Pulling the front door shut behind her, Katie tested the handle to ensure it was locked before taking Daniel’s hand once more. Daniel grinned up at her, his large brown eyes wide with excitement as they started down the footpath. It was not far to the local primary school, roughly a kilometer spread over five blocks. Daniel could barely contain his excitement, pulling her along like a dog on a leash. But every so often, a plant or something would catch his eye and he would have to stop and ask her questions. With Daniel, there were lots of questions. Katie knew this was typical, at five years of age, his brain was growing rapidly, like a sponge soaking up knowledge and information.
The school, was modern and small trees lined the front fence. The scent of eucalyptus was heavy in the air, full of promise of a hot day to come. Entering the school yard, they made their way down the bricked pathway to the prep rooms at the front of the school. Already, there were groups of children scattered over the lawned area out the front, groups of girls gathering together and talking excitedly. Young boys standing a little way back, some scratching their noses and surveying the scene as if planning the best way to attack. Two young boys were squatted down on their haunches with cards spread out in front of them, talking excitedly. It seemed that friendships were already being made.
Katie smiled to herself as a tall thin woman wearing a large straw hat, exited the brick building, her hand gripped a very pale faced young girl with long dark hair tyed back in two pigtails with a pale pink ribbon that matched her dress. The woman smiled at her warmly and held out her other hand. “Hello, welcome to Meadow Springs, I’m Valerie Marcheson.”
“Katie, and this is Daniel.” Katie smiled and placed both her hands on her son’s shoulders. Valerie immediately bent down so she was level with Daniel and smiled at him.
“Hello Daniel, I’m Mrs Marcheson, your new Prep teacher.”
“Hello.” Daniel whispered shyly, almost hiding between Katies legs. “What’s her name?” He asked, pointing to the little girl.
“This is Anna, and she’s feeling a little bit shy. But we can be friends, can’t we Daniel.”
Daniel nodded as if unsure, and Anna gave him a curious smile, glancing up at her new teacher.
Mrs Marcheson straightened and smiled at Katie again. “Come on through, do you remember where you can put your schoolbag, Daniel?”
“I do!” Anna cried excitedly and raised a hand in the air. “I’ll show you!”
Katie smiled to herself, feeling a pang of sadness, her little boy was growing up. Daniel and his new friend disappeared around the corridor.
“Are you staying for morning tea?” Mrs Marcheson asked once more.
“Yes.” Katie turned to see some more new arrivals, a pair of twin girls both with long dark hair tied back in neat braids on either side of their head. She had plenty of time before she had to meet her mother in law.