4 Things That Have Changed in Our First Year at Primary School (And 4 Things That Haven’t)

My eldest has just over 1 week left of our first year at primary school. It’s unbelievable just how quickly time has flown. Pink Pear Bear wrote an amusing post recently about what she’s learnt in her first year at school (as a parent). Which got me thinking about our own first year at school.

Penultimate last week of school 13th Jul 16

Last September when we were all starting the new routine with some disturbing levels of anxiety and trepidation, I wrote this post about 6 Things You Don’t Expect When Your Child Starts Primary School.

Now, some 10 months later, I can see just how much things have changed and yet in other ways, how some things have remained completely the same.


1) Alice is happy to go to school! I’m THRILLED to say the main change we have experienced since September is that I no longer have to carry Alice kicking and screaming out of the house and bundling her into the car every day to go to school. Back in the autumn it absolutely broke my heart that she was clearly so upset and bewildered by the change in routine. Back then I wrote about how I needed wine to cope on the school run. I think a lot of it was down to the fact that she’s the youngest in the year (born at the end of August meant she’d only just turned 4 when she started school) and was still emotionally very young. A lot of it was also down to our life at home – losing my father-in-law and not getting a primary school place at an of our chosen schools. 

2) The stuff she can do. It’s unbelievable to think that 10 months ago, Alice couldn’t write her name or read at all. Now she loves writing and will often write out a page of text at a time. She can read really well and has apparently been doing “taking away” and “dividing” too. When you stop to think, how much has changed in terms of their learning, it’s amazing.


3) Physical change. I don’t know if it’s school that has made her grow up or whether there is just some magical changes that happen between the ages of 4 and 5. But Alice’s confidence for one thing has increased so much that it looks to have immensely changed her in less than a year. Just look at the difference in these photos:


4) Organisation. I’m having to be a lot more organised about school stuff. I can not tell you just how many bits of paper, emails and notes on the class room door we have to contend with. Blink and you’ll miss something. Next week, the final week at school there is something happening every single day that I need to remember to do. Heaven help me if I forget to send in money for a certain extra curricular activity or forget it’s some kind of dress up day or forget that certain colour of t.shirt is needed for Sports Day or if I forget that there’s a certain lunch activity going on. This is on top of the usual weekly planning of school dinner choices / packed lunch options and contending with daily notes and invitations to kids parties being discovered in the book bag.

Stayed The Same

1) Sergeant major.  I’m still a complete sergeant major in the mornings. In order to get everyone out the door somewhere near to being on time, I still find that I’m shouting out those bossy instructions like “Teeth”, “Toilet”, “Shoes”, “Car”.

Scary Mum

2) Mystery. I still have absolutely no idea most of the time what Alice gets up to all day. I always ask her on the journey home how her day was and what she got up to and I can guarantee that most of the time she will say “fine” and “not a lot.” I may get told a random couple of facts about something that happened just as she’s about to go to bed, but otherwise, her day and what she gets up to really does remain on the whole a complete mystery to me.

3) Tiredness. OK so she’s not asking to go to bed at 4.30pm anymore like she was in October, but I’ve noticed that when we’re approaching the end of any term or half term, Alice definitely starts to get crotchety and play up (more than usual).

4) Arts and Crafts. I’m still crap at arts and crafts. But where my poor attempts to “make stuff” was once confined to the privacy of our own home, it’s now having to be paraded into school. Not great when you see what some of the other kids are taking in compared to your humble offering.




Who knows what Year 1 will have in store for us in September and whether we’ll notice even more changes, but bring on the summer, I’m ready for a rest!

Have you noticed any major changes after your child’s first year at primary school? I’d love to know!



Cuddle Fairy
You Baby Me Mummy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

0 thoughts on “4 Things That Have Changed in Our First Year at Primary School (And 4 Things That Haven’t)

  1. Oh wow I can’t believe how much she has grown up in this first year! My third child starts school in September and I just know that this time next year she will be so much more grown up, I’m dreading it in all fairness! It sounds as though so much has changed for you both, I’m hoping to be right where you are this time next year! #BloggerClubUK

    1. I think it may just be the year I’ve witnessed the most change in her! I know what you mean but I’m sure you’re little one will be fine. I think it’s often harder for us mummies!! X

  2. Thanks for the mention! This made me nod, I can totally relate. Sounds as though we had a very similar start to school with our girls. It’s heart breaking isn’t it?! Mine is much happier now. Apart from the tiredness!

  3. Love your photo with megaphone. Never thought I’d be a shouty mum but it creeps up on you doesn’t it.
    If you want to get more info from your child, after years of experience, I find it helps if i don’t ask any direct questions and just let them be for a bit. It gives them a chance to process the long school day and then they will most likely volunteer stuff. If nothing forthcoming, i say what we’re having for dinner and ask if he had a good lunch – that normally works as a link into the school day and then he wont stop talking! Frankly if someone asks me what sort of day I’ve had, i don’t know (or can’t remember) where to start 🙂 Jo #BloggerClubUK

    1. Thanks Sarah, I think most parents seem to be in the same boat in that we have no idea what they do all day!! And yes, totally amazing what they have learnt. Got her first school report today which made me emotional! X

  4. What a big transition. I’m so glad you now no longer have to carry her kicking and screaming. It makes such a difference when they enjoy it. I’m an English teach albeit at a secondary school and I love the way you’ve photographed her work to document her progress. I teach Child Language Acquistion to my A Level Language group and we look at examples of writing all of the time to learn about stages of development.
    Potty Adventures

  5. My eldest has is also just coming to the end of her first year at school. It really is amazing how much learning they do, especially when, as you say, they do “not a lot” at school (glad I’m not the only mummy to hear this!). Also, I’m glad that Alice is settled in school now #coolmumclub

  6. This got me all excited. We are all go for SEptember – last settling in session was today, bought her uniform and book bag. Just shoes to go. I’m going to be so emotional!! Feel so proud of her already xxx
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    1. Ahhh bless! Very emotional but exciting times! We got the first ever school report today which set me off! Don’t buy the shoes until the end of August as their feet grow. Hope all goes well and you enjoy the summer. Xx

  7. She’s come on so much from not being able to write at all when starting. N’s a January birthday, and he still can’t (actually he mostly refuses) write more than a few words before getting bored. Writing thank you cards was painful, but I was surprised that he did them with only a little checking with me. His reading still isn’t the most fluid compared with most in the class, but his maths (mostly the practical stuff) is very good.

    I don’t see much of a physical change in him, compared with some children. He finished today so I was looking at his photo comparison, but apart from being a little taller I don’t see the difference. He was in virtuall full time nursery beforehand and had been since age 1, so there were probably fewer social settling in things to go through compared with children who’ve gone to totally new schools/areas (he knew 9 out of the 18 kids before going, and older children up the school.

    Glad it’s going well for Alice now. Roll on year 1, but not before a great holidays. My School Days linky goes up on Sunday (I hope), so do come and link up this post. Will be the last one before it stops for the holidays.

  8. Aw bless her, it’s amazing what they learn in a year. I’m still learning to be more organised, there is so much to remember with money for various things, homework, PE kits… maybe next year I’ll be more organised! #thelist

  9. Kids chance so much in their first years, my son moves to reception in September. I don’t know where the time has gone, I still find it hard to believe that he can now write his name and read a bit too. #KCACOLS

  10. Wow. I bet that time has flown by. It sounds like some major changes. And what a relief that Alice is happy to go to school now as it must be heartbreaking to leave your child upset.
    Don’t worry, I am HOPELESS at arts and crafts too! Your attempts looked impressive! My poor child – I need to get practising.
    I hope you all enjoy a lovely rest over the summer holidays. #KCACOLS

  11. My son also started primary this school year and yes, I’ve noticed a lot of difference too, he have learned a lot especially writing and reading skills which is amazing. Don’t worry! you’re not alone in terms of arts and crafts in school, they have a robot project in school too and I was embarrassed of how our robot turned out compared to the others,lol Lovely post and beautiful photos. She have definitely grown a lot looking at those two pictures. #KCACOLS

  12. I love this, I have actually wrote a similar post. What a year hey! She looks so different! It’s amazing what they achieve in the first year. Enjoy your time off together lovely #kcacols

  13. Wow – there IS a big difference between those two photos! She’s clearly grown up so much. It’s great that she’s enjoying school now and is learning so much. It’s amazing how quickly they pick things up – they’re like sponges! #bigpinklink

  14. My son has 4 days left and I am a big emotional puddle, I was comparing pictures the other day and when he started there was still a hint of baby, its faded now..your daughters writing by far blows his out of the water…his sentence formation is like me after a few glasses of wine! I am so happy your daughter is happy at school 🙂 Year one in September here we come!xx #thelist

  15. Aww I am so glad that she is enjoying school, it is such a weight off your mind isn’t it? Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  16. She looks so cute in her uniform. It is a big relief and win when your child actually loves to go, isn’t it? Glad that everything is going well and she’s settling down. I was so happy too when my youngest started enjoying school. I am bad at arts and craft too and I get very worried when my kids bring back projects that I have to help. #bigpinklink

  17. My twin girls have just finished nursery and I have noticed
    Lots of changes so it will be interesting next year fab post good luck with year1

  18. Ah the difference is amazing isn’t it – that’s making me want to look out the picture of Ava on her first day to compare with this week. She’s 5 too and I am most amazed by how much she can read and write, just astonishing! #bigpinklink

  19. My daughter has just finished her first year of school today, her lunch slip for next term said Otter and we’ve changed our Mummy Facebook Chat to Otter Mums. Feeling very emotional! But so right so many amazing changes. So glad you’re little one enjoys school and what a beautiful girl she is. Huge well done on her achievements this year, aren’t they amazing?! Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS Hope to see you back next time!

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