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By Jocie Ferron

Blink and you will miss it!

"Miss what?" you ask. Well, summer in Canada of course. Such a wonderful season, idyllic really, but it flies by so quickly you can almost forgive the mosquitoes as they must be just as excited by the warm weather.

We made the most of every day, enjoying the sun until it set at 10pm, eating BBQs on the deck, camping and hiking, exploring provincial parks and walking beaches, and let’s not forget eating as many s’mores as we could!

It seems that finally, a couple of months after our big move across Canada, life has slowed and settled down and those FIFO days are now few and far between.

The new house is starting to feel like home, we have our garden beds ready for next year's spring planting, and the new town is feeling increasingly familiar. The boys have made fast friends with some of the neighbourhood kids and although we still have the occasional "I miss my friends, our old house and our old town," those too are becoming fewer. 

As the saying goes, every good thing must come to an end and so it did with summer. But as much as I love those summer days, there is nothing quite like fall and its a Canadian season I have fallen in love with.

There is something so wonderful about going to the orchards and picking pumpkins and apples, seeing turkey paraphernalia everywhere in anticipation for Thanksgiving, and let’s not forget every kid’s favourite day: Halloween.

The days begin to grow shorter and the mornings crisper with the occasional frost; the beautiful red, orange and yellow colours of the maple trees begin in earnest, and an exciting time of the year arrives for many parents … school begins!!

Our eldest boy couldn't have been more excited about starting school. Turns out it was the exact opposite for our youngest.

Being a shy kid in new situations, the thought of kindergarten was terrifying and I don’t think he could quite comprehend what was about to happen. Add to that the thought of leaving mum for school… woah! I began to worry that he wouldn't even set foot on the big yellow school bus, and instead have a five-year-old meltdown on the side of the road.

So the first day of school arrived, and with his new school bag and lunchbox in tow, we walked down to the bus stop. I could tell he was nervous but I was a proud mama when off he walked with his big brother confidently to the bus stop (meanwhile I was still formulating Plan B in case he decided to have a bus meltdown). So we wait at the bus stop, and wait, and wait and wait… and no bus turned up!

Here I was so worried he wouldn’t get on the bus. It never even occurred to me the bus wouldn’t show up. So Plan B of taking the car ended up happening regardless … sometimes life has to make you laugh.

Day 1 turned out to be great, he loved it! Day 2 there was a bus, and school was even better. Now off he runs to the bus stop every morning, excited to be out the door. Here’s hoping our upcoming trip to Australia runs as smoothly and the plane shows up!

So here are some ideas for helping a kid with that big milestone of starting school.

  • Talk about it! Be positive, enthusiastic, watch shows about kids going to school, read books about it. We spent time looking on YouTube for different videos of kids getting on the bus, or doing things at school to help him see that it is something many kids do. I also got his big brother to tell him stories about school and what he liked about going.
  • Go to the school. We had only just moved here so the school was new to both kids. I was able to organise with his kindergarten teacher a time we could come in and meet her, see the classroom and have a tour of the school. We had a lucky day as we also were able to meet the big brother's teacher and see his classroom as well. He was pretty excited to be the first kid to see where he was sitting and what the classroom looked like.
  • Do an introduction program. Some schools have an introduction program for children starting the following year, including special activities, tours of the school and the kids get to ride on the big yellow school buses. As we had just moved we had missed all those days but it was great to be able to get in and meet his teacher regardless.

More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.