By Sara Leach
Biologically speaking, in September we should start hunkering down for winter — collecting our cold weather stores and getting ready for the months to come.
And yet for those of us who have spent as many as 20 years in the school system, September is a time of renewal. With Labour Day comes a chance to start fresh and to get organized. Many of us, whether or not we have children in school, see this as the time for resolutions, perhaps more so than New Year’s Day.
We know back-to-school time is when parents get their kids in order, but what about parents themselves? It turns out September is a kind of “back to school” for adults too. Following two months of living outside, we come back to our homes and offices and get them ready for the cold months ahead. It is a time to get organized, get back to unfinished projects and return to regular routines.
For some, Labour Day is a time of celebration. According to Libby McKeever, library assistant at Whistler Secondary School, parents often look forward to September because “the kids are going back to school and the parents, who have been immersed in kids all summer — the constant snack parade and endless beach towels — will get back to their adult routine.”
For McKeever, September means a return to work in the school system. “It’s a rebirth, more so than the first of January, which doesn’t mean anything. At school I’m ready for the new crop of Grade 8s to come. I’m also excited for the Grade 12s. It’s the start of their final year. The kids that you’ve seen all the way through are now at the top of the school.”
Labour Day can be a time of mixed emotions for parents of children heading to kindergarten for the first time. There is anxiety about the new routines, new friends to be made, new pitfalls ahead. And an awareness that this is for the long term — five days of school a week for the next 13 years.
But also, for some parents, especially those who have stayed home with their kids part or full-time, there is anticipation of more freedom, and a return to routines after the laxness of summer.
Shirley Iida’s son heads to kindergarten this fall. She is looking forward to the start of school. “When September comes, it feels like a weekday is coming. I like weekdays, because there’s a schedule.”
Iida is excited for this big step in her son’s life. “They say the first five years are the most important for moulding a child, but school is important, too.”