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DD starts school in September. I'm getting it all wrong...

(96 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Sun 18-Aug-13 00:56:24

So, Have started to look at the uniform stuff. confused

First question. Is there any rule about when she can wear summer dresses? She's a hot thing, and looking at the rest of the uniform, I can't really see her in anything else for most/all of the year.

Second question. It isn't clear whether she should have a jumper or cardigan. She has enough buttons on her dress so assuming she's going to stick with that, so can she wear a jumper, or are they only for boys. Not clear.

Next question. Letter says must have a standard size lunch box. WTF is a standard size?

Next question. Letter says must have ice-packs/cooler things in lunch box. REALLY? Why?

Next question. Must have clear water bottle with name on. I'm guessing we don't need to get branded water or does it have to be unopened so that they know it is just water and no juice added? That will be a bit expensive right? Can I just refill it each day and write her name on with permanent marker?

littleducks Sun 18-Aug-13 14:16:39

I wouldn't worry too much. Though my kids do have tonnes to take to and from school.

A normal packed lunch box as sold in all the shops will do. I would consider one with a strap so she can carry it herself (unless you still use a buggy for another child and can chuck it all on that) and space for the non lunch waterbottle inside for the journeys to and from school. We use small bottles in winter but I do send them with 500ml bottles in summer as classrooms do get hot.

I'm sure she won't be too hot in a skirt/thin trousers (all girls uniform trousers are thinner material than boys) and short sleeved shirt (not polo actual shirt, teach her to unbutton two/three buttons then pull over her head) with a jumper cardigan about to fufill rules but not to wear if genuinely hot.

She will need a decent winter coat, if she doesn't get cold it doesn't need to be really thick but certainly waterproof.

NarkyNamechanger Sun 18-Aug-13 16:01:44

Sorry lougie where does it say OP's first child goes to a special school? I must have missed that bit. I just think some people over think things (probably myself included in that sometimes ) and make bigger issues over tiny details which can stress you out for an already stressful period of time.

In other words , don't sweat the small stuff. smile

SpinningSpider Sun 18-Aug-13 16:08:26

DD1 has just finished reception and she left her wellies at school the whole year. So she had a pair at home and a pair at school, we didn't lug them back and forth.

Her water bottle was sent in on a Monday and sent home on a Friday. The same as her PE kit.

I am shocked a child has got to the age of 5 and has never had gloves or a hat. DD2 is a warm child but I still buy them for her so on very cold days they are available if she wants them.

DD1 is a very cold child and would quite happily wear 2 vests to school in the winter if I let her so I do know some children are hotter than others but I can't imagine not kitting dd2 out properly for winter because I consider her a 'warm child'.

Everyone gets cold in the snow/freezing temps surely?

When dd1 was in nursery I got fed up of replacing hats and gloves at expense to me so I went into the £1 shop where they sell plenty of 'magic gloves' which fit all sizes and they even do hats. That way I wasn't at all bothered if they didn't make it home. School seems to be more organised and we haven't lost anything this year miraculously.

OldRoan Sun 18-Aug-13 16:14:10

On a recent teaching placement there was a little girl who wore her summer uniform into October/November and the school called home to check everything was alright. Not saying summer uniform = neglect, but don't be alarmed if school do call. If you can justify it, and there are no rules against it, do what your DD is happiest in.

I was a 'hot' child too, and we had to be in winter uniform (complete with scratchy jumpers on bare skin - too hot in a vest) from October half term. I felt so sad when she came in the next day in a top and trousers, as if her parents wanted to prove they had the uniform.

Adikia Sun 18-Aug-13 16:27:01

DDs school are allowed to go in summer uniform in September but everyone has to be in winter uniform after half term.

wellies stay in school so if they are outside in bad weather they don't then tread mud over the carpets. DD also has to have a fleece and a painting apron with elasticated sleeves, which stay on her peg with her PE kit.

we have 2 sets of uniform ( i don't have a tumble dryer so need time for stuff to dry).

I haven't got ice packs as I never had them at school so hadn't thought of it, but DD doesn't like youghurt so she's not really got anything to keep cold anyway. Mum used to freeze my drinks bottle in the summer though so it would be just melting and nice and cold by lunch time.

The water bottles are in case they get thirsty during lessons. we use a see through mineral water bottle with a sports cap and her name written on it, which I refill.

They won't let children play outside in the cold weather without either their fleece or a coat at DDs school and they are not allowed out in the snow without gloves.

and yes my brothers and sisters and I all had clean, fresh uniform everyday when i was at school, we only had 2 sets each but mum washed stuff every day.

Adikia Sun 18-Aug-13 16:40:44

Oh and don't worry so much about getting confused and not being psychic, i have had to ask so many questions to work it all out and only found out in the last term of pre-school that she was meant to have indoor shoes, she'd been there everyday for 2 years!

lougle Sun 18-Aug-13 16:41:43

Narky - I'm sorry, you're right, it doesn't say that OP's first child goes to special school. I should read more carefully.

1805 Mon 19-Aug-13 12:09:25

OP - how many sets of clothes did dd wear for Nursery each week? That should guide you to work out how many dresses she'll need/how much washing you'll need to do. I would seriously get at least one summer and one grey set. Grey skirt and polo in the summer is fine, summer dress in winter will raise eyebrows.

As with nursery - ask when PE is and make sure dd will be able to dress/undress independently. Most schools do PE in bare feet.

The school will probably have spare wells your dd can use. Again, ask.

Our primary has strict hat rule in winter/cold weather.

Water bottles do not have to cost a lot, as others have said, just re-use a bottle you have.

I remember being confused when ds started school - so many questions!!!!

She might need a school book bag too??

And separate indoor shoes??

I also have seen packed lunches sitting in sunlight getting quite hot. I used the frozen yoghurt tube idea too. And a separate drink for lunch inside the lunch bag.


teacherwith2kids Mon 19-Aug-13 15:49:30

Just to add - I'm a little puzzled about the clothes storage issue. Once she is at school, she will need next to no 'non school' clothes (DS, ever since he has started school, has had 1 pair of non-school trousers or shorts, 2 T-shirts and a hoodie. Socks etc same for both. OK there's transition from '7 days wearing home clothes' to '5 school, 2 home' but once that is stabilised then you won't have to have any more clothes than you do at the moment. If your DD currently has 1 dress to last her through the week at home, then she will only need 1 at school. If you actually give her a different one mid-week- or even every day or every other day - then buy the same amount of school uniform for the 5 days as you have home clothes for 5 days.

How do you carry food / drink out on outings now? I can't quite imagine managing to get to this age without a water bottle of some kind - certainly we never left the house without one once they were weaned - or anything to carry food in on an outing?

Ladymuck Mon 19-Aug-13 15:54:39

Ds2 has never worn his school jumper - the school is far too hot. You might want to hold off buying this, and instead send her in with a waterproof coat when the weather requires it. She's unlikely to get cold int he classroom - it is just about what she needs outside.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 15:58:39

My kids currently have 8 tops and 8 bottoms each (4 long and 4 short). This is to ensure we can survive a camping week holiday without doing a wash and for that reason won't be able to be reduced. They don't have any other clothes except for the odd party dress or dress shirt.

The baby has more though.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 16:00:32

How do you carry food / drink out on outings now?

confused I dunno!!!

Perhaps an old mineral bottle chucked under the pram. Baby always has his water in a tommee tippee cup and I guess the rest of us just don't drink much. We certainly don't snack.

CockyFox Mon 19-Aug-13 16:05:36

I really think the minimum you need is two sets, one to wash one to wear, if you just get one and your DD has an accident you might not be able to get it clean and dry for the next day because even if you are ok with paint spills, pen marks, spilt food etc you can't put her in a wee covered dress.
I don't have loads of space the two children share a single wardrobe DH put an extra rail inside it.

runningonwillpower Mon 19-Aug-13 16:18:17

Can I just say, what's the worst that can happen if you get it wrong?

Most, if not all, schools are parent friendly and there are people there (usually the nice lady in the office) who will explain everything you need to know. And the same nice lady in the office will point you in the right direction on the inevitable days when you forgot/didn't understand/got it wrong.

It's only school - it's not a labour camp.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 16:22:46

I dunno. I've really not had a very good experience with schools so far. My eldest is on his 5th.

I really don't want to have any reason to fall out with this one.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 16:24:07

The 'nice lady in the office' told me that they could make no allowances for the fact that ds's special school wanted us to attend on his first day which happened to be when dd's home visit was, and that therefore she would miss her home visit, tough.

Changedtopost Mon 19-Aug-13 16:25:22

I work as a TA and would say that if you are not sure, pop in or give the school a call, there will be somebody in the week before they start, if not already.

From my own experience, your dd may be better going to school in her 'winter' uniform, with a polo and cardi. I would say 98% if not more of the kids, start in September in this. Unless it is really, really hot, then you may get a few in summer dresses. Your dd will stand out if she wears a summer dress all through the winter. Maybe you could get one dress and then see what the others have on, but I can almost guarantee unless it is a heatwave it will be skirts and shirts - even little ones want to be the same as everyone else on their first day, so please don't send her in a summer dress the first day!

Boys generally wear jumpers, girls cardis. ideal if your dd is a 'hot' child. They take cardis off and have their polos on. You will need a top for each day (unless you like washing), as reception are a mucky lot! bottoms can last longer, but I wouldn't count on more than two days!

The reason they say 'standard' size lunchbox, is because 30 large bags, or rucksacks, take up hell of a lot of room in class. I bet you several people will bring them in with plastic boxes inside! We try and encourage the small plastic ones with handles on (usually with a character on too), as they are stackable - too may parents send in huge bags, which the little ones find hard to carry too. Putting an icepack or frozen frube in, is to keep them cool. We cannot put lunchboxes in the fridge and they will be sitting in (what is sometimes a hot) classroom for several hours and believe me, food in plastic containers sweats!

Waterbottles can be anything, from actual bought water (cheap ones from Tesco are ideal and can be refilled), or proper ones, make sure a name is on it - black marker pen is fine. Same for any snack - write names on everything, even bananas! Water bottles are usually put in a box for the children to access throughout the day.

Forget anything else for first day, apart from lunch and water bottle - don't even take a bag unless the school have given you one. The less they come in with, the easier it is to send them home. A folder will be sent with a reading book in when they are ready, or the teacher will ask you to supply one in due course. Wellies can wait for a week or so, get a cheap pair and use a peg - write their name on wellies and peg, to keep them together. They will stay in school.

PE kit needs to be easy to put on and on PE day - your teacher will tell you which day - if not ask!! - ensure your daughter has socks on - not tights.

I would suggest first day you take PE Kit in and ask the teacher if they need it and what day it is. Usually you will get it at the end of the week to bring home and wash - although one school I was at, it only got sent home at the end of term!!!

Don't stress, all she needs is her uniform, her lunch and water bottle, along with PE Kit just in case. Just make sure everything is labled.

The first week is a steep learning curve for everyone and don't worry about asking the teacher or the TA if you are not sure - we are used to it honest!

GooseyLoosey Mon 19-Aug-13 16:35:58

I would say to start in the winter uniform too. IME most reception children will be wearning that and that way dd will look the same as the other children. You can move to summer dresses after.

Changedtopost Mon 19-Aug-13 16:38:23

Oh and about lunches. I worked at a school that had sandwiches for reception for the first term.

The reason was that some of the very little ones found it very difficult to do dinner themselves i.e. go up with their tray etc. and it was all a bit overwhelming. They also didn't eat much, even with the dinner ladies hovering and helping. Having packed lunch for the first few weeks ensures they will at least eat something they like from home and gives them time to adjust to the noise and busyness of the dinner hall.

We also used to invite parents in to have dinner with the kids, it shows them how it all works and the sorts of meals that are delivered. Most parents liked this and didn't see it as a 'chore' to be endured! The children then moved onto dinners if they wanted to and we more confident as they had seen how it all worked.

Sorry OP, but I get the impression that you are already being a bit negative about your dd's school and how they are doing things, maybe save your judgement until she actually starts and give everyone a chance?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 16:46:29

I don't think I'm negative about the school unduly. I like the fact that they have dd starting on the first day for reception, and it's a whole day.

I am less happy that they refused her a home visit because we were bound by our duties to our disabled son the day they wanted to come and weren't able to accommodate a move to another time.

I just don't like faff. I don't own a handbag, purse, umbrella, willies, winter hat, gloves, scarf, summer hat, sunscreen etc. of my own and never have and all of a sudden I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. And on top of that I have to make a flippin packed lunch every day AND carry that in as well.

I'll get over all the faff though, but will remain wary until this school show themselves not to be as hostile and unfriendly as a number of ds' previous schools. Not really helped by their unhelpfulness in refusing us a home visit where some of these things could be ironed out or explained.

BabyILoveYou Mon 19-Aug-13 16:52:22

Home visits are practically useless anyway. You can't seriously expect a teacher to accommodate every single parent's preferred time.

Winter hats, gloves, scarfs, sunhats and suncream are not faff... they're essential for children.

Freeze the lunches at the start of the week.

NarkyNamechanger Mon 19-Aug-13 17:01:15


StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 17:01:42

I never expected teachers to accommodate any 'preferred time'.

But 9am on the morning my disabled son starts another school and where parents are required has hardly anything to do with preference. Medical appointments, work commitments and holidays can be changed, but unless my dd's school are free and easy with allowing days off themselves, they should understand the situation with ds and accommodate it IMO.

And a home visit might not be important to you, but to us it helps to bridge gaps and ask questions and get a bit more 'feel' for what is expected as I have already mentioned, I don't tend to 'get' things that seem obvious to everyone else.

And I gave up with hats and gloves when my first screamed like a banshee for having them on and suffered no ill-effects from throwing them off.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 19-Aug-13 17:09:37

Anyway, the home visit thing is sorted as I bumped into her teacher at something else and she confirmed that despite the office promising to pass on our request for time change, they never did and she is more than happy to come at another time.

Suppose that is why I am a bit cross with the 'school'. Though not the teacher, obviously.

curlew Mon 19-Aug-13 17:09:40

My children never wore winter hats, gloves (unlss it was actually snowing) or scarves- it never caused a problem. Sun hat and sunscreen-you will have to get your head round those, I'm afraid.

I would have talked directly to your dd's prospective teacher about the home visit- I would be amazed if the time couldn't have been changed under the circumstances.

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