If you have a child that is starting school for the first time next week, school may seem scary even if they have been to kindergarten. It's a new place with children that your child may not know. A helpful way to alleviate or address those anxieties is through reading stories that take place in school. Reading stories helps children understand what may happen the first day of school, expectations for how to act, and allow parents to discuss feelings and concerns about going to school. The Abilene Public Library has many great stories centered around the first day of school that can be used as a jumping off point to introduce going to school.
My First Day of School by Alyssa Satin Capucilli has simple and easy text along with pictures of real children participating in classroom activities. The story introduces what happens when a child goes to school: meeting the teacher, singing songs, playing, and making friends along the way. The pictures in the book feature a diverse group of children with smiling faces to create a clear message of school is a great place to be. The back of the book has a guide about the different parts of the day. Parents can use the guide to talk about circle time, playing outdoors, snack time, and washing hands. When children know what to expect when they go to school, they are more confident in their endeavors.
Edda: A Little Valkyrie's First Day of School by Adam Auerback features a wonderful fantasy twist to a first day of school story. Edda is a Valkyrie who has to go to school for the first time and school is quite a bit different from her home, Asgard. Asgard has magical creatures and incredible feasts, but no other children. Edda must learn important lessons at school such as following directions, waiting in line for her turn, sitting still, and dealing with time outs. Edda doesn't seem confident or happy being in school until she discovers that she enjoys writing about her home, Asgard. As she shares her story about home, the other children like her story and become her friend. Edda is happy to be in school and becomes confident in her abilities. Edda can be used as a positive example of perseverance.
There are a number of books about monsters attending school fr the first time. One of my favorites is Go to School Little Monster by Helen Kettermann. Little Monster is a shy monster, but his teacher, Mr. Drool, is very patient and encouraging to Little Monster. The story follows Little Monster as he is introduced to his new teacher and participates in typical school activities such as storytime, lunch, math, and recess. All the characters are cute kid-sized monsters with big expressive eyes to convey emotions. As the day ends, Little Monster shows off his new friend for Show and Tell and is excited about going back to school the next day.
There are many wonderful stories available at the Abilene Public Library that address first day of school jitters or worries. Picture books about school can help children better understand what it's like going to school even if the characters are monsters or a valkyrie. It can help your child build confidence and lessen anxieties. Stop by any branch location to talk to the children's staff to get more recommendations.
Article by Ellene Cudd, Children's Librarian at Main Branch