A visit from the classroom bear has become a staple feature of primary school activity across the country.
On the face of it he sounds like a lovely idea – a cuddly companion who spends his weekends visiting different members of the class, prompting quality family time at home.
His adventures are then documented in a scrapbook by the chosen child, with accompanying photographs and captions, to be shared with classmates on Monday morning.
But beware. This seemingly harmless bear (or rabbit, or kangaroo, or whatever else your child’s school has opted for) is creating all sorts of stress and competition between parents.
Stress 1: Will you (oops, your child) be able to give the bear as exciting time as others?
Flicking through previous entries in the bear’s scrapbook you’re likely to see a succession of enthralling adventures. Boat trips, orchestra rehearsals, even high profile celebrity events – such are the dizzying diary dates to which your furry visitor has grown accustomed.
You may have been planning on a lazy, low-key weekend at home. But these insights into the weekend worlds of other families can leave you feeling under pressure to perform.
Naturally, your child is likely to have high expectations for their special turn with the bear.
Stress 2: Will your child’s writing be as good as his classmates?
OK, so you and the bear have had a whirlwind weekend, but come Sunday evening, when all those exciting entries have to be written up, your child may well not feel quite up to executing their neatest handwriting. Or including all those extra bits you made happen, just for the bear – and the classroom book.
According to the TES, the weekly publication for teachers which has drawn attention to the phenomenon, the classroom bear has, in some instances, been quietly retired after competitive parenting led to things becoming “a bit silly”. We’d love to know what “a bit silly” really meant…
What do you think? Is the classroom bear a welcome guest in your home? Or is the sight of his furry form cradled in your child’s arms the last think you’d like to see heading your way on a Friday afternoon?