Adam Bird


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Sunday, 21 August 2011

A Sad End to a Smart Start

This week is a sad week in the Bird household. For Oliver particularly, but also for us as parents, as Oliver leaves Smart Start, the nursery which he has been attending for the past three and a bit years before heading off the week after into the big brave world of Shears Green Infant school and full time education.

With Stephanie and I having to remain in full time employment and unable to rely on the constant goodwill of our families we needed to find a day nursery in the local area for Oliver to stay two days a week. At the time, we were living on the Overcliffe, which was just down the road from Smart Start day nursery which is owned and managed, funnily enough by the parents of our good friend Stuart. We’d also heard glowing reviews from other friends whose own children had attended the nursery so it was always going to be our first choice.

Despite having such a personal relationship with the nursery owners Stephanie and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the nursery and it is part of the reason why this week is tinged with such sadness. Oliver simply loves getting up each day and going to school, telling Stephanie and I about his day upon his return and the things that he has done and the friends that he has made. We are both hugely grateful at their role in his development and encouragement of the things that he enjoys doing and allowing his personality to flourish, which is just as important in our eyes as learning numeracy and reading at this stage of his education.

It would be too easy for us to be accused of bias, that because of our friendship we are bound to say nice things, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The nursery manager is only one person and has little involvement with Oliver’s day-to-day life within the nursery. There is a whole structure of classroom attendants and room managers which Oliver sees day in, day out and it is these people that have made his time at nursery so special, rewarding and fulfilling.

So what makes it all so sad? The fact that Oliver is leaving somewhere that he has always been happy, even if he did say once that the teachers were trying to kill him and on another occasion that the teachers hadn’t fed him which were tales of his over enthusiastic imagination, tales that Stephanie and I still laugh at, fuelled by goodness knows what. Its another step towards growing up, where those funny innocent stories get replaced by the gritty realities of real life, exam pressures, homework, school playground bullies and the frustrations of having to learn.

As a pregnant and emotive Stephanie and I discussed this week at the dining table the other night and she sniffled back a few tears, I said to her that it’s not all bad, we have another child due soon and he or she will no doubt be attending Smart Start at some point - after all, every child should have Smart Start, we’re just so very glad that Oliver did!

Finally, I thought I’d ask Oliver some questions about his time at nursery. Here is what he said.

Q) Who is your favourite teacher?
A) Maria, it was Sarah, but she went so it’s Maria now.

Q) What’s your favourite dinner you have at school?
A) Cheesy Pasta, it’s yummy

Q) What will you miss most about Smart Start?
A) Everything!

Q) What is your favorite thing at Smart Start?
A) Playing with K’nex

Q) And who are your friends at school?
A) Mia, Kelly, Caleb and Joshun!


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