I went to lots of different schools as a kid, what with growing up in a military family. So changing schools is something I became very familiar with! Just a quick story this week, but one about something that may affect many young readers at some point during their lives.
Pippa's New School
Pippa caught sight of herself in the mirror, as she tugged on her shiny, new school shoes. She took a deep breath as she did up the straps. Today was her first day at Appleton Primary. A whole new school, in a whole new town... Pippa glanced up the stairs towards her brand new bedroom and thought about running and hiding under the bed.
"Pippa?" Her mother's voice came calling from the kitchen. "Are you nearly ready?"
Pippa managed a weak nod.
"It'll be fine," her mother promised. "Try not to worry. Just be yourself and you're sure to make lots of friends!"
Pippa shuffled her feet and stared at the floor. "Will you stay with me for a little while?"
Her mother squeezed her shoulder. "I'll sit in reception with you until your new teacher comes to take you to class," she told her.
Pippa played with the end of one of her long, red plaits. "Okay..." She grabbed her purple backpack and slung it over her shoulder. She forced a smile onto her face as she followed her mother to the front door, but as soon as they began walking, doubts began creeping into her head and she clung tightly to her mother's hand.
What if nobody likes me?
What if I don't know where to go at lunchtime?
What if the work is too hard at this school?
Questions swirled inside Pippa's head and she squeezed her mother's hand even tighter.
"I'll be right there at the end of the day," her mother promised in response. "I know it's a bit scary starting a new school..."
"A bit?" Tears started to prick the backs of Pippa's eyes. "Mum, I don't want to go a new school. I liked my old one!"
Her mother stopped walking and gave Pippa a big hug. "It's too far away, sweetheart," she reminded her. "We'd never get there on time." She wiped a tear away from Pippa's face. "Shall we go to that pizza place for dinner, tonight? The one we went to the night we moved to the new house?"
Pippa nodded her head. "Okay."
They continued walking and soon, Pippa recognised the school appearing at the end of the road. Her stomach felt like it was falling to her knees and her breath came out in short bursts. She kept her hand tightly on her mother's as they went into the reception together.
"Good morning," the receptionist said, brightly. "Mr Day will be here, soon. Would you like to take a seat?"
Pippa perched on the edge of a seat, nibbling on one of her fingernails, whilst her mother chatted to the receptionist. Time seemed to stand still, whilst she waited for her new teacher to arrive. Eventually, a girl with black, corkscrew curls came into the reception, holding a piece of paper. "Morning," she said, in a sing-song voice. "I'm just handing in my note about next week's trip." She turned and smiled brightly at Pippa. "We're going to the toy museum," she explained. "It's going to be so cool."
Pippa returned her smile. "That sounds great," she said, her voice a little shaky with nerves. "Mum said we could go there, once we've finished unpacking all our stuff."
"Did you just move here?" The girl asked. "You must be the new girl in my class!" She held out a hand. "I'm Roxy. And if you're the new girl, that means you'll be coming on the trip next week, too!"
Pippa's smile began to spread. "Really?!" She shook Roxy's hand. "I'm Pippa, by the way."
Roxy nodded, still smiling. "Nice to meet you, Pippa. Cool backpack, by the way! Purple is my favourite colour."
Roxy's smile grew into a grin. "Mine too!"
"Our teacher's called Mr Day," Roxy told her. "He's lovely. He does really fun quizzes and stuff. You'll like him."
"He sounds great," Pippa agreed.
"Do you want to sit by me?" Roxy asked. "There's a spare seat on my table."
Pippa rose to her feet. "I'd really like that!"
Pippa's mother smiled at Roxy, then at Pippa. "Well, it looks like you've made a friend..."
"Oh, mum..." Pippa tutted, blushing. "You're going to be late for work, aren't you?"
Her mother laughed and kissed Pippa on the cheek. "Are you okay if I go, then?"
Pippa nodded. "I'm fine!" She turned to Roxy. "Mum's been so nervous about me starting at a new school..."
And with that, the girls linked arms just as Mr Day wandered into reception to greet them. Pippa turned and waved to her mother. "Have a good day," she called. Then she disappeared around the corner, arm in arm with her new friend.