So Montessori has done the job for us and extended the nursery period for Finn. His reception year of schooling has been less about a tiny uniform and enforced sitting down at registration and more about part-time attendance at a beautiful early Victorian property in Cragg Vale.
There has been lots of flexibility and emphasis on being outdoors. The wonderful child-led, calm approach has helped Finn to improve and mature on some levels but it is becoming increasingly obvious there is a need for firmer boundaries and more challenges. It has also been suggested Finn may benefit from a bigger peer group with different dynamics.
Now it’s time for the next step.
Parents seem to be spoilt for choice when it comes to primary education in this area. I have counted at least nine schools within a three mile radius. A great choice is making it harder to choose.
Central Street is out – it simply does not have the provision. Cragg Vale, Scout Road and Burnley Road schools have also been knocked off the list for being in the wrong place – it doesn’t make a lot of sense driving in the opposite direction to drop off at school, adding time to the morning commute.
Heptonstall is also out (tried that one – great school but not the right setting for our little man).
That leaves Hebden Royd, Stubbings, Old Town and Colden. And that is as long as there is a place for him.
He’s very physical, exuberant, bright and is a darling (hmmm, as his mother I would say that). Conversely he is not exactly a compliant soul and is prone to noisy, testosterone-fuelled outbursts (I was once told by a child psychologist little boys of four have the same levels of the hormone relatively as a teenager of fourteen or fifteen).
What I am looking for is fairly small class sizes with Miss Honey teaching (from Roald Dahl’s Matilda –possibly with Miss Trunchbull as a threat down the hall…minus the chokee).
I’d like an emphasis on being outdoors, lots of life skills on the curriculum, the staff happy to comfort him if and when needed and learning about the wider world.
In a perfect world I’d like the teachers to follow him and accentuate his positives and help him to learn to love learning and, of course, help him prepare for an automatic entry into the Halifax grammar schools a few years down the line. (The great schooling choice in the area seems to somewhat narrowed at secondary age.)
Pah, not much then!
My spirited young boy needs sound teaching and consistent boundaries. He needs inspiration. What he doesn’t need is his spirit breaking (can I hear you thinking “misguided mother over-celebrating son’s qualities”?)
Where is the place that will boost his self-esteem, further open his curious eyes and enhance his learning?
While my expectations for Finn are high I am enough of a realist to know I could not offer all these things through home schooling and that we need fabulous professionals to educate Finn. Am I being reasonable in my expectations and thinking state schooling will be able to provide the answer?
I would really appreciate any feedback and experiences of local schools stretching through to Todmorden. Any suggestions would be appreciated