Well, most of them. But not the one we go to.
This year we started in Grade 5 and that means middle school. It's a big deal. Everything changes. No longer do you have a tub or a chair bag or containers of shared pencils on your table, instead, there are lockers and locks to navigate. There are classes and timetables and the requirement that you eat your food when you need to. There's no brain food or smart snack or nude food, it's time to get that stuff sorted all on your own.
Middle school is for kids aged from around 10-14, or years 5-8 for us. It means there is no moving to secondary school and being the smallest kids in a big massive place. It means you get to use the good stuff, the science labs, the bigger sports grounds, interschool sports and swimming carnival days. You have music festivals and big bands. It's not such a bad deal, but it can be overwhelming.
You also kick off the year with a bonus day camp. A day for everyone to get to know the new kids, or new kids to them, for teachers to get to know you better and to learn some extra skills about teamwork, resilience and gaining confidence.
The thing with middle school is that as a parent, you've gotta be getting things right. Especially if your kid tends to be the type that worries. If the note says bring roll-on insect repellent you DO NOT pack the pump spray. If it says pack suncream, it is NOT OK for you to pack the Peppa Pig one you found rolling around in your bag.
I learnt this the hard way. I also learnt that you should lay out the things you want to pack, check they are ok and allow time for your kid to pack the stuff they want. Because, hey, this is middle school, not kindergarten and they don't want you packing crap in their bags anymore. No, not even the spare hat or sunglasses or a couple of band aids for emergencies.
However, pencils and paper will forever be cool. And lip gloss. You can never have enough of that. And bucket hats, the ones that have not changed in a gazillion years.
We're just three weeks into our middle school days and we've got four years to go. I 've still got a lot to learn. I am still not even sure I like this whole concept. I think I do, but I am also still thinking I'd like to have these babes in primary school for two more years. Either way, this is where we're at. Let's hope as the term rolls on we grasp the fun and excitement of new things and the love of packing 48 bags a week for acro, swimming, guitar, library, sport...