For the last 3 years, I’ve faced the end of August with excitement as new chapters begin for my children. Each September for those years we’ve had the first day of school – first day of preschool for J, first day of school for J, first day of preschool for T and next week the first day of school for T. I know from speaking with friends that as parents we each face this milestone differently and how we feel about it is different. Persil and Unicef are joining forces this year with the Learning for Tomorrow Initiative the first steps in a commitment to improve children’s lives and help them reach their full potential through education and new learning experiences.

Learning for Tomorrow Initiative with Persil and Unicef with First Day of School and thoughts and musing from Mums around the world

As I sat down at the end of the last school year preparing for my last “First Day for School” experience with my youngest going, I sat down with my checklist of what I needed, the uniform, the bags, the shoes and our own preparations at home – how we were going to fit in balancing the homework, after school activities and friendships that will come with 2 in school full time, but behind it all there was thoughts and memories from my travels and the fact how lucky it was that my kids had a school and then the excitement of what it meant to have children.

Before having my children I travelled and worked in Central and South America and backpacked around Egypt in those areas I saw and had my eyes opened to how lucky I was growing up and now even more so how lucky my children are. Worldwide there are approximately 58 million children who don’t have access to basic education and their thirst for knowledge is amazing. Furthermore there are 130 million children who reach year 5 (just 3 years older than my eldest) who don’t know the basics of reading, writing, maths and social skills needed to reach their full potential, whether it’s because the teachers aren’t available, it’s too difficult to get to school or the children have more basic needs that they need to cover before thinking of education like safety, providing for the family, caring for other relatives older relations and younger siblings.

Instead of ‘mourning’ the fact that my children are growing up and I no longer have babies I celebrate the fact that I live in a country where education and opportunities to learn are easily accessible for them and wish that children around the world could have the same opportunities that they do – The Learning for Tomorrow Initiative between Persil and Unicef is aiming to make a different – starting out with €1.4 million donated by Persil and Unilever Global Partnerships, that will be used to provide access to education opportunities for 10 million children in Brazil (National Out-of-school Children Initiative and Campaign, Learning Achievements and Quality Education, Education Plan in Amazonian Region), India (Right to Education and Child Friendly Schools, Early Childhood Education, Teacher Education and Support System, Quality Education with Equity, Adolescents and Gender Equality) and Vietnam (Inclusive Education and Child Friendly Schools, Education in Emergencies, Province-wide Programming) through the Unicef’s education programmes.

So next week as that alarm goes off and I realise it’s the first day of school for T, the end of the time where she is at home with me for part of the week I will take a picture of her in her school uniform and take her to school thinking how fortunate we are to live where we do, have the opportunities available to us that we do and celebrate the fact with her that she is starting school as well as leaving her there with a smile on both our faces as she goes off to enjoy her first day in reception and I smile wondering what the future will bring for her and us as she continues to grow and starts to write new chapters in her book of life. I am not alone in seeing the opportunities and the hope I hold for my children as I send them on their way to the First Day of School as this video by the BAFTA-nominated director Amanda Day, commissioned by Persil for Learning for Tomorrow,  of different mother’s thoughts on the milestone of their child’s first day at school shows from around the world.

As part of Persil’s partnership with Unicef, and celebrating the giving of 10M children worldwide access to quality education, Persil are running a Photo-A-Week challenge. Each week for 4 weeks, you could win exciting prizes! Each week Persil will announce a school theme on their Instagram page and ask you to upload your photo to Instagram. Just mention @PersilUK using that week’s competition hashtag.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Persil UK for the Learning for Tomorrow First Day of School Campaign

Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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