Organising for Starting School
When Eilidh was starting school for primary one I had so many dreamy ideas of how it would be.
Beautifully packed Pinterest inspired lunch boxes, with little notes inside them every day. Adorable hairstyles. Everything ironed, labelled and matching. Her school shoes would be polished and smart. Her P.E. kit would be the sweet skorts and lovely matching T-shirt and those classic Clark’s black gym shoes. We would enjoy doing homework together with beautifully wrapped jotters. Most of this was manageable, some days, then I remember how much else we have to do and it all mattered less and less. Also, I bloody hate homework, It takes away from family time, from Eilidh’s ‘down time’ and it can be a nightmare to find the time (& the will) to make her do it!
To be able to achieve any of this I had to be organised. First stop. The actual school clothes.
School clothes, What do I actually need?
We decided early on that would get a few school jumpers (with the school logo) 1. For picture day 2. To wear on school trips, I wanted her to be wearing something that had the school details on it.
For P1 we had really no idea how many we would need, I think I panic bought too many thinking they’ve to last the entire year! We got Eilidh three jumpers, pullover style and one cardigan. For Eilidh, I will never buy jumpers again and just go for cardigans. She would refuse to wear them as they would mess up her hair as she pulled them on or took them off during the day! We also bought four cardigans from Sainsbury’s in her school colours which have been brilliant.
This year we again for her three school cardigans and for a few packs from Sainsbury’s to top up what we have - I love the school range from Sainsbury’s. It’s great quality and one of the only places I could find Eilidh’s school colour - Maroon.
For P1 I got Eilidh three embroidered polo shirts with the school logo and then packs from M&S for extra use.
Now she prefers to wear blouses or shirts so didn’t purchase any polos this year except a cheap pack of two from Tesco in case of washing emergency!
As I mentioned above this is all she will wear now but for P1 I thought she might struggle with all the buttons for changing quickly for PE and knowing Eilidh she wouldn’t want to ask her teacher for help with this so we opted for pretty collared polo shirts!
She has roughly 4 long sleeved shirts and 4 short shoulders cuffed blouses with pretty embroidered butterflies- as per her request!
For P1 we got two skirts so she would have some choice in what she would wear.
She now loves wearing pinafores so doesn’t tend to wear skirts as often!
For Eilidh, if she has to wear trousers they have to be ‘pretty’ my mother in law got her some lovely pressed plait grey straight ones and she hates wearing them!
We try to look for ones that are smart but also have that nice fabric stretch. She’s still little and we wanted her to be as comfortable as possible still allowing play and be tough enough to get stains and wash away. For school trousers, we used M&S as their unique StainAway fabric is very good, durable quality.
She has about three pairs of school trousers. In Scotland, you must prepare that rain and cold wind could come at any time of year!!
Eilidh’s favourite from the start (mine too)!! She has so many pinafores, black, grey, navy and gingham ones too.
She loves wearing her blouse and a school tie under them.
As mentioned above, we live in Scotland so it’s always handy to have sets of rights at the ready. Tesco does decent packs of three black tights, I would say size up! She has about 6 pairs but only 4 are usable by now with all of the holes in the knees!!
Knee high socks
I adore traditional white knee high socks with a little school pinafore - so sweet! She also has some sets in black.
For school shoes get your appointment booked in early as places like Clark’s are inundated over the summer with parents coming in to get their kids feet measured!
Personally, my favourite brand is Start Rite. They can be pricey but the last for so long and are very durable to scuffs. Eilidh has made it through every school year without losing a sole (which is rare!!) the only reason we’ve ever had to replace school shoes during the school year is because she’s outgrown them they’ve still been in reasonable condition!
For winter we always get some school (black) boots. We tend to get ones from Clarks, we had bought a cheaper pair from Next and we were really disappointed in the quality. The zip had become stiff weeks and the sole had come apart at the toe within a few weeks of use! Some people just use their wellies but they then need to have something else to change into during lessons too.
PE kit and gym shoes
Eilidh adores a skort. Shorts that look like a skirt FYI! We got her a 2 and a couple of basic sporty T-shirts from Primark.
For gym shoes she just wears some Clark’s plimsolls or trainers when she can’t find them.*
*this happens a LOT
We only got ties this last year as per Eilidh’s request! They look lovely and smart in their school ties, dont they?!
A cool summer option for boys. They look adorable in shorts and high socks too!!
For the first time, we got Eilidh an official school jacket. She used to wear a different one every day, including ones we would prefer to save for good and they, would come home with different stains, marks and annoyingly sometimes tears so we thought it would be good to have a set school jacket that she couldn’t wear anywhere else! It’s worth bearing in mind though that if your child is going to a big school with 200+ kids attending and they’re all wearing similar jackets it might be tricky to pick yours out of a crowd!
Other Items you will need;
What I've learned
Don't worry about buying EVERYTHING at the start of the school year. Most supermarkets now stock school uniforms all year round. Boots can be bought when it's coming into Winter. Also as I've mentioned above, Eilidh very much has her OWN style, she changes her mind so often as to what she likes. We could've saved so much money if we hadn't bulk bought many of the items and waited to see what she liked to wear and use, like those jumpers that she won't use because they mess up her hair!
Label everything. Eilidh goes to a very small school and still things get left behind, lost or accidentally switched with a classmate. Labelling everything of your child's just means that there’ll be no questioning who items belong to!
In the past I’ve used sticky labels which I bought online they were ok but came off really easily! This year I just wrote her name on with a sharpie but for returning after her Easter holiday the lovely people at Stikets have gifted us with their amazing range of clothing and accessory labels!
Eilidh chose the design herself, there was so many to choose from but she settled on a pink love heart background and a dolphin character. She even decided to use her middle name too - hehe!
Their basic pack has a huge selection of labels from ones to use on fabric, handy for all the school clothes. Ones for items like school books, pencil cases - even pencils and sharpeners, yes Eilidh likes to use them for everything!! There are also some super cute tags for inside shoes that are shaped like feet.
It came with extra-durable metal detail keyring tags which could be added to zips on the outside of school bags.
You can get your basic pack here or check out their entire range on their website (linked below). It’s all very good value and great quality.
Where to store?
School uniform becomes an entire wardrobe in itself. To be organised you can’t really keep it amongst normal everyday clothes. To keep things easy, for Eilidh and us, we bought some under bed storage boxes and we use them to store her school clothes. This means that before her bath at night she can find an outfit easily for school the next day. We like giving her this freedom and responsibility of choosing her own outfit for the day.
If you haven’t got space under the bed, could you clear a shelf in the wardrobe or buy a small storage unit to keep school uniform in?
We keep her school bag and book bag in the utility room so she can just pick it up on the way out the door!
Your child starting school comes awash with so many emotions. You suddenly feel like time has flashed by with a blink of your eye. That baby you held rocking in your arms is suddenly going to be starting their journey into education. Its a time filled with pride and a deep yearning to have just a little more time with them. Every time I think of this moment I remember the song ‘Slipping through my fingers’ by ABBA. Listen to it if you want a good cry, it brings out all of my emotions of the kids growing up.
Here's a link to the song if you're unfamiliar!
I wanted to capture all the details of Eilidh at that moment. What she wanted to be and where she wanted to go and I’m so glad I did because I had already forgotten until I found these pictures! It’s such a lovely reminder of how small she was. Her anxious smile starting her new exciting journey.
I also made a photo cut out that she could hold up which said ‘my first day of school’ at the bottom which we took with us to the school gates.
We’re extremely lucky where we live that all school children between P1 & P3 are offered free school lunches every day. However Eilidh likes a good fill and sometimes finished her school lunch still hungry. If we’re making packed lunches I always make them the night before and store them in the fridge.
We use these super cute insulated bags from Sass & Belle they come in lots of different designs and are only £5. When empty they also fold up and you can store them inside each other! We also use them for days out for storing snacks or if we take a picnic with us.
I also use stackable boxes. I loved the design of these. We’ve had them for a few years and are still in great condition. We’ve also topped up our collection with some cheap plastic tubs from Asda which are great for keeping things fresh and everything separated.
I always found this poem captured all of my feelings about Eilidh beginning school so well so thought I would share it here.
First Day of School
I wonder what you're doing right now
and if everyone is treating you kind.
I hope there is a special person,
a nice friend that you can find.
I wonder if the teacher knows just
how special you are to me.
And if the brightness of your heart
is something she can see.
I wonder if you are thinking about
me and if you need a hug.
I already miss the sound of your voice
and how you give my leg a tug.
I wonder if you could possibly understand
how hard it is for me to let you grow.
On this day know that my heart breaks,
for this is the first step in letting my baby go.
I hope this has all been a little helpful if you have a child starting school for the first time or if you are preparing for a new session looking for some inspiration to become more organised for next term!
What would you tips be for starting school? How did you get organised?