Let’s Get Pushing

For the past two years I have been consumed with mainly two things; investigating perceptions and progress in KS3, and growing a tiny, demanding human.

It is whilst on maternity leave that I have found myself mostly preoccupied with thoughts of my studies: final monies had been paid, dissertations handed in and graduation attended and done. Is that it? Are the thoughts of Key Stage 3 now gone? No. Are the ideas regarding curriculum continuities and the importance of ‘hitting the ground running’ freed from my mind? No. They are just now interspersed with the peals of laughter and occasional outbursts of an angry little bundle, demanding more milk.

I find myself making comparisons to motherhood and the associated battles in getting here; numerous scans and midwife appointments to check on growth, discussing how I’m feeling and to keep me informed of next stages and turbulent times ahead. Much like a Thursday- before-the-end-of-term parents’ evening with Year 9, discussing their current and expected progress, see that they’re happy and, often, hearing their scared, thumping heartbeats in case I tell their parents about that Friday afternoon lesson... We use this opportunity to berate about GCSEs to come and the struggles they’ll face if they don’t ‘buckle down now.’ It is, in some cases, the pre-GCSE push. The final countdown.

At my 5 day post-birth, midwife check I was told that it was never too early to practise tummy time, 5 minutes a day will make baby girl strong and help her with her next rolling over and sitting up milestones. I am, worryingly, constantly looking for the next developmental jump and achievement; applauding and encouraging the smallest of movements. Much like a particularly tough scheme of work with Year 7, attempting to push and challenge them from the very first day- should I be giving her/them a break? An easier time of it, just lying back and enjoying the relaxed pace?

I know that by practising this tummy time she will be better at sitting up, I know it will strengthen her neck and help her all round. I feel it is a stepping stone that I can compare to Year 6, the stone before the big boulders of secondary school. I know, that like previous work embedded and conquered at primary school, I can’t forget about tummy time and jump straight to the big stuff...for one she will fold like a limp noodle, but mostly because it is by taking these previous developmental stones into account that we are able to plan for the next and encourage our children (biological or assigned by teaching set) to thrive.

However, unlike motherhood and in fact labour, the one difference I find myself coming back to, is we shouldn’t wait until the end (Year 11) to push (in education...definitely wait until the end in labour!) Key Stage 3 is a Pandora’s box of opportunity, excitement and exponential time of growth- just like babies in uterine, it should be cared for, loved and definitely not forgotten.

Let’s get pushing.

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