Category

Starting School

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi & Lorena Alvarez

Helping kids develop a growth mindset is both tricky and vitally important. They need to learn the power of persistance but their big emotions mean that they are easily frustrated when they don’t get something right the first time.

Recently i’ve received lots of requests from parents for books which tackle this topic, probably because we’ve all been doing a bit more homeschooling than we expected in 2020! The one which I recommend most frequently is this one – The Magical Yet.

Written in beautifully tight rhyme, the story is about a little girl who is learning to ride her shiny new bike. When she struggles to pedal and steer the bike ends up on the ground and she refuses to try again.

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Please Stay Here – I Want You Near
by Dr Sarah Mundy & Rachel Millson-Hill

Did your child start school or nursery this September? If so, I’d love to hear how they’re getting on. We’ve been experiencing a little bit of separation anxiety here over the last few weeks and have found this particular book really helpful.

Written by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, the story follows young Bartley Bear as he navigates some big emotions. He’s feeling a little bit apprehensive about going to school and he’d really rather stay at home with Mum. Poor Bartley makes excuses when they try to leave the house, pulls back when he reaches the classroom door and really wants Mum to stay and play instead of go to work.  However his teacher and friends rally around him and soon he is having fun making space rockets and riding around the playground on a shiny yellow bike. Mum is back before he even has a chance to miss her and he learns that he really can be ok without her by his side.

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Today I’m Strong
by Nadiya Hussain & Ella Bailey

” I love to go to school. Well most days I do. There are some days when what I really want is to stay home with you.”

School has always been fun for our little protagonist. She enjoys playing and chatting with her friends, writing about her favourite things and climbing to the very top of the climbing frame in the playground – but lately school has felt like a sad place. Some days she just wants to stay at home with her tiger, because she knows he loves her and will always listen.

You see, there’s a kid at school who isn’t very nice to her. She stares at her and she laughs. She blocks her way and takes her lunch. This makes the little girl feel powerless and makes her want to run and hide.

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Wise Before Five
by Libby Walden & Ekaterina Trukhan

Today is the big day! Ivy had her very first day at school. She went through the gate full of smiles ready for her big adventure so I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the transition is a smooth one.

One of the books we’ve been reading over the weekend to prepare her is this gorgeous hardback called ‘Wise Before Five’ which I spotted over on Instagram and simply had to buy. It has helped reassure her that she actually knows lots of things and is more than ready for school.

Featuring a diverse cast of children (including a child in a wheelchair and a child with a hearing aid), this essential guide to being almost five covers a wide range of topics whilst quietly celebrating the joy of being unique.

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Bunny Braves The Day
by Suzanne Bloom

It’s the morning of Bunny’s first day at school and he has a long list of reasons why he definitely shouldn’t go. He’s too tired. He can’t find his underpants. His socks are too short. He thinks he might be coming down with a cold and it feels like there’s a giant frog jumping up and down in his tummy.

Fortunately his older sister is on hand to calm his nerves. As he rattles off excuses she talks about her own experience of starting school and assuages his fears. It’s fine that he doesn’t know how to tie his shoes because he can wear ones without laces. It’s ok that he doesn’t know how to read because the teacher will be there to help him learn. Although meeting lots of new children might sound scary he will soon make friends just like she did.

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My School Unicorn
by Willow Evans & Tom Knight

Evie is a little apprehensive about starting school. Every time she thinks about it she gets a wobbly feeling in her tummy and feels a tiny bit sick. When her Dad takes her shopping for her new school uniform she drags her feet, but the expedition turns out to be a little bit more magical than she expected!

Madam Lexi’s Uniform Emporium is packed full of blazers, ties, sports kit and everything else a child might need for their first term, but if you look closely at the owner you’ll spot that she is a little bit special. A ittle cloud of twinkling stars seem to follow her wherever she goes…

Evie nervously tries on her uniform and her dad is pleased to see that everything fits, but when he’s not looking Madam Lexi leans forward and whispers in to her ear. Evie blinks with confusion. The lady mentioned her ‘School Unicorn’ but surely she meant ‘School Uniform’? But then the pocket of Evie’s cardigan starts to wiggle!

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Super Milly and the Super School Day by Stephanie Clarkson & Gwen Millward

Milly is very excited about going to school because it’s Superhero Day. She has fashioned a costume out of tin foil and a tea towel but she’s a little bit sad that she doesn’t  have any REAL super powers. Or does she?

In the classroom Super Milly spots that William is sad because his dad forgot it was a dress up day. She hands him her superhero badge and tells him he can be Wonder William. She cheers up Fantastic Flora with some jokes. She settles a dispute between Amazing Archie and Spider Sid and she comes to Incredible Iqbal’s aid when his pet spider escapes during Show and Tell.

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Our Favourite Picture Books about Starting School

Ivy starts reception in September so in recent months we have amassed a lot of books to help prepare her for this exciting (and potentially nerve-wracking!) experience.

There are hundreds of books out there about this topic so I have put together a collection of our 24 favourites to help you choose the ones which are best suited to your own child.

Along with books which are specifically about the school experience, I have included titles which focus on other helpful topics like making friends, showing kindness and helping to ease any worries they may have.

We’d love to hear about your favourites too. What would you add to this list?

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I Have to Start at School Today by Simon Philip & Ged Adamson

The little girl in this story is very nervous of starting school. She has no idea what to expect so her imagination is going wild!

What if she arrives at the school gates to find an angry rhino who demands a password before she’s allowed in? What if there’s a selfish bear in her chair who refuses to move and then eats all the food in the canteen? What if there’s a babboon who drives her crazy playing his bassoon all day? Her mum reassures her that none of these things are going to happen but her cheeky older brother really isn’t helping.

Feeling sad and confused she turns to her grandmother who listens carefully to her fears and reassures her with a warm hug and some wise words. What if, just maybe, she goes to school and everything goes just right?

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King of the Classroom
by Derrick Barnes & Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Lots of books about starting school focus on the specific worries which your child might have about their big day. This fabulous book reframes those fears and the result is a story which fizzes with positivity and fun.

On a bright sunny morning a little boy awakens and prepares to start the day. Today is the first day of school and Mummy says he’s going to be the King of the Classroom. He brushes his royal teeth, dresses in his special school garments and settles down for a truly majestic breakfast. The school bus will be his carriage and the school itself will be his brand new kingdom.

He introduces himself to the children around him and asks them about their summer. He’s brave making new friends in the playground. He’s kind to those around him at lunchtime. He listens carefully to his teacher and approaches every new task like the King that he is. He has a truly wonderful day.

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