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A camping she will go…

Miss e changed schools late last year and we have been delighted.  The hour long circuit on the two-school run, twice daily, is a challenge with baby in tow but it is a small price for happy kids. Her new school suits her personality much better. She has divine teachers who allow her creativity to be channeled and have no problem with her “reaching for the stars” academically.

Miss e has never been happier, living life with a skip in her step. And to top it all off, she is going on her first school camp next month. She was so excited to learn that at this school, they have camps from year 1! It is an independant school which has a parent council. From what I can gather, parents, and whole families in fact, have attented with their children in the earlier years. This year the notes came home and a reference was made that given the children are learning independence (we are talking year 4), minimal parent helpers are required. I ran this by Miss e to gauge her feelings, especially as she has been at the school less than a year. She gently and thoughtfully reassured me that she would be fine to go alone, ably helped by big sister with “Camps are no fun with your parents tagging along.” Miss e said, ” I hope you don’t mind Mum, but can you not come?” My chest filled with pride as I witnessed evidence that we were successfuly raising happy and confident kids.

So last week I was in miss e’s class at school drop off – a rare occurrence as master x usually falls asleep before we arrive at her school. We trooped in to be shown her latest work examples and allow her to explain to us all she has been doing. At the bell, the class went to assembly, and given I had not met many parents, I took the opportunity to meet with six mums still in the classroom. The Camp was being discussed. I listened as mums explained how their children were still so little and therefore not going to camp alone, so they had booked accommodation for the whole family close to the camp location. How they were uprooting 15 month old twins, a husband would miss rehab following his recent stroke, siblings would miss their own schooling, just so that one parent could be attending the camp at any one time! They discussed concerns about the teacher driving the school bus the 2 hours to get to the camp location. No, they couldn’t be certain the teacher could be responsible for such a long journey, so they opted to drive their own kids!

So I left the school doubting my parenting skills for a nanosecond. Was I pushy in promoting independence? Was I naiive to leave my child in the care of her teachers for longer than a 6 hour period? Was I wrong to believe she could have a great time without me ‘hovering’? Of  course not. I want her to be confident, capable, trusting, adventurous and especially happy.

Yesterday we had the formal camp meeting with the teachers. It became evident that many parents were intending to attend camp, and drive their kids. Some that were not attending wanted friends to drive their kids. Not sure what statistics they had checked to learn that there are more bus crashes than car crashes when driving to a country location??? Anyway the meeting finished and my only concern was whether miss e would be sitting solo on the bus with all the luggage?

Oh, and the other issue raised was whether kids could take their DS to camp? Permission was given to play them on the bus, but they would be collected at camp. Couple of parents had a problem with this – what if their kid got bored? They couldn’t be expected to play outside if it was hot. Crikey! What kind of kids are we raising here? Did I dare mention that my kids don’t own DS? Not for financial reasons either. When we go on car rides, we talk, play word games, read books, sing songs. And to think they will get bored at a camp?! The itinerary is chockas with cave tours, working farm visit, beach games, the list goes on. Whatever happened to hanging with your friends? Playing chasey, charades, telling jokes and being kids? Oh that’s right, the child/parent ratio may inhibit this.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, miss e is oblivious to the politics and planning her suitcase….


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