In my circles, we talk and think about transition in terms of the process by which our kids are readied for primary school and, later, as they get ready to embark on high school.
There’s recognition that the change from kinder to primary school and then primary to secondary school is a significant one.
A milestone event.
The end of one defined stage and the beginning of another.
Of course it makes sense that there’s an opportunity for the kids to familiarise themselves with a new environment, new friends and a new routine.
Everyone wants their child to have the best possible start.
Later in the year, my youngest son, who is nearly 5 years old, will go to five transition sessions in as many weeks to transition him to school.
On the final session, the kids are invited to wear their school uniform to mark the end of their official transition to school. It’s exciting and signals the beginning of The Next Chapter.
The kids went all out for our Mother’s Day treat (my last!) at kinder yesterday
While we’re starting primary school for the third and final time, several friends are preparing for their eldest to finish.
Earlier this week, a couple of girlfriends attended an Information Night at a local high school. One thing that impressed them both was the Transition Co-ordinator, whose job, you guessed it, is to facilitate the transition of all the new starters. She apparently spoke in detail about the process and how the school supports new students during this important time.
It got me thinking: I could do with a Transition Co-ordinator around here. Could you?
You know, someone to check in from time to time, see how I’m tracking with all the changes, make helpful suggestions, smooth things over if I have any concerns and generally ease me into my new life.
How great would that be?
Because I’m about to embark on a rather significant transition myself.
At the beginning of next year, my decade long adventure (?) of having kids at home with me during the day will officially end when my youngest begins school.
And I’m finding it kind of hard to believe. It feels surreal, exciting and a bit sad all at once. When I had three kids at home before my eldest started school – I had my third while my eldest was in 4 year old kinder – I never thought this day would arrive.
I still can’t believe I can skip off on my own post kinder drop off instead of pushing the double pram up the hill to home.
I’ve spent my entire thirties – a quarter of my whole life – at home with kids. Sure I’ve worked part time for most of it, (1 or 2 days a week) but the vast majority of my time over the last decade has been spent with the kids. And it seems we’ve gotten to know each other rather well – here’s Mr 4’s take on me …
Eerily accurate and good to see my beauty regime is working …
But seriously, I’m beginning to wonder what next year will look like.
Fifteen hours of sessional kinder has given me a glimpse – and I like what I see – but I know having all the kids at school will be a big change for all of us.
Thankfully I have friends who have tread this path before me.
I’ve observed several girlfriends navigate this stage and it’s been interesting to see the mix of emotions it has evoked: elation about freedom in school hours (relatively speaking); anxiety around what they should do next; sadness as they miss the companionship of their youngest partner in crime; excitement about having more time and headspace to grow embryonic businesses or increase hours and responsibility in existing workplaces; and the nervous trepidation as they contemplate renovations, further study and new careers.
I’ve suggested to everyone that they give themselves some much deserved long service leave and take at least term 1 off. It’s a crazy busy term anyway, the Preps have reduced hours and it’s impossible to do get much done when you’ve got ten years worth of tidying, sorting and filing to catch up on.
I wonder what it will look like for me.
What will I do with the extra time, quiet and space?
What should I do?
What can I do?
In the meantime, I don’t want to wish away this year – it’s been a goodie so far and Mr 4 is great company – but I know I need to turn my mind to my next chapter. Soon.
So I’m wondering about all this and how others have navigated this transition. How did you find it? Do you have any advice? How long is it until your youngest begins his or her next chapter?