WE all have good intentions when we make New Year resolutions, but unfortunately, we don’t always see them through.
Perhaps we should take a leaf out of Alison Curtin’s book, who made a New Year resolution in January to write and publish a children’s book. And she has - it’s called The Pea and the Pansie start Big School.
“I had the idea back In January,” says Alison, 20, from Youghal.
“I have worked with young children for many years now and I always wanted to write about my experiences in the form of a children’s book to hopefully provide comfort during times of change and transition in a child’s school life.
“Every year I see children getting ready for Big School,” says Alison who owns Scamps and Rascals pre-school in East Cork.
“I am lucky enough to own a pre-school in gorgeous Ladysbridge, and I consider myself very lucky to be based in such a close-knit community.”
Alison always wanted to work with pre-school children, and she always wanted to write a children’s book.
“I’m delighted with the book,” says Alison.
“I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book. The children love it and so do the parents. The children are great critics! It was received very well. I’m overwhelmed by the fantastic response.
“I sent some copies to my college friends who did the Early Childhood Studies Corse level 8 in UCC with me. They were very impressed!”
Alison says she kept silent about her unique project.
“It was a really nice project, but I told no-one what I was working on!”
Her mother, Kay of Kay’s Flowers, Youghal, is a good Public Relations person for her daughter.
“I’m selling more books than flowers in the last few weeks!” says Kay.
The Pea and the Pansie start Big School is a beautifully illustrated book and it is published by Michael Terence Publishing.
Alison has dedicated the book to her former employer, Nora Brett, who ran Scamps and Rascals for 40 years before retiring.
“I dedicated the book to my friend Nora who gave me the option to take over Scamps and Rascals when she retired,” says Alison.
“She was very touched by the gesture. Nora gave me the best start,” says Alison.
You can follow the Pea and the Pansie on their transition from preschool to primary school and their feelings throughout the experience. The reader will get a glimpse of what preschool is like and questions which may arise when starting big school.
What sort of concerns do children have starting big school?
“Children wonder if they will make new friends,” says Alison.
“They wonder, will I have a nice school bag like Pansie and of course; will my teacher be nice to me? The story is written to provide comfort and calm any nerves or fears.”
Alison was inspired by her preschool setting to write the book.
“The content of this book was adapted from real experiences during the transition phase in a preschool setting,” she says.
“I wrote the book based on what children think when making the transition from preschool to big school.”
Alison writes about Peter the Pea and Polly the Pansie who were the best of friends. Here’s a taster...
‘They grew up as neighbours and went to the same preschool in the countryside. They spent their preschool days painting, colouring, playing games outside and making new friends. It was safe to say the pea and the Pansie loved school. The months were starting to fly by, and their preschool teacher Ms Anabelle was speaking to the children about the upcoming graduations from preschool.
‘What is graduation?’ asked Peter the Pea.
‘A graduation is a very special day where we celebrate the end of your preschool years and wish you well with your new chapter,’ says Ms Annabelle.
‘But where am I going?’ asked the Pea.
‘Big School’ the other children echoed.’
Peter the pea was a little doubtful about his big move but Polly the Pansie on the other hand was excited.
Polly boasted to her new friends, ‘I am going to make lots of new friends at Big School and my Mummy is going to buy me a brand new schoolbag.’ Peter the Pea was a little anxious and uncertain. Questions gathered in his head… ‘Will I make new friends?
‘Will I have a nice schoolbag like Pansie?’
‘Will my teacher be nice to me?’
At home time, Ms Annabelle told Peter, Polly and their friends that there was an important envelope in their schoolbags to give Mummy and Daddy.
Peter’s mum was so happy to see that she had received an invitation to Peter’s Preschool Graduation.
The next day, Ms Anabelle noticed that Peter the Pea looked worried and decided to have a chat at Circle Time to address the children’s questions.
She explained that Big School is just like preschool and that the children will still have plenty of time to make friends, play with toys and eat their lunches. Ms Anabelle explained that the only changes are that the day is longer and the children in Big School wear a uniform.
Graduation day came and went and Peter the Pea was feeling better about starting school. The summer holidays had passed and the first morning of Big School had arrived.
‘My tummy feels funny,’ Peter the Pea said to Mummy Pea.
‘Those are called butterflies,’ Mummy Pea said.
‘They mean you are excited and maybe a bit nervous too,’ she explained.
As they set off on their walk to the local school hand-in-hand, Peter smiled as he recognised his friends Alana Aubergine and Ciara Cucumber at the school gates.
Peter suddenly felt brave and said, ‘I think I am ready now Mummy.’
So Mummy Pea walked Peter to the school gate and off he went into the school hall with his new teacher, Ms Felix.
Peter the Pea could not help but wonder where his best friend Polly the Pansie was.
Do you know where she could be?
Polly the Pansie was not feeling so brave anymore. She held her Mummy’s hand tightly and did not want to let go. Ms Felix was trying her best to make Polly calm, but she appeared to be quite upset.
‘Mummy, don’t go!’ she screamed.
Peter the Pea once again felt brave and walked over to Polly the Pansie.
‘Polly, remember when I was nervous about starting Big School? And remember what Ms Anabelle told us? We need to remember that Big School is not going to be too different to preschool and we can still have fun.’
And with that, Polly wiped her eyes and off they went to the classroom.
Ms Felix allowed the two friends to choose a toy from the shelf to play with while the rest of the children arrived, and in the end they both had a great day.’
Parents and Guardians will enjoy reading the book to their child who is due to begin their transition to primary school.
“Starting Big School is a big deal,” says Alison.
“Sometimes children can be nervous or anxious, but that’s not always the case. Starting Big School can be exciting too!
The Pea and the Pansie start Big School, €10, is available from Scamps and Rascals, Ladysbridge, and from Kay’s Flowers in Youghal. Or email Alison at: firstname.lastname@example.org