First day of school


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

And just like that, Frankie has started national school. Or, as she calls it herself, ‘big school’.
Monday, August 30 was her first day at Sáile NS on Achill Island and as I write on Friday morning, she is as excited today about going as she was at the start of the week. I don’t think she will be too happy to wake up on Saturday and find out there’s no school.
She has two years of naíonra behind her so the routine is not a challenge.
Still, it can be daunting going into a school with so many kids much older, and bigger, than you.
Thankfully, that was never going to be an issue for Frankie. When you drop her into the school yard she will go over talking to whoever she sees first, big or small. She has never been backwards in coming forward.
The very same day Éamon started naíonra, a big step for him. He’s three today (Friday) so it is possibly more daunting for him going into a classroom environment than Frankie going from there to national school.
Thankfully he hasn’t baulked just yet.
It’s hard to believe that Frankie is already in national school though. You’d always see other parents talk about how that time flies and wonder. When you walk that road, you know.
As a wise woman told me at the start of our parenting journey, ‘the days are long but the years are short’.
Frankie is blessed too that she’s in a Junior Infants class with nine other kids. There’s exactly five girls and five boys. Such numbers in one year in one school in Achill are very uncommon. Most schools are two teacher schools with anything from 20 to 50 kids.
Obviously with lower numbers comes a better teacher pupil ratio but there’s a lot to be said for having a good few peers there too.
Frankie has already got into the swing of homework. She loves it, in fact. We’ll see how long that lasts!
Aisling, as a national school teacher herself, is able to keep a more watchful eye than me and we’re establishing one rule from the get go – get it done as soon as you are home. I was the world’s worst for procrastinating with my homework, well with most things in fact. I was often finishing it over breakfast the next morning.
She’s already learning plenty too. She came home from her first day and told us ‘we live on earth’. Éamon was quick to attempt to correct her: ‘no we don’t, we live in Dooega’. Well it is the centre of his world.
Both of their worlds are expanding and their minds with it.  

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.