Spotlight On: Reflections of a Year 6 Red Shoe girl*

2 December 2022


This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 25 November, 2022

Here sits a little red shoe. It is worn, the red leather has peeled away in patches showing a grubby grey underneath. The toes are particularly shabby, stripped from scraping up stairs, kicking soccer balls, rushing to the front of the line and rolling across the grassed surfaces of the playground and the woollen carpet in the classrooms. The inside is soft and moulded to the shape of the foot of me but much smaller. The sole is polished smooth from many steps taken. The strap is barely attached, each hole in it is bigger from each year it was needed as the little foot that wore it grew.  This was my shoe when I started Kindergarten in 2016 and there were many on this day, boldly shiny and proudly red, almost sparkly.

On that first day the shoe took many significant steps. It took me through the black Queenwood gate for the first time, it took me to the classroom where I stood in front of my teacher, relieved when she smiled. The little red shoe took me to the pirate ship where I ate my lunch, it walked me up to other girls to smile and say a shy hello, helping me make my first friend. It sat me down on the carpet along with my twenty-four companions. The red shoe had taken me to new and exciting places on that first day that would soon become familiar the more steps my shoes made.

The next few years were busy for that little red shoe. It took me to the stage of the Galaxy Theatre to show my work proudly to the big girls, it dangled from my art stool as I dabbed my paint brush creating magical water lilies, it two-stepped in drama to help me portray a crazy character, it curled under my bottom as I delighted in a story in the library. Sometimes, my little red shoe stamped in frustration when I just couldn’t get the hang of something new! It helped me run and hide when I lacked courage. But my little red shoes took my little feet far. My little red shoes got me to where I needed to be, even when it was tricky.

Soon the little red shoes were shelved for safe-keeping, a treasured memento of how far I had travelled so far. They were replaced with bigger, black shoes with laces. I felt pride as I slipped the shoes on and laced them up. I had become a ‘big girl’ and was going to tackle even bigger challenges than I had before. As I stepped out the door in my big black shoes, I knew I would never forget the little red shoes that had gotten me this far.

The black shoe was sturdier and was able to handle the new weight upon my shoulders. The black shoe was able to deal with the new playground and the increased expectations, such as NAPLAN tests, iResearch tasks and more responsibility to be independent. When 2020 rolled around and Covid-19 hit us hard, the black shoes were kept in the cupboard. The lessons I had learned with them stayed in the front of my mind and I waited anxiously to put them back on and return to school.

The last days of Junior School have come ‘round and my steps are bigger than the ones I took seven years ago in my little red shoes. The black shoes have taken me along this learning journey And I have also stood in the black shoes of others, my friends and even the fancy shoes of my teachers, to think about things from their perspective.

At the start of the journey, the red shoe had twenty-four friends which it would run with, shuffle, waddle, kick, skip and twirl. These twenty-four friends have been with me the whole way, supporting and helping me grow into the black shoes that will take me to the end of Junior School. The black shoes that have carried me through this chapter of my life will be carefully stored away next to my well-worn red shoes as I slide a new pair of black shoes onto my feet. They will guide me the way through Senior School and help me through this daunting, yet exciting challenge placed before me. The heel on the back will push me that little bit higher, allowing me to jump and reach for the stars! I am grateful for my little red shoes.

* A ‘red shoe girl’ is one who started in Kindergarten with its distinctive red shoes.