It was my daughter’s last day of nursery on Friday! She has been going full time since she was 14 months old (when I had a delayed return to work after maternity leave due to needing to find another job). She’s had a lovely time at nursery and learnt a lot; I will never forget when she was cast as Mary in the nativity play and insisted on wearing a princess dress (because her friend playing the Innkeeper was also wearing a princess dress) then all the children froze onstage and wouldn’t say any of their lines. Or feeding the animals with her in the morning – the nursery has pigs, goats, chickens and rabbits!
She has progressed into a really bright, confidential, sociable little girl who is looking forward to starting school – we will miss nursery but she is ready for her next adventure!
The nursery held a summer party at the end of July which included a little graduation ceremony for Sophie’s class and they all got a personalised t-shirt with the names of all the pre-schooler class on the back which will be a lovely keepsake.
When it came to Sophie’s actual last day I wanted to do something to mark the occasion and get her a gift. In the end I got two gifts, one for her last day at nursery and the other for her first day at school.
In Germany there is a tradition where children get a Schultute – a ‘school cone’ – on the first day of school. I remember seeing these in the shops when I was an au pair in Germany many years ago. It’s a way of marking the transition to school and giving the children a treat – they receive a large cardboard cone filled with sweets, small toys and school supplies.
I looked on the internet to see if I could buy an empty cone to fill; the only ones I could find were about £15 and while I was still thinking about it, I came across this Surprise Cone in the on site supermarket at Butlin’s! It was a good size and £4.99, pre filled. Of course I didn’t know what was in it when I bought it so it was a surprise for me as well as my daughter – she really liked it.
It contained a set of a pink jewel necklace, earrings and ring; a pack of soft plastic bracelets; a packet of loom bands; a pack of three hair bands; a weird thing that is either a very long thin flag or – my daughter’s idea – a road you can unroll to walk My Little Ponies along; a small colouring book and pack of crayons and a mini pack of Haribo sweets. The latter three are very cheap party bag favours you can get online for about 25p each but the weird flag thing (if anyone knows what this is please let me know!) and the jewellery set were each marked as £1.99 so in total the contents were a fair value for the price I paid for the cone, and hopefully I can keep the cardboard cone to use again.
I’ve also got Sophie a present for when she starts school – the Dr. Seuss book ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’. Apparently a popular gift for school leavers at all levels in the US, I’m not a huge fan of Dr. Seuss normally but I love the sentiment in this book. It’s about being at the start of a journey – school, adult life, etc (it’s deliberately left open) and begins ‘Congratulations, today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!’
It talks about soaring to great heights and achieving wonderful things but also dealing with setbacks and disappointments. It’s beautifully written and the words are timeless – we chose a 30th anniversary collectors’ edition of the book that came in a box as I think it will make a lovely keepsake.
You can also get cheaper paperback versions so if you are looking for a starting school gift check this out!