I know everyone says the same thing, but seriously – where has this school year gone?!
It only seems like a couple of months ago I was leading Lil Sis nervously into her new classroom. We’d been on the waiting list at our preferred school for an entire year, when – quite unexpectedly – we received a letter during the school holidays to say a place had become free, and did we want to take it?
Did we ever.
This charming little village school was the same one I’d driven past a thousand times, and could literally visualise my children in. I’d gone to their open day for Big Sis but – as we weren’t quite in catchment – she was allocated a place at another school a little further away instead.
But then Big Sis got a place at the linked middle school, and it became even more important to me that Lil Sis joined reception at the infant version. She’d attended the nursery that fed on to the school, so I was hopeful – but, again, we were foiled by boundary lines and a big intake of kids that year.
So when she was offered a place in Year 1, we were thrilled. It meant taking her away from her tight-knit group of girl friends, but we’d already discovered she was being separated from them in the new school year anyway (the only one out of the five of them to be placed in another class), so that took the sting out of it.
She’s such a confident girl, but I’ll never forget how nervous she was on that first morning, clinging to my hand as the other students all turned to stare at ‘the new girl’. Luckily, she recognised several faces from nursery, and I felt her grip relax a little.
It took her a good two terms to truly settle in and find her place in a class where friendships had already been firmly forged, but she’s now found her ‘tribe’ and she’s perfectly happy and content.
Of course it wouldn’t have been nearly so smooth without the support of her two teachers (who shared the role). We contributed towards a class present, but also wanted to give them some teachers’ gifts that were a bit more personal, and really showed how much we appreciated them.
When we first moved in to our house six years earlier, I planted some tiny lavender plugs that I’d (rather randomly) bought off Ebay. They’re pretty much the first thing I’ve managed to successfully grow, and now they line our driveway in big, fragrant bushes.
Which gave us the idea to make homemade lavender pouches for their teachers’ gifts – you know, the kind you pop inside your drawers to make everything smell delicious. The girls started by cutting lavender flowers from the bushes.
We spread them on an oven tray and baked them in the oven – I checked every 10 minutes or so, but in the end it took about an hour on 100 degrees, with the door open a crack to release moisture – until they had dried out.
Next I removed all the stalks (on reflection, I should have had the girls de-head the lavender, rather than cut the stalks) and crumbled up the flowers. The drying process had preserved their pretty purple colour, and the smell was just divine.
Then it was time to fill the pouches (I’d bought some little organza bags off Ebay for under £2), which the girls took very seriously – each held three teaspoons, before pulling the satin ribbon tight.
I’d printed photos of the pouch-making process, which we cut out and mounted on some light cardboard. By hole punching the top corners I was able to also string our little ‘behind-the-scenes’ picture book to the pouch. Finally, we added a name tag, and our home-made, personalised lavender pouch teachers’ gifts were complete.
What do you think?