NEWS

No first-day terror for kids today

Vangelis Iliopoulos is the author of the popular children’s series «Trigonopsaroulis» (Little Triangle Fish), first published by Patakis in 1997. «September 1970: Children with school-phobia. Me. Nobody could persuade me to go to kindergarten. Why should I, when I was having such a good time with my mother in the garden and my toys? Later on, it’s obvious from the photographs my parents used to take on the first day back at school that I never set out happily. In all of them, I’m holding my head and had a stomachache. How I hated it when my aunt used to say every September, ‘Every worker to his bench.’ It wasn’t easy when the carefree days of summer came to an end. And I was worried that the teacher might be strict. Would he hit us with the ruler for every spelling error? «Time passed and I, the one so unwilling to go to school, decided to stay on and become a teacher and a children’s author. I decided to work in an education system where schools are places for creativity, places for children, and the adults are there to help children discover knowledge and build fully rounded personalities. «Nowadays few children suffer school-phobia. They leave the family environment easily. At school, they make friends and all play real games, not electronic games, in big yards, not narrow balconies. Yet we adults still feel anxious and fearful on their behalf. How will our young ones manage such a heavy schedule? How many lessons will they need to do? Might there be other ‘wise’ changes to the education system? How high is the pass mark? How much must they learn to secure their future? «September 2009: Parents with school-phobia. Me. But let’s try to hide our fear and anxiety and make the return to school as pleasant as possible – a real celebration.»