Countdown to school or nursery

Back to school

The week before starting school or nursery can be an exciting and possibly an anxious time for your child. Use this countdown to try a short activity each day to get them ready for this transition.

7 days before

Share information about school or nursery with your child. Regularly use the teacher’s or main key person’s name. Bring them into role-play, for example, include them as an imaginary guest at a tea party.

6 days before

Talk about some Covid-19 secure measures that may still remain in place, for example using hand gel, some adults still wearing masks and regular handwashing. Practise handwashing in a fun way. You could watch the How to Wash Your Hands song from the NHS.

5 days before

Discuss different kinds of families. Share the story The Family Book by Todd Parr and talk about your family.

4 days before

Talk about which toys and activities will be available at school or nursery. Ask your child to show you three of their favourite things to do or play with. Take some photographs or write some notes to send in to school or nursery when your child starts.

3 days before

Practise the morning routine including getting up and dressed and having breakfast “in time for school/nursery”.

2 days before

Read a story about feelings, such as Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival. Discuss simple ways that your child can calm down if they feel angry, such as closing their eyes and taking some deep breaths.

1 day before

Share some books about starting school (many of these can be found on YouTube).

A few books are listed below:

  1. Starting School by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
  2. Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean and Gareth Adamson
  3. I’m Starting Nursery: Pirate Pete and Princess Polly by Amanda Li
  4. Harry and the Dinosaurs Go To School by Ian Whybrow
  5. Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! By Emma Chichester Clark
  6. I Am Too Absolutely Small For School by Lauren Child.


The most important thing is to stay positive and look forward to the exciting adventures ahead.

Take a look at getting ready to start school for more tips, which are available in 18 different languages.