A six year old was dropped off at our house by a Social Worker on a Friday afternoon.
It was the last day of the summer holidays and our two birth kids were preparing to go into Year 6 and Year 4 at the Local Primary, which was a 2 minute walk from our semi detached, pebble dashed home.
The Social Worker gave us as much background information as she had. We knew the little boy had been in and out of care since he was 3, but it was difficult to say what the long term plan was. We knew he was ‘lively’ with ‘some managed health issues’. Apparently he was fully toilet trained, slept well and liked watching TV, especially Peppa Pig. He was going into Year 2, but we had no information about his academic progress.
With the help of the Social Worker, and because of our connection with the place, we enrolled him at the same Primary School as our birth kids. Kids in the Care System effectively go to the top of the pile.
On Monday morning I walked all three kids to school.
The Big Two were excited about the first day back.
For them it was a chance to reconnect with friends, chat about the summer and compare new school bags.
The little fella was, understandably, far more reticent.
As I was pretty familiar with the school, I knew where to queue for Year 2. Of course all the children and parents knew each other and were engaging in the usual first day pleasantries.
We got a few curious looks. New kids always do.
I caught the eye of the teacher and nodded to the Teaching Assistant next to her.
They were expecting us, but had had practically no time to prepare.
I introduced my foster child, who was staring resolutely at the floor.
‘This lady will look after you. She will keep you safe. When school finishes I will meet you here, and we will go home and have tea. We will have spaghetti’.
Some of the other six year olds happily left ‘their adult’ and piled into the school building.
Many hugged their parents just a little bit more tightly, sought the security of a familiar face, and walked in to the first day of their last year of Infant Education.
Our boy held the hand of the Teaching Assistant and toddled in.
At 3 O’ clock I was waiting in the same queue of adults.
The bell went and a crowd of kids appeared at the door.
With the help of the children, the class teacher identified the relevant adults, and sent the pupils out into their care one by one.
As the crowd of kids dispersed our little man arrived at the door.
I could not hear the conversation properly, but I saw him gesticulate in my direction and say ‘him, that man, I know that man’.
The TA handed him over, with a nod and a very reassuring smile.
He’d only known me two days, and I was more or less a stranger to him.
However, I was the only stranger he knew.
That little kid stayed at their school for four more years and made many fantastic friends.
The staff, kids and whole community welcomed him wholeheartedly.
If you think you could take a kid to school and then pick them up afterwards, you could consider fostering.