If you, like me, have a little one going to nursery or school for the first time this September (blub), or if they are starting a new school, or if the summer holidays have been so long and lovely that your children have just forgotten all the fun things about school and seem a bit reluctant to go back then broaching the subject can be a tricky. Why not try one of these books to help them reflect on their feelings about school, start a converstaion about what they are looking forward to and give them the opportunity to share anything they might be nervous about.
I am too absolutely small for school by Lauren Child (a Charlie and Lola book)
I am a huge fan of the Charlie and Lola series and think that everybody should have a big brother like Charlie. In this story, Charlie patiently explains why everyone needs to go to school and Lola argues that she will never need to learn any of the new things like counting past ten, reading or writing. She also tells Charlie about other things she isn’t keen on like uniform and school dinners. It is pitched perfectly and, as anyone who has frequent converstaions with young children will know, Lola’s thoughts and arguements are very believable. Needless to say Lola eventually goes to school and has a great time, although Charlie spends most of the day looking out for her and worrying about how she’s getting on. He’s the best! Perfect for first timers and also might be useful for older siblings who might get some ideas about how they can look out for their little brothers and sisters too.
Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark
This is the first of the ‘Blue Kangaroo’ books that we have read and we really enjoyed it. It’s about a little girl, Lily, who is starting a new school. To help her settle, she takes her favourite toy Blue Kangaroo with her. Cleverly, the author gets Lily to project her feelings onto Blue Kangaroo, saying things like “Blue Kangaroo is worried about getting lost at the new school” or “”I don’t think he wants to go to the new school” and then the adults help her to think through what will happen and see all the positives in the situation. Again, this story goes well once Lily is at school, in fact she enjoys it so much that Blue Kangaroo is left behind at night, giving the story a fun twist at the end (no spoilers, you’ll have to read it and see!) This would be equally good to read with first timers or anyone feeling a bit nervous about the return to school and is also fun as a story in its own right at any time of year.
Maisy Goes to Nursery by Lucy Cousins
This is a more simple text but outlines nicely the sort of activities your child might do when they are in the very early years of school (Nursery, Pre-K, Kindergarten etc depending on where you are in the world). It gives a rough idea of what children might do throughout the day and makes the whole idea of school sound and look colourful, exciting and interesting. It has a great, positive message especially for those who have no idea what to expect when they get there which will hopefully rub off on anybody who is reading the story.
Miffy at School by Dick Bruna
Another simple text but sometimes they are the ones that spark the best conversations. It’s not about starting school and is really just a round up of the sorts of activities Miffy does throughout the day in simple Miffy style (four simple rhyming lines on one side of the page, bold and beautiful illustrations on the other). I have no doubt teaching styles have changed a lot since this was written in 1984 but as a way of talking about what your child does at school, what they enjoy and look forward to it would work well or if your child is wondering what the next year has in store for them then this might give them some ideas. (Plus it’s Miffy. And I LOVE Miffy!)
If you go and visit your local library or your favourite book bloggers on instagram I’m sure you will find loads more suggestions, this really is the tip of the iceberg. If you have one which has worked a treat for you, let me know in the comments below. And good luck to all the little people (and their emotional parents) through this exciting new phase xx