Summary: Class 1 at Crawford Village Primary School are joined by a new kid. Please R&R

In With the New

Xaria Emerson looked down at her hands in her lap to avoid looking at Mr Brownlow, who was smiling kindly at her. He was the headmaster of Crawford Village Primary School; Xaria's new school.

Either side of Xaria sat her mother and father. Xaria grasped on her left for her mother's hand to reassure herself. She didn't want to start a new school.

She looked up and saw that Mr Brownlow was still looking at her. His smile extended to his kind, brown eyes as he began to speak.

"Now, I am sure that Xaria will settle straight away in her new class. There's only twelve other children, as you already know, so she won't be intimidated by the size of the class. Miss Evans, the teacher, is very nice. She'll stay teaching the class right up to Year 6 because here at Crawford teachers move up the school with the kids."

"That's a good idea," commented Xaria's mother, Amma.

Her Dad, Victor, nodded in agreement.

Xaria looked around the room. They were in Mr Brownlow's office.

They were sitting at a rich, mahogany desk on which sat a plaque which read "Mr R. Brownlow. Headmaster." Behind where Mr Brownlow was sitting was a wide window, spotlessly clean, that overlooked the vast, currently empty, playground. All the children were in their classrooms and the playground was covered in a light layer of January snow, which had fallen just over an hour ago. Hanging from the ceiling was a colourful banner which read 'WELCOME' in bright bold letters.

"I know that Xaria is a bit apprehensive about meeting her new classmates, especially as she's joining the middle of the school year," Mr Brownlow continued, "But Miss Evans is preparing them right now and, like I always say: Out with the old and in with the new. I'm sure that Xaria will be very happy here!"

He chuckled and Xaria's parents joined in.

Xaria didn't want 'out with the old'. She liked her old school and missed her best friend, Kyra. And 'in with the new' sounded especially bad to the nervous five-year-old.

In with the new?

*

In Class 1's classroom chaos was reigning. The five and six year olds were shouting, shrieking and screaming with excitement; it was the first day back after the Christmas holidays and the children were eagerly swapping stories of what presents they'd received, funny things that had happened and which family members had been in attendance.

Rebecca Hughes and Ayla Caulfield were sitting in the book corner discussing Christmas and what they had eaten for Christmas Dinner.

"We went to my Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas," Rebecca boasted. She was secretly a little bit jealous of how close Ayla's family were. Especially because Rebecca's Dad had left a year and a half ago and Ayla was always speaking about the funny things that her Dad had done of their most recent camping trip. "Mummy made Grandma cook vegetarian for us because we don't eat turkey," Rebecca said proudly.

Ayla looked at her incredulously. "But turkey is the whole point of Christmas. This year, Daddy cooked dinner instead of Mummy and the turkey nearly got all burnt!"

Suddenly India Gellar walked up and started talking, interrupting them, "Well my Daddy sent me the best presents. He lives in Spain but at least I hear from him," she said unkindly while narrowing her emerald eyes and casting a glance at Rebecca.

"Shut up, India," Ayla replied.

She turned to comfort Rebecca, who had gone quiet and was playing with her own blonde plaited hair as India stalked away past Kyle Zamora, Tomas Vine and Peter Quentin.

The three boys, stood in a little group, were talking about presents that they had received from various people.

"My Mum and Dad got me a football and a Manchester United football shirt!" Peter exclaimed, "The shirt even has my name on it on the back! It says 'QUENTIN'!"

"Well," answered Kyle, "From my Mum I got a Lego Pirate Ship and my Dad got me and my two sisters a computer! It's for all of us to share though." He finished sounding a bit disappointed.

Kyle and Peter both looked expectantly at Tomas, who up until now had been quiet.

"My Dad gave me some toy dinosaurs which are really cool and Dawn gave me some felt pens and a colouring book." Tomas wrinkled his nose at the words he said. Dawn was his young step-mother. "I threw them in the bin!"

Peter and Kyle laughed. They always thought that Dawn tried to hard to be nice and they knew that Tomas didn't like her at all.

Daisy Saunders was sitting all alone at one of the small tables in the classroom. She had a far off, distant expression and an unfocussed look in her brown eyes as though she was daydreaming. Suddenly Freddie Umbridge ran past screaming at the top of his lungs, tearing Daisy from her daydream. He spent most of his time running and shouting so it wasn't unusual. Jen Whitter ran after him, her dirty-blonde hair flying behind her and nearly tripping over the legs of the chair that Daisy was sitting on.

Moments later, Leighanna ran past shouting, "Come on Freddie, you have to tell me and Jen about how Santa scared you!" She paused and said to Daisy in a quieter voice, "Sorry for being so loud."

"It's okay," Daisy replied softly, a little amused to find out that Freddie had been scared of Santa.

Matthew Newton, meanwhile, was explaining to Oliver Blake why Christmas crackers were loud.

"They've got this little strip of cardboard in them that goes 'bang' so when you pull them they make a real loud sound!" he described, his green eyes flashing

"I'm not scared of them," Oliver said, "But my little brother, Josh, doesn't like the noise that they make."

Miss Evans looked around the classroom at the chaotic children. She was getting rather stressed. The clock said that it was 9:15am; that meant that Xaria would be here in less than fifteen minutes and she still hadn't told the children about the new kid.

"Right," called Miss Evans as she attempted to speak over the din, "Everybody onto the carpet in the book corner."

The children eventually all shuffled onto the carpet where they fell silent as Miss Evans sat down on the teacher's chair.

"Ok, thank you for being quiet so quickly. Welcome back and I hope that all of you had nice Christmas holidays and that you got lots of presents! Now, what I'm going to tell you is very important and I need you all to listen carefully. Okay?"

"Okay," chorused the children all together.

"Today we will have a new student with us. Her name is Xaria Emerson and she, her Mummy and Daddy have just moved to Crawford from London," Miss Evans explained.

Little chattering conversations had broken out between the children so Miss Evans had to regain their attention by clapping her hands.

"I want you all to be nice and welcome Xaria into our class. She's going to be here in a few minutes. Mr Brownlow is bringing her. Now, you all stay here until she arrives; I'll be back in a minute."

Miss Evans left them to tidy up a few things around the classroom before Mr Brownlow brought in the new pupil.

"Wow," shouted Freddie.

"A new girl," said Oliver.

"I wonder what she's like," speculated Ayla, who was really taking only to Rebecca.

"No! Then in the class there'll be more girls than boys!" Kyle suddenly realised, complaining to Peter and Tomas.

*

Xaria walked across the now slushy playground holding hands with Mummy and Daddy, as they followed Mr Brownlow to her new classroom. She was nervous about meeting all her new classmates.

In no time at all they arrived at the classroom, where Miss Evans was standing at the door to greet Xaria and her parents.

"Hi Xaria. I'm Miss Evans."

Xaria liked her instantly and now didn't feel so worried. Miss Evans was nice and seemed like a kind person. She took hold of Xaria's hand as Xaria said goodbye to her Mum and Dad.

"We'll come and pick you up from school," said Xaria's Mum.

"Alright," Xaria responded.

She watched her parents and Mr Brownlow walk slowly back up the playground toward the main school building. Then, Miss Evans led Xaria into the classroom.

"The children are sitting in the book corner. We'll go and introduce you." Miss Evans told her.

As they entered the book corner, the children became quiet and all looked in the direction of Xaria.

"This," Miss Evans said, "is Xaria."

"Hi," Xaria mumbled.

The children started all chattering at once until Miss Evans held up a hand to silence them. "Xaria, I want you to go and sit next to Daisy," Miss Evans instructed, pointing to a girl with long, golden hair, "She'll show you around."

Xaria went and sat down, cross-legged, on the carpet next to Daisy.

"Hi, I'm Daisy," the girl said, smiling sweetly.

Suddenly, to Xaria, 'in with the new' didn't seem to bad.