It’s time to sharpen the pencils, pack the new backpack, and choose the outfit for the first day of school. I remember my first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday. I’m sure my parents told me I was going, but my four-year-old fears got the best of me. I cried the entire half-day. Thankfully I had the BEST kindergarten teacher ever - Ms. Tomkins. She cradled me in her lap for what seemed to be the whole morning. I adjusted quickly because she was so nurturing and, well because...children adjust quickly. Some of my fondest kindergarten memories are playing at the water station, making friends (one that I still have to this day), and story time.
Four years ago my daughter started kindergarten and I had to be careful not project my first day of school experience on to her. She hugged me, joined her class line and glanced back at me a few times. Then she walked down the hall and disappeared into a sea of tiny heads. I walked away teary-eyed, but in awe of her maturity.
My son started kindergarten last fall. Emotionally steeled, I thought to myself, I can do this no sweat…yeah right. I was still teary-eyed and slightly amiss when after our hug and high five, he walked away to join his line without looking back. He had preschool and years of daycare under his belt so I shouldn’t have expected anything less.
Sending a little one to school on the first day is one of the most emotional moments in a young child's and their parent’s lives. There are sure to be tears and thumbs-up, and the hugs are always a little tighter that morning. There are the criers, the can’t-wait-to-get-into-everything-kids, and every reaction in between. Each is as unique as the child.
One thing is certain, Kindergarten is 10 action-packed months full of activities, growth, and lasting memories. September’s child seems all grown up come June.
Here are a few books to help kids and parents get ready for the big day!
One Happy Classroom is a sweet picture book teaches counting while introducing kids to a typical classroom setting.
Written by Chaman Simon and Illustrated by Rebecca McKillip Thornburgh
Kindergarten Here I Come! celebrates fun and familiar kindergarten moments through poetry!
Written by D.J. Steinberg and Illustrated by Mark Chambers
The Night Before Kindergarten will ease kids’ and parents’ fears about saying good-bye on the first day of school. It’s a clever take on the classic Christmas poem.
Written by Natasha Wing and Illustrated by Julie Durrell
The Night Before Preschool is Wing's comforting story for preschoolers.
Written by Natasha Wing and Illustrated Amy Wummer
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten shows how kindergarteners get ready for school at home while the kindergarten teacher gets her classroom ready for first day of school.
Written by Joseph Slate and Illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Carol Higgins-Lawrence wrote her first picture book at the age of five. Her father paid her a quarter for it and she's been writing ever since. She's taken a variety of courses in writing for children. Multicultural perspectives are of particular interest to her. Carol is of Jamaican descent and was born and raised in Canada. She has a BA in Communications and Sociology and she has completed coursework towards a MA in TESOL. She has worked as a literacy educator for the past 15 years. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children.
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