The first day of school can be an exciting or intimidating experience for children. It is crucial for children to have a successful transition to school as this will affect their long-term academic development and social outcomes (Sayers et al., 2012). Getting children off to a good start in school helps them to feel secure and comfortable in their new learning environment, which is important for their emotional well-being and ability to learn (Santo & Berman, 2012).
One of the ways to achieve a smooth transition to school is to consider children’s expectations about what it means to start school and to identify possible discrepancies between their expectations and actual school environment (Santo & Berman, 2012).
Introducing picture books to children about starting school can help them reduce their uncertainties and fears about school. Reading stories that touch on expected behaviours at school, school routine and interaction with teachers and friends creates opportunities for children to explore all the emotions and scenarios of the ‘first day’.
Splat the Cat
Author: Rob Scotton
Publisher: London: HarperCollins Children’s, 2008.
Call No.: JP SCO
Summary: Splat the cat is worried about going to school and tries to give all kinds of funny excuses to skip school. When he finally gets to school, the inquisitive and insecure cat starts asking his teacher all kinds of questions. Children will like the adorable characters and the amusing hero, Splat and his pet friend, Seymour as they solve the “milk” problem for his classmates.
Monsters Love School
Author: Mike Austin
Publisher: New York, NY: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2014.
Call No.: JP AUS
Summary: Join the colourful monsters as they start their first day at Monster school! Children will learn the concept of colours and rhyming words. The humorous story and eye-catching illustrations will appeal to young readers. A great choice to share with children to ease their worries about school.
Boris Starts School
Author: Carrie Weston
Publisher: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Call No.: JP WES
Summary: When Miss Cluck announces that the class will have a new student - a bear, all the animals are very excited and start imagining how fluffy, soft and cuddly he will be. But when an enormous, scary looking grizzly bear appears, all the animals scream! Boris, the bear, feels really sad. Read and find out how Boris makes new friends. This book teaches children about friendship and acceptance.
I'll Never Let You Go
Author: Marianne Richmond
Publisher: Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014.
Call No.: JP RIC
Summary: A heartwarming book for parents to share with their children. Young children may have a special object such as a blanket, pillow or toy, which they adore since they were born. This story is about how Mother Bear helps her son, Edward, to find things for his favourite Blankie to do while he is away at school. A charming story to teach children about unconditional love and coping with new situations.
The Night Before Kindergarten
Author: Natasha Wing
Publisher: New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2014.
Call No.: JP WIN
Summary: Written in a poetry form, children can easily read aloud the sentences and pick up the rhyming words at the end of each sentence. The story talks about how children prepare for their first day at kindergarten. An excellent book to share with children to allay their fears and anxieties about entering school.
The Little Bully
Author: Beth Bracken
Publisher: North Mankato, Minn.: Picture Window Books, 2012.
Call No.: JP BRA
Summary: Billy is polite and nice to everyone. He has many friends and nobody is mean to him, except Fred. Despite being teased and scoffed at by Fred, Billy remains calm and brave. This book helps children to learn about bullies and how they can deal with them.
My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not)
Author: Peter Brown
Publisher: New York; Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
Call No.: JP BRO
Summary: Bobby thinks that his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is a horrible monster because she likes to yell and shout. One day, Bobby bumps into Ms. Kirby in the park and they realise that they share a common interest. Written in a humorous way, this book tells children that teachers have a softer and caring demeanor once they get to know them better.
Chu's First Day of School
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: New York, NY: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.
Call No.: JP GAI
Summary: Chu, the panda, is worried about going to school and whether his classmates will like him. His parents reassure him that everything will be fine and he will make new friends in school. Written by an award-winning author, this book is ideal to share with children entering kindergarten.
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