Behold, the first day of school...a time that fills the hearts of parents and children with excitement and dread, often in equal measure.
Particularly for brand new preschoolers and kindergartners, as well as for other children who have never been to school, the first day can be a time of wondering and worry as much as anticipation and excitement. A great way to soothe fears as well as celebrate this new experience is to share a picture book about beginning school, the first day of school, and other school-related experiences.
For first-day fears, try these titles to help reassure children:
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Little mouse Wemberly worries about almost everything, and starting preschool has her even more anxious than usual. Seeing that everything turns out just fine in spite of Wemberly's many going-to-school fears can provide comfort for little ones worried about beginning nursery school or kindergarten.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him. This book can help create a new family tradition, or just reassure a nervous child.
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child
The delightful duo of Charlie and Lola tackle the first-day jitters with gentle humor as older brother Charlie reassures his spunky little sister Lola that despite her many fears, school is fun, useful, and not a bit scary.
Try these books to celebrate all the excitement of starting school:
Mouse's First Day of School by Lauren Thompson
When Mouse hides in a backpack, he finds himself dropped into the busy and energetic world of a preschool classroom. Full of catchy, playful language, this book will help build enthusiasm about all the fun school has to offer.
Don't Eat the Teacher by Nick Ward
When Sammy the Shark gets excited, he bites everything in his path, and boy is Sammy excited about starting school! Despite his many mishaps, Sammy has a great time on his first day of school. Kids will love the bright, cartoon-like illustrations and opportunities to chime in and tell Sammy what not to eat at school.
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick
A silly book that gets kids giggling while talking about the different types of experiences that they can expect on their first day of school. The underlying message is that there is a place for everyone in kindergarten.
When I taught 1st grade, I would read Wemberly Worried to my class the first day of school. It served to acknowledge their fears and let us bond as a class.
I also found the Kissing Hand helpful for children who had separation anxiety.
Those are both great points, and thank you for acknowledging that these books are also useful for teachers and instructors to help their students adjust and make a healthy transition to school.