The first day of school brings mixed emotions to children of all ages. While some will feel excited to start a new year with new friends and new teachers, others may feel nervous and unsure. Reading can be a positive way to introduce pre-school to your young child or address the fears of a child moving up to junior school – all while bonding over a good story.
Michael Kelly, the head of infant library at Tanglin Trust School, explains how reading can help to settle a child into a new school environment. “In times of transition there is nothing more comforting than familiarity. Reading books with your child provides one-on-one time and can help to reassure them,” he says.
“Stories that explore emotions, particularly in times of change, show children that they are not alone. Characters in the stories serve as examples of how children can work their way through challenges, giving them confidence and coping strategies. By reading together, parents can help their child relate to the character’s feelings.”
Kelly shares his recommended school reads, which all “focus on transition, giving strategies and opportunities for discussion with children”.
“For children starting school for the first time, Lauren Child’s book, I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, humorously deals with some of the fear and anxiety children have about going to school.”
“At Tanglin Trust School, the picture book Don’t Worry Spratly by Helen Sampson is often shared with young children towards the end of the school year. It tells of a fish who is feeling apprehensive as his time to move to a bigger school nears. It’s a positive story which demonstrates the impact of changes in a child’s life and how to deal with them.”
“Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana explores childhood emotions of sadness, uncertainty of the unknown and the joy of new experiences. It is great for children who are moving away or who have friends who are leaving, showing that distance does not have to separate friendships.”
More recommended reads for starting pre-school and primary
Curious George Goes to School by Margret Rey
The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Jan and Stan Berenstain
Hey, New Kid by Betsy Duffey
Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh
The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park
Wemberley Worried by Kevin Henkes