Published: 16:00, 08 October 2019
| Updated: 17:23, 08 October 2019
This week, as our First Class supplement is published, we celebrate children taking their brave first days at school.
It made some of us fondly recall our memories of primary school life across the county.
Jess Sharp, Kent Messenger reporter, Lordswood Primary School, Lordswood Lane, Chatham, 2002-2009
"Completing mental maths and brain games was how we kicked off the morning.
"If we were lucky you got to do some star jumps to get your mind active and ready for the day that lay ahead.
"After shouting 'here' for the register it was off down to the hall for the morning assembly, where class helpers in year six would be responsible for manning the projector and pointing to the lyrics of today's song.
"Whether it was 'Wouldn't it be funny' or 'Shine Jesus Shine' there was sure to be a guided smile thrust upon the kids sat at the front from the teacher.
"Throughout the day, various different coloured exercise books would be handed out and we would all anxiously write in pencil with the hope of being awarded our pen licence.
"One of the best classes was when the Roomba Robot would be used.
"The small dome-shaped device would be placed along the floor and we would tap buttons on the top of it to direct it where to go.
"Tasks would be set based on getting it to a location in the room and minds would whir on how to get it there.
"Who can forget the huge loss of Turkey Twizzlers from the lunchtime menu.
"Once a huge treat for a Friday lunch, they disappeared from children's trays in 2005, after a campaign led by celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver."
Mary Graham, Kent Messenger news editor, Bromstone Primary School, Rumfields Road, Broadstairs, 1983-1990
"Growing up in an era before health and safety became all-encompassing means others might find some of my memories a little questionable.
"We were once set homework to establish what could conduct electricity. Me and my best friend guessed water would. Cue a class experiment with metal clips attached to wires being plunged into a jug of water. Precisely nothing happened. When asked if we'd tried this experiment and home and whether it had worked, we just nodded. Sagely.
"If that was an early physics lesson, then biology brought the 'treat' of being issued with a giant magnifying glass and being asked to crawl along the grass, looking for wildlife. An ant was about as exciting as it got. Or someone trying to crawl under one of the mobile classrooms which never left the school playing field.
"Sports Day was a particular dread of mine, simply as back then I wasn't very sporty. However, our school had just the 'treat' for kids like me: The slow bike race. Yes, imagine lot of little ones, furiously back peddling and wheels wobbling all over the grassy sports track.
"Once you'd wobbled off and put your foot to the floor your 'race' was over and you had to stand where you landed.
"And finally sun damage wasn't as well known about as it is now. We all grew up by the coast and enjoyed Thanet's beaches of a weekend. Instead of assemblies warning each other to use sunscreen and seek shade, our warning was to 'not to slap other kids who might have sunburn.'"
Rebecca Tuffin, Kent Messenger apprentice, Hollingbourne Primary School, Eyhorne Sreet, Maidstone, 2004-2009
"Moving from south east London aged seven, this little village school with less than 100 pupils, surrounded by fields and a short walk from the North Downs, seemed like a different world.
"Besides hikes up the hills for the sole purpose of launching a boiled egg and chasing after it as the annual 'egg rolling' Easter celebration, my most memorable part of primary school was by far the headmaster, Mr Baldock.
"This well-spoken, eccentric man refused to get rid of his blackboard when all other classrooms were installed with the new interactive version, would wear the school jumper and PE kit, and would stand by the school gate to say good morning and good night to every, single pupil by name each day - without fail.
"We dressed up in homemade costumes for school trips and I distinctly remember Mr Baldock's outfit for our Canterbury Tales excursion - a wild, ginger wig and bag pipes made of loo rolls. His face went a worrying shade of purple as he pretended to play them.
"The village fete was the most talked about event in the school calendar, with pupils putting on gymnastics and May Pole performances, for which Mr Baldock would dress in a tuxedo and throw his top hat high in the air as as we danced, skipping and whooping away.
"Infant Camp was the first time most children had been away from home. We pitched tents on the school field, sang round the fire and Mr Baldock led a goblin hunt in the woods and snored loudly in his single-man cloth tent.
"On my last day of Year Six there was a leavers' rounders match in the evening, the highlight being Mr Baldock and Mrs Hart drinking a bit too much wine. As they laughed and rocked in their chairs, Mrs Simmons scowling down at them as if to say 'How dare you drink in front of the children, you should be setting a good example!' - but everyone else found it hilarious, pupils and parents alike."
Katie May Nelson, Medway Messenger trainee reporter, Culverstone Green Primary School, Wrotham Road, Gravesend, 2001-2008
"I never missed out on the chance to show off my comedy prowess throughout my time at school; in our very first class picture whilst others looked absent-mindedly at the camera man, I put my hand up as though I were answering a question (Geddit? Because we're in a classroom?! In school?!)
"If a school talent show was called you could be sure I was the first to sign up. My impersonations of Premier League managers (José Mourinho - poor Portuguese accent, Sir Alex Ferguson - just me pretending to chew gum) went down a treat. I guess you could say I was the Gifted One.
"My Year Five teacher Miss Huggett said to me, 'Katie, you're going to end up on stage one day.'
"Not long after I made my stage debut at The Woodville in Gravesend taking part in the Gravesham School's Choir concert; all the other schools brought along 30-strong choirs. How many kids did we take? Five.
"One of the highlights of the school day was a game of Fouling Football (just an excuse for the lads to kick the living daylights out of each other). An unspoken rule is that you don't kick the girls, but I still came home covered in bruises.
"This all came in handy when I debuted as a forward for Ebbsfleet United under 12s, only to quit months later because I detested getting up early on a Sunday.
"The school residential trip to Weymouth offered the first taste of independence for many of us. One of the cheeky chaps in my class asked me to the disco on the last day. How did I respond? I kicked him."
Ed McConnell, KentOnline news editor, Sandling Primary School, Ashburnham Road, Maidstone, 1996-2003
"My milk-bottle glasses and rotund physique earned me the nickname Fatty Four Eyes. Thankfully, it didn't stick.
"A mate of mine, called Jake, got a nasty case of impetigo. He became Jake the Flake until it cleared up. It was all good spirited.
"In between digging each other out for weight issues and skin complaints we were making mischief on the playing fields.
"A steep wooded bank was a no-go zone. One day one rebel ran down and ate some mystery berries – he had to be quarantined and then sent home for the day. He lived.
"Some of the cooler chaps were busy chasing girls but it often ended in heart break. One poor soul, so distraught by rejection, decided to down an ink cartridge outside the medical room in front of a crowd of shocked year fives.
"Towards the end of our primary careers we went on two residential trips. Unsurprisingly, neither passed without incident.
"A rumour was circulated that a 'murderer' was on the loose at the Bowles Centre, Tunbridge Wells. It was actually a boy in a puffa jacket who'd snuck out of his room at midnight and decided to run amok.
"The following year at Swattenden, Cranbrook, two parents had to yank a lad out of a window which he'd managed to get stuck in. They took a leg each but were laughing so hard it took twice as long to free him."
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