A learning journey begins...

The past week was a nervous one for me. Last Monday I, like many parents, took my five year old daughter in for her first day of Primary one. 

In preparation, the night before I read her the book ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss, where the opening words are:

"Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

Words I felt were very appropriate given what was ahead of her the following day. 

On Monday morning she was very excited, I on the other hand had a mixture of fear, excitement, nerves and pride. We had long talks about how much fun school would be and she could not wait to meet her teacher and make new friends.

So why was I nervous? With our work at Winning Scotland Foundation, we talk about learning life lessons all the time - this was a perfect opportunity for my daughter to challenge herself in a new environment with new people.

Then it struck me – she was excited by this challenge, she was happy to put herself out of her comfort zone, meet new people and learn new things. Of course I am proud of my daughter, but knowing that on her first day of school she walked in with a growth mindset and was willing to embrace challenge, made me walk just that little bit taller.

I was further encouraged when the Head Teacher stood up in front of the pupils and parents to explain that this is the first day of their learning journey, one that would have its ups and downs, but one she assured us would be fun!

But watching my daughter join her cohort of classmates I couldn’t help thinking about the barriers that she may face and how this may impact on her willingness to face such challenges in the future. Despite having two children, we have never been given a manual on how to parent nor have we been given training on how to support our children when they face challenges, however I can honestly say that the work I am involved with at Winning Scotland Foundation is the closest I have found to supporting my role as a parent.

Learning from our work with world renowned researchers has helped me to understand some of the signs to look for along the developmental journey of my children, it’s not easy, but it taught me to go against my natural instinct – the one I have to wrap my little girl in cotton wool and never let her out of my sight. Understanding the research gives me confidence that allowing her to face struggle (such as she will face at school) will make her a better person, the challenge for me as a parent is to know what to do when she faces these struggles – but then this is also part of my learning journey! 


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