Freddie Bun’s day was not going well. From the moment she’d tumbled from her lovely warm bed and stood on a chunk of Lego, Freddie had been in a rotten mood. The morning hadn’t been improved by her mother announcing, very loudly, that it was boiled eggs for breakfast. “Frederica the eggs are ready, hurry up!”
It had taken a long time to get the eggs down, in fact she was certain that she could still feel them clumping in her throat as she’d trudged to school in the mizzle with the cold sharp wind nibbling at her fingertips and nose. Freddie finally got to school, stomping in and bringing a scowl and a bad mood along with her book bag. Then, just when she thought her day couldn’t get any worse, along came maths. Maths was Freddie’s least favourite thing. The digits seemed to swim about on the whiteboard before flipping over like goldfish only to land upside down in her maths book.
Freddie should probably have asked for some help because she had simply stopped trying, since yesterday when she’d got in a tizzy that she now seemed stuck in, it was an effort to make an effort. Also Freddie was known to be something of a tough cookie, too tough and too brave to ask for help. Freddie was fine! Funny though how inside she didn’t feel fine at all, despite the brave face.
Next to Freddie sat Henry Pye, Henry was excellent at maths, had fabulous ginger hair and a kind freckled face. Henry was most certainly not Freddie’s idea of a tough cookie. “Would you like some help?” he asked softly. Freddie turned her grumpy gaze towards him.
“No!” she spat, picking up her pencil to pretend that she was doing just fine on her own.
At last the bell’s inconsiderate clanking cut through the air, slicing the morning in half, break time at last! Freddie headed straight for the buddy bench, confident that her nowty face would deter any offers to play. A snail was making its way extremely slowly, along the edge of the planter towards the bench, at least that wouldn’t try talking to her.
“Hey there, are you okay?” asked the snail. Freddie let out an enormous sigh, well she’d been wrong about that then. Although she was in no mood for sharing her troubles, the temptation of conversing with a talking snail was just too hard to resist and she told the snail, who turned out to be called Ethel, all about her dreadful day. She had got so caught up relaying how cross she had felt at Henry ‘perfect’ Pye’s offer of help that Frederica had failed to notice that three more mini beasts had congregated on the planter along with Ethel. Freddie wondered if they too could talk. She didn’t need to wait long for the answer.
“Oh you! I cannot believe how you spoke to that child!”
“Who?” said Freddie, sticking out her bottom lip in defiance, so cross that it didn’t faze her to be talking to a large bee.
“Your friend, Henry, he was only trying to help you, respecting other people is important, you aint any more important than Henry is, don’t ya think that he has feelings too?” Now Freddie felt bad. The bee was right, but there was more to come.
“Radmilla is perfectly right,” said Ethel, although in a gentler, more compassionate tone. “You don’t need to be able to do your work the same as Henry, everyone has their very own best.”
“So true,” muttered a fat fuzzy faced spider, “excellence is individual, but we can all achieve it.”
“Quite right Eberhardt,” agreed Ethel “if you’d only take the time to look at Henry now and again you’d notice the biggest difference between you, is the effort he puts in.” Freddie nodded thoughtfully.
“These guys are right,” a tiny ant chirped in. He was so small that Freddie had to lean right over the planter in order to see him.
“Hi there, I’m Cornelius and my good friends have each given you a piece of fantastic advice.” Freddie nodded in agreement. “My, oh my! You humans make me chuckle sometimes. I’m pretty small right?”
“Erm, yes you are,” replied Freddie.
“So,” continued Cornelius “on my own, life was tricky, but once I became part of a team everything was better!”
“Collaboration, that’s what they call it,” drawled Radmilla “and it’s not just for ants, try it girl!”
“I will,” said Freddie, still a little bemused at the talking mini beasts. This had been the most unusual break time ever!
Back in the classroom, Freddie was suddenly aware of Mrs Lamp hovering close by her table, Freddie held her breath, maybe just maybe she’d keep moving, stick her nose into someone else’s business but nope she was definitely stopping here. Just then Freddie realised something, amidst her dread of Mrs Lamp bending over her book, nestled another feeling, a feeling like relief.
“Frederica, would you like some help? Class 10, would anyone be able to give Frederica a little support, along with me?” Several hands shot up, Dilly Dallibar almost jumping from her chair, jiggling up and down as if she had ants in her pants.
Freddie steeled herself, realising that she’d got hold of the wrong side of the stick altogether when it came to bravery. Now was the time to be brave. “Erm … yes, yes please.”
As it turned out Freddie actually quite enjoyed maths, once she had realised that needing support was not a bad thing, and that accepting it was easy, once you’d found your brave.
Written by Mrs Burrows
Banks Lane Infant and Nursery School Hempshaw Lane Stockport SK1 4PR