So only one more sleep. I’m secretly quite pleased, I quite like the routine, I know that each day will be different within a well ordered structure. But how do our children feel? Some, I suspect will feel the same.
We tend to have an ideal image of Christmas in our heads, lots of happy families, presents, food, drinks, games, conversations, walks out in the woods or on the beach, but the reality doesn’t always match up. For many of the children with whom I work family is an interesting concept, certainly not a stable unit of mum, dad and 2.4 children. Many are brought up by grandparents and they do a wonderful job, but the children are aware that this is not mum or dad. Many live a life of broken promises, live with the expectation that this year mum will turn up to visit because it is Christmas. Many are of an age where they hope but deep down know that this is an unrealistic expectation – it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you are only 7 or 8.
I know that lots of our children will wake up to some lovely presents; we bagged them at school and gave them to the parents. I know that lots of the children will have had some food; we gave out the food bank vouchers. I know that lots of the children will have come from a “language rich environment” because we will have that language thrown back at us – more expletives than I’ve ever used.
Within school, within that predictable organisation with its regular timetable some of our children find transitions difficult, from the playground to class, from class to the hall, an unexpected supply teacher is obviously our fault and we will suffer for it. How does the unpredictability of 2 weeks at home feel to them?
I know that when the doors open and the children come pouring in there will be sighs of relief – from everyone. Parents, who love their children dearly but who have had enough of the noise and the mess. Children, who although professing to “hate school” like the safety and routine that it offers and us, the staff, who have loved the break, loved seeing our own families but who have planned and anticipated this day of seeing “our” children again. Rested, refreshed and ready for the challenges that we know that this new term will offer.