Last day of school term: A time to reflect, and the teachers' present debate.

Tomorrow (finally) is the very last day (we thought it would never come) of our school year! Natty has finished her second year of formal education, we call it year 1 in the UK (confusing I know, but it comes after Reception Year).

It's been a wonderful year with many highs, culminating in a school report with all A's for effort in every subject, regardless of achievement. Yep, that's our Natty, throwing herself into everything she does with gusto. 

Natty has learnt to write all her letters, has just moved to reading books at level 2 with a couple of sentences to a page, and loves her number work. 

Not only that but she has made many firm friends and creates games with them, throws herself into PE and loves to chat over lunch with others. There has been far less 'hands on' interaction with her peers when she is tired, so she has learn appropriate behaviour for her age.

She's a valued member of her class and has become increasingly independent with all areas of self help. We are overjoyed! And how far we have all travelled in that past year, when I look back to the worries and fears I had when she began her scolastic journey.

So, how do we mark the end of a year's worth of mornings of dashing around the house shouting 'shoes', 'finish your porridge' and 'where's the dog/book bag/hair bobble/show and tell/Doublebase cream?' while Natty sings Mary Poppins, and Mia draws another picture of a dinosaur for a friend???

Well, we thank those we couldn't have done it without.

There's a lot of chat about whether we should give gifts to teachers at the end of term. It's just their job, they're paid to do it, right?

Well, yes they are, but most of them really go the extra mile to ensure that our most treasured loved ones are happy and healthy and reach their potential in a fun way. And if your child has a TA or two that help them personally, then they deserve even more recognition. They have encouraged and explained, nurtured the friendships, known when to stand back and when to get involved. They have learnt the art of helping without being seen, monitoring whilst sitting next to someone else. They have liasied between home and school. They have spent evenings and weekends making materials and planning fun new ways of learning. None of which falls into 'simply doing your job', not at any price.

And more importantly, what lesson are we teaching our children when we encourage them to write a thank you card and give a simple present? We are teaching them to show gratitude, to say thank you to others for their efforts. It's a simple question of manners and being part of a community that helps each other.

So, we have a little gift for the 2 teachers and the TAs (plus an oh-too-cute-not-to-buy babygrow for one TA's new baby,) and for everyone else the girls decorated a cardboard box tonight. I have bought some inexpensive treats to go inside to make a staff room hamper: tea, herb teas, coffee, biscuits, chocolates, cordials and so on. 

I know other parents give cut flowers from the garden, freshly laid eggs or homemade cakes or crafts. It really needn't cost the earth to say thank you.

And after all, what goes around comes around...

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