Today we have a guest post from James over at MyHeroJoshua about starting school. James is dad to an amazing little boy, Joshua – who has battled through all kinds of obstacles in his early years. Joshua is a twin to his brother Jacob, who sadly passed away shortly after being born. James talks openly about the experiences the family has been through, with his wife Rebecca. Having got to know James through Dadvengers, I asked him to write a guest post about Joshua starting school, a milestone in any childs life, but made all the more special with Joshuas experiences in life so far.
Both James and Rebecca should be immensely proud of Joshua, and they achievements they have all made together – and we thank them both for this post (and Joshua, of course!)
Anyway, over to James……
Thank you Mark and Ashleigh for allowing me to write a post for their blog.
Joshua started school in September 2018. Thinking back to the days he was in hospital when he was first born, this is something I never thought I would see, given how poorly he was and also losing his twin brother Jacob at birth.
When Joshua first came home at around five and a half months old, that was both mine and my wife’s first real taste of being Mummy and Daddy. That being said – Joshua came home with a Gastrostomy tube in his belly, of which we had to pump feed him milk. So our first foray into parenthood was in no way what could be considered conventional.
As time progressed, Rebecca, my wife, began to take him to playgroups for children with additional needs and slowly but surely Joshua was developing his own little personality and his own little mannerisms. We began to look at nurseries for him which was a big deal!
We had looked around a few nurseries and we weren’t really feeling any of them. Looking back now, I don’t think we felt comfortable with the set up. We wanted a small nursery where we felt Joshua would be safe. Then the dream nursery came up and we were very impressed with not only the layout but by the staff too. So we enrolled him there for initially 15 hours a week, which we increased further to 30 hours
The nursery was fantastic for him and we can never thank them enough for what they did for him and us as a family. He started walking in nursery! That was an unbelievably proud moment watching the video they sent us. Throughout nursery we had regular meetings with them alongside our health visitor. We were always kept up to date with everything with him and we really felt we had made the right decision in sending him there.
As Joshua entered his second year in nursery, we began looking at schools for him. This was even more daunting and again we looked around a few settings and we both agreed the one closest to where we live would be better. The headteacher we were very impressed with – you can just tell she gets things done and whilst she’s very friendly with the children (no exaggeration, she knows all the children’s names!) You can tell she’s not a pushover and I really think that’s a good quality to have working in a school. I was impressed that much that this year I applied to be a parent governor, though I’ve not done much in that role yet!
The school sent the Reception teacher to the meetings so she had an understanding of Joshua’s needs for when he started and we were impressed with what was implemented when he started. The school don’t do half days to begin with – so that was a bit of a culture shock! However I think this is a good approach.
Joshua finishes Year One today. His Year One teacher is fantastic and she, like his reception teacher and everyone else, just dotes on him. It’s quite unbelievable to think that with the start he had in life and he attained 100% in reception and bar COVID-19, Paw Patrol Awards and his operation of last year, he’s been in school all the time. I’m a big advocate for attending school as much as possible.
It was such a weird feeling Joshua starting nursery and school. I was and still am so proud of him, on the flip side, it’s very difficult knowing his twin brother isn’t there with him. There’s always a sense of trepidation when children start school and I feel very fortunate in that we have sent Joshua to a good school where we know that given time and patience – he will flourish.
A huge thank you to James for sharing his story – I encourage you to reach out read their story. James is one of the most honest and nicest people you will meet – and chatting to him is always a pleasure.
You can read other guest posts on thestevensonlife just here – and if you’re a dad / mum / grandparent / carer – please join the ever increasing group of amazing people over at the Dadvengers community