big change to how we’re used to it working in the UK is that you start school the day after your fourth birthday – so there are new students all through the year. (Oh, and no school uniform of course!) Which means that as rocket boy is approaching his fourth birthday (wow – how did that happen!?!) he is approaching the start of school (double wow – a child at school!?!). So he is starting almost a year earlier than he would have done had we stayed in the UK.
As we’re planning to stay here for a while we have chosen to send the children to a normal Dutch school, rather than an international one. We preferred the idea of them going to the same school as our neighbours’ children, over having their friends move on frequently as would happen in an international school where the population is much more transitory. And I’m not that keen on how the English school system has changed over the last few years and it’s incessant testing!
He has started doing a morning a week to get used to school, and will start five mornings a week once he turns four. I’ve chosen to bring him home for the afternoons as I know it will be a big change for him, and school isn’t compulsory til he’s five. Once we are a bit more settled (I’m assuming this will be after Christmas) then he’ll add in the afternoons too. Which is another change from the UK as he will have Wednesday and Friday afternoon off. And for the other three days of the week I can either bring him home for lunch, or pay for him to stay at school and eat his packed lunch. There is a designated daycare which is employed by the school to come and supervise during the lunch hour, and the price depends on how much notice you give them!
So far he seems to be enjoying it, though fingers crossed he still does once he is going every day! One benefit of the rolling start, combined with the fact that the class is a joint year group with the year above, is that there are two other students in his class that he already knows as they used to go to his pre-school. So it’s a bit less scary as he already has a friend who wants to play with him.
As well as the change for him it’s going to be a big change for me as, especially once he’s going for the afternoons too, he’s going to have so little time to do things at home. And it will be impossible for us to go on a weekday daytrip anywhere, which we have been enjoying doing. Also, as the school is a little bit further away than the pre-school he’s going to I will have to use my bike every day, as I doubt we will be up and out early enough to walk there consistently 🙂
Starry girl is going to love the extra one-on-one mummy time though, as that’s something she has missed out on a bit so far as her big brother was always around. And then at the beginning of next year she will start pre-school too. Big changes for all of us! They are growing up so fast…