It seemed inevitable that the Cheetahs would make some foray into the education system as the reality of going to ‘big school’ became every closer. However, the practicalities of getting this number of pupils around needed to be addressed, as did the type of schooling that they, the Dinos and the Banana People are going to receive…
Despite all the money invested at the garage in getting the Cheetah car back on the road, it seems that they do require a bigger vehicle if they all need to travel at once, and that the little Cheetahs need something to do in the back to stop them getting bored. So based on what their keeper knows they have now acquired a “Super C-Max”, silver (like ours) but one that goes really really fast and, for those of you environmentally conscious, runs on biofuel. Now admittedly, Giles’ knowledge of biofuel is entirely based on that instilled in him by Roary the Racing Car and the efforts of Farmer Green to concoct something that makes the cars go faster…so the Super C-Max fuel is made from “fruit and vegetables and fruit” – although we have yet to explore the concept of whether certain fruit and veg make better fuel.
The in-car entertainment seems to also have been an important factor when deciding what vehicle to acquire. I say ‘acquire’ as I have no idea as to where Cheetahs, Dinos and Banana People have a source of funds. Their keeper has an uncanny knack of raiding the change jar and then putting the coins into his money box so I hope he’s not been teaching them those skills. I digress…
The Cheetahs seem to have become little fidget bottoms over the summer holidays – not so keen on sitting cross legged, with their paws in their laps and being 5 Star listeners – and have spent much time allegedly biting their keeper on his bottom in the car. So they do need to be entertained and a CD is just not enough. As with many of the ‘sensible family cars’ available on the market, a C-Max has airline style trays that flip down from the back of the seats for your children to load up with all sorts of goodies that will then fall off as you go around any form of corner (or in St Albans, negotiate a ‘pop’ hole). But these aren’t just trays, oh no… these are Cheetah trays and not actually trays at all. They are computers – of course! The screen is in the back of the seat and the tray is the keyboard/mouse. Seemingly their keeper has his eye on my laptop then.
The computers offer an array of entertainment; you can look things up (ie the weather – it is very important when you are a Cheetah to know if you need your wellies) and, more importantly, play games. Especially the motorbike racing games which are, apparently, a favourite of the Cheetahs – mainly, I think because you can go really really really fast, which is very important when you’re a Cheetah.
The Cheetahs will mainly be learning about running at school, which I think is in Running Land. As we know, this requires a trip on the train and then a flight on the rainbow plane so I don’t know what time they’ll have to leave for school in the morning. They have a uniform (all red) and will be having packed lunches – mainly consisting of fruit salad – with the obligatory passion fruit included. They will also be learning about measuring how fast they run and writing about it. I’m not sure they’re ready for the sports science bit yet, but it’s a start… It was discussed whether the Cheetahs would require some bread or pasta to give them more energy to run, and maybe something to drink, but apparently fruit salad is all that’s needed. The Cheetahs also have their own telephones so that their keeper can get in touch with them if he needs to whilst they’re at school. His phone lives in his pocket (“It’s in here somewhere”), he knows their number off by heart and has some very intense conversations with them about what they’re doing and what they need. I must remember to ask him what noise his phone makes when he gets a text from them…
The Dino’s won’t be going into school all day – they’re just going to the nursery bit so they’ll be able to come home for their lunches as they will just be attending in the mornings. I think they’ll be doing important stuff like playing and learning how to jump in leaves properly – although they’ll have to go on a Saturday as Monday is their day off. Their keeper is working on perfecting the perfect leaf kick at the moment (a tad tricky when your sense of balance is less than good) and I suspect the Cheetahs and Banana People will be well up for it too.
As for the Banana People, they’re definitely going to school…but only when it’s not raining. They flatly refused to come out this week during the torrential rain. I guess they won’t be getting their attendance certificates at the end of the year then and they’ll have to think very hard about their behaviour with respect to breaking windows to get to where you want to be.
I suspect the flexible timetabling is to ensure that at least one group of them will always be able to attend Mandeville with Giles every day – they’ll need to know what’s going on. The Cheetahs have already met his teacher and the Deputy Head – and as far as I understand were quite happy to spend the morning snuggled up in the quiet area. To have the confidence to leave them there must mean things were looking good that morning and as long as they don’t start jumping in the paint tray and leaving paw prints everywhere, we should be ok.
And at the weekends…?
It seems that the Dinos didn’t have to go into nursery today (it is only settling in time after all – their keeper has managed a whole 3 hours in his classroom this week!) and therefore they, the Cheetahs and the Banana People all got to go to a birthday party at Birchwood Softplay in Hatfield. Little did the other party goers realise that there were 4 groups of Cheetahs, 48 Dinos and the full quota of Banana People following a small boy everywhere he went – and that they were loving every minute of it. Although not up for the dark tunnel adventures yet, nor the drop slide (to be honest, I completely understand that one!) they had a fabulous time doing lots of climbing, running and sliding down the bumpety bumpety slides. For a little boy who wouldn’t enter a playframe on his own 9 months ago this is wonderful to watch, as is the fact that he has enough energy and strength to do so – despite 2 early hours nosebleeds this week which completely exhausted him. Trampolining tomorrow (the Dinos and Banana People haven’t been before, the Cheetahs tend to cause havoc in the trainers) and then school next week.
Bring on the packed lunches – Giles seems to think bagels with pink fish (smoked salmon) will be an excellent lunch for him. I’m not sure I can manage the quantity of fruit salad that will be required for the Cheetahs, let alone the Dino food and whatever the Banana People will be having with their tomatos – and what sort of lunch box does a Cheetah have???