Back to School: Things to be Grateful For

The first term back at school is a memorable rite of passage for many – the crispness of the autumn air as you walk towards the school gates, a reunion with friends and the excitement of starting a new year. If children are feeling daunted about the return to school, or protesting at having to attend each day, it’s worth remembering that there are many things to be grateful for- and many children around the world wish they could go to school but don’t have the opportunity.


I think everyone knows the feeling of being handed a brand new exercise book, the smell of the paper and the feel of taking your new pen, to write your first lesson out as carefully as you can. This is a time of new beginnings, where you promise yourself that you will be top of the class! Besides this, there is the trip to the stationery shop, to buy colourful pens, pencil tins with favourite cartoon characters and more! Imagine if there were no text books and the only thing to write on was a slate…

The School Building

There are lots of places that have meaning in a school. Sitting at a desk, where you keep all your work (and maybe toys for playtime) or cross legged on the floor of the hall, running on the playing field – or even being sent to the Head Teachers Office! When you get older, these are places that stick with you. What about if there was no roof over your head while you were learning times tables?

School Dinners

People have mixed feelings about these. The older generations tend to look back fondly on memories of spotted dick with custard and stodgy foods like toad in the hole. In recent years, schools came under fire for serving pizza and “Turkey Twizzlers” too often, but the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, led a campaign to make sure food was healthier. Maybe you avoid it altogether by taking a sandwich in. Whatever, your choice, don’t take it for granted. Children in deprived areas of Africa may struggle to concentrate at school because food isn’t always available.

The School Run

Yes- rush hour can be stressful for parents and children alike. But how great is it to be able to bundle into a car and head off without getting wet in the rain, instead of walking miles to get to school? It’s not to say that it isn’t sometimes difficult, but you have to admit it is easier than what some people go through. Maybe that thought will help to keep things in perspective on a tough day.

This is a guest post from Liz at World Vision UK, child sponsorship charity. When children are returning to school this year, spare a thought for those who would love to have an education but cannot. If you would like to support a child through their schooling, child sponsorship organisations can make this a reality – you could sponsor or give an education charity gift via our online charity shop.