In an attempt to prevent the usual flurry that accompanies the first morning back at school after the holidays, I was up late locating school hats and missing drink bottles when I discovered this: a 6 year-olds school back-pack full of things gathered during the holidays. There were sticks, gum nuts, a large stone, lumps of charcoal, acorns, autumn leaves, bottle tops, a peg, bits of wire, a rusty horseshoe, a knight and a dragon. Evidence of holidays spent outdoors, of adventures experienced and treasures found along the way.
When the owner of the bag discovered the next morning that his treasures had been unpacked, his immediate response was “where are my sticks?”. Tempting though it was, I know this little fellow better than to throw out his treasures. Even the sticks, it seems, have a particular character and use – as a wand, a staff, or, in this case, as a barricade in a tree house.
Instead of being glad when the kids return to school after the holidays, I usually feel quite heavy-hearted that the days of freedom are at an end, that it is time to return to classroom-based learning and a rigid curriculum. We all cherish the holiday freedom which allows the kids to immerse themselves in the forests and creeks that surround our home, or sometimes further afield. Days to ride and climb. Days to linger and read. Days to wander and explore. Days of sticks and dragons.
Fortunately the kids don’t appear to share my feelings, and seem happy enough when the start of term swings around again, and excited about swapping holiday stories with their friends. How do you feel when it is time for the kids to return to school?