Whether your child is starting child care, kindergarten, or going back to the same school with a new classroom of children this coming week, it’s exciting and a little scary too. The family routine changes and your son or daughter will be faced with new experiences and friends, new ideas and choices.
How can you help your child prepare for the big first day? Knowing what to expect, as much as possible, eases possible anxiety. Talk about what your new family routine is going to be like. What time will you all wake up? How will your child get to school? What will your child have for lunch? What will happen after school?
Ask your child how he or she feels about starting school and be a good example of remaining calm and positive. You won’t know exactly what activities will happen at school, but there are many children’s books that describe a typical school day. Authors who have a series of books based on one character, usually have a book about starting school. Some books explore feelings and others school activities. Before you read a “going to school” book aloud to your family, read it to yourself and see if it is appropriate for your own child.
• Rosemary Wells writes prolifically about universal childhood experiences, including school. One of her characters, a cat named Yoko, learns about food from other cultures, how to write her name, and what to bring for show and tell in 3 separate books. Wells’s “Kindergator” book series features Harry the alligator and his young classmates in situations that show how one child’s behavior affects everyone else in the group or class. Wells also wrote “My Kindergarten” and “Emily’s First 100 Days of School.
• Nancy Carlson writes about the world from a child’s point of view and has a few about school: “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!,” “Henry’s First 100 days of Kindergarten,” “Henry’s Show and Tell,” and “First Grade Here I Come!”
• Lucy Cousins uses her mouse character “Maisy” as a character in almost 100 different books for very young children. Maisy explores colors, shapes, numbers, birthdays, a farm, the beach, and also learns about school in “Maisy Goes to Preschool.”
• Jonathon London’s “Froggy” character is featured in a series of books illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. In “Froggy Goes to School,” Froggy has a lighthearted attitude toward school and some humorous happenings on his first day.