Leaving Primary School: And So It Ends

Leaving Primary School
The Awesome Foursome

In a little over 36 hours, Flea’s time at primary school will be over.

Judging by the tearful child I put to bed this evening, I’m not the only one surprised by the speed with which leaving primary school has come around.

On the one hand, Flea’s excited. She’s going to a great school, she’s growing up. It’s good.

But leaving primary school means leaving the security of a school she’s attended since a few weeks after her third birthday.  That’s a scary proposition.

She’s leaving behind a really solid group of friends (aka The Awesome Foursome) who have made her primary school experience such a happy one.

And it’s raced by. The time between the photos below being taken and today? WOW, that was fast.

PicMonkey Collage
First day of pre-school, infant school and junior school. Sniff.

Tonight was one of those moments you dread as a parent.

The ones where you’ve got…. nothing. To see your child upset, and know you can’t fix it – well, I can’t be the only one who struggles with that, can I?

school friends

“It happens to everyone and it’s natural to feel sad, even though you’re excited, too,” I told her. “When you move on, the trick is to keep the very best stuff with you, and try to appreciate that you have these great memories of the things you need to leave behind.” 

I’m not sure how well that advice worked, since it just made her cry a bit more. Truth be told, we’re both having mixed feelings.

After a decade of parenting, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Your child growing up is the single best thing in the world. Your heart will practically burst out of your chest with pride as you watch them learning new things, making friends, becoming their own people and enjoying everything the world has to offer.
  • You’ll love being a part of that journey. You won’t want it to stop; far from it. But you’ll want it to go on forever.
  • Being a parent means it’s entirely possible for half of your heart to be thrilled by the ten year old they are today while missing the nine-year-old they were yesterday. For every fantastic moment in the present or future, there’s an equally lovely moment in the past you’ll never get to revisit.

So yeah, I can empathise with Flea at the moment. Maybe a little too much.

The world feels off-kilter at the moment. Wider events are making the grown up world feel a bit ominous these days, and I have an urge to retreat into familiar places and faces. I’m excited for Flea’s future, while feeling nostalgic for a present that we haven’t left behind quite yet.

Deep breath time. I know leaving primary school is something we all go through. And this is an important skill for Flea to learn – how to adapt to change, to make new friends, while cherishing the old ones. Better learned now than later. I have made the right decision. I think. I’m confident she will settle into her new school well, when the time comes. She’s going to have a fantastic time.

In the meantime, I want to do what I can to make the transition, and leaving primary school, a little easier. Arranging definite dates to see friends. Planning holidays and family activities to keep her occupied. Helping her to look forward rather than back. But, oh, it’s hard to see something painful coming and know you can’t swerve.

Any tips?




8 thoughts on “Leaving Primary School: And So It Ends”

  1. So much of what you say in this post is familiar to me! We’re a year on from this and it’s been such an emotional time – one of the biggest transitions we’ve gone through so far. My 12yo had a hard time adjusting to secondary after the cosy world of primary, and although things are now coming good one of the consequences is that she’s grown up so much in these short few months. Out have gone the cuddly toys and all the last remnants of being a little girl, in has come handbags, lipstick, Snapchat and sassiness. She’s still lovely but I do grieve for what’s disappeared. All I can say is cherish the time you have before the big change and then prepare to celebrate the lovely young woman Flea will start to become as she begins this new stage of life. x

  2. Aww I’m going through this with my own daughter! I feel a lot more pain than she does though. My daughter is incredibly excited about her new school, but I don’t think the reality of leaving (she’s got a couple of weeks left) has hit her yet. I’ve been through it before with my son who’s 17 and I was distraught when he left Primary School. I sometimes think it’s worse for US! I know from experience that once high school hits, they change rapidly. (be prepared!). But Flea will embrace it… it’s a very exciting time for them. She’ll most likely not look back as her mega exciting high school life starts! I think you’re doing the right thing by arranging lots of play dates over the summer with her old friends and be sure to remind her that she can still them all whenever she likes so really nothing will change! Once the actual ‘leaving’ school has occurred she will be much happier and having lots of fun planed for Summer sounds amazing! Hope you have a great time together xx

  3. I have two years before I go through this with my daughter, so I am afraid I have no words of wisdom, other than to say I think you’re handling this really well with Flea, and I’ve tucked a few things you’ve said away in my brain to drag out when I need them in the future. Kids are really resilient, and Flea has a very sensible head on her shoulders. She (and you) will cope, adjust and, I am sure, thrive.

  4. I am in a similar position. My little one will start secondary school next year and I am already panicking. Time flies so fast. However, I am also excited. There will be new experiences and memories collected.

  5. I did this two years ago with my daughter and she’s never looked back. The friends she said she’d keep in touch with are now just people who she exchanges messages with on Instagram every now and again and she’s gone from knowing no-one in her new school to being a confident young woman with a lot of friends who are there for her when she needs them. It was genuinely the best decision I made.

    Then there’s my 11 year old who is doing the same thing but I’m not sure yet if it’s going to be as smooth for him. He started last week (they have a 3 week transition) and although he’s made some friends already, it just doesn’t seem as easy as it was for his sister. I know it’ll all be good but you can’t help but worry about them. On the plus side, he now has a girlfriend and a date for his Year 6 prom. 😉

  6. It will be a very emotional time for her but she will soon make new friends and hopefully will be able to keep in touch with her Awesome Foursome!

  7. This must be so hard! I’m going through it a little with my daughter, who’s leaving behind her beloved pre-school (it really is a wonderful place – one-in-a-million) and starting primary. All the parents were in tears on their last day. My daughter doesn’t really understand what’s coming….

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