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Monday, 7 March 2011

Have ordered The Incredible Years on Amazon.

They should arrive any day. Meanwhile we have to live with the entirely believeable year. Edward has held hands by the road - the whole weekend and today when I reminded him there will be no magazine on friday if he does not. This is a bit "stick" I suppose, with "carrot" suspended a way off in the future for a little boy of not yet two. (minus brownie points for doubting Webster Stratton spproach)

I am also using proper praise technique now, it seems to have become just about acceptable to say "well done". He still relinquishes his hold the minute I say well done, but grabs on again when I remind him about the promised magazine. He is also enjoying reflective praise when I tell someone else how good he has been at holding hands or we remember it at a later point. Webster Stratton is very clear in her belief that delayed praise is better than no praise, but is not effective, but it does seem that for this child it is helpful. Also he cottons on to conversations now which is proving very interesting. Indirect praise to a third party very worthwhile with Edward for that reason.

Our search for an interim home to get us out from the curse of the landlord impatient to get his house back is coming to fruition. We have nothing signed and sealed but it looks promising. The house we have in mind is only advertised for 6 months but may be available longer. This should not matter too much though as we hope to buy before the end of the year, its just that it is far too pressured to do that now. All of which is not what anyone would recommend for children - 3 homes in one year is a bit much really. But these are my children and I have faith that they will bounce ok as long as they have stable family and emotional support. So it was important to find a school, a brownie pack, pre-school and church with potential to offer that and be static points while we transition between homes.

I visited Aslana's proposed new school today, and needed to since the application has to be in 4 weeks prior to her starting and the school receptionist was really lovely, warm and friendly and very proud of their school. The children were very focused in the older years and curious in the younger ones, with a reception age child actually engaging Edward in play. Sooo sweet.

The pre school children were really well behaved but not in a cowed way or anything. Talking with the manager of the pre school was a real joy - it is so wonderful to meet people who have a real sense of vocation and a vision for developing the talents of others in whatever walk of life they may be. I really felt that Edward would be given opportunities to flourish.  As the manager discussed their way of encouraging the children and marking their personal milestones, she talked about how parents, children and staff had "Wow" certificates which are displayed on the wall that list achievements as varied as "Staying dry through the night" and "Eating Spanish Food on holiday".  Edward was impressed by this "Wow Wow Wow" he said and pointed at the certificates - he was promptly given one for me to fill in at home.  When we went outside everything was ready for the children to come out and play and Edward immediately relaxed - he headed straight for the cars and road mat and made himself completely at home.

I also believe that being closer to nature even if short term is good for everyone, so I am greatly looking forward both to our moving to the countryside and feeling grateful to parents for our bowood season ticket which will enable us to have gracious surroundings not too far from our doorstep. Last year the Rhododendrons were amazing . but where we are moving too has lots of farmland and very close by a lovely place called Morgans Hill which is a rather special place for our family already as we love to wander and roam and you can do so freely here, just occasionally having to give way for horses or cows.

The school for Aslana is a bit more of a compromise for her year group is in with the year above, but the two do separate in the mornings for numeracy (where she needs some additional support) and literacy (where a bit of encouragement to conform to accepted spellings would not go amiss, but she is basically flying).  This means the larger group are together for Art, Geography, history, RE etc. Probably the right balance for her. There is a real sense of community at the school and with the pre-school.  The school has a nature area where they pond dip and there is a choir she can join. Happy daughter I expect. At the moment she is away with her class on  a local adventure.

I asked about the bullying policy - and the answer was a good one, and particularly the observation that if a school says no one there experiences bullying ever, that they must be lying. Bullying occasionally arises but its sorted out quickly and nobody pretends its not there or doesn't matter. There is also a worry box where you can post a note to the School's counsellor if you are upset or worried about anything. Something I think Aslana may like. She might also like having a designated quiet area where if you just want to play quietly, write your bestseller or read you can retreat. I think they might struggle to pull her out of it would be my only concern. 

The pre-school has as one of its staff a Rainbows leader, so finding out about the Brownie group that meets in the village should be fairly straight forward.  By the time I left the school and pre school it was nearly 11 - my visits to both had taken over an hour, but I felt very informed and reassured about moving my children there.  From there I went to Angie's house, Angie is kind of my boss - the creator of StoryBags see I have written some scripts for her (Psalm 23, Sower) and help out with some marketing stuff too. We went to Trowbridge so she could buy fabric for the bags (Easter has been getting a bit low, since that, unsurprisingly has had highest demand) and so I could deliver a donation of baby equipment to Vine for Pat. 

Vine for Pat is an amazing charity staffed by volunteers that is perpetually short on cash and abundantly blessed both with faith and God's provision. They support Pregnant and Abused Teenagers and help them get their lives on track, prevent homelessness and where pregnant provide counselling and support in preparing for parenthood. I was last there 3 years ago nearly when there was no heating (because there was no funding for heating) there was still a long way to go with dividing space in to rooms, plastering and wiring and just two or three rooms were actually recognisable as dining, kitchen or bedroom space.  They received lottery funding by winning the vote on The People's Millions and have been able to complete the refurbishment and open their doors.  Their first clients are being helped now. If you want to feel uplifted see regarding the work they do.

God is Good! He gets a million thumbs up from me!!

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