This week is Sport Relief. Great campaign, great cause. On Friday, immersed halfway through the school newsletter (which incidentally only gets sent via email so is often missed) there was a small paragraph instructing parents that children should ‘dress up as their favourite sports star.’ Excellent. Let’s see who my 5 year old daughter’s favourite sports star is shall we?
Answer: Sports star? What is that Mummy? Do they wear actual stars? Right then.
So, in defiance of the school demands and due to the short notice, I sent her in in her school uniform; to show them that no I would absolutely not be dictated to at the last minute like this… Except I didn’t do that. Because obviously the only person losing out then would my daughter. So again; there I was the night before desperately trying to cobble something together.
Class Assembly Demands
The previous week was worse. ‘Please can the children come in wearing explorer clothes on Friday for the class assembly…’ the email cheerily stated. Erm… What? Ok I’ll just have a dig around in my daughters dressing up box to see what I can find shall I? My 5 year old daughter who owns every single Disney Princess outfit that was ever made. My daughter who quite simply refuses to wear anything other than a dress most days. I’ll have a look to see if I can find a stray explorer hat or khaki cargo suit shall I?!
You see I’m all for making education fun, I really am. School trips even; great. Admittedly, the letter that states that the cost of the trip is voluntary and then makes it clear that you have to go to the School Business Manager with a 5 page case file about why you can’t pay if you choose not to, is slightly annoying. But still, the trips are educational and important. I get that. But jeez these dressing up days.
World Book Day Demands
I mean, we are only just getting over the stress of World Book Day (revisited obviously – the weather snowed on our parade the first time around). My daughter of course insisted that she go as Matilda as she fell in love with the dress (you see what I mean) that she saw in Tescos (obviously she caught me on a particularly weak, screaming baby and where the hell has the 3 year old gone moment). At the time I was feeling pretty smug as the costume was sorted weeks in advance. Smug until she informed me that she had to have actually read the book of the character she was going as. Shit. Oh god why didn’t I persuade her to go as the Gruffalo? Or Wheres Wally? (even better). So night after night in the weeks leading up to the big day, both my husband and I read chapters of Matilda to her. I’m not sure if anyone has ever tried reading this book to a 5 year old before but honestly, some of the analogies and metaphors in it left even me confused. And on the big day when she arrived at School, everyone just assumed she was Alice in Wonderland anyway. Sigh.
So why am I ranting about these dress up days? Well, a big bugbear I have with it is the short notice. I mean is there any chance of a bit of a heads up at the start of term maybe guys? Or even a couple of weeks before? Because being a working parent it means I have a job. A job outside of school runs and PTA requests (not that parents that don’t work aren’t busy, as let’s face it, parenting is the hardest most busiest job of all) which means that I cannot drop everything at a days’ notice to run to ‘Knit and Natter’ club to spend hours hand crafting my darling child a costume.
Alongside this, what about the financial element? Ok so we might be in a position where we can (just about) afford to do it, but what about those parents who are not? It’s all very well saying that children can dress up if they want to, but what child wouldn’t want to? What child would choose to set themselves apart from the crowd and come to school in uniform when everyone else was dressed up as explorers, or cowboys or unicorns or whatever the chosen theme for the latest dress up day was? Is this too much pressure on parents to fork out on costumes and props for fear that their child might otherwise be subject of ridicule by their peers for non-conformity? Fingers crossed the next dress up occasion is for the royal wedding as, well, I think we may have that one covered.
What do you think? Are school demands becoming too much? I would love to hear your thoughts.