Starting School

Families often ask for information on transitioning to preschool. Here are some thoughts we have found work well. The sites they are culled from are listed below.  

The most common challenge for kids is saying goodbye to their family. For some children this may be their first time going to school. Sometimes saying goodbye is a challenge for the adults as well. We know and understand it is hard to leave your child at school, as most of us have done it, too. Come up with a creative way to say goodbye. You and your child can create a secret handshake or a cool goodbye rhyme. Simple is best.  

More Ideas:

  • As adults, we know what school will be like. Children do not. Explain to your child in simple terms what he can expect when he goes to school.
  • Tell them that they will be away from you for a little while, and you will pick them up.
  • Gently build excitement about school by telling him about all the new friends he’ll meet, the delicious snacks he’ll enjoy, and all the fun things he’ll learn and do.
  • Have a playdate with one of the other children who will be attending the school, then the children can welcome each other when they begin school. 
  • At home, set up a pretend play area with a table, chair and rug. Act out common school experiences such as circle time, story time, meeting, and snack time.
  • Purchase any needed supplies together with your child.  
  • Give your child a transitional object, a small family picture or a parent’s handkerchief or scarf that they can carry around with them all day. We also recommend small love notes in the lunchbox.  
  • From the beginning by allowing your child to walk into school on their own two feet with their backpack on next to you. It is very empowering to be the big kid coming to their own school.
  • We encourage you to leave school in the same quiet and routine way, jacket and backpack on.
  • Smooth transitions help everyone when the expectations between family and school are the same.

Books and Resources

If you don’t have a library card, now is a great time to get one for both you and your child! It’s a wonderful treat for a child to be able to pick out their own book all by themselves.  

  1. Time for School, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
  2. Spot Loves School by Eric Hill
  3. Corduroy Goes to School by Don Freeman
  4. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (a lipstick kiss on a piece of paper is a great transitional object!)
  5. Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen
  6. Going to Daycare by Fred Rogers
  7. Little Polar Bear Finds a Friend by Hans de Beer
  8. Best Friends for Francis by Russell Hoban
  9. Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells
  10. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
  11. Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London

Sites referenced:

A Smooth Start

Transitioning to Preschool: 9 Ways to help Your Child

Easing Transition to Preschool