My son started kindergarten 2 weeks ago, and I’m still struggling to figure out when exactly he got old enough to be in “big school.” You see, five years ago, I stopped being a kindergarten teacher, and started being a mom. That means my first baby is as old as the children who used to come into my classroom. Crazy! I just can’t quite wrap my head around that!
While I don’t know how all of that time passed so quickly, I do know that starting kindergarten can turn on a little anxiety for kids and parents alike. So what can you do to help manage it all and prepare your child for kindergarten? Sit down with your soon to be kindergartener and read a good book. A good “get ready for kindergarten” book settles some of the nerves, opens the door for conversations about school, and gives children an idea of what to expect. After reading A LOT of kindergarten based picture books, I have complied a list featuring the best of the best.
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten
By: Joseph Slate
This is the first day of school book from the loving series featuring Miss Bindergarten. Containing all animal characters, this picture book takes the reader through the alphabet introducing all of the children in the class. This is a good book to gently introduce the concept of kindergarten and give an idea of things to expect in the kindergarten classroom. By the end of the story, you learn that there are 26 students in Miss Bindergarten’s class, something that I actually used to help my son prepare for the change in class size from preschool. The story is sweet, the illustrations are captivating, and the text is whimsical.
The Kissing Hand
By: Audrey Penn
I’m pretty sure that The Kissing Hand is now the official book of young children starting school. That doesn’t make me love it any less though. All of the woodland creatures are scampering off to start their night at school, but Chester Raccoon is very nervous. He does not want to go to school. His mother gently teaches him that sometimes we do things that make us a little nervous, and gives him the right tool to help him through the day: a kiss. This is a well written story with beautiful illustrations that can help ease some of the fears of the first day.
Countdown to Kindergarten
By: Alison McGhee
With only 10 days to go until kindergarten, this student is absolutely terrified because she can’t tie her shoes! Countdown each day with her as she tries to figure out exactly how scary kindergarten will be and if there will be anyone there to help her. This book is best for reading aloud since there is a lot of dialogue (think speech bubbles) that add a lot of funny moments to the story. Countdown to Kindergarten uses wit to teach rising kindergarteners that teachers are there to help, all of the children are nervous and new, and of course, you don’t really have to be able to tie your shoes.
Clifford Goes to Kindergarten
By: Norman Birdwell
I am a huge fan of the big red dog. The Clifford series does a great job addressing a wide variety of tough issues for kids (storms, manners, fire safety, etc.) including this introduction to kindergarten. Emily Elizabeth is worried about leaving home and nervous to make new friends. The reader joins Emily Elizabeth as she gets ready and goes to kindergarten. I personally like how this book illustrates some of the things that happen before school begins like meeting the teacher, receiving a letter from the teacher, and seeing the school. The story goes on to show many of the common things done in the typical kindergarten classroom. While not everyone gets to bring a lovey to school, especially when that lovey is a giant dog, Clifford Goes to Kindergarten gives children that much desired sneak peek into the new world of school. This book was the most successful talking tool in helping my own son with his fears about starting school.
Kindergarten, Here I Come!
By: D.J. Steinberg
I think that this is a fantastic book for any home with kindergarten children. It is unlike any of the other traditional “get ready for kindergarten” books because it is a collection of poems and rhymes about various parts of the whole kindergarten experience. Crisscross Applesauce, Recess, Field Trip, Missing Tooth, and Yellow Lunchbox are just some of the titles highlighting momentous occasions in the big K. The poems are silly, whimsical, and very well written. They can definitely ease the worries of rising kindergarteners, and also put a smile on the face of a child well versed in the kindergarten routine.
What books have you read with your kids to prep them for school?