The end of preschool and the start of school days – looking back one year on

I can’t quite believe that we’re almost at the end of Jessica’s reception year. It really doesn’t seem possible that three terms have passed by since the start of school. In that time, we’ve both grown so much. In this last year, I’ve watched Jessica learn and grow and become more confident. I’ve got to know and trust her teacher. Each morning, I’ve waved her off at the classroom door, knowing that I’m leaving her in safe hands. Each afternoon, she comes out of that door with a big smile on her face. I know that she enjoys school. I might never hear very much about it from her, but she’s happy and that’s what matters.


Starting school was such a big milestone in our lives. I still remember just how emotional I was this time last year. Wanting the time to go by as slowly as possible, while being acutely aware of just how fast those early years had flown by. That feeling that my little girl would never be as fully mine as she had been. Knowing that I needed to let her go a little, let her fly, let her grow and yet wanting to hold her closer than ever. Wanting to hang on to the days of her being little for as long as possible.


“She’ll be fine,” everyone told me. “You’ll adjust.” But still I mourned the end of those preschool days and dreaded the start of school. And now, here we are a year on. Now I’m the one saying those things to other mums whose children are leaving preschool. I’m no longer the new school mum fighting back tears at the school gate. I’m now the one looking back on the start of school, and reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned in the last year.


Jessica wearing her school summer dress - "The end of preschool and the start of school days - looking back one year on"


The last day of preschool was harder than the first day of school

I cried on both the last day of preschool and the first day of school. However, the last day of preschool hit me much harder emotionally. There was that real sense that it was the end of an era, that my baby was growing up too quickly and that everything was about to change forever.


For us, the end of preschool marked the transition point. From that point onwards, our family adventures would be limited to weekends and school holidays and our lives would revolve around term dates. Yes, to some extent that was true of preschool but as Jessica didn’t go in every day, we still had plenty of weekday adventures during term time. I still miss those days.


Jessica standing underneath a "congratulations" banner at her preschool leavers party


The new routine became the norm very quickly

It only took a few days from the start of school before we settled into the new routine of doing the school run every day. The house felt horribly quiet without Jessica for the first few days and then we got used to it. I got used to the one-to-one time with Sophie and our new routine together. When Sophie started preschool too, I started gaining some time for myself again. It’s been lovely to have a little bit of space again; to be able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and get jobs done more easily around the house.



Afternoons can be a bit crazy

The time from getting home from the school run and putting the girls to bed can feel quite hectic. There are bags to be checked, books to be read, dinner to be cooked and eaten and some days there are after-school activities to fit in too. The girls are more likely to bicker at this time of day than any other too. I think we’re all just a bit tired at this time of day which doesn’t help. Sometimes just making sure we have a few minutes just to sit and chill together makes a big difference.



Stock up on the snacks

Being hungry and being tired is never a good combination! Jessica is always hungry as soon as she gets home from school. Bananas, cereal bars, carrot/cucumber sticks with dip, toast or cheese and crackers help to keep everyone going. That said, I often hear a constant refrain of “I’m hungry, is dinner ready?” right up until dinner is served only to then hear “yuck!” when it’s on the table! Ah the joys of parenthood!


Seeing your child learn new things is amazing

Seeing how much Jessica has learned over this past year has made me so proud of her. It is lovely to see the world open up to your child as they learn to read. I remember the joy on Jessica’s face when she suddenly looked at a sign when out and about and recognised a word on it. Every time she goes up a reading level, I feel so proud.


We’re now at the stage that she writes letters and stories which are lovely to read. Some of the misspelt words make me smile. I’m getting to see her imagination opening up in a whole new way and it’s wonderful to watch.


Jessica with her platinum reading racoon certificate for having read 150 books

There are always the holidays

It is lovely to have both my girls home again in the holidays. Not having to rush to get out of the house in the mornings and being able to enjoy days out together. I find that the girls bicker a little less in the holidays too. As much as I love the time with my girls in the holidays, I have to admit that there is a little part of me that misses having the time to myself that I get during term-time.



As the end of the school year approaches though, I’ve been feeling a little more emotional. It’s not quite the big transition that we had last year, but leaving Reception feels like the end of an era too. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Jessica’s lovely teacher and I’ll miss the updates that we get on Tapestry. The end of the school year once again brings the realisation that my little girl is growing up and isn’t quite so little anymore. I suspect that each year will bring the same realisation; the same mixture of emotions and the same reminder to make the most of these precious childhood moments.


13 thoughts on “The end of preschool and the start of school days – looking back one year on

  1. This is all so true especially the end of preschool and realising the nature of being confined to it, I still find that hard, we are going into year 2 next year and I think possibly every year will be emotional for very different reasons! #Sharingthebloglove

    1. I think being restricted by terms was one of the hardest things for me. I’m beginning to realise that the end of the school year will always be emotional in one way or another. Good luck for your daughter with moving up to year 2 x

  2. I totally relate to this. This time last year, I wrote a very similar post about moving from reception to year 1 – suddenly, they’re not the babies in the school anymore and they are getting more independent all the time. I agree that the after school hours are a bit of a rush, and my little one is always hungry too – takes a lot of energy doing all that learning! #sharingthebloglove

    1. I’ll have to check out your post from last year. I think transitions are always a bit of a reflective time, aren’t they? 🙂

  3. I used to love the Tapestry updates we got at nursery, and then in reception we got 3, 1 each term. I’d not noticed we’d not had any this year. It would have been helpful because N’s had 2 teachers this year, and he’s been missing out on a lot compared to the other year 1s according to him.

    Sounds like Jessica’s been doing really well

    1. I think Tapestry just covers early years. I will miss it next year – it’s been lovely to get the updates.

  4. I can’t believe that our girls have come to the end of their first year. It has flown by! It sounds like Jessica has done amazingly well and I’m pleased to hear she comes home hungry too, as I can’t fill Alice up most days! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Glad it’s not just me that feels like they have hollow legs after school! It’s crazy how quickly this year has gone x

  5. I completely relate to this! My daughter is just finishing her reception year and all of a sudden it feels like a huge deal!! My second daughter starts reception in September, and my son the following year, so I know that I have all of this to come again! Thank you for joining us at #Sharingthebloglove

    1. Thank you. I didn’t expect to be so emotional about the end of reception but it’s another little era coming to an end!

  6. Toby is starting school in September and although he was only 4 last week I think he’s really ready for it. I am a bit sad that it means he’s growing up and for the next 14 years our lives are going to be ruled by term dates but at the same time I think he’s going to absolutely love it, and I’m looking forward to getting a bit of time with Gabe on his own, which he’s never really had before. It sounds like Jessica has had a fabulous year and I hope you enjoy the holidays together. #SharingTheBlogLove

  7. Such a touching article reflecting on the transition from preschool to school! It beautifully captures the mix of emotions and growth experienced by both parent and child. Really resonates with anyone who’s been through this journey. Thanks for sharing your heartwarming experiences

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