Preparing our kids for school can seem overwhelming at times. We want them to be prepared. But one of the biggest concerns we have as parents, is whether they’re going to be happy.
Starting school can feel daunting to young children. So much will be different, from the class size to the routine and for many kids, the length of the school day. Despite all these changes, the overriding feeling we want our children to have, is that this new chapter in their lives is going to be enjoyable; that school is a positive experience and nothing to be fearful of.
A good strategy to help achieve this is to speak to your child about their new teacher. If possible, arrange a meeting with them before so your child can be reassured. But whether you’re able to do this or not, it’s also a good idea to drop the teacher’s name into conversations you have about school. This will not only familiarise your child with them, but also allow your child to see that s/he is a normal human being! You may also want to mention that teachers don’t actually live in school – that they have a life outside! Of course, they will probably still be shock/horror if they see them in the supermarket!
For a complete post on how to prepare your child for formal school, you can check out this post. In addition to these tips, a great way to prepare your kids, is to read books to them specifically about characters starting school. There are too many to list here, but below are some that I would recommend. (Each synopsis taken from Amazon).
Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo – by Emma Chichester Clark
Lily and Blue Kangaroo – a friendship forever! The eighth title in this hugely popular series featuring Lily and her loveable soft toy sees the inseparable duo starting at a new school with surprising results.
When Lily starts at a new school she asks Blue Kangaroo to come too. Lily thinks Blue Kangaroo is worried about going but, secretly, he can’t wait to explore and try new things – which is just as well, because the fun lasts even longer than he expected…
A reassuring story for children starting school.
Topsy and Tim Start School – by Jean and Gareth Adamson
Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean and Gareth Adamson helps children start school. Topsy and Tim Start School is a perfect, reassuring picture book for children who are just about to start school. Along with favourite characters Topsy and Tim, children will learn what to expect in lessons, in the playground – even in the canteen – and, more importantly, that school can be fun! The Topsy and Tim books have been beautifully updated with contemporary artwork, but they remain instantly recognisable and trusted characters that parents will remember from their own childhoods.
Harry and the Dinosaurs go to School – by Ian Whybrow
It’s the first day of school! Harry is nervous because he isn’t sure what to expect. Triceratops is even more nervous, especially when Harry must leave the dinosaurs in the coatroom. But soon Harry sees another boy who is the most nervous of all. He clings to his toy bulldozer and won’t talk to anyone in the class. Harry wonders what he can do. Perhaps the new boy will talk to dinosaurs. . . .
I am Too Absolutely Small for School – by Lauren Child
Lola is not so sure about school. After all, why would she need to count higher than ten when she never eats more that ten cookies at a time? Once again, it’s up to ever-patient big brother Charlie to persuade Lola that school is worthwhile — and that her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, will be welcome, too.
If You Take Mouse to School – by Laura Numeroff
If you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he’ll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he’ll need a notebook and some pencils. He’ll probably want to share your backpack, too.The famous mouse from ‘If You Take a Mouse to the Movies’ and ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’ is back for his first day of school. Only Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond could make school this much fun!
Little Rabbit Goes to school – by Harry Horse
The indomitable Little Rabbit is starting school and discovering the challenges of independence.
Today is a special day. It is Little Rabbit’s first day of school, and he has decided to bring along his favorite toy, Charlie Horse. The busy classroom is crowded with little rabbits and lots of activities. His new teacher, Mrs. Morag, seems very happy to see him and Charlie Horse―that is, until Charlie Horse disrupts story time, dances on top of the desk during music time, and jumps into the cake batter at snack time. At the end of the day, even Little Rabbit realizes that Charlie Horse may not be ready for school after all.
Harry Horse hits all the right notes in this gently humorous, reassuring story that depicts how children cope with a big transition. Young readers will identify easily with the young character’s conflicting desires for independence and reassurance
Over to you…
Is your child starting school soon or recently started? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences (good and bad!), in the comments below.