I can’t believe that Ella only has two more weeks left in her reception year at school. This time last year I was so full of anticipation, hope and worry at the thought of sending her to school…

 
 

Anticipation of her happiness and achievements, hope for the friends she would make and the things she would learn. And worry that she was slowly making her way into the big wide world, less protected by me, experiencing her day to day life on her own and learning where she fits in and belongs.

I mostly and above all else, just wanted for her to be happy and settled in her new school. Everything else would just be a bonus.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had her review meeting and her first sports day, shes met her new teacher and spent time in her new classroom. In the next couple of weeks we will be saying goodbye to some of the staff who have made her first year at school a happy one full of fun, friends, learning and achievements.

At home time today, the children streamed out of school, each proudly carrying a large white envelope containing their first ever school report.

I’ve had mixed feelings about getting her report.  I knew it would be hard to see in black and white what Ella’s current level of achievement is for each part of the curriculum.  There are no ticks in the ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ columns, just a consistent ’emerging’ throughout. And even though it’s exactly what I was expecting, it’s still difficult to have to accept that the gap between her and her peers is there, represented by the ticks on the page.  I know if there was a section on overcoming challenges, producing the most volume of art work or working harder than her peers to achieve similar outcomes she would ‘exceed’ in all of them.

However, I am just as proud as any parent who opened their child’s report this evening to find ticks in every ‘exceeding’ box.

Ella has made huge leaps this year, in her speech, in making friends, in knowing her letters and phonics and in her understanding.  Yes, her progress isn’t at the same level as a typical 5 year old but that’s all that matters – PROGRESS.  No matter how big or small it may seem, she is still moving forward, learning and consolidating.  She’s loved her time in reception and I am just as excited about what she will achieve and the progress she will make in the next school year.

For what it’s worth, I do like the word ’emerging’.  It promises that there is more to come, we haven’t seen the best yet and to keep our expectations high. The growing, learning caterpillars are emerging into each individuals butterfly of potential. For some, being able to fly in each area of the curriculum comes easily but for others it takes them longer to get there.

As I read Ella’s report, I was reminded of this quote…

 The best part of the report wasn’t the comments from the teacher and headteacher or suggested next steps, it was this self report page that Ella has filled in herself. It speaks volumes…

As Ella’s first term in reception came to an end, I wrote this post featuring Ella attempting to write ‘mummy’.  And then she came home from Rainbows one Tuesday evening having done this, all by herself…

 

And there will always be moments like today when I am reminded that life for Ella is different and more challenging.  And as a mum, it’s hard to accept that. But from day one she has taught me that she will get there in her own way and in her own time.

And as always, her achievements, no matter how small, mean the world.

Our little butterfly in the wind, Ella bean xx

 

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Amy Dunn

Our first baby, Ella Mary, was born at the end of November 2010. We were shocked to find out soon after her birth that she has Down's Syndrome. I was determined from the start that Down's Syndrome will never define Ella or what she is able to do. We will provide for her everything she needs to become the child and the person she deserves to be. There will be hard times ahead.... there are already many hard times behind us. But I already know that the good times will always outweigh the hard times. She has taught me so much in such a short time and seeing life from a new perspective is a privilege that not many of us get the chance to experience.

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