Starting preschool can be a challenging day for our little learners. This is especially true if this is their first adventure in preschool or if it is a totally new preschool to them. Just think of all the new things they will encounter throughout the day. From a new environment, to new teachers, a new schedule, and new rules. It’s amazing that more preschoolers don’t break down in the face of all these new experiences! Preparing your kids for some of the expectations at preschool is an important way to help decrease their anxiety and fear for the first day of school.
There are so many great preschool level books that you can read with your children to help them understand that everyone will be in the same boat, and that even though it feels scary and unfamiliar, they will get through it just fine. Here are a couple of my recommendations and books that I love. I will not only be reading these books for the first day of school, but for the first couple of weeks of school. With preschoolers, I find that even if they seem to do great on the first day of school, they can sometimes dig in their heels after the first couple of weeks. It is important to remember that the transition of attending preschool can take about 4-12 weeks on average. It is best to keep “the first day of school” theme fresh in their heads to remind them that they will eventually feel comfortable in their new environment.
The following are some books that I love:
Chrysanthemum is written and illustrated by Keven Henkes, a wonderful author who has won many awards for his children’s books over the years. This is an adorable and sometimes funny story about a girl on her first day of school. The story has themes of teasing, self-esteem and acceptance and shows you that even if you don’t have a great first day of school, you can start over the next day!
“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn is a classic story for preschool-aged children. This heartwarming book tells the story of a little racoon that is starting school in the forest and does not want to leave his mother. Kids are sure to identify with little Chester racoon and the feeling of missing their mother.
This book is for very young children entering preschool. It is simple and introduces them to some of the activities they may experience during the day. This is great for 2 and 3 year olds and even children entering pre-k that have never been to preschool before.
“The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi is a delightful story about a Korean girl who comes to a new school and no one can pronounce her name. She tells her classmates that she will pick a new name, and they help her by creating a name jar. After trying a few new names, the girl decides to keep her old name and teach her classmates how to pronounce it. This story is wonderful because it introduces the idea that all people are different and come from various backgrounds and cultures.
“First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg is a story where kids will find it easy to identify with the main character that feels scared and nervous to go to school on her first day. Sarah Jane quickly finds a friend in one of the teachers; which helps her have a smooth transition. The illustrations are engaging and fun for preschoolers.
I hope you and your children enjoy reading these back to school books together. Best wishes for a smooth transition on that first day of school for your children!