I’m still pinching myself in disbelief, but Saria ‘the bambino’ is starting school next month – sob! I’ve been a little anxious about it because she was only 4 in May, she’s still my baby and also because you do hear a lot of jibber jabber and scary stories about schools. Considering it’s 29 years since I started and both the boyf and I did most of primary school abroad, it made sense to fill in some gaps in our knowledge.
Cue The Starting School Survival Guide by Sarah Ebner, editor of The Times education blog School Gate. Taking you from choosing and applying for school, preparing your child for it, politics, dealing with the school, how the Early Years Foundation Stage works and the general system, food, bullying, holidays and illnesses – basically it’s all there.
You could read it from cover to cover or dip into the most pertinent sections first but I have to say, it’s a really good concise read, with tips and commentary from teachers and parents. The Actual Learning chapter was my favourite, which relieved much of my anxiety about what she’d be doing and how it all works, plus because I read it after she’d done her induction, what I witnessed in the classroom all slotted into place and tallied up.
The chapters on cliques which address the whole politics at the school gate, PTA, inviting people around or being invited, birthday parties etc gave me some ‘mixed feelings’. On one hand, it was great to get some insight and in other respects, I felt a bit wary especially when Sarah lays out all the stereotypes of the different mums involved in playground politics including The Bitter Mum, Competitive Mum, The Super Mum and The New Mum. She does say not to take it too seriously and keep an open mind and you really should, because going through the line-up of who you may have to spend the next several years with, may have you reaching for the vodka and seeing if you can go into a witness protection programme!
Overall, it’s a really good, highly informative read full of stuff you wish the school or your own parent, or even another parent would tell you albeit sans the drama. Think of it as being gently guided into the shallow end instead of being thrown in at the deep end. You’ll dip into it again and again as an all-in-one spot reference source and especially for first timers, it really helps to set the scene.
RRP Â£10.99 Available in most bookshops as well as usual spots like Amazon (Â£6.30).
Win a copy: I received an extra copy so of course I’m giving it away. Send your name and address to competitions AT bambinogoodies.co.uk (replace AT with @) by midnight Wednesday August 10th.
Terms & Conditions:
1. Prize draw is open to UK residents.
2. 1 prize of The Starting School Survival Guide.You will be notified by email if you have won and the prize will be dispatched by Bambino Goodies (Naughty Girl Media Ltd).
3. The winner will be drawn Thursday 11th August 2011. Please ensure that all of the requested information is included in your entry otherwise it may be exempt from the draw.
4. You can only enter the competition via the email address provided â€“ liking/commenting on Facebook cannot be accepted as an entry.
5. No cash alternative will be offered for the prize.