It’s the time of year when little ones everywhere are getting ready for their first day at school. I hated my first days at school. Although I could read fluently, I wasn’t prepared for the noise and boisterousness of the other children. I’d never been to pre-school and had only one little sister. It was six months before I’d take off my coat.
Reading a book with your child can really help them to understand what to expect. Here’s a selection of some of my favourites.
You can’t go wrong with any book by husband and wife team Janet and Allan Ahlberg, and “Starting School” is a classic from 1990. The text goes through, not just the first day, but the whole first term, and it’s fairly comprehensive in explaining everything from hanging up coats to what lessons they might expect. It has elements of fun with the class rabbit and the reassurance that their parents will always return at the end of the day. The names of the children in the book are fairly multicultural but there are mentions of saying prayers in assembly and a Christmas play about Jesus, which may or may not be an issue for you.
I Am Too Absolutely Small For School
“I Am Too Absolutely Small For School” is a Charlie and Lola book by Lauren Childs which tackles the subject of first school days in a sensitive and more modern way. Charlie’s little sister, Lola, is due to start school but she isn’t sure she wants to, so it’s up to Charlie to persuade her. And he does a really good job. “Lola, you need to learn to write so you can send your Christmas list to Santa Claus. You need to learn to read in case there’s an angry ogre who won’t go to sleep until you’ve read him his favourite story.” Great fun stuff.
Now, much as I love this book, there is one thing that really irks me about it. One of Lola’s concerns is wearing a ‘schooliform.’ She doesn’t like to wear the same as other people. But this is tackled by saying, “But, Lola, we don’t have to wear a uniform at our school.” Which is not really helpful for children who do have to wear a uniform and I can’t imagine why the author would put in a concern and not solve it. A minor point but one to bear in mind if your child’s school has a uniform.
Friends at School
“Friends at School” by Rochelle Burnett is a great book. Described as, “A photo essay that shows pre-school children of mixed abilities busily working and playing at school, illustrating the true meaning of the word ‘inclusion,'” this book does exactly what is says on the tin. I loved this book. I loved the photos and the happy feel. It almost made me want to go back to school. If you’re only buying one book, make it this one.
My Teacher’s my Friend
Very often, a teacher can be seen as a scary, authority figure. “My Teacher’s My Friend: by P.K. Hallinan is a great way to rectify this. From the moment the teacher greets them in the morning, until the time they walk them to the bus at the end of school, this story goes through many of the ways that your child’s teacher is their friend. It also explains some of the ways the teacher makes school special in a gentle, reassuring way. An unusual take on the starting school book.
Starting School Sticker Book
The Usborne “Starting School Sticker Book” is another fun way to help explain the school day to your child with the added bonus of over 100 stickers. And how many children don’t like stickers?
I Love you all Day Long
My final choice is “I Love you all Day Long” by Francesca Rusackas.
Owen the pig is worried.
“But Mummy you won’t be with me.”
“That’s right, Owen,” said his Mummy. “But you should always remember this. I love you when I’m with you. And I love you when we’re apart.”
Not just good for first days at school, this book is a lovely choice for anytime your child might be suffering separation anxiety if you have to leave them.
Hoping you and your child both have a happy start to school.
PS Don’t forget my giveaway on Goodreads for Things Evie Eats is still open for entries.