I truly believe that all children are different, and as parents it’s our job to figure out how best to help them reach their full potential. Now that Dil is coming up to 5 and has really moved out of the baby and toddler stage, it’s kind of amazing to really start to see the person that he is becoming. All his little quirks, his likes and dislikes, his funny sense of humour, the way he prefers to approach tasks and solve problems – I find it mesmerising to watch. Watching him play with friends that he’s known his whole life, the similarities and the differences between them are striking.
Life Isn’t Uniform
When Marks & Spencer’s got in touch about their new school uniform campaign I was intrigued immediately. Life isn’t uniform is really a campaign I can relate to, because so much of our own life really isn’t that way. Throughout the last few years we have definitely taken a few different paths, and learnt that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to life really doesn’t work. The best decision for one family will never work for them all, and different situations, personalities and different needs mean that some of us take a different approach.
Most children Dilan’s age will be starting Primary School in September, but we’ve made the decision that that isn’t the right move for us. For a year now Dil has attended a forest school here in Norfolk, and in that year they have helped him progress and thrive more than I ever thought an early years setting could. Currently he gets to spend 3 days a week in their play based and child-led completely outdoor setting; climbing trees, swinging from branches and playing in the mud. They eat lunch around a fire pit, use hammers and drills to create works of art and learn phonics using chalk and wood. They engage in philosophy hour, learn how to listen and empathise with different opinions, and talk about body autonomy and respecting others. It is, in my opinion, absolute paradise for active young kids, and it’s not somewhere I want to remove him from any time soon. We have opted to keep Dilan at Dandelion Forest School for his reception year, and it is a decision I feel incredibly confident and happy about.
No Such Thing As Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothing
Because of Dil’s fairly unique school setting our life isn’t uniform story is a little different from most. Instead of losing school jumpers and keeping shoes scuff free, we worry more about washing the mud from Dil’s trousers and keeping him in sensible waterproof layers. Dil will often come home covered in mud from his toes to his eye balls, or in clothing that has been ripped as he’s played in the trees or crawled along in the dirt. One day he took great pleasure in telling me that his bum was nearly out after he got caught on a nail and caused a rather large rip in his leggings!
Our school uniform consists of comfy clothes that Dil can climb and explore in, and clothes that will hopefully withstand everything he puts them through and come clean in the wash. The Dandelion ethos is that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. During the Winter months we layer up to keep him warm, and during the warmer months he dresses to stay cool and protected from the sun. I often end up sending him with a bag full of spare clothes too, just incase the British weather decides to surprise us or he manages to fall head first into a puddle (it’s happened several times before!).
M&S School Uniform
At the moment we’ve been enjoying some lovely sunshine, but since Dil is outside all day we are always prepared for all weathers. For the Spring/Summer term we love the M&S Stain Resistant Polo Shirts, which keep Dil cool and comfy all day and wash well at night, and M&S Pure Cotton Shorts which are soft with a relaxed fit – perfect for moving around freely and climbing the tallest of trees. Because the English weather is so unreliable I send Dil to school with waterproofs on even the hottest days, and he really loves the colour of this bright yellow Fisherman Coat. Dil loves to collect different leaves and sticks from school and he often brings home gorgeous creations that he’s made on the tool table, so this Shark Backpack is perfect for stashing it all until home time.
I just spotted on Facebook that M&S has 20% off school uniform and if they happen to outgrow it before September they will exchange the sizes thanks to their goodwill refund policy.
*M&S very kindly gifted us a voucher to stock up on some uniform, but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. Outfit styled by Dil. This is a collaborative post*