Many parents think of back to school as one of the most wonderful times of the year. But it can create mixed emotions for some, depending on where they are in their life.
First-time parents are often nervous or apprehensive, while parents sending their second or third child off to school may be looking forward to the day.
Amy O’Toole is sending her daughter, Sophie, to school for the first time and she is a self-described nervous wreck.
“I’m looking forward to it for her, but I’m worried about the silliest things. I worry about how she will open her granola bar at snack time or her straw for her juice. I also think about one teacher trying to wrangle 20 children outside of the school on the first day because I only get to take her as far as the door. I’m a bit of a helicopter parent,” she jokes.
But these feelings are what most first-time parents experience when sending their child off to school.
“I just have the most bizarre things popping into my mind, like during orientation they said if the child is ordering lunch at the cafeteria you have to write down what they are to order, otherwise you have no idea what they are going to choose. I’m also panicking about peanut-free because she only eats peanut butter sandwiches.”
Sophie spent half days in day care for the last two years and is entering the French Immersion program at A.G.
Baillie Memorial School in New Glasgow. She knows some of her classmates already through day care and is looking forward to going.
“I’m excited to go to school. I’m going to start in Grade Primary. I went to daycare but I didn’t like it. I liked my pre-school though,” says Sophie.
Amy adds, “Like any parent, I’m worried about her behaviour, but I’m also worried about other kids being mean.”
Carlton Munroe and Annette Whitehead are sending a second and third child off to school this year and they are in a much different mindset.
“Last year I was dropping Jacob off (first child) at school and I saw all of the first-time moms, you know them to see them, they’re walking away crying and I had the biggest smile on my face,” laughs Whitehead. “I find summer vacation is almost two weeks too long because at that point the kids are getting antsy and they need that structure. I also know what to expect with the second child. He’s ready to go. If he was nervous about it, I might be more nervous for him, but he’s excited.”
Bruce, Whitehead’s second child, is preparing to enter Grade Primary at Pictou Elementary School.
“I’m excited about school,” he says. “I like the music room but I don’t like drums, they’re too loud for my ears. My brother went to Pictou Elementary but he’s going to start French Immersion when I get to school.”
Bruce is not scared one little bit. “I’m not scared to start school. I don’t care if I walk by a bully, I don’t.”
Munroe is preparing to send his third child off to school at Scotsburn Elementary.
He says with this being his last child, he’s probably going to be a little sentimental the morning of, but notes, “I had a lot of space between them (the children). My first graduated two years ago.”
But says he’s not nervous.
“We have a really good understanding of the school and the teachers there now and we are pretty comfortable with the schools, and especially this one (Layla), she can look after herself.”
Layla is excited to go to Scotsburn Elementary. “I have been to school a few times. We were there at the Halloween thing. I’m gonna be in Grade Primary. Nate (her brother) is in Grade 3.”
Sadie Thorne is preparing to enter Grade Primary at Trenton Elementary.
“I’m excited to go to school,” she says. “But I’m a little scared because I won’t know anybody and I might get lost.”
She is looking forward to making new friends and walking to school because she lives close to her school.
As for whether her mother Rachel will be emotional about Sadie’s first day of school she laughs, “Mommy won’t be sad, I don’t think.”