This was also the time that I decided to prepare my son for the school nursery that he would go to that coming autumn. The nursery was attached to my elder daughter’s school (which also comprised infants and juniors) so it was a a nice feeling to think that my two elder children would be at the same place and would easily transfer from infants to juniors without the trouble of reaquainting with a new building. Indeed we were very satisfied with the school overall; my elder daughter appeared to be doing very well indeed and ofsted results regularly praised the school. But I have to admit to you that this school, though it was still relatively local, was not our catchment school. Initially our elder daughter went to the nursery at our catchment school and though I cannot praise this nursery enough, the main school was a concern. Not only were we not impressed with the then Headmaster’s lax attitude but I kept hearing about quite a number of parents who were pulling their children out of the school, particularly parents of boys, who were not happy with the standard of education there. As a mum of a then toddler boy, I also had to consider his future so when an opportunity came to take my elder daughter to another school I took it. It was more luck than ‘parental choice’ that we got our elder daughter into a better school; the LEA (Local Education Authority) had decided to move from a 2-class intake to a 3-class intake for September 1999 and we were one of the lucky families to benefit. Consequently, a few years later we were able to get our son into the nursery there on the basis that his sister was already in the school. At the time, we felt very fortunate that we got both our children into what we considered to be a ‘good school’. However as you will read in future blogs, dear reader, Ofsted’s idea of what is a ‘good school’ was to prove seriously misleading.
Anyhow after looking around the nursery at the new school, I felt confident that my son would enjoy the bright and airy place and the range of activities, particularly the outdoor play area which I knew my son would love. I was further reassured by the fact that many of his peers from playgroup would also be moving up with him and that the nursery teacher would visit the playgroup in order to help transition.
However, I was a bit bothered that my son, now 3 years old, was not toilet trained. Though he had some awareness, he showed absolutely no interest whatsoever in using the potty or toilet. I was quite happy to be child led and to wait for him to give me the signals that he was ready (or interested); my idea being that the process of getting him dry would then be quick. However, I was feeling pressured by the policy that nursery children should be dry and I therefore decided to use the summer break to encourage him to use the potty. His reluctance and lack of interest meant that this was a difficult process – indeed I lost count at the number of different style potties we used in an attempt to encourage him. Nevertheless, by the autumn we were beginning to get him to use the potty and we had succeeded in getting him used to wearing pull-ups. I was happy with his progress and was quite sure that sending my child to nursery in pull-ups would be acceptable, but oh boy was I wrong!