Turn back the clocks to September 2012 – the moment that I left a little bit of my heart at the school gate as my daughter started Reception. I was so excited to be starting this next chapter of her journey with her but did not expect to feel so lost, and for me to have a wealth of unanswered questions.
I am lucky. Why? Because I could use the tools that I have been trained in. I am a teacher. I taught Reception. I knew how to prepare my daughter for school – getting dressed independently, opening wrappers in her lunchbox, learning to share, etc. I knew how to tweak information out of her about her school day, no matter how little that information was. I knew that she’d be tired, grumpy, be learning lots of new things. I knew about phonics and how it was taught. I knew about how children learn through play based activities. I knew about free flow, rotation, reading books….. The list goes on.
However, as I didn’t work at my daughter’s school, I didn’t know the little details about what was happening. I knew she was happy. I knew she was learning. I knew she had friends. But I wanted more. I was thirsty for every little detail about my girl because I missed her and I wasn’t alone. I would stand in the playground with other parents also craving more information and I realised that most of them had questions, but ones that I could actually answer for them. What are reading book bands? How do I teach my child to read with a book that has no words? What is phonics? How do I complete this homework? The list of general questions continued and I realised that this was a common thread amongst first-time parents. So I decided to create a website aimed at bridging this gap – helping parents through the education process.
So, Panda-Education was born. A website, a Facebook page, a Pinterest page and twitter feed later and I now have lots of amazing parents following this incredible transitional journey with me and I am so proud to be able to offer support and guidance. I am not a guru, I am just a Mum and a teacher. I love my job and I feel so privileged to work at such an amazing school with supportive and inspiring colleagues.
My top tip, when asked how to help children learn at home is – Go outside, be active, make memories and have fun. Parents feel that they have to sit down and do structured activities in order to progress, but actually, this is not always true. Children are all different and if your child doesn’t ‘sit’ to learn, then that is fine. Embrace their learning style and pack it with fun opportunities to learn; ones which I bet you are already doing without realising it is actually ‘learning’!
And remember, not everything in life is black and white, but you are doing a brilliant job.